New law impacting boaters, paddlers, anglers, and any other watercraft users:

The Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife recently emailed this information to help people protect ponds and lakes in Maine.

 person pulling drain plug from boat
To reduce the spread of aquatic invasive species in Maine, a law was passed by Maine Legislature that requires boaters to take specific actions to encourage water to drain from their watercraft prior to entering a water body or leaving a launch site (PUBLIC LAW 2023 CHAPTER 190). Aquatic invasive species are any fish, wildlife, or plant species that spreads to a water body where they do not naturally occur. These species are often transferred to new locations on watercraft, watercraft trailers, and other equipment associated with water recreation, and they impact the health of our waters, fish, and wildlife.Effective June 16, 2023, boaters are now required to do the following:Prior to entering a water body and when preparing to leave launch sites, boaters are required to remove or open any devices designed for routine removal/opening (for example, hull drain plugs, bailers, live wells, ballast tanks) to encourage draining of areas containing water (excluding live bait containers). This must be done in a way that does not allow drained water to enter any inland water of the state.This puts into law what the Clean, Drain, Dry educational and outreach campaign has already been encouraging boaters to do. By ensuring that all boaters are draining water when it is from a different source than the inland water body they are about to enter, the risk of spreading aquatic invasive species including some that are not always visible by eye, to new areas is drastically reduced. Similar laws are already in effect in more than 20 other states, including neighboring New Hampshire, Vermont, and New York. This law will limit the spread of aquatic invasive species we already have in Maine while proactively limiting potential for the introduction of aquatic invasive species that would be new to the state such as quagga mussels and the spiny water flea.Learn More

Emerging threat!

Zebra Mussel infestations in nearby New Brunswick and Quebec are a threat to our Maine waterways!
two adults zebra mussels, pale yellow color with darker zig zag design
Invasive Zebra mussels have been found within the Saint John River drainage in both Quebec and New Brunswick, with the nearest visual confirmations less than 30 miles away from the Maine/Canada border and even closer potential infestations in the Madawaska River.This places the Saint John River at high risk for infestation and as a potential source for transport on watercraft of zebra mussels into other Maine water bodies. Zebra mussels have not yet been confirmed in any water of the state of Maine but represent a high threat level to the health of our waters, fish, and wildlife. Zebra mussel infestations result in irreversible negative impacts on native species and water body systems and are nearly impossible to eradicate once introduced.Zebra mussels filter and hold a substantial amount of important food and nutrients that native organisms require, negatively impacting all native fish and wildlife in the water body. In addition to significantly impacting our wildlife, and unlike our native mussels, zebra mussels attach to hard surfaces in the water, including watercraft, pipes (which can clog intake/outflow), rocks, docks, and even native mussels. Zebra mussel larvae are microscopic, making it imperative all outdoor enthusiasts use extreme caution to limit the spread.Help limit the spread of zebra mussels! Always practice standard clean, drain, dry recommendations and laws for watercraft. Allowing watercraft and all gear to dry thoroughly between water bodies is one of the most effective ways to prevent the spread of these microscopic zebra mussel larvae.This drying should occur for multiple days (2-5 days) when possible.