RIPPLE: Reduce Invasive Pet and PLant Escapes

Many plants and pets commonly found in aquariums and backyard ponds have been imported from other parts of the world. Some of these, including rusty crayfish, Eurasian watermilfoil and Carolina fanwort, have made their way into Michigan’s waters where they are harming the environment and affecting recreation. Aquariums and backyard pond plants and pets tend to be hardy and reproduce vigorously, making them appealing to hobbyists but dangerous to Michigan's native ecosystems if they escape. 

These non-native plants and pets can reach Michigan's waterways via a number of pathways.  Most commonly, they are released when their owners can no longer care for them or they escape unintentionally during flood events.  

How to prevent escapes:

  • Inspect and rinse any new plants to rid them of seeds, plant fragments, snails and fish.  
  • Build water gardens well away from other waters.
  • Seal aquatic plants for disposal in a plastic bag in the trash.  Do not compost. 
  • Give or trade unwanted fish or plants with another hobbyist, environmental learning center, aquarium or zoo.
  • Contact a veterinarian or pet retailer for guidance on humane disposal of animals.

Be a responsible shopper:

  • Be sure the plant or pet you want to purchase is not prohibited or restricted in Michigan or by federal laws.
  • If you suspect you may have received a prohibited or restricted plant species in a shipment, contact MDARD immediately at 1-800-292-3939 or MDA-info@michigan.gov.
  • If you suspect you may have received a prohibited or restricted fish, mollusk or crustacean in a shipment, contact Seth Herbst at DNR, (517) 284-5841 or herbsts@michigan.gov

RIPPLE is a campaign aimed at educating both consumers and retailers about proper containment and disposal methods for plants and animals associated with the pond and pet store industries. RIPPLE focuses on the risks associated with releasing aquatic invasive plants and animals and practices that can reduce the likelihood of establishment.

Order RIPPLE materials:

Copies of RIPPLE publications for use in classrooms or retail businesses are available through the Michigan Department Agriculture and Rural Development. Contact Mike Bryan at (517) 284-5642 or bryanm@michigan.gov.

 


Videos

  • Tips for caring for your backyard pond
  • Never release aquarium plants or animals