Southwest Fisheries
Southwest Region

Aquatic Invasive Species

The Service’s Fisheries Program provides leadership in preventing, eradicating, and controlling invasive species through its Aquatic Invasive Species (AIS) coordinators. The Southwest Aquatic Invasive Species program is based in the regional office under the Assistant Regional Director for Fish and Aquatic Conservation. Lead by and Aquatic Invasive Species Coordinator, the program is augmented by fisheries biologists at all of the southwest field stations who share the common goal of protecting our native aquatic resources from invasive species that threaten native species and inhibit recreational opportunities. The Southwest Aquatic Invasive Species program coordinates closely with similar programs in all other U.S. Fish and Wildlife regions and with our headquarters near Washington, D.C.

The Southwest Aquatic Invasive Species program provides biosecurity for resources needed for fish and other aquatic wildlife. Invasive species in the Southwest are potentially damaging to the environment, businesses, and recreation. These include giant salvinia, New Zealand mudsnail, zebra mussel, and brown tree snake. Aquatic invasive species are “nonnative species whose introduction into an aquatic ecosystem causes or is likely to cause harm to the economy, environment, or human health or safety” (President Clinton’s Executive Order 13112). Our goal is conservation through cooperative actions with partner agencies and organizations at all jurisdictional levels by leveraging resources, sharing responsibilities, and coordination and implementation of management plans. The program focuses on three primary areas: prevention, control, and outreach.

Prevention – preventing the introduction or spread of invasive species is the most effective way of protecting our aquatic resources. Once established, aquatic invaders are difficult and often impossible to eradicate. Prevention is less costly than eradication.

Control – controlling invasive species usually means containing an existing infestation through perpetual management actions, but may include reducing invasive populations, and sometimes, eradicating them. The coordinators work closely with the public and private sector to develop and implement ways to control or eradicate invasive species.

Outreach – the general public is our greatest asset in protecting our resources. The program strives to interact with the public to inform and educate them in ways they can help. An informed public is key to preventing the spread of unwanted organisims. The AIS coordinators increase awareness of invasive species through education, coordinating management activities with other federal and state agencies, and private entities.

Key Initiatives

  • Regional Panels on Aquatic Invasive Species, advisory panels to the federal Aquatic Nuisance Species Task Force
  • Western Regional Panel
  • Gulf and South Atlantic Regional Panel
  • Mississippi River Basin Regional Panel
  • 100th Meridian Initiative – a partnered group of agencies and organizations with a common goal of protecting the western United States from zebra/quagga mussles and other aquatic invasive species
  • HACCP – Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point planning, an international standard (ASTM E2590 - 09) for reducing or eliminating the spread of unwanted species by natural-resource-management activities

Activity Highlights

Southwest Region AIS Coordinator

David K. Britton
Phone: (817) 272-3714

Southwest Region Aquatic Invasive Species Fact Sheet
(336 KB PDF)

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Last updated: April 22, 2015