A Talk on the Wild Side.
On Jan. 1, Alaska and Rhode Island became the latest states to ban felt-soled wading boots, popular because they offer anglers good traction on slick river beds.
Turns out they can also offer rivers something less attractive: Invasive species.
A pair of felt-soled wading boots. Phot: Cheryl Anderson/USFWS
The soles are known to provide an ideal vehicle for spreading tiny invasive species that can cause big problems. Invasives such as:
Maryland and Vermont have already banned felt-soled waders, and more states are considering such rules. A didymo invasion prompted New Zealand to ban felt-soled boots in 2008.
Members of the fishing community, made up of many conservation-minded individuals, have largely supported the move away from felt. The fishing industry is producing waders with non-felt soles that still provide good traction, so felt may be on the way out.
It won’t solve the current invasion of non-native species, but every little victory in the battle against dangerous invasive species is big.