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US Fish & Wildlife Service FieldNotes
STOCKTON FWO: Hazard Analysis Critical Control Point Planning to Reduce Aquatic Invasive Species on National Wildlife Refuges
Region 8, June 23, 2009
Non-native invasive bullfrog floating in a spring at Ash Meadows National Wildlife Refuge. (photo: Ronald Smith. USFWS)
Non-native invasive bullfrog floating in a spring at Ash Meadows National Wildlife Refuge. (photo: Ronald Smith. USFWS) - Photo Credit: n/a

by Jonathan Thompson, Stockton FWO
Drive 90 miles northwest of Las Vegas to the desert uplands of the Amargosa Valley and you will find an extremely rare desert oasis located at Ash Meadows National Wildlife Refuge (AMNWR).  The refuge’s 23,000 plus acres are dotted by spring-fed wetlands and are home to four endangered fishes, including the Devils Hole pupfish, Ash Meadows Amaragosa pupfish, Warm Springs pupfish and the Ash Meadows speckled dace, and at least 24 plants.  These plants and animals are found nowhere else in the world.  Prior to becoming a national wildlife refuge, the land at Ash Meadows was developed for farming and grazing.  The development took a heavy toll on the area's natural resources including the introduction of at least 62 non-native plants and nine aquatic invasive animals.


Concerned about the risk of spreading non-native invasive species while conducting natural resource management activities, the refuge staff requested the assistance of the Pacific Southwest Region Aquatic Invasive Species (AIS) Program to provide assistance in reducing this risk.  A Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point (HACCP) planning workshop was conducted by AIS Program Coordinator, Ronald Smith, and AIS Program Biologist Jonathan Thompson.  HACCP (pronounced “hassip”) is a planning tool for reducing the risk of spreading invasive species and other contaminants.


The workshop consisted of a site visit by the AIS staff, followed by classroom training.  The site visit introduced the AIS staff to the Refuge and in particular, the Refuge’s potential and existing invasive species issues.   The AIS staff used the information obtained during the site visit to develop a training session tailored to the invasive species needs of the Refuge. The individualized training session was delivered with an emphasis on producing Refuge specific HACCP plans.  The workshop accomplished creating a sound foundation for the development of AMNWR HACCP plans, an increase in NIS awareness, and a partnership between the AMNWR and the Pacific Southwest AIS Program. Using the tools gained at the workshop, Ash Meadows Refuge staff have created several HACCP plans, including a plan for restoration efforts involving native plants.


For more information on HACCP and Natural Resource Management please visit: www.haccp-nrm.org.



Contact Info: Jonathan Thompson, (209)946-6400 ext315, jonathan_thompson@fws.gov