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New Hampshire Department of Environmental Services

Media Center

DATE: June 8, 2017
CONTACT: Amy Smagula, 603-271-2248

New Laws in Effect to Protect New Hampshire Water Bodies from Aquatic Invasive Species Infestations

Concord, NH – As the boating season is beginning in earnest, the New Hampshire Department of Environmental Services (NHDES) reminds boaters of a new law that went into effect on January 1, 2017 to prevent additional aquatic invasive species infestations. Specifically, the law prohibits any transport of any aquatic plants on recreational gear and related trailers, and goes further to require that boats and other water-containing devices be in the open drain position during transportation. Violators could face fines ranging from $50-$200. This law is being enforced by New Hampshire Marine Patrol, conservation officers and other peace officers.

Freshwater aquatic invasive plants and animals are those that are not naturally found in New Hampshire’s lakes, ponds, and rivers. Because they are not native, they have no predators or diseases, allowing them to grow quickly and dominate the freshwater systems and impact the native plants, fish, and aquatic insects already present. Aquatic invasive species can lead to reduced shorefront property values, water quality impairments, and problems with the aesthetic and recreational values of waterbodies.

According to Amy Smagula, the NHDES Exotic Species Program Coordinator, “New Hampshire now has a total of 74 infested lakes and 11 infested rivers, most containing variable milfoil as the primary invasive plant, while others have fanwort, Eurasian water milfoil and water chestnut, among other common species. Dozens of waterbodies also support the Chinese mystery snail, which is an aquatic invasive animal, and four waterbodies support the Asian clam, also an aquatic invasive animal.”

Lake Hosts are present at many public access sites, and spend time educating boaters and performing critical courtesy boat inspections to check for invasive species tagalongs, but boaters are encouraged to do their own routine checks as well. Specifically, NHDES strongly encourages boaters to practice the “Clean, Drain, Dry” protocol, to ensure that their gear is free and clear of any potential invasive species or other contaminants:

CLEAN off any plants, animals and algae found during your inspection and dispose of it away from a waterbody.

DRAIN your boat, bait buckets, bilges and other equipment away from the waterbody, leaving your boat’s drain in the open position during transport.

DRY anything that comes into contact with the water.

NHDES urges lake and river residents and visitors to routinely monitor for aquatic invasive species and report new infestations of anything suspicious early. Look for plants or animals that appear to be growing or increasing in number quickly, and that do not appear to be part of the native aquatic community. For more information or to report a potential new infestation, please contact the Exotic Species Program Coordinator at or 603-271-2248.

NH Department of Environmental Services | 29 Hazen Drive | PO Box 95 | Concord, NH 03302-0095
(603) 271-3503 | TDD Access: Relay NH 1-800-735-2964 | Hours: M-F, 8am-4pm

copyright 2017. State of New Hampshire