Tri-County Lakes Administrative Commission

Stop Aquatic Hitchhikers

Aquatic invasive species pose a threat to the environment, economy, recreation, and human health and safety of our waterways. These species threaten the balance of our native flora and fauna, negatively impact economic development, spread diseases, decrease the aesthetic value of our lakes, and can impede recreational activities. Please be sure to CLEAN, DRAIN, and DRY your vessel and recreational equipment before launching in Smith Mountain or Leesville Lake.


CLEAN off visible aquatic plants, animals, and mud from watercraft, motor, trailer, and equipment before leaving water access. Scrub hull using a stiff brush. Rinse watercraft, trailer, and equipment with high pressure hot water when possible.  Flush motor according to owner’s manual.

  • Jet Boats and Personal Watercraft (PWCs) users: Clean off visible aquatic plants, animals, and mud from hull, trailer, intake grate and steering nozzle, etc. Run engine 5-10 seconds to blow out excess water and vegetation from internal drive before leaving water access.
  • Sailors: Clean off visible aquatic plants, animals, and mud from the centerboard, bilge board wells, rudderpost, trailer and other equipment before leaving water access.

DRAIN water from watercraft, motor, bilge, bladder tanks, livewell, and portable bait containers before leaving water access.

DRY everything for five days or more, unless otherwise required by local or state laws, when moving between waters to kill small species not easily seen OR wipe with a towel before reuse.
For additional information about the hazards of transporting aquatic hitchhikers from one body of water to another, please reference this site:

Useful references:

Aquatic Hitchhikers – Definitions

Aquatic Hitchhikers – Impacts