Invasive species are one of the greatest threats to native biodiversity and are a significant driver of species loss worldwide. Alaska is particularly vulnerable to the expansion of aquatic invasive species because of rapidly changing habitat suitability caused by shifting weather conditions, altered hydrologic regimes, and increasing development. Alaska’s communities, cultures and economy rely on healthy aquatic resources. Aquatic invasive species (AIS) can have negative impacts on the aquatic resources that Alaska communities and businesses rely on for food, drinking water, and transportation.
Freshwater AIS, such as Elodea spp. and Northern Pike, infestations are relatively few in Alaska. Fortunately, many AIS control efforts (eradication and containment) are manageable if started before infestations become extensive and are costly to manage. By following a few key steps, we can prevent further introductions or the spread of AIS that are already in Alaska.
As an initial first step, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has adopted protocols to minimize the risk of spreading AIS through our field and management activities. Guidelines for Preventing the Spread of Aquatic Invasive Species.
Submersed aquatic plants in the genus Elodea are not native to Alaska. Elodea survives freezing, and can spready by tiny fragments. These traits make it extremely invasive. Elodea has already been confirmed in and around Anchorage, Fairbanks, Cordova, and most recently, on the Kenai Peninsula in Stormy Lake. It's a popular aquarium plant in Alaska and can spread if released: waders, boats, trailers, floatplanes, and equipment can spread it further. Elodea will cause serious,irreversible harm to fish and aquatic habitats in Alaska if allowed to spread unchecked.
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Last updated: September 2018