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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.

  • image of water chestnut, and link to invasive plants webpage

    Invasive Plants

  • image of Asian Clam, and link to invasive animals webpage

    Invasive Animals


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





Office of Water Resources
235 Promenade Street
Providence, RI 02908-5767
Phone: (401) 222-3961
Fax: (401) 222-3564