Overview

The Aquatic Nuisance Species (ANS) Task Force was established by the Nonindigenous Aquatic Nuisance Prevention and Control Act (reauthorized in 1996 with the passage of the National Invasive Species Act) as a multi-agency body dedicated to preventing and controlling ANS (also known as aquatic 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
, or AIS). On June 28 -30, 2021, the ANS Task Force held a virtual public meeting, in accordance with the Federal Advisory Committee Act.  The following is an executive summary of the meeting.

Members and Panels Present1

The full list of attendees, including the names of individuals present, is available in the full meeting minutes.

Federal:

  • Bureau of Land Management
  • Bureau of Reclamation
  • U.S. Army Corps of Engineers
  • U.S. Coast Guard
  • U.S Department of Agriculture
  • U.S. Department of Transportation, Maritime Administration
  • U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
  • U.S. Fish and Wildlife
  • U.S. Forest Service
  • U.S. Geological Survey
  • National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration
  • National Park Service

Ex-officio:

  • Association of Fish & Wildlife Agencies
  • Great Lakes Commission
  • Lake Champlain Basin Program
  • Mississippi Interstate Cooperative Resources Association
  • San Francisco Estuary Partnership

Regional Panels:

  • Great Lakes Regional Panel
  • Gulf and South Atlantic Regional Panel
  • Mid-Atlantic Regional Panel
  • Mississippi River Basin Regional Panel
  • Northeast Regional Panel
  • Western Regional Panel

Meeting Agenda

Business Items:

  • Adoption of Agenda, Approval of Minutes, Status of Action Items
  • Regional Panel Recommendations
  • Public Comment
  • ANS Task Force Bylaws

Informative Presentations:

  • USGS NAS Database: New Species Occurrences
  • U.S. Department of Agriculture, National Invasive Species Information Center Overview
  • ANS Transport on Purchased Watercraft 
  • Northeast Rapid Assessment Survey
  • National Moss Ball / Zebra Mussel Response
  • West Coast Caulerpa Response
  • Current Applications of Genetic Tools to Aquatic Nuisance and Invasive Species in South Carolina
  • Functional eradication as a framework for invasive species control
  • ANS Outreach Campaign Survey Results

Updates:

  • ANS Task Force Subcommittee Work Plans Progress Update
  • Implementation of the Vessel Incidental Discharge Act
  • Implementation of the National Plan for Invasive carp
  • Association of Fish & Wildlife Agencies: Invasive Species Committee Update
  • National Invasive Species Council Management Plan
  • The Department of the Interior Invasive Species Activities
  • North American Invasive Species Management Association Activities

Decisional Items

  • 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 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 with 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 Subcommitee 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.   

For More Information

Contact: Susan Pasko - Executive Secretary, Aquatic Nuisance Species Task Force

Regional Panel Recommendations

Western Regional Panel (WRP)
  1. The WRP requests that the U.S. Fish and Wildlife (USFWS) coordinate a western traffic assessment to determine the interstates, highways, roads and travel corridors that are 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 e annually, based on appropriations, provides funding opportunities for priority projects to implement the Quagga/Zebra Mussel Action Plan for Western U.S. Waters. A proposal addressing this concern would be eligible to apply for these funds. We also encourage the WRP to consult with the Prevention Subcommittee to determine if the subcommittee can assist with identifying the necessary components of this assessment, cost to complete, and if there is a need for this type of assessment at a National level. (Action Item)

  2. The recently adopted QZAP 2.0 includes updated Strategies and Action Items to prevent further spread of invasive mussels in the Western US. WRP will work with USFWS on specific Action Items that should be prioritized for QZAP Grant funding; WRP requests that the ANS Task Force support an increase in funds available in the grant to fund said Action Items.
    Response: Beginning in FY20 funding for control and prevention under QZAP implementation increased from $1 to $2 million. In FY21, the allocation increased to $2.25 million.  This funding is appropriated by Congress within USFWS FAC budget. The avenue for ANS Task Force to support increased funds for priority work is through the Report to Congress (per NANPCA, Section 1202(k)(2)). The need to support priority actions under QZAP 2.0 can be communicated in the next Report to Congress.

  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 grant.
    Response:  State and Interstate ANS Management Plans saw an increase from approximately $2 million to $3.8 million in 2020, and $4.084M million in FY21 with each plan receiving an average of about $97,000 for implementation.  Regional Panel funding was also restored in 2020 to $300,000, or $50,000 per panel. We will continue to support the operation of the regional panels as budgets allow.

  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 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: The Control Subcommittee has recommended that the National Management Plan for the Genus Caulerpa should be remain active and be updated. To move forward with updating these plan, the Co-Chairs of the Task Force with work with the Executive Secretary to identify a Plan Coordinator and develop a list of qualified and interested persons to serve on a Work Group. (Action Item)

  5. The WRP requests that the ANS Task Force move forward with forming the AIS Community of Practice (AISCoP) and 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:  An action item from the 2021 Outreach Subcommittee workplan was to ‘Define and identify leaders for an ANS Community of Practice.” Once this Community of Practice is underway, Outreach Subcommittee is supportive of a holding a discussion on this issue within this forum.

Mid-Atlantic Regional Panel (MAP-AIS)
  1. The MAP_AIS 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 ANS Task Force support Virginia’s fiscal request. 
    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 (NEANS)
  1. The NEANS panel requests that support the existing hydrilla management strategy in the Connecticut River. This would include providing funding and training for expansion of boat steward program on CT River, staff and equipment for the pilot hydrilla management project in 2022 with staff and equipment and staff, equipment, 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.

  2. The NEANS panel recommends that the ANSTF support research needed to develop early detection tools that can identify the Chinese mitten crab otential 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.

  3. The NEANS Panel recommends that ANS Task Force collect and share state ballast management programs and approaches on a nationwide basis. To accomplish this task the ANSTF, led by EPA and USCG, may wish to establish a new ad-hoc committee for VIDA intergovernmental coordination.
    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.

Joint Recommendation: Great Lakes Panel on Aquatic Nuisance Species (GLP) and NEANS Panel
  1. The GLP and NEANS panel 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)

 

1Individuals from Gulf States Marine Fisheries Commission.  Native American Fish and Wildlife Society, Tahoe Regional Planning Agency, and Smithsonian Environmental Research Center were also present; representatives from these member organizations have been nominated and are awaiting approval.