Aquatic nuisance (or invasive) species (ANS) are nonindigenous species that threaten the diversity or abundance of native species or the ecological stability of infested waters, or commercial, agricultural, aquacultural, or recreational activities dependent on such waters. ANS include nonindigenous species that may occur in our waters and that presently or potentially threaten ecological processes and natural resources. In addition to adversely affecting activities dependent on waters of the United States, ANS adversely affects individuals, including health effects.
Invasive species affect ecosystem structure and function, resulting in a loss of biodiversity or unique habitats. They cause economic and environmental damage as well as detrimentally affect human use of our natural resources by permanently degrading the habitats they invade, hindering economic development, reducing or eliminating recreational and commercial activities, decreasing the aesthetics of our environment and serving as vectors of disease.
Aquatic Nuisance Species Reporting Form
Prevention is the first line of defense
Everyone can make a difference in the fight against invasive species by learning about how to prevent their introduction and movement.
- Learn to recognize common invaders and keep an eye out for signs of new ones.
- Report sightings immediately by filling out the Aquatic Nuisance Species Form
- Inspect boats, trailers, and recreational equipment before use and after use.
- Remove all plants and animals and dispose of these organisms where they will not reenter the water.
- Thoroughly clean and drain all boats, kayaks, canoes, and recreational gear after use.
- Allow watercraft to dry completely before launching into another body of water.
- Do not release live fish, including bait, into a new body of water.
- Buy pets from reputable dealers whose non-native animals are properly labeled, legally imported, and not harboring invasive pests and diseases.
- Do not release unwanted pets into the environment. If you no longer want your pet, return it to a local pet shop for resale or trade, give it to another hobbyist, or donate it to a school, nursing home, or hospital.
- Avoid growing or buying plants known to be invasive. Contact your or state Department of Natural Resources or local plant societies of a list of plants native to your area.
- Don’t dump aquatic plants or aquarium water into local waters. Many plants for water gardens and aquaria are highly invasive.
- Take action! Join a volunteer invasive species monitoring or eradication group. These outings are a great way to get some exercise, meet new friends, and gain the satisfaction of knowing that you’re helping to protect our environment.
Read the publication: Don’t Let It Loose!
Invasive Species Identification
Listed below are all aquatic nuisance species (ANS), organized by taxa, that have been detected in the wild, in Arkansas. Links to the USGS Nonindigenous Aquatic Species (NAS) database are provided for each species. Click on “Profile” to learn more about the species identification, ecology, home range, means of introduction into the U.S., national distribution, and ecological, economic, and/or human health impacts.
NOTE: Distribution Maps may not accurately represent the current distribution of a species in Arkansas. Click on “Images” to view pictures of each species, most of which are linked to the University of Georgia’s Center for Invasive Species and Ecosystem Health website, or the University of Florida’s Center for Invasive Aquatic Plants website.
- Brazilian Waterweed (Egeria densa)
- Common Reed (Phragmites australis)
- Cuban Bulrush (Oxycaryum cubense)
- Curly-leaf Pondweed (Potamogeton crispus)
- Didymo (Didymosphenia geminate)
- Duck Lettuce (Ottelia alismoides)
- Eurasian Watermilfoil (Myriophyllum spicatum)
- Hydrilla (Hydrilla verticillata)
- Purple Loosestrife (Lythrum salicaria)
- Uruguayan Waterprimrose (Ludwigia hexapentala)
- Bighead Carp (Hypophthalmichthys nobilis)
- Black Carp (Mylopharngodon piceus)
- Northern Snakehead (Channa argus)
- Silver Carp (Hypophthlmichthys molitrix)