What Aquatic invasive species (AIS are): AIS are non-native plants and animals introduced into a water body with the potential to harm the environment, people and/or the economy.
Why you should care: AIS directly harm native species and cause billions of dollars in damage. For example, zebra mussels alone (which do not yet occur in the Pacific Region) have contributed to population crashes among native fish and wildlife in the Great Lakes and cost that region hundreds of millions of dollars each year. Nearly two-thirds of all endangered fish and clams have been impacted by invasive non-native species. In addition to posing threats to species, hydropower generation, municipal water supplies and agricultural irrigation can also suffer tremendous losses from aquatic invaders.
What USFWS is doing about it: For aquatic invaders, the Fisheries Program of the USFWS co-chairs the Aquatic Nuisance Species Task Force, where we work in coordination with other federal agencies and partners to prevent and control aquatic nuisance species and serve as a significant source of federal expertise and support for action-oriented partnerships. In the Pacific Region, the 100th Meridian Initiative to prevent the western spread of the zebra mussel is one of our most important undertakings. We also provide funding to individual states (Oregon, Washington, Idaho and Hawaii) to help implement statewide aquatic nuisance species plans and also fund research on aquatic invasive species prevention and nuisance control. For example, USFWS is working in partnership with the University of Idaho and other organizations to reduce the spread and impacts of New Zealand Mud Snails.