For Immediate Release
Date: May 25, 2023


Boaters - Help Protect New Hampshire Water Bodies from Aquatic Invasive Species Infestations

Concord, NH – As the 2023 boating season is beginning in earnest, the New Hampshire Department of Environmental Services (NHDES) reminds boaters of state laws intended to prevent additional aquatic invasive species infestations. Specifically, it is illegal to transport any aquatic plants on recreational gear and related trailers. Further, boaters are required to drain any water-containing devices on vessels, and to only trailer vessels in the open drain position. Violators could face fines ranging from $50-$200. This law is 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 80 lakes and 11 rivers infested with aquatic invasive species. Most of these waterbodies contain 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 have established populations of the Chinese mystery snail, an aquatic invasive animal; and, the Asian clam, another aquatic invasive animal, has been identified in nearly a dozen waterbodies.” A new invasive plant, water violet, was recently found in some of the state’s largest lakes, and it is spreading in the Lakes Region, where it can pose a risk to other nearby waterbodies, and downstream waters like the Winnipesaukee, Pemigewasset, and Merrimack Rivers.

Boaters are reminded to:

CLEAN off any plants, animals and algae found on boats, trailers, and other recreational gear, 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.

Also, if your vessel is registered in a state other than New Hampshire, you are required to purchase and display an out of state boater decal, which can be purchased for $20 online

The Department of Environmental Services 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 are 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 (emailed photos are welcome), please contact the Exotic Species Program Coordinator at or (603) 271-2248.

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