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California - Aquatic nuisance species

Aquatic Nuisance Species (ANS)

Aquatic nuisance species are non-indigenous species that threaten the diversity or abundance of native aquatic species. Two such ANS are the Zebra mussel and the Quagga mussel. States on behalf of water users spend tens of millions of dollars on attempting to control these prolific species every year.

Non-native aquatic species of plants, fish and animals are infesting the waters of California. These infestations can increase dramatically. Under the right conditions these nuisances can increase at an alarming rate and displace the native species, cause blockage of the waterways and have a negative impact on navigation and recreation.

They are next to impossible to eliminate once they are introduced. Boaters should be conscientious when pulling their boats from recreational waters. You should inspect the boat and trailer, before you leave the ramp area, and remove any suspected aquatic nuisance species and mud in order to eliminate their spread to other waters that may be visited. It is imperative to properly clean watercraft and equipment after each use. 

We recommend that you follow these steps:

  • Thoroughly check the boat and trailer for any plants or mussels.
  • Drain the water from your motor.
  • Thoroughly wash the hull of each watercraft.
  • Drain all water, and dry all areas.
  • Drain and dry the lower outboard unit.
  • Clean and dry all live-wells.
  • Be sure to report new infestations of non-native aquatic species to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service at (209) 946-6400.

California registered vessels using fresh water bodies within the state are required to display a “Mussel Fee Paid” sticker on the hull next to the current registration sticker. Paying the Mussel Fee does not entitle vessels to bypass inspections or fees for inspections conducted by individual reservoir owners or managers.

Visit for more information on quagga and zebra mussels or call (866) 440-9530.

Aquatic Nuisance Species (ANS)

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