What are Aquatic Invasive Species?
We’ve all experienced the impacts from aquatic invasive species in our trout waters all across the country. Some of us have slipped on rocks covered in Didymo (rock snot), or crunched over a host of invasive New Zealand mud snails as we waded through cold water in search of trout. In some cases, the impacts on the fish and our fishing are minimal, but in others, they can be devastating.
From whirling disease to exotic fish invasions, there is scientific data that backs up the assertion that aquatic invasive species are among the top threats to America’s trout and salmon. And the problem isn’t just in your local river—invasive species have invaded waters all over America. Yellowstone Lake is infested with lake trout from Lake Michigan; whirling disease has infected some of America’s greatest rivers, like the Madison and the Arkansas; rock snot is prevalent in the Delaware River, and New Zealand mud snails are showing up in waters nationwide. These infestations not only impact our prized trout populations, but they take a bite out of angling opportunity.
The good news is that, through science and education, TU understands the challenges that accompany aquatic invasive species in our rivers and lakes. We have a vast network of volunteer anglers who are already mobilizing in places like Yellowstone and the Delaware River, and we’re teaching and training our volunteers how to identify invasive species and how to prevent their spread. Educating anglers of the threats to our fish—and our fishing—is the best approach to stemming the tide and perhaps, one day, reclaiming our rivers and lakes from these noxious invaders.
Chances are, there’s a local TU Chapter nearby with resources to help you get involved in this important effort to educate and mobilize anglers against the spread of aquatic invasive species. Additionally, you can contact Dave Kumlien for more information on TU’s efforts to raise awareness—and funding—to address this very real problem on trout streams all across America.