Regulations and Guidelines

The following regulations and guidelines can help prevent the introduction and spread of non-native species before their spread becomes a costly problem for island managers to control.

Please check your clothing, boots, and gear for soil and hitchhiking seeds and insects. Remove any seeds, soil, and insects (including ants) before you set foot on the Islands. 

If your shoes or gear have been in a mainland California stream within the last two months, please do not bring that gear across the channel.  Many mainland California streams contain a very destructive, very small invasive snail which is not present on the Islands. We need to prevent the introduction of this invasive snail to our island ecosystems.

Please Download Protocol for Preventing the Introduction of New Zealand Mud Snails

Additionally, the following supplies may not be brought across the channel:

  • Tools or equipment with attached soil
  • Firewood or any untreated, unfinished wood (including hiking sticks)
  • Corrugated boxes
  • Live or Potted Plants
  • Soil
  • Cut Flowers
  • Motorized vehicles
  • Bicycles

Your participation in checking your own gear and supplies ensures the protection of the islands unique ecological systems and the protection of breeding populations of marine mammals, endangered species of seabirds, eagles, islands foxes and other unique and rare species of flora and fauna inhabiting the California Islands. 

Islands on the Edge: The Threat of Non-Native Plants and Animals

Island plants and animals are especially vulnerable to extinction due to the physical boundaries, limited populations, and lack of genetic variability. The largest threat to island species is the introduction of non-native, invasive species. The term, "invasive species" refers to plants and animals that originate elsewhere and are brought into a new area, where they may negatively impact the native species or environment.

For example, many non-native, invasive weed species are plants that grow or spread aggressively, taking over important wildlife habitat, devastating shelter and forage, and reducing the diversity and quality of native habitat. These weeds often do not hold and protect the soil the way native plants do, so erosion increases and causes sedimentation of streams, harming fish populations and water quality.

How You Can Help

If you plan to visit the California Islands, you probably care a great deal about the islands and their unique ethic. Ironically, those who enjoy visiting the islands can also be responsible for spreading non-native, invasive species. You can help prevent the introduction of these non-native plants and animals, an action which is far more effective than costly removal or control programs.

Clean and Inspect Clothing, Gear, and Containers for Weeds and Other "Hitchhikers". Many weed seeds readily stick to clothing and camping gear. These seeds can later fall off and germinate, establishing new weed colonies. Weeds and other non-native organisms can hitch a ride in camping equipment, food containers and baggage. Visitors should clean and inspect their footwear, clothing, and gear (especially shoe treads and Velcro) for seeds and soil before boarding boats and moving between campsites and islands. Socks and cuffs of pants should be given particular attention. Sleeping bags, sleeping pads, and tents should be cleaned and inspected for soil, invertebrates, and seeds before leaving the mainland. If you are already on the island, please use the nearby boot brushes—simply run each foot though the brush several times to remove weed seeds and other "stowaways" caught in shoe treads and laces.