Aquatic invasive species (AIS) pose a grave and growing threat to the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem and surrounding economies. AIS can quickly and drastically transform habitats for native species, introduce disease, out-compete native species, alter food chains, change the physical characteristics of bodies of water, damage equipment, devastate water-delivery systems, and negatively impact local/regional economies. Preventing the introduction of AIS is critical because eradication is usually impossible. The detection of invasive mussels in Montana in 2016 and the ecological and financial costs of removing lake trout in Yellowstone Lake underscore the urgent need for action to prevent these and other destructive species from entering the park. If nonnative mussels are found in Yellowstone, park managers will consider a temporary closure of all park waters to watercraft to prevent the spread to other waterways.
Preventing the spread of aquatic invasive species starts with you. Following a few simple steps whenever you move from a body of water will greatly minimize the risk of spreading aquatic invasives to new locations.
Before you arrive, clean all plants, animals, sand, mud, and other debris from your boat, trailer, anchor, boots, and equipment. Clean your boat and all gear as soon as you leave one body of water. Do not dump water or organisms from one water body into another.
Drain all the water from your boat, including the motor, bilge, live-well, and other compartments before you arrive. Leave bilge plug out during transport. Do not dump water or organisms from one water body into another.
Dry all compartments and equipment in the sun for at least five days before entering another body of water or use high-pressure, hot (120 to 140 F) water to clean your boat, trailer, waders, boots, and equipment.
Check owner’s manuals before using high-pressure, hot water to clean equipment. Because of risks to the environment and human health, the use of chemicals like bleach is not recommended for cleaning watercraft or recreational equipment.
At least eight aquatic invasive species already exist in Yellowstone's waters: New Zealand mud snail, red-rimmed melania, five nonnative fish, and whirling disease. If you think you’ve found a new aquatic invasive species in Yellowstone, note its location, take a photo, and contact us immediately.
Permits & Inspections
If you plan to use your own boat or angler float tube in Yellowstone, you’ll need a boating permit and a free Yellowstone aquatic invasive species inspection.
Last updated: June 6, 2023