On June 28-30, 2021, the Aquatic Nuisance Species (ANS) Task Force held a three-day virtual meeting. Action items are listed below, followed by a summary of the meeting.

Decisional Items

The ANS Task Force made the following decisions:

  • The ANS Task Force approved the document “Assessment of the Species Control and Management Plans of the Aquatic Nuisance Species Task Force.”
  • The ANS Task Force approved the document “Guidance for Aquatic Nuisance Species Control and Management Plans: Development Process and Required Plan Contents”

Action Items

The ANS Task Force assigned the following action items:

  • The ANS Task Force Co-Chairs will refine the draft ANS Task Force Bylaws based on this meeting’s discussion. A revised draft will be distributed to members prior to the next ANS Task Force meeting for review, consideration, and approval at the next meeting. 
  • The Prevention Subcommittee will consult with the Western Regional Panel to determine if the Subcommittee can assist in identifying steps needed to conduct a traffic assessment to inform the strategic placement of roadside inspection stations in new areas. 
  • The Prevention Subcommittee will consult with the U.S. Coast Guard and Environmental Protection Agency to identify possible actions that could be carried out by an ANSTF Ballast Water ad-hoc committee, including collecting and sharing state ballast management programs and approaches.
  • The U.S. Coast Guard will provide information to the Northeast Regional Panel in response to the panel's recommendation regarding the collection and sharing of ballast water management programs and approaches.
  • The Environmental Protection Agency will let the Great Lakes and Northeast Regional Panels know if there is a line item in the FY 22 President’s Budget request for the Great Lakes and Lake Champlain Invasive Species Program, in response to their joint recommendation regarding this program. 
  • The Prevention Subcommittee will distribute the Watercraft Best Management Practices for review by ANS Task Force members and Regional Panels, with a request for comments by September 15, 2021. The BMPs will be on the agenda for review, consideration, and approval at the next Task Force meeting.
  • The Co-Chairs of the Task Force will work with the Executive Secretary to identify a Plan Coordinator and establish Working Groups to update and revise high priority Species Control and Management Plans.  With the help and input of members of the Task Force, Regional Panel Chairs, and others, the Plan Coordinator will work with the Executive Secretary to develop a list of qualified and interested persons to serve on a Work Group, for review and approval by the Task Force Co-Chairs.
  • The Control and Restoration Subcommittee will develop a draft Framework for Determining the Need for Aquatic Invasive Species Control and Management Plans for discussion at the next Task Force meeting.
  • Members of the Task Force and Regional Panel Chairs will provide comments to the Executive Secretary and the Research Subcommittee on the draft list of National Priorities for Research on Aquatic Invasive Species by September 15, 2021 for review, consideration, and approval at the next Task Force meeting.
  • The Outreach Subcommittee will distribute the Community of Practice document to prospective Community of Practice members.  

Monday, June 28, 2021


David Hoskins (U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS)) introduced himself, welcomed the attendees and thanked them for attending virtually. Hoskins reviewed the agenda, which was distributed to registered participants and posted on the ANS Task Force website. Topics on the agenda included updates from ANS Task Force members, interagency invasive species invasive species
An invasive species is any plant or animal that has spread or been introduced into a new area where they are, or could, cause harm to the environment, economy, or human, animal, or plant health. Their unwelcome presence can destroy ecosystems and cost millions of dollars.

Learn more about invasive species
organizations, as well as new developments on the USGS Non-Indigenous Aquatic Species database, National Invasive Species Information Center, and invasive carp management, and discussions on ballast water management, rapid response, and evaluation of ANS outreach campaign assessments.  Other items on the agenda were recommendations from the regional panels, updates from each of the subcommittees on the progress made in their annual work plans, and review of several subcommittee documents for approval, including Watercraft Best Management Practices, Species Management Plan Assessment and Guidance, Outreach Subcommittee Charge and Community of Practice, and a National AIS Research Priorities List.

Debbie Lee (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration ((NOAA) introduced herself. Lee recognized the ANS Task Force members, who volunteer their time from their regular jobs to move Task Force priorities forward, and the outstanding regional panel and subcommittee members who have also dedicated hours of personal time and expertise to ensure that the meeting action items and work plans are progressing.

Susan Pasko (USFWS, ANS Task Force Executive Secretary) introduced herself and went over some logistics. She also announced there would be a public comment period at the end of each day.

Self Introductions

Hoskins announced that since this is a virtual meeting we would not ask individuals to introduce themselves. The list of participants can be viewed within Microsoft Teams, which will be downloaded and recorded in the meeting minutes. A roll call was taken of ANS Task Force membership. The complete list of attendees follows.



Alanna Keating

BoatUS Foundation

Allison Zach

Nebraska Invasive Species Program

Amy McGovern

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

Aude Lochet

Lake Champlain Sea Grant

Autumn Sands

National Park Service

Belle Bergner

North American Invasive Species Management Assoc.

Benjamin Sasse

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

Brian Schoenung

Mississippi Interstate Cooperative Resource Association*

Cari-Ann Hayer

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

Carolyn Junemann

U.S. Dept. of Transportation/Maritime Administration*

Catherine McGlynn

NY Dept. of Environmental Conservation

Cecilia Weibert

Great Lakes Commission & Great Lakes Regional Panel

Cesear Blanco

US Fish & Wildlife Service

Chelsea Bohaty

U.S. Army Corps of Engineers

Chris Mitton

National Marine Manufacturers Association

Chris Scianni

California State Lands Commission

Christine Lipsky

National Park Service

Christopher Potter

California Department of Fish and Wildlife

Cindy Williams

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

Craig Martin

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

Dave Miko

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

David Hoskins

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service*

David Lind

Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies

David Marron

American Waterways Operators

David Reid

Great Lakes St. Lawrence Seaway Development Corporation

David Scarfe

Aquatic Veterinary Associates International

Deborah Lee

National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration*

Dennis Riecke

Mississippi Dept. of Wildlife, Fisheries & Parks

Dennis Zabaglo

Tahoe Regional Planning Agency & Western Regional Panel

Devin Demario

Association of Fish & Wildlife Agencies

Dolores Savignano

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

Dominique Norton

California Dept. of Fish and Game

Donald R. MacLean

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

Doug Jensen

University of Minnesota Sea Grant

Edna Stetzar

Delaware/DNREC/Division of Fish & Wildlife & Mid Atlantic Regional Panel

Edwin Grosholz

Univ. of California, Davis

Elizabeth Brown

North American Invasive Species Management Association

Elizabeth Fox

Department of Transportation

Elizabeth Tanner

Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources

Elroy H Masters

Bureau of Land Management

Elroy Masters

Bureau of Land Management*

Eric Fischer

Indiana Dept. of Natural Resources & Great Lakes Panel

Erika Jensen

Great Lakes Commission*

Eugene Braig

Ohio State University

Gabriel Tory

Oregon State University

Greg Conover

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

Greg Hitzroth

IL Natural History Survey & IL-IN Sea Grant

Gwen Bausmith

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

Hilary Smith

Department of the Interior/Office of the Secretary

Ian Pfingsten

U.S. Geological Survey

Jack Faulk

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency

Jacob Pantzlaff

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

James Ballard

Gulf States Marine Fisheries Commission

Jean Lloyd

NTT DATA Services Federal Government

Jeff Schaeffer

Tennessee Tech University

Jeremy Crossland

U.S. Army Corps of Engineers*

Joanne Grady

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

John Darling

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency*

John Morris

U.S. Coast Guard*

John Navarro

Ohio Dept. of Natural Resources

John Wullschleger

National Park Service*

Jolene Trujillo

U.S. Bureau of Reclamation*

Joyce Bolton

USDS/Agricultural Research Service

Judy Pederson

Mass. Institute of Technology

Justin Bush

Washington Invasive Species Council

Karen McDowell

San Francisco Estuary Partnership*

Kate Wyman-Grothem

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

Kelsey Brantley

National Invasive Species Council

Kelsey Prihoda

Lake Superior Research Institute

Kevin Cute

RI Coastal Resources Management Council

Kim Bogenschutz

Iowa Dept. of Natural Resources & Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies*

Kristen Sommers

Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission

Laura Cutlip

Western Governors’ Association

Leah Elwell

Invasive Species Action Network

Lynn Creekmore

USDA/Animal & Plant Health Inspection Service

Malina Brannen

Department of the Interior

Mark Minton

Smithsonian Environmental Research Center

Marshall Meyers

N. Marshall Meyer PLLC

Martha Volkoff

California Dept. of Fish & Wildlife

Maryann Dugan

New England Interstate Water Pollution Control Commission

Mason Parker

Invasive Species Action Network

Matthew Neilson

U.S. Geological Survey

Meaghan McCormack

NY Dept. of Environmental Conservation

Meg Modley

Lake Champlain Basin Program*

Michael Feagan

Michigan Dept. of Natural Resources

Michele L Tremblay

Northeast Aquatic Nuisance Species Regional Panel

Michelle Cox

U.S. Forest Service

Mike Ielmini

U.S. Forest Service*

Mike Ripley

Native American Fish & Wildlife Society/Chippewa Resource Authority

Monica McGarrity

Texas Parks & Wildlife Department

Nick Torsky

Michigan Department of Natural Resources

Nicole Dobroski

California State Lands Commission

Patricia Gaunt

Mississippi State University

Paul Zajicek

National Aquaculture Association

Peter Kingsley-Smith

South Carolina Dept. of Natural Resources & Gulf & South Atlantic Regional Panel

Phillip Andreozzi

USDA/Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service *

Rachel Hanes

U.S. Bureau of Reclamation

Ray Sauvajot

National Park Service

Rob Bourgeois

Louisiana Dept. of Wildlife and Fisheries

Robert Walters

Colorado Parks & Wildlife

Sandra Keppner

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

Sarah Hughes

Transport Canada

Sarah LeSage

Michigan Dept. of Environmental Quality

Simon Vickers

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

Stas Burgiel

National Invasive Species Council

Su Jewell

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

Susan Pasko

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

Tammy Davis

Alaska Dept. of Fish & Game

Tanya Darden

South Carolina Dept. of Natural Resources

Theresa Thom

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

Thomas Woolf

Montana Fish Wildlife & Parks

Tim Campbell

Univ. of Wisconsin Sea Grant Institute

Warren Hess

American Veterinary Medical Association

Wes Daniel

U.S. Geological Survey*


Adoption of Agenda, Approval of Minutes, Status of Action Items

There was a move to adopt the agenda, and it was seconded.  There was no discussion. The agenda was approved. 

Lee called for approval of the minutes from the December 2020 meeting. They were distributed to all members electronically and posted on the website. There was a motion to approve the minutes, and a second. There was no discussion. The minutes were approved.

Susan Pasko reviewed the status of the Action Items from the last meeting, listed below.

Action Items from the December 2019 ANS Task Force Meeting


ANSTF will review the draft U.S. Coast Guard Report to Congress

In Progress

Report is in final stages of drafting.

Bylaws Work Group will re-draft the Bylaws and have ready for discussion.


Bylaws are ready and will be discussed during this meeting.

ANS TF will review the Control Plan Assessment and Draft Guidance documents, and the Control Subcommittee will revise them.


Documents are ready for approval during this meeting.

Subcommittees will refine their FY21 Work Plans


Work plans were refined and sent out for comment. Changes were made based on comments and plans were finalized.

Presentation: Nonindigenous Aquatic Species Database

Wesley Daniel, U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) Nonindigenous Aquatic Species (NAS) Program Lead, provided an update highlighting recent non-native species introductions reported to the NAS, and the status of integrating eDNA into the NAS, new impact tables and other upgrades. There have been two species new to the United States, Odonus niger (red-toothed Triggerfish), reported in Florida and Terapon jarbua (tigerfish) reported in Alabama; both are likely from aquaria and have been eradicated. Overall, there were alerts for 45 species, including 9 new to a state and 10 new to a County; most were fish or mollusks. NAS has begun tracking Pharagmites australis (common reed). There were range expansions of Silver Carp (west to TX); northern snakehead (N to NJ), possibly by travelling upstream; and Nitellopsis obuse (starry stonework), likely hitchhiking on a boat.  Arapaima gigas was reported in Florida in several locations, and there will be surveys in the fall.  NAS is close to completing the work for integration of eDNA into the Database. The new impact tables provide a complete synthesis of all known impacts of invasive species and links to literature on the impact-species combination.  There is a data window for the Great Lakes Aquatic Nonindigenous Information System (GLANSIS) coming soon.  NAS will be including semi-aquatic plants, and adding golden algae and possibly Didymo.

Q: Have you looked at EICAT & SEICAT for classifying impacts?
A: No.  We want to include both negative and positive impacts. We will consider integrating.

Q: What is the mechanism for snakehead expansion?
A: Natural migration

Update: Association of Fish & Wildlife Agencies: Invasive Species Committee

Kim Bogenschutz, Aquatic Invasive Species Program Coordinator for the Iowa Department of Natural Resources and Vice Chair of the Invasive Species Committee (ISC) for the Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies (AFWA), provided an update on recent ISC activities. The ISC provides a national forum for exchange of information and identifies and coordinates needs and action among state, federal, tribal, NGO and other stakeholders to strategically address high priority invasive species threats and promote sound policies. It is chaired by Eric Sutton (with Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission), and with Bogenschutz as vice-chair.  A main topic of recent meetings is the 2017 court decision that the USFWS lacks authority under the shipment clause of the injurious wildlife provision of the Lacey Act to prohibit interstate transportation of listed species between the 49 continental States and its impact on state fish and wildlife agencies.  They are gathering information on the impact of the District Court decision and developing case study information. The ISC is working with the AFWA Law Enforcement and Legislative Committees to develop a fact sheet with case studies to share with agency leaders and legislators. There has been proposed legislation related to invasive species and disease transmission. The ISC may do a survey to better understand state invasive species capacity.

Update: National Invasive Species Council Update

Stas Burgiel, Executive Director of the National Invasive Species Council (NISC), provided an update on NISC activities and progress in the implementation of its FY2021 Annual Work Plan with a focus on areas of overlapping interest for the ANS Task Force.  The agencies prepared a cross-cut budget for invasive species activities and are developing two white papers on rapid response: one on federal agency roles and resources, and a second on emergency funds for rapid response, including criteria and considerations. Both are in progress. Burgiel noted that there currently are not funds for emergency response. NISC has a technical paper on use of eDNA for management of biological invasions close to publication and a white paper, for agency use, on the same topic in technical review. NISC facilitates

Interagency discussions on a variety of topics, including advanced biotechnology (e.g., gene drives, genetic biocontrol), information management, taxonomic gaps, information flow on detections, and naming conventions. The FY22 Work plan will reflect Administration priorities and stakeholder engagement.

Q:  Who is involved in agency review of documents? Are states involved?
A:  The review process varies with each the document; states are involved where there is a lot of state information included.

Update: Department of the Interior

Hilary Smith, Senior Advisor for the Department of the Interior (DOI), provided an update on select initiatives underway at DOI. Investments for invasive species work totaled approximately $150 million in FY21 and the FY22 request totals approximately $175 million. An Invasive Species Strategic Plan (Plan) was developed under the Dingell Act, including stakeholder listening sessions, and was released in January. It has five goals: collaboration; prevention; early detection and rapid response; control and restoration; and data management. Some of the Department-level activities in process include: compiling DOI-offered training opportunities and DOI-offered grant opportunities, and making those publications publicly available; developing an internal website to promote cross-Bureau information exchange on integrated pest management and invasive species informational resources; developing Department-level factsheets on select invasive species to feature DOI’s management objectives and efforts; and further refining the Plan’s performance measures and reporting. BLM, NPS, Reclamation, and USFWS continue to support their Interagency Agreement for contributing funding to the western watercraft inspection and decontamination (WID) database and WID training. BIA, BLM, NPS, Reclamation, USFWS, USGS, USACE, and USFS are implementing activities in their MOU for mussel rapid response in the West, components of which are being advanced in collaboration with the ANSTF EDRR Subcommittee. DOI also has been involved with the moss ball incident through the USFWS, as DOI’s lead agency in response on the incident; briefed the new administration on a variety of invasive species issues; responded to stakeholder and media inquiries; and is working with Department-level offices to incorporate invasives into the Department’s Climate Action Plan and broader DOI Strategic Plan, as appropriate.

Presentation: Implementation of the National Plan for Invasive Carp

Amy McGovern, National Invasive Carp Coordinator and Fisheries AIS Program Supervisor for the Upper Midwest-Great Lakes Region of the USFWS, provided an update on the ongoing collaborative work to manage invasive carp. Bighead Hypophthalmichthys nobilis, black Mylopharyngodon piceus, grass Ctenopharyngodon idella, and silver carp H. molitrix (collectively referred to as “invasive carp”) have caused a wide range of negative ecological, economic, and social impacts since their introduction to the United States and subsequent escapement and spread. As a result, the ANS Task Force charged the USFWS to develop a national management and control plan to guide national efforts to prevent and control invasive carps. Federal funding to support invasive carp prevention, management and control in all six sub-basins has been supported at a level of $25M since FY20. In FY21, funding was used for prevention ($3.5 M), EDRR ($6 M), and control/management ($15.5 M).  The President’s budget maintains this level of funding in FY22. The USFWS is working with partners on consistency in reporting and development of new techniques and technologies.

Presentation: North American Invasive Species Management Association

Belle Bergner, Executive Director of North American Invasive Species Management Association (NAISMA) provided an overview of recent activities, their new strategic plan, and potential areas of overlapping interest for the ANS Task Force. NAISMA is a non-profit organization dedicated to supporting, promoting, and empowering invasive species management at a national and international scale. NAISMA has four pillars: Professional Development, including invasive species manager certifications, trainings, webinars and an annual conference; Standards for mapping and weed-free certification; Outreach and Tools, including the PlayCleanGo® campaign, boot brush stations and trail signs; and Advocacy, including National Invasive Species Action Week, digital marketing, legislative tracking, position papers, and press releases.  NAISMA has over 500 members, memorandums of understanding with many federal land agencies, and over 35,000 individual followers through several channels. NAISMA has a new strategic plan and is eager to help the ANSTF Members achieve their strategic goals. Bell asked the ANS Task Force to let NAISMA know what inspection and decontamination tools or standards would be useful.

Q: Is the Bigfoot image trademarked?
A: Yes, but partners can use it in some formats.

Q: Where will National Invasive Species Action Week head in the future with respect to communication in the field and DC? 
A: We are open to ideas. We may add an event in DC.

Presentation: U.S. Department of Agriculture, National Invasive Species Information Center (NISIC) Overview

Joyce Bolton, coordinator and web manager of USDA’s National Invasive Species Information Center (NISIC), provided an overview of this comprehensive portal for invasive species.  NISIC is part of the National Agriculture Library, and provides references and serves as a gateway for invasives species information.  NISIC has over 6000 resources; however, they are careful about including information that might be too time-consuming to maintain. There is a search function to help users find what they need. Information available through the website is divided into the following categories:

  • Invasive species information, such as Executive Orders

  • Species information, which is the most popular part of the site. The site is organized by habitat and taxa, and divided by species in United States and not in United States.

  • Resources can be searched by location or subject

  • News, including information on conferences, events, emerging issues (e.g., NAS alerts), and from Science Daily, etc.

  • Take Action – Prevention, reporting , identifying, monitoring, campaigns

  • About Us

Q: Are there opportunities to include more AIS resources?
A: Yes, but NISIC would need help and support.  We would welcome further discussion.

Discussion: ANS Task Force Bylaws

Hoskins reminded the ANS Task Force there was an action item from the December 2020, meeting to continue to refine the Draft ANS Task Force Bylaws, establishing roles, responsibilities, and operating procedures.  Comments provided during the December meeting indicated the Draft Bylaws were well received; however, clarification were need regarding how a majority is determines and the establishment and function of the subcommittees.  

Q: What is the time frame for subcommittee membership?
A: Maybe a two-year timeframe for subcommittee appointments, then subcommittee chairs can request changes.

Q: About in-person attendance – it is sometimes difficult to travel twice a year back East for those in the West.
A: We generally try to move meeting locations across the country.

Q:  We should have technology available for joining remotely, even when we have in-person meetings.  The costs of travel are a consideration –agencies vary in approval level. Can we insert some language to this affect?
A: I am not certain what will happen post-pandemic, we will need to get input from members and consider an amendment to  reflect that is most feasible.
Comment: The travel cost to support the ANS TF is from public funds.  It may not be justifiable to require in-person attendance with travel restrictions in place.

Q: Article 4, Sect 3, amended bylaws requires 2/3 the members of the Task Force or designated members present; and does not allow voting by proxy.  Can members of the public propose amendments?
A: No. 

Q: If a member of the Task Force wants to propose an amendment, can they do so during the Task Force meeting, or should it be on the agenda for the next meeting with a notice to all Task Force members?
A: The bylaws do not speak to that directly. The amended bylaws requires a 2/3 major (rather than a simple majority) when a quorum present. It is silent on when to propose amendments. We try to provide material in advance of the meeting.
Comment: The Great Lakes Panel has a policy regarding remote participation. If there is not quorum with physically present members, we could turn to remote participation as meeting minimum standards.

Q: Look back at the idea of 2/3 for quorum – to make changes we need 2/3 fromthe entire membership, not just those present.
A: quorum: is a simple majority of active members (any pending members would not be included in the total).
Comment: It is not adequate if we just say 2/3 of those present? A second person agreed.

Q: Could you have a quorum, but not reach 2/3 of the members?
A: Yes

Summary: There were two issues raised:

  • Whether virtual attendance should be equivalent to in-person attendance

  • How a higher majority required is counted.

Action Item: The ANS Task Force Co-Chairs will refine the draft ANS Task Force Bylaws based on this meeting’s discussion. A revised draft will be distributed to members prior to the next ANS Task Force meeting for review, consideration, and approval at the next meeting. 

Regional Panel Recommendations

Lee stated that a crucial role of the panels is to provide recommendations to the ANS Task Force.  The panels go through a thoughtful process to develop their recommendations, which are critical for focusing and prioritizing the work of the ANS Task Force.  The Regional Panel recommendations were reviewed.

Western Regional Panel (WRP)

  1. The WRP requests that the USFWS coordinate a western traffic assessment to determine the interstates, highways, roads and travel corridors that are most commonly used by boaters traveling from infested areas to the un-infested West to inform the strategic placement of roadside inspection stations in new areas.
    Response:  The USFWS provides $2.25 M in funding for QZAP; we suggest the Panel apply for QZAP funds for this work. The WRP should contact the Prevention Subcommittee to identify the necessary components of the study, estimate cost, and determine if it could be expanded to a national assessment.

  2. The recently adopted QZAP 2.0 includes updated Strategies and Action Items to prevent further spread of invasive mussels in the Western United States. The WRP will work with USFWS on specific Action Items that should be prioritized for QZAP Grant funding, specifically Action Items A.4, B.1, B.2, B.4, and C.2 that address the Strategies of Increasing Capacity, Prevention and Containment, and Detection Monitoring. WRP requests that the ANS Task Force support an increase in funds available in the grant to fund said Action Items.
    Response: QZAP funding was increased to $2.25 M. Congress decides how much to appropriate and federal agencies cannot lobby. Other agencies may be able to use discretionary funding for this work. 

  3. The WRP requests that the ANS Task Force continue to support increases in funding for all Regional Panels and the State/Inter-state AIS Management Plan grants.
    Response: Annuals funding was increased from $2 M  to $4 /year in FY 21.Regional Panel funding has been restored to $50K/Panel.

  4. The WRP recommends prioritizing the revision of the Carcinus maenas (an invasive crab species) and Genus Caulerpa National Species Control and Management Plans due to continued rapid expansion of Carcinus maenas on the West coast, and the recent discovery of an established population of Caulerpa in California.  To expedite this process, WRP requests that the ANS Task Force and/or appropriate federal agencies dedicate the staff and/or monetary resources required to lead the revision. WRP is ready to provide support by coordinating West coast state and local agency, tribal, research, and stakeholder participation in the revision process.
    Response: We received the recommendation from the Control Subcommittee to update the plan. We are aware of the April 2021 discovery of Caulerpa off California. The European Green Crab (EGC) Plan also needs to be updated. In Dec. 2020, the WRP recommended supporting actions to control EGC and its continued expansion.  ANS Task Force will need to establish new working groups to update the plans. We will be discussing this later in the meeting.

  5. The WRP requests that the ANS Task Force move forward with forming the AIS Community of Practice (AISCoP) identified in the 2021 Work Plan and suggested by Doug Jensen of the University of Minnesota. The WRP recommends that the AISCoP prioritize addressing the issue of aquatic invasive species (AIS) using names based on location that, in some cases, may stigmatize race and harness hate.  The WRP recognizes that the process for changing common names of AIS needs to be thoughtfully considered to meet agency operations and achieve some level of consensus in the academic community due to current, pervasive use, but would like to open up a discussion on this issue to determine how to take action. 
    Response: The Outreach Subcommittee will be providing a plan for an AISCoP.  Once underway, the Outreach Subcommittee will support discussing this issue.

Action item: The Prevention Subcommittee will consult with the Western Regional Panel to determine if the Subcommittee can assist in identifying steps needed to conduct a traffic assessment to inform the strategic placement of roadside inspection stations in new areas. 

Mid Atlantic Regional Panel

The Mid-Atlantic Regional panel recommends that the Commonwealth of Virginia seek funding under the Nutria Control and Eradication Act of 2020 in order to control and eventually eradicate this invasive species in the Commonwealth, completing the eradication of nutria from the Chesapeake Bay Watershed.  The Panel further recommends that the Aquatic Nuisance Species Task Force as a whole - and its member agencies individually - vigorously support Virginia’s fiscal request.  This is a time sensitive request and it is imperative that Virginia receive funding in the near future to implement the Mid-Atlantic Nutria Management Plan.
Response: Public Law Number 116-186 (10/30/2020), the Nutria Eradication and Control Act of 2020, reauthorizes through FY2025 and revises the Nutria Eradication and Control Act of 2003, states that the Secretary of the Interior may provide financial assistance to a State, in an amount that is in proportion to the total impacted area of such State affected by nutria, that has demonstrated to the Secretary sufficient need for a program to implement measures to eradicate or control nutria and restore marshland, public and private wetlands, and agricultural lands damaged by nutria. Under this Act $12 million is authorized to fund this work, but Congress did not appropriate funds for this work in its FY2021 Appropriation's Bill. The Commonwealth of Virginia will not be able to seek funding under the Act until the funding is appropriated..

Northeast Regional Panel

  1. Recommendation to the ANS Task Force: Support the existing multi-state Hydrilla management strategy in the Connecticut River. --Provide funding and training for expansion of boat steward program on the Connecticut River in 2022, and financial resources to the implementation of the five-year management of infestation 2023-2027.
    Response: The USFWS annually, based on appropriations, provides funding to states to support priority actions with their State Management Plans. In 2021, the State and Interstate Management Plan Grant Program received approximately $4.084 million with each plan receiving an average of about $97,000 for implementation. Both Connecticut and Massachusetts have management plans, and each identifies hydrilla as a priority aquatic invasive plant; accordantly funds from this grant program can be used to support this work.
    Comment: Massachusetts had trouble hiring and drawing down existing grants, so they did not want to apply for funding this year.  The problems are internal limitations on spending grant funds because of the 5% indirect cost limitation. It cannot buy equipment or hire staff.
    Comment: -The 5% limit on Administrative costs is written into NANPCA. Another issue is that funds cannot go into a third party administrator.

  2. The NEANS panel recommends that the ANSTF support research needed to develop early detection tools that can identify the Chinese mitten crab potential presence in regions with suitable habitats, particularly along the Connecticut, Rhode Island, and Massachusetts coastlines. The panel requests that the ANS Task Force Research Committee prioritize research on development of effective eDNA methodologies to enable a process for identifying crabs in regions where their presence may not be obvious.
    Response: The Research Subcommittee has recently completed a draft AIS Research Priorities List. The draft list includes “Develop and evaluate AIS detection tools for marine and coastal species.” as a priority, which would capture the work outlined in this recommendation. Once the AIS Research Priorities List is approved by the ANSTF, the Research Subcommittee will work to promote the priorities within research entities that have the ability to address ANS research needs as well as in the Report to Congress.
    Comment: We are aware of recent sightings. The CMC Plan was recommended for archiving by the Control Subcommittee. The Plan may still have value, even if not being used. We received little response from those working on mitten crabs.  Acknowledgement of the work of Dr. Pederson may cause the Subcommittee to resurrect and revise the plan.

  3. Recommendation to the ANS Task Force: Collect and share state ballast management programs and approaches on a nationwide basis.
    Michelle Tremblay and Kevin Cute presented.
    Comment: The Regional Panel wants a more substantial role for States. The States have formed the start of a network. University of Rhode Island wants to compile information on all State programs across the country, but they want help from ANS Task Force.  They have contacts from States in their region.
    Response: The Prevention Subcommittee, within its 2021 workplan, identified a task to “Establish an ad-hoc Committee to evaluate and implement the roles and responsibilities of the ANSTF under the Vessel Incidental Discharge Act.” The U.S. Coast Guard and Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) have agreed to lead this ad-hoc Committee. The Prevention Subcommittee will reach out to the NEANS Panel, as well as other interested regional panels, for their input as this work moves forward.

Q: Is this about information sharing and coordination of information sharing?
A: Yes – gather all plans being implemented federally and by States.
Comment (EPA): This is something that is not necessarily attached to VIDA.  It may slow things down. I suggest separating this from VIDA.
A: That is fine. We will amend the request, as advised. We would like the information sooner, rather than later.
Comment: Are you part of the USCG information discussion on ballast water and sharing of information?  We are compiling a list of all the ballast water programs in the country. I am not sure about sharing, but can provide a contact.
A: Yes, we have been involved with these discussions. We just want the plans, but not the enforcement information.

Action Items:

  • The Prevention Subcommittee will consult with the U.S. Coast Guard and Environmental Protection Agency to identify possible actions that could be carried out by an ANSTF Ballast Water ad-hoc committee, including collecting and sharing state ballast management programs and approaches.

  • The U.S. Coast Guard will provide information to the Northeast Regional Panel in response to the panel's recommendation regarding the collection and sharing of ballast water management programs and approaches.

Joint Recommendation: Great Lakes Panel on Aquatic Nuisance Species and Northeast Panel on Aquatic Nuisance Species

Great Lakes Panel on Aquatic Nuisance Species recommends full Congressional Appropriation funding for the Great Lakes and Lake Champlain Invasive Species Program (GLLCISP). This program focuses on a collaborative approach to the prevention, early detection, and response to aquatic nuisance species within the Great Lakes and Lake Champlain Systems and is authorized for up to $50,000,000 for each of fiscal years 2019 through 2023. Despite this authorization, funding has not yet been appropriated to U.S. EPA to carry out the activities of GLLCISP.
Response: Funding authorized under VIDA must be appropriated by Congress.  The EPA will inquire and let the regional panels know if there is a line item in the FY 22 President’s Budget request for the GLLCISP. (Action Item)
Comment: Recommend encouraging EPA and Coastal Grant Program to seek funds
Comment: NEANs panel had a similar recommendation. Prevention/Early Detection is behind Great Lakes in these areas
A (EPA): There is some uncertainty on what is being asked from EPA.  We need clarification. EPA does not get Congress to appropriate funds.  I spoke informally with the Great Lakes Program office on accounting of existing activities with incorporation of Lake Champlain. There is concern with funds coming from other Programs in the Great Lakes that may require bureaucracy beyond GLRI.
Comment: These are fair points. The Panel understands it is Congressional appropriations, but would like EPA to prioritizing trying to get funding; will bring thoughts back on source of funds.
Comment: It is understood that each agency submits a budget request.  Suggest including a line for GLLCISP
A (EPA): I can take this back and see if there was a line for the budget request and ask GLMCO about that.  
Comment: It is important to note that the intent is not to take funds away from other programs. Note this is an important program, authorized, but not appropriated.  Maybe the best approach is to go for separate funding. Raise awareness about this program.

Action Item: The Environmental Protection Agency will let the Great Lakes and Northeast Regional Panels know if there is a line item in the FY 22 President’s Budget request for the Great Lakes and Lake Champlain Invasive Species Program, in response to their joint recommendation regarding this program. 

Public Comment

An opportunity was provided for public comments.  There were no public comments.

Adjourn Day 1

Tuesday, June 29, 2021


The group was welcomed by Lee, who asked any ANS Task Force members not present on Day 1 to introduce themselves.

Update & Discussion: Prevention Subcommittee 2021 Work Plan Progress

James Ballard from the Gulf States Marine Fisheries Commission provided an update on the Prevention Subcommittee work plan items, including:

  • Pathways Risk Assessment evaluation: the Subcommittee is facing a hurtle with resources.  A proposal was submitted to USFWS for Prevention Funds, but it was not funded. The Subcommittee is looking for alternatives to accomplish this work item.

  • Organisms in trade data:

    • ​​​​​​​USFWS has been working on internal agreements to provide information on imports to the Branch of Aquatic Invasive Species either through scanning invoices or developing a standard form.  Hybrids will be addressed at a later date.  

    • The joint USFWS/USGS horizon scanning project to develop watch lists is proceeding.

  • Gaps in Prevention – the Subcommittee was facing a hurdle with resources. A proposal was submitted to USFWS for Prevention Funds to work on a gap analysis with University of Florida and it was funded. We will move forward with analysis, recommendations and measures to address gaps, tools, and metrics for future effectiveness

  • Ad-Hoc Committee on ANSTF Roles and responsibilities under VIDA – the Subcommittee are charged with:

    • Coordinating review of a Report to Congress, which is forthcoming

    • Formation of an ad-hoc subcommittee to develop a framework for intergovernmental response. The subcommittee is awaiting EPA/USCG to compete work on the new standards

  • Risk Management Agreements

    • Seaplane Risk Analysis – a work group is in the process of reviewing the applications.

    • Western Regional Panel (WRP) Best Management Practices (BMP) for marine mobile infrastructure: The subcommittee is awaiting a final draft for review and comment.

    • Spread of invasives by Fire Community: Members continue to raise this issue.

    • WRP Watercraft inspection BMPs: The Subcommittee reviewed and commented on these; WRP made revisions and we have moved the BMPs to the ANS Task Force for adoption. 

Presentation: ANS Transport on Purchased Watercraft

Tom Woolf, AIS Bureau Chief for Montana Fish Wildlife and Parks, provided an overview of some of the concerns involving the boat pathway. Western states are observing increasing numbers of recently purchased boats transporting Dreissenid mussels. Used boats are purchased online, often through brokers, moorages, dealers, and on Craig’s List, and typically use a hired/commercial hauler to move the boat.  Some of these vessels are directly removed from the water and are transporting viable mussels and other ANS.  Decontamination may be done with a high-pressure wash, but often does not include use of hot water such that live mussels or other ANS may not be removed.  This is a persistent issue that is not currently adequately addressed. Many of these boats coming into Montana are originating in the Great Lakes. Approximately 20 boats were intercepted in 2021. While it is illegal to transport invasive mussels, they are not identified until they reach the West. We need coordinated engagement with trade associations to promote clean boat sales and transport. The Pacific States Marine Fisheries Commission is conducting further investigation. Used boat sales threatens waters nationwide and little is currently being done to address this pathway.

Q: Were half those with mussels new purchases?
A: Yes.

Q: Has the rate of detection been changing over time?
A: Methods and training continue to get better, so we are probably finding them more often. Those from the Great Lakes raise a red flag; sometimes mussels are found inside compartments, rather than externally.

Q:  With the District Court decision, interstate transport of injurious wildlife is no longer prohibited. It is great there is a study.  Has the boat transport association been contacted, and are they receptive to the position that they may be violating state law?
A: There has been contact with long-haulers, and big companies are aware of the issue, but smaller haulers are not aware. They may try to avoid inspection stations. We could put the burden on the seller to make sure it is clean before sale.

Q: Have citations been issued? Or, just warnings? What legal action has been taken?
Response: It varies State to State; Montana has issued written warnings; three received fines. Other states, for example Washington may impound boats and impose high fines.

Q: Boat inspections stations are a sample. For those purchasing boats out of state and re-registering it in another state, have you looked at total numbers and a sample to assess what the real number is?  Or, identified gaps?
A: Montana requires inspection of all boats; but it does not really capture all and the origin is not documented. There is a grace period of 1 month before they need to be registered.  Some haulers put the boat directly in the water.
Comment: The solution may be that you cannot get a boat sticker until the boat is inspected, and you cannot put it in the water until you get a sticker.
A: AIS certification would be helpful.
Comment: This issue has multiple layers. We appreciate the funds for QZAP, but there are more projects that need to be funded.  Coordination is good. Traveler information systems that would alert boaters and travelers are needed. This is becoming a bigger issue, and is challenging. We can coordinate to leverage funds to place ads to get the word out.

Q: Have you talked to Great Lakes Panel?
A: Yes, in 2019, there was some interest and discussion, but no action yet. We need focused outreach.
Comment: We have had success with the Clean Marina Program. There is a great sense of stewardship in the Great Lakes. People are likely to cooperate if educated.
A: Many boats have been cleaned, so people may think they are doing a good thing.

Q: What about small personal watercraft?
A: Yes, non-motorized boats are a concern, too.
Comment: New watercraft may be tested in infested waters prior to sale.

Decisional: Adoption of Watercraft Best Management Practices (BMPs)

The Prevention Subcommittee is recommending the Task Force adopt the Watercraft BMPs. The BMPs were distributed to members prior to the meeting. James Ballard explained that the BMPs were presented to the subcommittee for comment; comments were provided and most incorporated. The subcommittee made a motion to move them to the Task Force for adoption.

Robert Walters provided an overview of the BMPs. Robert is Chair of the WRP Decontamination Think Tank Committee, which has diverse representation with representatives from industry, government, and NGOs. There has been many changes in watercraft inspection; standardization helps with customer expectations and compliance; and it increases trust across jurisdictions. There are four procedures: Entrance, Off-water; Exit – prevention waters (uninfested); and Exit – containment waters (infested). Highlights include:

  • Explanation of new systems, such as sea strainers and ballast systems

  • Procedures have been generalized to apply to all watercraft inspection and decontamination (WID) programs, rather than just for the West

  • They were approved by WRP in June 2020.  They are being adopted and integrated now. Quality control forms were developed and built into WID data sharing.

  • WRP wants national adoption, so they presented the BMPs to the Prevention Subcommittee.  The Subcommittee commented and the WRP incorporated the comments. The Subcommittee recommended moving them to the ANS Task Force for adoption.

Q: Did other regional panels have the opportunity to review? States are not represented on the Task Force and the Prevention Subcommittee.
A: No, they were just reviewed by the Prevention Subcommittee.

Q: Are national standards binding on States?
A: No, they only provide guidance.
Comment: Similar to other standards, adoption is not required; they are more like guidance or established protocols that have been successful. It establishes a baseline.  I am inclined to move forward.
Comment: It is not likely there will be many comments from the Gulf; inspections are not a big priority there. It may be different with other regions. I am okay to have them weigh in.

Q: Would delay be detrimental?
A: Later approval would not be ideal for incorporation into training.  The longer you push back approval, the less time there is to incorporate in training.
Comment: The regional panels could coordinate state review and explain what the standards are.
Comment: The WRP would benefit by having input from other panels.

Q: How would standards be used by federal agencies? I want to let potential reviewers know the intention.  Would grants be dependent on using the practices?
A: The role of guidelines is guidance; it is not binding. Also, if approved, the Outreach Subcommittee would promote the BMPs.
Comment: Regional Panels would like the opportunity to review prior to the next meeting.  I am inclined to wait, but will let TF members make a motion to approve now if they wish.

There were no motions for approval.

Action Item: The Prevention Subcommittee will distribute the Watercraft Best Management Practices for review by ANS Task Force members and Regional Panels, with a request for comments by September 15, 2021. The BMPs will be on the agenda for review, consideration, and approval at the next Task Force meeting.

Update: Ballast Water Management; Implementation of Vessel Incidental Discharge Act

John Morris (U.S. Coast Guard (USCG)) and Jack Faulk (U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)) provided an update on developing new ballast water standards under the Vessel Incident Discharge Act (VIDA), which was signed into law on December 4, 2018.  Meg Modley (Lake Champlain Basin Program) provided an update on the Great Lakes and Lake Champlain Invasive Species Program authorized by VIDA.

John Morris discussed the outreach provisions in VIDA. Letters were sent to all state and territorial governors asking for representatives for a State Working Group. With respect to the recommendation from the Northeast Panel, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, and Connecticut have not identified members. The focus is:

  • Providing access to automated inbound vessel data – states are already able to access and have been provided training.

  • Establishing a Working Group with the Smithsonian clearinghouse and states to better share data on enforcement and reporting

  • Providing a clearinghouse to share ballast water reporting forms with interested states.

Currently there are no final standards – the EPA only published a draft set of performance standards in a draft rulemaking. There was a public comment period, but the EPA has some additional comment sessions planned. We are not sure what the Intergovernmental Response Framework will look like.  Is it comparable to ICS for Oils spills? How would it be carried out and coordinated?  We are still in the conceptual stage. The USCG will provide a formal response to the Northeast Panel and is willing to set up a phone call.

Jack Faulk stated that the EPA proposed discharge standards in Oct. 2020. Notably, these do not change the numeric ballast water discharge standards, but do incorporate exchange requirements from VIDA. The EPA proposed to delete the BMP regarding avoiding uptake of ballast water at certain times and in certain locations because it was deemed impractical.  Also, the EPA proposed to extend the existing pre-2009 Laker exemption to all Lakers.  The EPA received many comments, especially from States, requesting more time to review the proposal; however, the EPA opted not to extend the 30-day comment period.  Objections were received from five governors (Hawaii, California, Washington, Minnesota, and Michigan). States and NGOs opposed the less stringent requirements than under the Vessel General Permit, most notably, recommending retaining all ballast water BMPs and not exempting lakers (freighters traveling exclusively within the Great Lakes).  Also, states and NGOs indicated that the EPA performed an inadequate analysis of numeric ballast water discharge standards. The EPA is currently reviewing and considering the comments and has started the process of re-engaging with States to better understand their concerns. The EPA will also be continuing tribal consultation.  The EPA has not decided yet but may re-engage other stakeholders. The current Spring 2021 regulatory agenda notes a December 2021 date for finalizing the rule. 

Concurrently, the EPA, through the Maritime Administration (MARAD) is implementing a five-year research plan in collaboration with the USCG geared to evaluate ballast management practices for lakers. The plan is available on the Great Waters Research Collaborative website.  The EPA is currently considering whether to revise the plan based on public comments received on the plan.  Many commenters stressed the need for expedited testing of existing approved ballast water management systems on Lakers. The MARAD put out a request for proposals and awarded one recipient to perform shipboard evaluation of ballast water management, and a second RFP is out for proposals.

Meg Modley provided an update on Great Lakes and Lake Champlain Invasive Species Program (GLLISP).  There is a Report to Congress that reviews the eight purposes from VIDA and makes recommendations for efficiencies with Collaboration. More research is needed on ballast water technologies, as is increased support for States and Tribes for EDRR and pathways. The Report identifies 20 key activities, and compares and contrasts them in the Great Lakes and Lake Champlain. A graduate student will be working on a Lake Champlain database.

Q: What if appropriations do not come?
A: GLLC is moving forward with public partners. There is much confusion on how funding would be managed.  May start increasing funding without it being designated as VIDA.
Comment:  GLLC requested Congress provide funding; and that EPA work with the panel on funding and implementation.
A: There is a difference between a Congressional authorization and appropriations.  This issue came up with the Coastal States mitigation grants program. Appropriations are funds. We are awaiting appropriations.

Update & Discussion: Early Detection Rapid Response Subcommittee 2021 Work Plan Progress

Wesley Daniel, USGS, presented the progress on the Early Detection Rapid Response Subcommittee’s work plan.  Efforts include:

  • Develop 3-year NAS capacity building plan: This is undergoing internal review. A survey was developed to obtain input. A draft Strategic Plan will be distributed.. We expect to complete the plan by fall.

  • Develop eDNA reporting standards for NAS database: The USGS conducted open house meetings to get stakeholder input.  The forms for data submission are going through internal review and a new eDNA landing page is being created. The subcommittee expects completion by the end of the FY. The subcommittee plans to expand standards to include meta-barcoding in the future

  • Training and guidance for Incident Command System (ICS): The subcommittee is having a hard time getting traction with ICS. We held seminars with groups who are using ICS or “ICS-lite”. There is a meeting scheduled to discuss next steps and will consider ICS or “ICS-lite”. The subcommittee is considering a survey through Regional Panels to determine who is interested in training.

  • Emergency Response Funding model: The Subcommittee needs to review the NISC report related to this topic; and develop models for consideration.

  • Develop Watch Lists: The USGS is conducting a national organism in trade horizon scan, which we hope to complete by the end of the FY. The USFWS is looking at the transportation pathway in the Southeast and Pacific Northwest. The Florida and Gulf of Mexico scans are almost done.  

  • There are two possible new outputs:

    • Guidance on thresholds and decision making criteria for actions for new species detections

    • Report on interpretation of eDNA results and current best practices

Q: Will training be in ICS or focused on invasive species?
A:  It will be specific to invasive species. We are not sure yet what it looks like, whether it will be full-on ICS or “ICS-lite”. We hope to conduct a survey to determine what is most beneficial.

Discussion: Rapid Response

Judy Pederson, MIT Sea Grant College Program, presented on the Rapid Assessment Surveys (RAS), which have played a key role in identifying new invasions as well as range expansions; Craig Martin, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, presented on the moss ball response; and Chris Potter, California Department of Fish and Wildlife, presented on the Caulerpa response.

Northeast Rapid Assessment Survey

Presented by Judy Pederson, MIT Sea Grant College Program

Using taxonomists with global expertise in non-native species, biodiversity Rapid Assessment Surveys (RAS) have been conducted in the Northeast (from Maine to New York) since 2000. The surveys document new species records, changing distributions of previous invaders, and range expansions. Surveys of macro-invertebrates and algae have identified approximately 49 non-native species, 55 cryptogenic species, and 8 seasonal ephemerals.  In Long Island Sound, two new non-natives were found, Grandidierella japonica and Tricellaria inopinata.  Chinese mitten crab was documented in the Housatonic River and estuary. Early detection is difficult for marine organisms. Challenges include detection during the dispersal phase of life cycle, species that reproduce both sexually and asexually, and attachment to boats and docks. They expect to see further movement of southern species northward.  A goal of the program is communicating findings to managers, policy makers, stakeholders and the public.

Q: Have you contacted Amy Fowler with George Mason, who plans to do a rapid assessment soon?
A: Yes, we have been in contact with her, and encouraged the project.

Q: Have you utilized invasion hotspot identification or analysis to look for particular species? Do you see molecular tools as beneficial in marine environments?
A: We do not look at hotspots, per se, except for focusing on marinas and harbors. We have informal citizen monitoring programs that use identification cards with recognizable invasive species. Newly identified species are often reported by researchers and school-age students. Molecular studies are helping us understand which species are native, for example with Botryllus schlosseri, the star tunicate there are 5 clades. Some are native, some are not.  Unfortunately, you cannot tell the difference from physical appearances in the field.  Molecular tools can also help correct misidentifications of small species included in a gene bank.

National Moss Ball / Zebra Mussel Response

Presented by Craig Martin, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

On March 2, 2021, USGS scientists confirmed a report of zebra mussels attached and inside Marimo moss balls, sold as aquarium plants. The report was provided through the NAS database, and an alert was subsequently issued to state and federal agencies. It was an atypical situation where a plant was contaminated with an injurious species, rather than a plant pest. As of April 27, 2021, 46 states and 11 Canadian provinces and territories reported the presence of zebra mussels in moss ball products. Zebra mussels are capable of causing significant infrastructure and environmental damage and are regarded as one of the most destructive invasive species in North America. Responses occurred at local, state, regional, and national levels to stop the importation of zebra mussel contaminated moss ball products into the United States, locate and dispose of existing contaminated products in the U.S. supply chain, and conduct outreach to industry and home aquarists to prevent the release of zebra mussels into the environment. The Pet Industry Joint Advisory Council (PIJAC) and AmericanHort provided guidance to businesses and support the moratorium on trade. The international, multi-agency response provides a unique opportunity to review, evaluate, and recommend strategies to prevent and to respond rapidly to the introduction, establishment, and spread of aquatic invasive species in the waters of the United States. Challenges included working with multiple jurisdictions, lack of interstate transport prohibitions, diffuse authority, and misinformation circulating. A regional after action report has been drafted, and a national one is planned.

Q: Thanks to all involved. Where do you see a national EDRR Framework starting?
A: Under NANPCA, there was authority and responsibility for program development.  States with responsibility for rapid response are a key component. The ANS Task Force should be a key leader in moving the EDRR Framework forward.

Q: Can you recommend alternatives to the Marimo moss balls? Would such alternatives have a lower risk?
A: Agree.  There are other products labelled as moss balls that should not pose a risk, such as Java moss or artificial moss balls
A: We are looking to provide information on Marimo moss ball alternatives on the website.

Q: I appreciate the open line of communication.  I am interested in the after-action review and the communication process. Do you have a time line? Do you see a role for States in the after-action review? Let us know how we can help.
A: We could involve ANS Task Force in developing a notice of funding opportunity, and AFWA can participate as a member of ANS Task Force. We need to expedite this project.

Q: Are there domestically grown moss balls?
A: Our understanding is that most are sourced from Ukraine. We are trying to get source water to validate eDNA tests. In reviewing permits, they may come from multiple locations, but the original source is often Ukraine.

Q: Remember when “Frog-O-Sphere” was sold at airports?  Was that the first example of this type of problem?
A: I am not familiar with that product

West Coast Caulerpa Response

Presented by Chris Potter, California Department of Fish and Wildlife

In spring 2021, the non‐native alga Caulerpa prolifera was confirmed growing in Newport Bay, California. It outcompetes native species, and spreads by fragmentation. There was an infestation of Caulerpa taxifolia in southern California in 2000; a $7M removal and monitoring program was developed to address it. The California Department of Fish and Wildlife and the Santa Ana Regional Water Quality Control Board reconvened the Southern California Caulerpa Action Team (SCCAT) to address the problem. A group of technical experts drafted a Rapid Response and Eradication Plan including removal, monitoring, and surveys beyond the infested area, for the SCCAT’s consideration.  The Plan was approved in May. The State is funding Phase 1; and NOAA and USFWS will fund Phase 3, but there is currently no funding for Phase 2.

Q: How was it introduced?
A: Probably a hobbyist dumped it in a drain in the street. There is a storm drain nearby, and it may have been transported through it.

Q: Will the State prohibition deal with another possible infestation?
A:  To some degree. This species is not specified as banned in state statute.  It was considered, but removed due to pressure from industry.  It is about enforcement and there is little funding. Outreach has been limited, but effective.  The plants are much more available over the internet than when the statute was written. It is likely that prohibiting all Caulerpa will be recommended.

Q:  Did availability of ANS Task Force management plan play a role in this effort?
A: Not in this effort, but it has in the past and indirectly it played a role in the eradication.

Public Comment

An opportunity was provided for public comments.  There were no public comments.

Adjourn Day 2.

Wednesday, June 30, 2021


Hoskins welcomed everyone to Day 3, and asked ANS Task Force members not present on Day 1 or 2 to introduce themselves.

Update & Discussion: Control and Restoration Subcommittee 2021 Work Plan Progress

Kim Bogenschutz (AFWA)  provided an overview of the work of the Control and Restoration Subcommittee, including:

  • Incorporating revisions into the Control Plan Assessment and Guidance Document for Control Plan Development for the ANS Task Force approval.

  • Completion of a survey in conjunction with the Research Subcommittee.

  • Summarizing the results of a control gap survey. A draft document is almost ready for review

  • Developing a draft approval process for new control plans.

  • Discussing plan leads for reporting progress on new and updated control plans.

  • No action was taken yet on genetic based tools and testing new control measures.

Bogenschutz recommended approval of the Species Management Plan Assessment and Species Management Plan Guidance documents on behalf of the Subcommittee. These documents were introduced at the December meeting, with a request for comments. Comments were addressed and final versions were distributed to members prior to the meeting.

The Control and Restoration Subcommittee is Working on a Decision-Making Framework for whether a new control plan is warranted. The Nonindigenous Aquatic Nuisance Prevention and Control Act (NANPCA) includes language for what should be considered when a control plan is needed. There are three phases:

  1. Problem formulation

  2. Scoping; risk assessment/analysis

  3. Risk Management Plan/Decision making [ANSTF]

The subcommittee asked for feedback on whether they are moving in the right direction.

Q:  What is the trigger?  How does someone approach ANS Task Force?
A: There is no one trigger.
C: Agreed.  We need criteria for making decisions going forward since the time investment in a plan is significant. 

Q: Do the risk assessments here potentially intersect with the risk assessments undertaken at the prevention level?
A: Yes
Comment: This may be a good opportunity for coordination with the Prevention Subcommittee.

Q: Did you consider rapid risk assessment for Phase 2, given the amount of time it takes to do a full risk assessment
A: No. Risk Assessment is not required.

Action Item: The Control and Restoration Subcommittee will develop a draft Framework for Determining the Need for Aquatic Invasive Species Control and Management Plans for discussion at the next Task Force meeting.

Decisional: Species Management Plan Guidance

The Species Management Plan Guidance provides guidance for development of species control plans, and guidance on their content. Language was added for including disease and 508 compliance.

The Control and Restoration Subcommittee recommends approval.

A motion to approve and a second was made.  There was no discussion. No one opposed the motion.

Decision: The ANS Task Force approved the document “Guidance for Aquatic Nuisance Species Control and Management Plans: Development Process and Required Plan Contents”

Decisional: Species Management Plan Assessment

The Control and Restoration Committee made recommendations on 8 of 10 existing Control Plans. They did not assess the brown tree snake or Quagga Zebra Action Plan

  • It was recommended the following plans remain active with no revisions: Invasive Carp, Lionfish and Snakehead.

  • It was recommended the following plans remain active with revisions: Caulerpa, European Green Crab, New Zealand Mud Snail and Ruffe.

  • It was recommended that the following plan be archived: Mitten Crab.

Note the WRP recommended updating the Caulerpa and European Green Crab Plans.
A motion to approve and a second was made.  There was no discussion. No one opposed the motion.

Decision: The ANS Task Force approved the document “Assessment of the Species Control and Management Plans of the Aquatic Nuisance Species Task Force.”

Next steps:

  • Identify plans that require a plan coordinator

Comment: Coordination seems more like an assignment, rather than a voluntary thing.  A few people said they want to be involved in revisions through the survey.

Action Item: The Co-Chairs of the Task Force will work with the Executive Secretary to identify a Plan Coordinator and establish Working Groups to update and revise high priority Species Control and Management Plans.  With the help and input of members of the Task Force, Regional Panel Chairs, and others, the Plan Coordinator will work with the Executive Secretary to develop a list of qualified and interested persons to serve on a Work Group, for review and approval by the Task Force Co-Chairs.

Presentation: Current Applications of Genetic Tools to Aquatic Nuisance and Invasive Species in South Carolina

Tanya Darden, Assistant Director of South Carolina’s Marine Resources Research Institute and the Estuarine Finfish Research Manager, gave a presentation on how South Carolina has been incorporating many of these genetic tools into their research and management programs. Uses include:

  • Invader detection,

  • Pathogen detection (for example, rat lung-worm, which uses apple snail as an intermediary host, American eel swim bladder infective agent, and white spot syndrome virus, which affects crustaceans),

  • Development of identification keys for juvenile crabs,

  • Determining genetic stock structure structure
    Something temporarily or permanently constructed, built, or placed; and constructed of natural or manufactured parts including, but not limited to, a building, shed, cabin, porch, bridge, walkway, stair steps, sign, landing, platform, dock, rack, fence, telecommunication device, antennae, fish cleaning table, satellite dish/mount, or well head.

    Learn more about structure
    (which provides insights into introduction sizes, sources, and diversity and inbreeding in populations), and

  • Determining impacts of invasives on native species, such as hybridization and introgression (e.g., impact of introduced Alabama bass on native Bartum’s red-eye bass).

Q:  The USFWS uses eDNA and genetic markers. I am impressed how far along South Carolina is in this work. Are other states working on similar initiatives? How can we best coordinate?
A: Other states in the Southeast, including Florida and Alabama have ongoing programs, while North Carolina is building a program.
Comment: Within the Gulf and South Atlantic Regional Panel there are common species of concern. We have contacted a State for assistance. For example with the swim-bladder parasite, Texas Parks and Wildlife reached out to learn the protocol, as did the Canadian Ministry of Fisheries.  We can use regional panels to get information out.
Comment: This is exciting technology being utilized by many organizations.  Within AFWA, we are discussing how to make sure that we are utilizing the same methodology and working toward similar goals. Also, many federal agencies and universities are involved. Methodologies are variable. It is hard to make comparisons across work. During the Federal Fisheries Summit, we can talk about these needs and can identify where programs exist.
A: The technical part is easy; interpretation is difficult. We worked with USGS on field and lab controls and standards for inclusion in the NAS database.
Comment: We plan to include data that meets minimum standards; but will notify states of data that does not meet standards.
Comment:  I suggest you contact AIS coordinators in the West regarding tools used for QZAP. There has been some activity at federal agencies, lead by NISC, with a manuscript in proof stage at Biological Invasions.  The paper will provide guidance for end users on when and how to use eDNA.[1] Also, a white paper is being developed as a companion piece. Coordination and standards (beyond what exists for reporting) would be helpful.  These will provide the first steps.

Presentation: Functional eradication as a framework for invasive species control

Ted Grosholz, Professor and the Alexander and Elizabeth Swantz Specialist in Cooperative Extension at the University of California, Davis, presented information on a study he conducted with Stephanie Green, University of Alberta, on the efforts to remove European green crabs from a California estuary.  He also co-authored the ANS Task Force European Green Crab Management Plan and the California AIS Management Plan. The study focused on ANS invasion status and effects, management goals, perceived effectiveness, resources, and use of federal ANS management plans. Most invasions are occurring at scales beyond available resources for eradication. Most treatments lacked targets for suppression or ecological recovery. When control measures reduced European Green Crab to 10 percent of the population, the following year the population exploded. Reduction in adult numbers increased juvenile recruitment.  Publications like Grosholz, et al 2021a[2] show similar effects with smallmouth bass, pike perch, brook trout, and tilapia. It is called overcompensation or the “hydra effect.”  “Functional eradication” may be a better goal than numerical eradication. (See Green and Grosholz, 2021.[3]) They developed a simple framework for identifying realistic targets for functional eradication that will restore ecological or economic values using data that most managers already have based on previous surveys.  Quantifying mechanisms of impacts is important in planning functional eradication. Also, need to identify population thresholds that elicit community effects and set population thresholds as targets for control.  There may be a nonlinear relationship between invader and native species populations/services. Their study demonstrated how community scientists and volunteers can provide the capacity necessary to maintain functional eradication programs for high priority species and locations. (See Grosholz, et al 2021b[4]). This study indicates that ‘functional eradication’ may serve as an alternative to complete eradication

Q: Can we have copies of the paper to share? We have a situation with two darters. We may have achieved function eradication in one pool, and want to avoid a population explosion.
A: Links provided. See footnotes.

Q: Was there consideration given to the wisdom of making a broad statement for very different species with different life histories living in very different ecosystems (crabs vs. fish; fresh vs. marine)?
A: Yes, it is not for every species. It is mostly likely useful where there are many adult-juvenile interactions.

Q: Have you looked at returns on investment at different stages in the process? Do you get into economics– how the cost changes?
A: No. We would need a resource economist to do that work.
Comment: I hope the Control and Restoration Subcommittee takes a hard look at your paper.  I hope they will consider this approach as control plans are updated.

Update & Discussion: Research Subcommittee 2021 Work Plan Progress

Susan Pasko, USFWS, presented the updates from the Research Subcommittee. Accomplishments include:

  • Identification of research needs

  • Survey of ANS Task Force, regional panels and state coordinators for research needs

  • Evaluation of identified needs for applicability and national importance

The research needs are not ready for Task force approval, but the subcommittee would like ANS Task Force input and review. Once approved, we will develop communications plans to promote the research needs. We will work with regional panels to step these down to regional lists, track progress, and update annually. They are divided by Prevention, Early Detection and Rapid Response, Control and Restoration, Outreach and Education, and General. Pasko reviewed the list, which was provided to the group in advance of the meeting.
Comment: I am happy to see evaluation of plans on the list.
Q: For Regional Panels that have research priorities, how will the two lists interact?
A: Many will fit within existing priorities, and the new list will not be mandatory.

Q: Is there a way to translate this for the science community and work together to find funds?
A: We plan to communicate with those that have the expertise or capacity to help advance the priorities. The subcommittee will work on developing a financial model in future work plans.
A: We can discuss which agencies can champion which priorities after the list is finalized.  It will be up to each agency to pursue funding within their own process.
Comment: We need involvement from the Outreach Subcommittee to develop a plan on how to communication to researchers, government agencies, and funding agencies. 
Comment: This would be a good time to send the research priorities to the regional panels.
A: That is a good idea. It is important to know how these fit with regional priorities.

Action: Members of the Task Force and Regional Panel Chairs will provide comments to the Executive Secretary and the Research Subcommittee on the draft list of National Priorities for Research on Aquatic Invasive Species by September 15, 2021 for review, consideration, and approval at the next Task Force meeting.

Update & Discussion: Outreach Subcommittee 2021 Work Plan Progress

Doug Jensen, University of Minnesota Sea Grant, provided an overview of the Outreach Subcommittee progress. Progress included:

  • Posting Executive Summaries of ANS Task Force meetings on the website, where they can be shared, as needed.

  • Funding for an assessment of effectiveness of national campaigns will be awarded shortly, including SAH! CD2, and PlayCleanGo.

  • The SAH! Graphics Portal is set up and they will start populating the graphics library, marketing showroom, and image library (public domain) soon.

  • Identifying social science priority needs. They will coordinate these with the Research Subcommittee.

  • Surveying ANS Task Force and Regional Panels on existing outreach and barriers.

  • Updating the Subcommittee charge, which will be used to recruit new members.

  • Working on forming an Outreach Community of Practice (CoP).

The AISCoP is envisioned as a space for networking among ANS Task Force and regional panel members and observers. Goals will be informal information sharing, improving communication (for example, with students), collaborating with other networks, and providing resources for professionals, and informing the Outreach Subcommittee. Core leadership has been identified. The Western Regional Panel has already identified an agenda item – to consider naming of invasive species. The Outreach Subcommittee requests that the ANS Task Force identify staff with expertise to join the Subcommittee and circulate information on the AISCoP.

Action: The Outreach Subcommittee will distribute the Community of Practice document to prospective Community of Practice members.  

Comment: The Subcommittee should develop an email to go with the AISCoP document that will explain how the AISCoP is different from the Outreach Subcommittee.

Presentation: ANS Outreach Campaign Survey Results

Monica McGarrity, the Senior Scientist for Aquatic Invasive Species with Texas Parks and Wildlife Department, provided an overview of the results of the Western Regional Panel survey of regional, state and local agencies conducted in 2020 to summarize AIS outreach campaigns across the West and assess participation in national campaigns and events. This information will be used to inform a QZAP-funded research study assessing the effectiveness of western states’ AIS outreach campaign messaging and delivery methods for eliciting desired prevention behavior change, and the upcoming assessment of national AIS campaigns, led by the ANS Task Force Outreach Subcommittee. A few results from their survey:

  • Participation in CD2, SAH, and Don’t Let it Loose campaigns was higher than in PlayCleanGo and Habitattitude.

  • Participation in NISAW I & II events was higher than for Weed Awareness Week, PlayCleanGo. Awareness Week, and Lakes Appreciation Month

  • Target audiences included: motorized and non-motorized watercraft users, anglers, pet shops, ballast boaters, and hunters.

  • Language in state messaging often included protect; commands (don’t); urgent (always/never); some inclusive (our, let’s) words; less common and prominent were legal messages (it’s the law).

  • Most campaigns are being implemented by AIS staff, communication specialists, and other biologists.  Less frequently, they are implemented by marketing companies and contractors. Most are implemented by a combination of these individuals/groups.

  • Delivery is by brochures/rack cards, signage, social media posts and websites, agency PSA videos, billboards, advertising videos (e.g., YouTube pre-roll), paid social media, and other means.

  • Delivery method effectiveness was evaluated by 58% of agencies, primarily using website, digital media and marketing metrics; 21% also evaluated cost-effectiveness, primarily for digital media and marketing campaigns. Half had completed surveys and/or focus groups.

  • Recommendations based on the results are to update graphics, use multiple delivery methods, catchy urls, and provide supplemental information with CD2, as it is not clear on its own.


Q: Agree CD2 confusing alone, need to use SAH! with it.  Did survey on successfulness of SAH! logo – people understood it. What evidence did you have that sign fatigue occurs?
A: There is no specific evidence of sign fatigue that was provided, this was a survey comment – we could follow up with the agency that mentioned this in our survey for more information.
C: The survey does a good job representing where resources are dedicated, and the audience. Habitattitude is used more in the Midwest.

Q: Can we share Monica’s presentation and report?
A: The report is at https://westernregionalpanel.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/04/WesternStatesANSOutreachCampaignsSurvey_WRP-EOC_Report_Apr2021.pdf

Meeting Summary

Decisional and Action Items are listed at the beginning of the meeting minutes.

Next Meeting

We are in flux as to whether an in-person meeting is possible. We heard concern about limiting meetings to in-person. At this time the location and format of the Fall meeting is uncertain. We will make a decision in the upcoming months.

Comment:  Can we set a date and leave the format open so other panels can set dates around the ANS Task Force meeting soon?  Also, we would appreciate action items being sent as soon as possible since Regional Panels need to act on them.
A: We will look into November for the next meeting.
Comment: Note that November 6-10 is the American Fisheries Society Meeting in Baltimore.

Public Comment

An opportunity was provided for public comments.  There were no public comments.

Adjourn Meeting