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Home > Programs > Bureau of Environmental Protection > OWR > Water Quality > Surface Water Quality > Aquatic Invasive Species

Introduction to Aquatic Invasive Species
picture of aquatic invasive species
Aquatic invasive species (AIS) are non-native plants and animals that have been introduced (accidentally or intentionally) into lakes and rivers, and whose introduction threatens the diversity or abundance of native species, the stability of the ecosystem and/or the use of the infested water body. AIS are a major threat to our freshwater ecosystems and a significant management concern because of their ecological and socio-economic costs.
Invasive Plants Invasive Animals
image of water chestnut, and link to invasive plants webpage image of Asian Clam, and link to invasive animals webpage

Effects of Aquatic Invasive Species

Ecological Costs
  • Loss of beneficial native species
  • Decreased biodiversity
  • Changes in fish and wildlife habitat
  • Disruption of local food web stability
  • Degradation of water quality
Recreational Losses
  • Interference with recreational uses such as swimming, paddling, boating and fishing
  • Alteration of sport fish habitat and reduced fishing opportunities due to stressed fish communities
Economic Impacts
  • Damage to infrastructure (such as clogging dam gates, canals and irrigation or other intake pipes)
  • AIS management and control costs substantial amounts of money
  • Nuisance conditions may reduce waterfront property values
  • Fewer recreational opportunities may impact tourism and affect businesses in the community
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RI Marine and Estuarine Invasive Species Site

New England Aquatic Nuisance Species Panel

Aquatic Nuisance Species Task Force

National Invasive Species Information Center

USGS Nonindigenous Aquatic Species

Protect Your Waters

Invasive Plant Atlas of New England

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Identification and Management of Aquatic Invasive Species

Identifying Freshwater Aquatic Invasive Species in Rhode Island

Aquatic Invaders in RI- Findings from DEM AIS Surveys

State Contacts for Lakes and Ponds

Map of AIS in RI by Town

RI Invasive Species Management Plan

2012 RI Lakes Report

For General Information 222-6800 • After Hours Emergencies 222-3070 • Disclaimer
rev. 9/13/13