Reduce Invasive Pet and Plant Escapes (RIPPLE)

Working with aquarium and water garden owners and retailers to ensure Michigan's waterways are protected against invasive species

DFW04_Digital_200X250Banner_FINAL2-PNGMany plants and pets found in aquariums and backyard ponds have been imported from other parts of the world. They tend to be hardy and reproduce vigorously, making them appealing to hobbyists but dangerous to Michigan's native ecosystems if they are released into the wild. Although Michigan’s winter temperatures stop some exotic species from reproducing in our lakes and streams, this is not always the case. Some species survive and thrive, negatively impacting the environment, decreasing recreational opportunities and causing severe economic consequences.

It is never safe to release water garden or aquarium plants and animals into the natural environment, even if they appear to be dead. Releasing any aquatic organism into the wild is not an accepted practice and is punishable by law.

Together we can keep Michigan’s waterways healthy and pure

  • Never release an aquatic plant or animal into waterways
  • Inspect and rinse any new plants to rid them of seeds, plant fragments, snails and fish.  
  • Build water gardens well away from other waters.
  • 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.

Learn how to prevent the spread of aquatic invasive species in water gardens with this MSU Extension Smart Gardening fact sheet

To address this issue, the statewide Reduce Invasive Pet and Plant Escapes (RIPPLE) program offers educational information to aquarium and water gardener professionals, retailers and hobbyists about what to do with unwanted plants and animals so they are not accidentally or purposely introduced into Michigan's lakes and streams. RIPPLE's education initiatives are coordinated by Michigan State University Extension in partnership with the Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes and EnergyMichigan Department of Natural Resources and the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development. RIPPLE is funded by the Michigan Invasive Species Grant Program.

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Aquarium and Water Garden MSU Extension News

Become a RIPPLE partner today!

Pet and pond professionals, hobbyists, and educators are invited to explore RIPPLE resources and become RIPPLE partners by learning how to prevent invasions and sharing materials and information with their clients and communities. RIPPLE publications are available for use classrooms, environmental learning centers and retail businesses through Michigan State University Extension.

Order free RIPPLE materials here