On November 5-6, 2014, the Aquatic Nuisance Species Task Force (ANSTF) held a two-day meeting at USFWS headquarters in Falls Church, Virginia. Action items are listed below, followed by a summary of the meeting.
New Action Items
The ANSTF assigned the following action items from the Fall 2014 ANSTF Meeting:
- Executive Secretary will work with FWS Wildlife and Sport Fisheries Resources (WSFR) to Link WSFR resources on the ANSTF website.
- The QZAP Committee requests extending the QZAP Plan to February 2020. Elizabeth Brown will share the Plan’s 5 year Evaluation with the ANSTF and the ANSTF will review and consider it by May 2015.
- ANSTF will follow up with FWS Office of Law Enforcement (OLE) on Marshall Meyers’ proposal to develop more species specific codes for Law Enforcement Management Information System (LEMIS) as was done for Lionfish from the 2 marine and freshwater tropical fish categories.
- ANSTF members with the proper areas of expertise should consider attending the ABYC Summit on Boat Construction and recommend others that may be appropriate to attend.
- The ANSTF Outreach Committee is seeking ANSTF Members interested in participating on the Committee. Contact Doug Jensen or Elizabeth Brown.
- ANSTF will continue to work with the DOT Representative to resolve the issue of the SAH! Stop Sign brand on billboards. (FWS Solicitor provided determination December 19, 2014 based on input from FHWA provided their determination and will be provided to the Outreach Committee for dissemination and use)
- ANSTF members will contact Marshall Meyers if they are interested in helping revitalize the Habitattitude campaign.
- FWS will phase out the ANS Hotline in favor of reporting AIS sightings using the USGS NAS Alert System and other state reporting systems.
- NOAA will announce availability of the Lionfish Plan in the Federal Register for public comment. Current comments and any new comments from the Federal Register posting will be addressed by the May 2015 ANSTF Meeting. (Posted in Federal Register December 12, 2014)
- The FWS Maryland Fishery Resource Office will address Maryland DNR Snakehead Plan comments and FWS will post the notice in the Federal Register for public comment. Comments will be addressed by the May 2015 ANSTF Meeting. (Posted in the Federal Register January 2015)
- Stas Burgiel will provide the briefing paper on fracking to the ANSTF (The paper was provided to the ANSTF on November 19, 2014 by Laura Norcutt.).
- The joint ANSTF Prevention Committee will determine the best way to approach working with industry to develop Fracking BMP’s. The ANSTF will help engage the Fracking industry. (Marshall Meyers, MAP are interested in helping. Check to see if USCG is interested in helping ID experts).
- Phil Andreozzi requests ANSTF Members seek a lead for freshwater and marine committees on coordinating/unifying all of the current Arctic work groups.
- ANSTF Members interested in helping with NISAW should contact Phil Andreozzi.
- Report to Congress:
- ANSTF members to provide gaps, comments, and available graphics to Susan Pasko by November 21.
- ANSTF will investigate Report to Congress review process and provide information and schedule to Members.
- Peg Brady offered to work with Congressional and communications folks to refine the report and develop outreach plan. AFWA and Erika Jensen are also interested in outreaching the Report.
- ANSTF Members are to provide success stories and lessons learned to Paula West of the Initiative Foundation by mid-December. Don Mac will send reminders to state plan contacts. Doug Jensen will help gather success stories.
- Regional Panels will provide a list of vacant positions to Laura Norcutt who will circulate the list to the ANSTF to help fill the positions.
- Wildlife Services will provide a brief memo detailing existing Chesapeake Bay nutria funding and a case for restoring funding that was cut. (Provided by Kevin Sullivan December 1, 2014.) AD Hoskins will share memo with AD for Ecological Services and Chief of the National Wildlife Refuge System.
- ANSTF to consider NISA reauthorization language that would look at alternate funding sources such as Pitman Robertson as part of broader discussion on Reauthorization.
- ANSTF to send a joint letter to USGS expressing the need and support for the NAS Database, for sustaining the alert system, and reinstating and bolstering aquatic plants in the database.
- ANSTF will send a support letter to ELI for the Lionfish Control Workshop.
- FWS will strive to fill the Executive Secretary positon in 2015.
- FWS will respond to MSRBP letter on black carp and snakehead markers; Midwest region of FWS is working with USACE to develop black Carp markers.
1. Welcome and Preliminary Business
ANSTF members and audience members introduced themselves. The list below includes actual and call- in attendees:
Department of the Interior
National Invasive Species Council
Maryland Sea Grant
Government Accounting Office
U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service
Gulf States Marine Fisheries Commission
AFWA/Iowa Department of Natural Resources
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service
National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration
Colorado Parks and Wildlife
National Invasive Species Council
Oregon Sea Grant
U.S. Army Corps of Engineers
U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
National Marine Manufacturers Association
National Invasive Species Council
National Park Service
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration
USGS, Southeast Ecological Science Center
U.S. Department of Transportation
American Boating and Yachting Council (ABYC)
U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service
Government Accounting Office
U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service
USDA, Animal Plant Health Inspection Service
U.S. Forest Service
U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service
University of Minnesota Sea Grant Program
Great Lakes Commission
National Association of State Aquaculture Coordinators
U.S. Department of Transportation, Maritime Administration
U.S. Geological Survey
Pet Industry Joint Advisory Council
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
Dr. David Lodge
U.S. Department of State
Lake Champlain Sea Grant & Lake Champlain Research Institute
San Francisco Bay Estuary Partnership
Arizona Game and Fish Department
Government Accounting Office
Pet Industry Joint Advisory Council
Smithsonian Environmental Research Center
Lake Champlain Basin Program
Bureau of Land Management
U.S. Coast Guard
Ohio Department of Natural Resources
National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration
Bureau of Reclamation
National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration
U.S. Forest Service
Stephanie Showalter Otts
National Sea Grant Law Center
U.S. Department of the Interior
U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service
Department of the Interior
Naturesource Communications as contractor to the Northeast Aquatic Nuisance Species Panel
U.S. Department of State
Pennsylvania Sea Grant
U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service
National Park Service
USDA, Animal Plant Health Inspection Service
University of the District of Columbia
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
2. Adoption of Agenda/Approval of Minutes/Review of Previous Action Items
Following introductions, David Hoskins called for approval of the current meeting agenda and the meeting minutes from the May 2014 ANSTF meeting in Arlington, VA. Motion was made by Mike Ielmini, seconded by John Moore. Reviewed previous action items:
- Put Model Legislation on ANSTF Web Site
- Provide a link to Wildlife and Sport Fish Restoration (WSFR) resources on the ANSTF website
- Provide a WSFR briefing at the Fall 2014 Meeting
- AFWA has expressed an interest in expanding Caucus membership and communicating proactively. Erika Jensen offered to assist. Those interested in the ANSTF Outreach Committee should contact Doug Jensen or Elizabeth Brown.
- Outreach Committee will look at evaluating the effectiveness of SAH! And Habitattitude.
- Craig Martin will set up a webinar with ABYC to discuss the Boat Design Workshop proposal and funding need.
- Members interested in helping with NISAW contact Chris Dionigi
- Explore alternatives to the term Asian carps. Discuss at the next meeting?
- Laura Norcutt will let the members know when the website issues are corrected (expert database links).
- Bill Bolen and Kelly Baerwaldt will work with the FWS Communications Branch to enhance the eDNA Clearinghouse Proposal and present results at Fall 2014 meeting for ANSTF approval for the ANSTF website to host the eDNA Clearinghouse.
- Provide comments on Pathways Diagrams to Stas Burgiel by June 30, 2014. Send copies to ANSTF.
- Stas Burgiel will provide the Climate Change Report to the ANSTF and request comments by July 31, 2014. Send copies to ANSTF.
- The joint ANSTF Prevention Committee will determine best way to approach working with industry to develop Fracking BMP’s. (Interested include MAP, EPA)
- Check to see if USCG is interested in participation
- Ballast Water Workshop Report will be posted on ANSTF website.
- ANSTF Panels need to let Laura know what vacancies exist on their respective Panels. Laura will follow-up to determine strategy about how to move forward.
- NOAA will work with the WRP to provide information on the Pacific states tunicate workshop.
- Provide comments on Lionfish Plan to James Ballard by June 8th, 2014.
- MRBP and MICRA will send out info for Diploid/Triploid Grass Carp report webinar information.
- Report to Congress
- Provide accomplishment reports to Susan Pasko by June 10
- Review draft report by end of July
- Refine report and develop outreach plan with Congressional and communications folks (Peg offers to host)
3. Discussion: FY14 ANSTF Budget Overview (David Hoskins)
David Hoskins: FY 15 looks to be another challenging budget year for most of our ANSTF members, which makes the collaborative work of this organization even more crucial. We would like to give an overview from our perspective on the FY 15 budget and welcome additional insight from our members. We will also provide a budget outlook for FWS Invasive Species Program Funding:
As you probably know, Congress has not passed the FY 15 budget yet. There is a continuing resolution until December 11. This means that our budget, for the time-being, is the same as FY 14, which continues to place a high priority on actions to address quagga and zebra mussels and Asian carp.
In FY 2014 we are back to $1 million for State ANS Management Plans. 41 Plans applied for funding in 2014. We greatly appreciate the efforts from the States in developing the Plans, and in particular want to acknowledge the excellent work that Lake Tahoe staff recently did to revise their Plan. While other plans are currently in development, we do not anticipate that they will be completed in the near future, so the funds that each State receives in matching funds should remain the same in FY15.
The President’s FY 2015 continues the focus on key invasions. The Branch of Aquatic Invasive Species has three primary focus areas: national coordination; prevention; and control and management. While the Service has the authority to manage other aquatic species, the funding requests focuses most of the AIS Program’s efforts on addressing threats from zebra and quagga mussels, with a significant increase of $4.4 million requested to manage Asian carp.
Despite the continued success and popularity of the State/Interstate ANS Management Plan grant Program, the amount of funding for each individual plan has declined over the years. This is because the funding must continually be divided into smaller and smaller pieces as new plans are approved by the ANS Task Force; and the AIS Program funding for State Plans has decreased from its highest funding in FY 2011. To give a clearer picture of the program’s history, there are almost five times as many plans as there were in 2001, yet each individual plan receives approximately 75 percent less funding than they did in 2001. If all 42 currently eligible plans seek funding in FY15, each State would receive approximately $23,000.
I recognize that Regional Panels provide essential coordination and work production for the Task Force at the Regional and local levels. Unfortunately in FY 14 we had a significant deficit within the headquarters AIS program and had to make some difficult budget decisions in FY14 to overcome shortfalls. We expect to be operating under a continuing resolution in FY 15 so the budget will be similar to FY 14. If anything changes, we will do what we can to increase Panel funding. We are also working with the panels to help them identify alternate funding.
The Administration had to make some hard decisions in its FY 15 budget request. The request means Fish and Aquatic Conservation (FAC) may not be able to address species such as ruffe, mitten crab, brown tree snake, and New Zealand mudsnail as quickly. In light of extremely limited resources, interjurisdictional coordination will be even more crucial than before. The Service will continue to provide technical expertise to States and others, establishing links to the best expertise available to address immediate AIS threats, and monitoring the distribution and control of established invaders. The Service will continue to provide coordination for critical AIS efforts, such as the 100th Meridian Initiative, FAC’s base zebra/quagga mussel response. We are also working with industry to reinvigorate Habitattitude.
Where feasible, the Service will also continue to lead early detection and rapid response efforts that benefit trust resources and our partners, including incident command and development of cutting-edge molecular-based field tools, such as eDNA, providing decision-makers with better surveillance information to track the leading edges of invasion and help contain species before they can spread. We are also posting online risk screenings that you can use to help make decisions about AIS that may pose threat to your regions.
We recognize and appreciate the great work that the States are doing, and will continue to seek opportunities to improve leveraging. In the meantime, as budgets continue to tighten, we are trying to find new efficiencies, such as improved assessment and administrative tools, which will allow us to achieve results more quickly and effectively on-the-ground. We’re finding new ways to work with you and other partners to prevent new introductions and streamline processes that will save time and resources down the road.
Finally, we acknowledge that the Executive Secretary position has been vacant since March and is important to be filled. Laura Norcutt has been acting Executive Secretary since March and Don Maclean will begin acting in November and been able to maintain the program. The Division has had several other vacant leadership positions and believes it is best that those positions are filled first. We anticipate advertising the position in the spring.
4. Discussion: AIS Grants from the FWS, Wildlife and Sport Fisheries Resources Program Briefing (Christy Vigfusson, Wildlife and Sport Fish Restoration Program, Branch of Programs)
David Hoskins: Wash stations are an important part of active management of AIS, whether through outreach or mandatory inspections. However, finding funds for running these stations has been difficult. Some Task Force Members have discussed looking at alternative funds, such as the Federal Aid in Sport Fish Restoration Act, which provides significant funding. Christy Vigfusson, from FWS, Wildlife and Sport Fish Restoration Program, will provide information on some of the Wildlife and Sport Fish Restoration programs she manages.
Christy Vigfusson: One of the voting program leads, works with clean vessel act program and national coastal wetlands grant program, will talk about the recreation boating access program, funding, and some example AIS projects. WSFR’s mission is to work thru partnerships to conserve and manage fish and wildlife and their habitats. It is funded through excise tax dollars from outdoor recreation equipment. Sportfish and wildlife programs are funded separately.
Fishing excise taxes go into Sport Fish Restoration and Boating Trust Fund (see slide) which includes taxes on fishing equipment, boats, small engine fuels, and interest from the trust fund. Those funds are allocated on an annual basis into several state activities and programs, including the state’s Sport Fish Restoration and Boating Access Program (57%). RBAP grantees are fish and wildlife agencies of the states, DC, and commonwealth territories. Those are the primary grantees, but can sub-grant funds to other entities. The purpose of program is to provide facilities that create or add to public access for recreational boating. At least 15% of the annual SFR apportionment goes to boating access projects. ($48.86 million in FY 2014.) AIS and boating access: boat wash down stations/areas, inspection stations (with no law enforcement, since no law enforcement is allowed with these funds).
The program is interested in helping states address AIS. Examples: Nevada—statewide outreach and watercraft inspection and decontamination stations for 2 reservoirs. Nevada purchased outreach and education materials for phase 1, inspection and voluntary decontamination stations for phase 2, and inspection and voluntary decontamination stations (more permanent) for phase 3. Nevada has a travelling “rover” project—mobile decontamination station for voluntary treatment of recreational boats at 27 lakes and reservoirs.
Boating access is a sub-program of the sport fish restorations (SFR) program. PSMFC example:
$200,000 dollars total to facilitate the 100th Columbia River Basin Meridian.
Can you clarify the law enforcement fund restrictions?
A: Law enforcement cannot be funded with these monies. There are more specifics in the QA handout.
How should states go about pursuing the 15% for aquatic education and 15% for boating access?
A: Work with your state FWS office, they can lead you in the right direction to cooperate and participate.
If the grant doesn’t include law enforcement, but law enforcement is called because a boat was found to be contaminated, is this a problem?
A: Work with your state, this is a special circumstance.
Roadside inspections are common in the west. Can these funds be used for inspection stations that are not located at a water body?
A: Yes, just must relate to recreational boats. This appears to be a great area of interest for AIS decontamination stations. Partner with your state FWS office.
Does it have to be non-federal on the match?
Can the facility be on Forest Service property?
A: Yes, just can’t use federal lands enhancement funds.
5. Informational: Nutria Eradication Project Status - (Bill Wilmoth, USDA, APHIS)
Peg Brady: The Chesapeake Bay Nutria Eradication Project (CBNEP) is in its 12th year of field efforts led by USDA-APHIS-Wildlife Services. The goal of the project is the eradication of nutria (Myocastor coypus) from all wetlands on the Eastern Shore of Delaware, Maryland and Virginia (Delmarva Peninsula). In 2014 Wildlife Services completed knock-down removal efforts on the last known watershed to contain breeding populations of nutria on the Delmarva Peninsula. The project’s focus will now shift into verification and surveillance phases in previously trapped watersheds to look for signs of any remaining individuals.
Presentation: We’re entering new phase on the nutria project. We gave an update in spring 2012, so we’ll start with the background information. Nutria are a South American rodent, growing up to 20lbs. They were introduced for fur farms. They mature at 6 months, breed year round, have 3 litters/year with average 4-5 pups, breed within 2 days of giving birth, and 80% of females are always pregnant.
Unlike muskrats, nutria will consume all vegetation, include roots and tubers. They will destroy emergent marshes in the Chesapeake Bay by ruining the root mats and convert marshes to open water. They are exacerbating the destruction of wetlands in the Chesapeake Bay area.
Removal is a cooperative effort and has been from the beginning. The management team includes FWS, MD DNR, USGS, Delaware state agency, and others have provided research and access support. The mission is to eradicate nutria from the Delmarva Peninsula and prevent their reestablishment. We’re involved in two activities: detection and removal. Most of the efforts are trapping; hunting with dogs is limited. The project area includes the entire Delmarva Peninsula, including ½ million acres of wetland areas. Since 2002, we’ve covered ¼ million acres of wetlands. The main focus area is in the central/western Delmarva Peninsula.
The program follows a phased approach for eradication which includes survey—knock-down— mop-up—verification. The first two phases are complete, are we are now in the verification mode of operation to make sure that the remaining animals are removed and we will spend several years verifying their extirpation. The population status map has now been reduced from 4 to 3 zones and the number of wetland acres covered has increased since 2012.
The program has been embracing adaptive management over the last few years, using operational research to make sure they’re making the best choices of tools. They examined (1) shoreline surveys by observers (drive along the shoreline in a boat looking for scat, feeding activity, tracks, bedding). Pros: intelligent, mobile, covers large area; cons: observer variability, fatigue, snapshot in time. We’re considering factors affecting the probability of detection using a small in-house research project (e.g., tide levels). We have developed a new method of detection using (2) monitoring platforms (aka detection rafts). Pros: data accumulated over time, less device variability, lower cost, scalable sample size; cons: require maintenance, require validation, and only covers small areas. We use trail cameras to help validate monitoring platforms. Also use hair snares to verify nutria presence and verify detection. Hair snares were the best detection method (9/10 visits the animal leaves a hair sample). The newest weapon in arsenal of detection tools is (3) detector dogs. Have been working in the last 8 months to train dog trainers and scat scent detector dogs.
Do you have any estimate for the overall cost to date for eradication efforts in Blackwater?
A: Been at it for 12 years, have received anything from 1.4-1 million per year. Measure is acre of wetlands protected, not price per animal removed.
How many animals were caught?
Any eDNA surveillance?
A: No, it may be time to revisit this idea. Hair samples are taken and pollen analysis yields good information. Could get much more information with DNA analysis. Could distinguish different populations with eDNA.
Is there a residual population outside of Delmarva?
A: Yes, in Norfolk, VA. Eradication is deemed feasible because the Bay is too significant of a barrier for them to cross. Animals tend to prefer brackish marshes, less so salt marshes.
Are there potentials for populations to expand in the future in all areas?
A: In the Gulf States there are too many to eradicate them all. They have some natural controls in place that help control (e.g., alligators). However, there are no significant predators on the Delmarva Peninsula. In Oregon they are eyeballing eradication. Delmarva Peninsula project is likely to succeed.
Is there an analysis as to how many acres of wetland have been restored? Are there any illegal introductions happening?
A: No direct analysis of wetlands restored but it is something that FWS will be looking at in the coming years. No illegal introductions that they’re aware of, but there are suspicious cases.
6. Informational: QZAP Update (Dave Britton, FWS/John Wullschleger, NPS/Tom McMahon, Arizona Game & Fish /Elizabeth Brown, Colorado Parks and Wildlife)
David Hoskins: Once again in FY14, FWS provided approximately $1 million to support quagga/zebra mussel efforts in the west. Dave Britton, the FWS Southwest Regional AIS coordinator, will outline how this funding was directed. We also have John Wullschleger from NPS, Tom McMahon, Arizona Game & Fish and Elizabeth Brown, Colorado Parks and Wildlife to describe recent decisions and discussions of the QZAP implementation team.
Dave Britton: In the past we’ve funded NPS actions, this year the NPS was able to fund themselves and FWS could then fund state partners. Assuming NPS will get the QZAP money for this year, we’ll meet with stakeholders January and February to get this effort moving forward.
Six QZAP projects were funded in 2014 for a total of ~$1M. AZ Game and Fish Dept. was funded to implement the AZ management plan, including purchasing some watercraft decontamination units (beyond state funding). Funding was provided to CO Parks and Wildlife. QZAP funded $121,000 to Nevada Parks and Wildlife to continue inspection and decontamination programs. QZAP funded $73,800 to PSMFC for inspection and decontamination training. State of Utah received biggest project funding, $400,000 (less than they asked for) to fund their state management plan. Lake Marine Association got $100,000 for outreach to marinas. This totals to about $930,000 to keep the quagga mussels contained from moving to new places.
NPS update: John Wullschleger —In FY14, the NPS Comptroller made $2 million available to 8 NPS units in the west. This was emergency fund money, including Colorado River parks, who manage Glenn Canyon and Lake Meade National Recreation Areas, which are both infested.
Amastad (reservoir on Rio Grande River) got $70,000 to hire an AIS coordinator. Big Horn Canyon got $90,000 to hire ramp staff and educational materials. Blue Mason Reservoir got
$200,000 to pay for personnel services. Glacier National Park got $60K, Glen Canyon got
$760,000 mostly for a ramp crew. Grand Teton NP received $50K for inspection staff. Lake Meade got $530,000 for infrastructure upgrading and replacement of boat wash stations. Lake Roosevelt (Columbia River in Washington) got $250,000; some was given back to Lake Meade because it was not spent. It was problematic because money came late and parks had difficulties spending it quickly in advantageous ways.
Tom McMahon: Lake Powell has had quagga mussels for a couple years and we are working to contain them. Unfortunately Arizona is quagga central, so we’re trying to get the message out to clean, drain, and dry their boats. New outreach materials are a little more aggressive and give a clearer message on what folks need to do. Arizona has worked with the state of Utah and the Glen Canyon National Recreation Area to coordinate with their quagga containment plan. The plans have 5 goals focusing on outreach and communication: inspection/decontamination, promote compliance, develop consistent outreach, effective communication, and develop funding mechanisms.
Elizabeth Brown: Just had a QZAP Committee Meeting. When QZAP was officially approved in 2010 it was a different world. We now have better cooperation between agencies, QZAP funding, NPS funding, and state funding has enabled multi-jurisdictional containment programs—things are going well but we still have work to do. QZAP originally had a 5 year timeframe. September 2013 WRP meeting reviewed the QZAP and examined and determined that the priorities have not changed. We propose that the QZAP timeline be extended another 5 years.
How much interaction is there between the QZAP team and BOR?
A: Work very closely with them to monitor waters in the 17 continental western states. BOR is a partner in the signage to show that it is not a local project.
Please clarify what would actually happen with the proposed extension?
A: We hope that we can continue to provide funding for QZAP. We are worried that if the plan’s timeframe lapses we’ll lose funding. The Committee wants to extend the action plan without modification.
Either we go with recommendation of committee or we have some discussion on looking at the plan and discussing any changes that it may need.
You mentioned there was an evaluation, so can we use it to assess whether the plan needs modification and make sure we’re on the right track.
A: We can represent the evaluation that we presented last meeting regarding the QZAP plan, or those with questions can join the committee and learn more about the plan. Elizabeth will provide a copy of the evaluation to the ANSTF for review.
Under a CR, I’m assuming that we’ll be expected to spend the QZAP monies the way we have been because that is how Congress is directing us. If we spend it on something else, we’ll have some explaining to do.
David Hoskins: Sounds like folks would prefer not to make a snap decision now, we should consider this in May when we have more time to digest it and reexamine the financial picture of the agencies. It is understood that under the CR we’re expected to continue business as usual.
Peg Brady: We appreciate the work that has been done to today, and the decision to defer making this decision should not reflect poorly on the work that has been done. Excellent job thus far.
7. Discussion: Border Security and What Comes Through Ports (Tamesha Woulard, FWS)
Peg Brady: Some members of the Task Force were interested in how the USFWS identifies banned species at the borders and if there is any way for FWS and the ANSTF work together to identify and correct import and export issues. Ms. Tamesha Woulard, of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Office of Law Enforcement, will give an overview of the program and discuss some of their concerns.
I will give an overview of the Wildlife inspection process today. We’ll discuss enforcement authority, data collection, LEMIS (database), and other information related to invasive species. Statutory authority for invasive species enforcement is limited to the Lacey Act; the two parts include wildlife trafficking and injurious species. Data collected is helpful to know what is imported and exported that is wildlife related (wildlife is everything except domestic species). The FWS gets authority from the ESA and can require any business to keep records and share data.
Wildlife inspection staffing has been affected by budget cuts (122 inspectors nationwide). Have inspectors at 18 designated ports and 20 other locations, including border crossings, ports, and airports and a few interior places. FWS also has authority at international post offices to inspect any international packages to or from the US. Inspectors serve as a front-line defense against illegal international trade in wildlife and wildlife products. We want to know what species is being imported, and how many. Venomous live wildlife must also be declared. We notify the wildlife import/export community of changes to import/export policies. Wildlife is imported as luggage, checked baggage, in containers, and through mail and includes live animals. Anything can be hidden in shipments, so we have to be vigilant. This may be of interest to invasive species managers, as these are potentially invasive animals. We are only looking to see if things are illegal or not, we are NOT looking to see if they are diseased or invasive.
So lionfish are legal to import?
Is there an effort to get lionfish listed as injurious?
A: Folks are interested in the process.
Do you look at live bait? What do you come across?
A: Yes, we come across worms, crayfish, and other things. We have an exemption that some things don’t need to be declared, but live bait is not one of those. Detroit is a huge port for live bait.
Are there members of law enforcement working outside of our borders?
A: We are right on the borders, not outside of them. Only foreign customs look at packages outside of our borders. If the system is working properly, it will be declared to us. At our borders there are a lot of vehicle inspections, as that is a big vector of import.
You don’t inspect plants, is that just USDA?
A: That job has been delegated to USDA, it isn’t that we cannot. CITES listed species are eligible for inspection by FWS.
What fines are given to offenders?
A: If they are smuggling, penalties are ramped up. If they failed to declare it, it is considered smuggling. Prior violations come into play. The fine and penalty information for the Lacey Act Amendments of 1987 for the violation of US and foreign law is below:
The law covers all fish and wildlife and their parts or products, and plants protected by the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species and those protected by State law. Commercial guiding and outfitting are considered to be a sale under the provisions of the Act. Felony criminal sanctions are provided for violations involving imports or exports, or violations of a commercial nature in which the value of the wildlife is in excess of $350. A misdemeanor violation was established, with a fine of up to $10,000 and imprisonment of up to 1 year, or both. Civil penalties up to $10,000 were provided.
However, the Criminal Fines Improvement Act of 1987 increased the fines under the Lacey Act for misdemeanors to a maximum of $100,000 for individuals and $200,000 for organizations.
Maximum fines for felonies were increased to $250,000 for individuals and $500,000 for organizations.
How many staff do you need to meet the demand?
A: It is hard to say. Sometimes outbreaks of disease happen and we need to ramp up inspection (e.g., SARS), and we need more staff then. In July there were 140 inspectors, now there are 122. Now that Ebola has been a hot topic, we’re looking for bush meat and need more staff.
How long does it take to get inspections done?
A: It can take a while if you need protective gear, need to open nailed crates, or need to access awkward containers. Live shipments can take a long time because you need to make sure wildlife doesn’t escape, and if it does you need to find it. Some shipments that are products may not take very long. It can take a while to get cargo off of an airplane and into the inspection warehouse too.
Can you comment on the degree of cooperation between Homeland Security and State Agencies?
A: There is detailed coordination since we are shoulder-to-shoulder with them at the borders.
Under LEMIS database, we have to do electronic documents all the time. Why don’t we have electronic codes for all fish? Why can we not modify the system to have codes for each fish and not have general codes?
A: Many don’t want long declaration sheets resulting from listing every single species and prefer the general codes.
8. Informational: OIT Project and WebCrawler tool (Erika Jensen, GLC)
David Hoskins: The Great Lakes Commission received a Great Lakes Restoration Initiative, more commonly known as (GLRI), grant in 2012 to develop software to look at Internet sales of invasive species. The tool was recently completed and has been collecting data on Great Lakes species and markets since August. The Task Force is interested in a briefing on Great Lakes Internet sales and Organisms in Trade tool. Erika Jensen, with the Great Lakes Commission provided an update on the tool.
GLC is investigating the Internet as a pathway for AIS since the World Wide Web is large, dynamic, and is a vector for invasive species transport via internet sales. The GLC developed a software tool to examine internet trade with the help of the software development company, RightBrain Networks. We compiled a list of 167 species of concern. We worked with RightBrain to develop the program and user interface. This program is set-up to find sale pages and distinguish them from other non-sales pages (e.g., fact sheets, etc.) and findings are compiled in a database. There is a machine learning element built into the system that over time will improve the accuracy of the program. The front-end, or user-interface, is basic and functional but needs a little more work. You can filter the results by regulatory status and other parameters. Built-in reports show how many web pages are selling a particular species and include a the date the web page was found Users must log-in to the system in order to access direct links to the pages to prevent inadvertently facilitating the purchase of species.
The program has been collecting information since August 2014. The GLC is starting analysis on the first 30 days of data collected, including reviewing search results to identify false negatives and false positives. The preliminary results showed that of 166 species, they found 58 species for sale on 514 unique sale pages. Only 18 were non-plant species those were Marmokrebs and oriental weatherfish. The GLC acknowledged the system is likely missing a small percentage of sale pages that are available, thus the availability of species for sale is likely greater than what was presented.
The results show that organisms of concern that are a threat to the region are readily available on the internet. It is not yet clear which species are being sold within the region or can be shipped to the Great Lakes region (e.g., websites based in the UK, Australia, etc. may not ship to the US and will be examined more closely). This is a good warning tool.
The GLC will hold a workshop in early 2015 to share findings and next steps for the project as well as developing a final report with recommendations.
How will you expand the 167 species in your search domain?
A: 167 is the initial, pilot number. There are species on there that we may never find in the trade, so we may drop them off the list so they don’t waste computational resources (e.g., zooplankton species, etc.). The system is setup to easily add or remove species from the list of searchable organisms. It will take additional resources and time to maintain this system over the long-term. The GLC hopes to maintain the system on a list of priority species for the Great Lakes. Others may want to adapt the software to search for other species; with the right hardware and resources, they can run this program on their own.
Some years ago we did a project called bioweb and ordered species off the web. Our question was “what else was in the shipment besides what you order?” An additional 140 species were found on the organisms or in the packing medium. This is another issue.
A: That is a big problem, but wasn’t included in this project. A next step could be to place orders and see what we actually get.
Once you have this setup, can we link it to other industry databases so they know where to ship?
A: Yes that would be great. It is hard for sellers to keep track of regulations, we’d be happy to facilitate the information sharing to sellers so they can stay within various legal frameworks.
9. Discussion: Building Policy Consensus in the West: Update on Development of Model Law and Regulations (Stephanie Showalter Otts, National Sea Grant Law Center)
Peg: “Building Consensus in the West,” is an initiative of the Western Regional Panel on Aquatic Nuisance Species. The goal of the WRP initiative is to develop a multi-state vision for watercraft inspection and decontamination programs. In April 2014, the National Sea Grant Law Center and the Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies released “Preventing the Spread of Aquatic Invasive Species by Recreational Boats: Model Legislative Provisions & Guidance to Promote Reciprocity among State Watercraft Inspection and Decontamination Programs.” These Model State Legislative Provisions offer guidance to states with existing watercraft inspection and decontamination programs to create a foundation for multi-state reciprocity and outline a legal framework for the authorization of new watercraft inspection and decontamination programs. This presentation will provide an update on the model law project, including a recently released companion report comparing existing state laws to the model provisions.
The first step is to build policy consensus and get everyone on the same page, including AIS state coordinators, law enforcement, and state assistant attorneys general. The model law is a foundation for interstate reciprocity. Implementing actual reciprocity on the ground may be far into the future, as it requires agreements between states and may take interstate compacts, but this is our long-term goal. The second step is to translate policy into legislation. This was done by a multidisciplinary group. Phase 1 of the model legislation was released in March 2014 and includes the core legislative package, supplemental authorities, and explanatory notes to lay out rationale (e.g., where are you going to place your inspection stations).
This is an ideal legal framework for WID programs, or the “gold standard.” States aren’t expected to use this as a framework; they aren’t expected to adopt all provisions. The next phase is to perform a gap analysis to look at what is in the books and how states match up with authorities recommended in model law. We researched laws related to watercraft inspection and invasive species/boats in all 50 states. We found that 62% of states have legal provisions addressing the trailer recreational watercraft vector. 19 states have no relevant provisions. There is actually a lot of foundation for some national coordination and lesson sharing.
The next steps are to develop model regulations that help states implement consensus policies. More meetings will be held next year. More information is on the NSGLC’s project website and can be found on Stephanie Showalter Otts’s presentation.
FYI, your map is out of date, NY just passed a new law.
A: Thank you; we did include that in our gap analysis, just not on the map.
10. Informational: Addressing AIS Issues at Federally-managed Water Bodies (Stephanie Showalter Otts, National Sea Grant Law Center/Craig Martin, FWS)
David Hoskins: In response to a November 2011 Western Regional Panel recommendation, The ANSTF sent a letter to NISC encouraging them to work within their membership to address the movements of boats infested with invasive mussels and other AIS. One year later, in August 2012 at a workshop in Phoenix, Arizona attended by state AIS biologists and attorney generals, an Action Plan was developed with two action items related to the Western Regional Panel recommendation. In response, in 2013, a joint ANSTF/NISC Committee developed several documents including a Policy Options paper pertaining to "prevention" and "containment" of invasive species on federally-managed lands. DOI Solicitors provided comments that need some follow-up. With Lori Williams’s retirement, the work has been on hold. Craig will give us a brief update us on the committee and future plans.
We will also hear from Stephanie Showalter Otts about the National Sea Grant Law Center's analyses on prevention and containment policies and regulations at the unit level on Federally- managed lands. Stephanie's work is an outgrowth of the State Model Law and 100th Meridian funded "Building Consensus" initiative.
Authority of federal land management agencies to restrict movement of watercraft has two pieces: prevention and containment.
Prevention: Looked for examples where federal agencies took preventative measures to restrict AIS introductions and found what statutory or regulatory mechanisms they used. We worked backward from management to regulation to statute to analyze authorities. Details for individual agencies are listed in Stephanie’s presentation.
Containment: What can units do if they have invasive species to prevent them leaving their lands? This is trickier than the prevention provisions. The same authorities generally apply, but different mechanisms are available to federal agencies to contain AIS.
Craig Martin: In fall 2012, the ANSTF created an ad hoc committee to examine federal laws and policies governing the movement of invasive species moving onto and off of federal lands and waters. This workgroup was very active and very large. Initially chaired by Laura Norcutt, then taken on by Paul Angelone. The workgroup produced 4 documents and they were reviewed by individual agencies. The Department of Interior solicitor gave input just before the last ANSTF meeting and Paul left DOI and then Lori Williams retired, so it has not been finalized. Laura Norcutt will be working on this project again once she finishes her role as acting executive secretary. Hillary Smith will also be working on this as part of her DOI portfolio.
11. Informational: Ballast Water Update (John Morris, U.S. Coast Guard)
Peg Brady: It has been a while since we have had any news on ballast water issues so, John Morris, with the US Coast Guard (USCG) has agreed to give us an update on Ballast water issues.
Today we’ll talk about foreign type approved ballast water management systems. Jurisdiction applies to US territorial sea out to 12 nautical miles. It applies to vessels equipped with ballast water tanks and operate in water of US, but does not apply to non-seagoing vessels, sea-going vessels that do not operate outside of exclusive economic zone (EEZ) and are meet other requirements. This applies to sea-going vessels over 1600 gwt that depart the Great Lakes, transit beyond Anticosti Island, return and pass upstream of Snell Lock, aka “salties.” Compliance options were reviewed and are available in the slides. They include no ballast water discharge, USCG approved ballast water management systems, discharging to a facility onshore or to another vessel for purpose of treatment.
Coast Guard type approval follows two paths: 1) evaluation of some or all existing test data or development by independent labs. There are long established USCG type approval principles. R&D adjustments must not be operated by manufacturer during testing equipment.
Regulations vs. guidelines: USCG type approval regulations have little tolerance for interpretation or compromise, but USCG regulations provide for alternative testing procedures or methods. See slides for more detail. Currently, 47 alternate management systems (AMS) acceptances have been granted to ballast water systems with foreign administration approval.
Some type approval is underway. AMS acceptance and US type approval are separate systems. AMS acceptance is NOT a first step in the USCG type approval process.
Coast Guard and USEPA signed an agreement last year explaining a coordinated approach to reviewing extension requests submitted to the USCG. The USCG is NOT changing any implementation dates contained in the final rule or removing any systems from the AMS acceptance list nor does the USCG have preference for any type of treatment system technology. Compliance and enforcement: marine inspectors can inspect vessels and take ballast water samples to check for contamination.
You mentioned that ships can apply for extensions on implementation dates, can you describe that?
A: We give manufactures no more than a year or two, since that is how long it takes to contract and install the technologies.
Inspectors can take samples, but can’t do anything with them. What is on the horizon to address that?
A: Can’t speak specifically about a schedule or deliverable, but there is nothing in place as of now. I’m not involved in the R&D side directly so I can’t speak to that.
12. Informational: Vessel General Permit Update (Marcus Zobrist, Environmental Protection Agency)
Peg Brady: Marcus Zobrist with the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has been working on the Vessel General Permit (VGP) and has agreed to give us an update.
The NPDES program was originally not applied to vessel discharges, but was challenged in the 2000s because there was no statutory basis for that exclusion. EPA is now in the business of co- regulating these VGPs with the USCG, but has separate statutory responsibilities.
VGP2.0, effective Dec. 19, 2013 to Dec. 18, 2018. Jurisdiction of the permit: inland waters, territorial sea up to 3nm. Covers ballast water and hull fouling. Sewage is covered in a separate part of the Clean Water Act. Requirements for VGP are covered in the PowerPoint presentation. A Notice of Intent for coverage under the VGP must be submitted electronically. Reporting system database for Discharge Monitoring Reports is up and running with 25-30 submissions thus far.
Ballast water approach is 4 parts:
Ballast water mandatory management measures—applicable to all vessels to reduce risk from ballast water discharges.
- Numeric effluent limitations—The same as in IMO and USCG rule.
- Implementation—Four options to meet limits: treatment device, onshore treatment, public water supply, no discharge.
- Monitoring—Monitoring is required if using a treatment device. It includes biological and functional monitoring, as well as active substance and residuals monitoring for systems that use biocide treatments.
Interim requirements must be met until numeric limits apply, which are fundamentally the same as the 2008 VGP. There are additional requirements for vessels coming into the Great Lakes. If they’re coming from a freshwater port into the Great Lakes, you MUST do open sea flushing in addition to treatment if they’ve taken on ballast from fresh or brackish water ecosystems within the previous month. This may impact about 200 vessels. The EPA implements and administers the VGP. The USCG inspects vessels for compliance with the VGP, EPA conducts enforcement actions for the VGP. There is an extension provision, and about 300 have been granted for implementing treatment systems.
Biofouling regulations include minimizing hull fouling when not engaging in short distance voyages. Small VGP (sVGP ) will become effective December 2014, authorizes discharges incidental to the normal operation of non-military, non-recreation vessels less than 79 feet, operating in a capacity as a means of transportation. This is simpler and easier to read than the VGP, but mimics it in many ways. If the moratorium barring this type of regulation is extended, this will be delayed.
You mentioned that there is a ballast water monitoring step to this that includes bacterial measurements, are those actually happening? Who takes samples and who does analyses?
A: Sampling is done by the vessel owner or operator. They’re required to monitor their discharge and submit to the agency. Reports are due in February 2015 for the calendar year of 2014. They have a guidebook on how to take samples and where to send the samples.
So samples are taken per protocol and an independent lab works them up?
There’s been recent leg effort for the vessel incidental discharge act, any updates on that?
A: There has been legislation on the VGP to change EPAs statutory authority for the last 6 years. Incidental Vessel Discharge Act or Begich/Rubio Act (will make these provisions go away) passed out of committee and Senate Commerce committee. It should go to Senate Environmental and Public Works Committee next. Companion legislation has been introduced in the House as well. Prospects are unknown. State regulations may apply. For example, CA has a standard that says there will be no detectable living organisms studies on treatment, including one through the National Academy of Sciences have been done or commissioned.
13. Informational: 2011 Japanese Tsunami Marine Debris (JTMD) Update (James T. Carlton, Williams College)
Peg Brady: The 2011 Japanese Tsunami washed debris into the Pacific which began drifting toward North America. James T. Carlton, of Williams College and Lead Principal Investigator for the National Science Foundation Rapid Research: Survival, Dispersal, Genetic Characterization, and Attenuation of Marine Biota on the 2011 Japanese Tsunami Marine Debris has agreed to give us an update.
We are 44 months into this phenomenon. Millions of tons of debris were ejected into the ocean following the tsunami. We know that the debris did not immediately leave the coast of Japan before hitting oceanic currents and heading to the US. Why does this debris differ from historic debris (trees, branches, etc. vs new materials)? Why is this different than other vectors, such as ship fouling? There is a quality vs. quantity. Slow moving marine debris can bring mature colonies of species and sit upon arrival.
The arrival of this debris started on June 5, 2012 when the debris boat Misawa 1 landed in Oregon. Prior to the tsunami debris, rafting of living species from Japan to N. America was non- existent in the scientific, management, or historical literature. That does not mean it didn’t happen, just that we don’t know about it…but we have been looking. We received an NSF RAPID grant to understand what was coming in, what was able to survive, and develop a genetic picture of the invasion.
Results: We registered over 250 objects that have landed in the US that can be connected to the tsunami phenomenon. There were debris pulses after the tsunami. About 230 species have arrived alive on the debris. The most recent pulse was 27 skiffs that arrived in a very tight period and included numerous living W. Pacific coastal species. A broad phyletic range has arrived on debris. Isotopes and shell chemistry can reveal when debris left, when it arrived, and where it has been.
They’ve been able to model the movement across the ocean during rafting, including when different species were picked up. We are continuing work with new funding, including biodiversity characterization and DNA barcoding of as many species as possible. We are also trying to detect invasions from species that came over on debris. More docks are still unaccounted for that are either at sea or have already landed elsewhere.
14. Discussion: Summit on Boat Construction in Consideration of AIS (Brian Goodwin, American Boat and Yacht Council)
David: As we all know, watercraft can provide an unintended consequence of spreading AIS. Brian Goodwin of the American Boat and Yacht Council has joined us today to discuss a proposal for a Summit on Boat Design and Construction in consideration of AIS. The Summit is to develop approaches to help prevent the spread of AIS through the development of new boat designs, retrofits, or new builds. Brian will provide an update on the date and location, funding, agenda and breakout sessions for the summit.
The issue is that current boat design allows for hard to clean surfaces. Boats are a primary vector for moving AIS. Boat builders are concerned that people may be turned off from boating because of difficult boat decontamination procedures, so they would like to help design boats that are less likely to become contaminated or are easier to clean. The summit will be January 27-28 in the Brunswick Room of the South Point Hotel in Las Vegas, NV. The summit will provide an intro/overview and education to boaters. There may be a live demonstration of boat decontamination. Breakout sessions will focus on boat design and construction, components, engine and propulsions systems, and trailer design and construction. We are not entirely sure what the outcome of summit will be, but we should be able to hit the low hanging fruit and come up with an action plan for addressing boat design issues.
Can I help put you in touch with our recreational boat folks?
A: We have an open line and are happy to invite anyone.
Craig Martin: Kudos to the National Marine Manufacturers Association and AFWA for their help putting together the Summit.
15. Informational: ANSTF Outreach Committee – Implementing the Recreation, Water Garden and Classroom Guidelines (Elizabeth Brown, Colorado Parks and Wildlife/Doug Jensen, MN Sea grant via teleconference)
David Hoskins: Over the past couple of years, several Committees were formed to update the Voluntary Guidelines to prevent the Spread of AIS Through Recreational Activities, Water Gardening and also Guidelines to prevent the spread of AIS through Classroom Activities. The Recreation and Water Garden Guidelines were approved by the ANSTF in November 2012 and the Classroom Guidelines were approved November 2013. We are in the process of reinvigorating the ANSTF Outreach Committee to implement these Guidelines. We want to provide a consistent message and brand that agencies and partners can use. The Outreach committee has been reestablished and a charge document drafted. Doug Jensen and Elizabeth Brown are chairing the committee and will give an update on the activities planned.
Activities to date: co-chaired by Elizabeth and Doug. The Steering committee has been meeting regularly which Includes Elizabeth, Doug, Don, and Laura. The Committee members include 26 volunteers. We are soliciting additional members from diverse affiliations. If you want to contribute to the committee, they’d like your participation.
The Committee mission is to increase awareness and change behaviors to prevent the introduction and spread of ANS. The Committee’s goal is to inform, take action, and collaborate with partners and key audiences. ANSTF Strategic Plan Objective 6 is to increase understanding of AIS and supports the work of the Outreach Committee and most of the strategic plan objectives have communications aspects as well.
The top priorities are to update the ANSTF and Protect Your Waters websites in unison with FWS Aquatic Conservation Program Communications expertise. We are seeking consensus on ideas to improve and redesign websites including new content, tool development, and other aspects. Proposed activities include establishing a process for feedback on various national campaigns to guide operations, evaluate effectiveness of national campaigns, seek partners, funding and resources for implementation, and other things including funding and site visits for leadership. We are hoping to engage the public, decision makers, and industry, NGOs, and local, state, tribal, and federal governments.
The Committee was previously active in the early 2000s, have had campaigns going for 10-12 years already, so we don’t want to reinvent the wheel. The Committee will meet every two months and will likely form workgroups since there are really big tasks to take on.
16. Informational: Stop Aquatic Hitchhikers! Update (Craig Martin, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service)
David Hoskins: Craig Martin will provide an update on the Stop Aquatic Hitchhikers! Campaign, including the protectyourwaters.net website. As you may be aware, at the request of the signatories, the FWS has withdrawn from the MOU that gave national operational control of the campaign to Wildlife Forever. We are in process of finalizing our plans for how best to proceed. We believe that will include greater involvement of the Branch of Communication and Partnerships and by the ANSTF's Outreach Committee. Through these processes, we hope to revitalize the ProtectYourWaters.net website and continue the work of this very important campaign. Craig will provide an update.
David Hoskins: The MOU was terminated by Wildlife Forever, so they are no longer running the SAH! campaign. We are committed to the program and have significant investments in the program, so now that that the agreement is terminated we would like to move forward collaboratively with you.
Craig Martin: The MOU had transferred the operational lead of SAH! to Wildlife Forever. They produced a 2013 report. There had been over 1 billion impressions. The MOU cancelation was a result of funding deficiencies.
Next steps: ProtectYourWaters.net needs to transfer to a content management system and needs to be redesigned. The Outreach Committee will hopefully provide new content and tools for the brand. Additional national coordination functions are needed, including a process for approving brand modifications outside of the standards.
Don McLean: SAH! stop sign issue—FWS received a voicemail notifying FWS that the stop sign usage in advertisements is illegal. FWS is currently in discussion with Dept. of Transportation to discuss what our next step should be. Can we get an exemption or are we going to have to retire this part of the SAH logo.
Is it the stop part or the logo of the stop sign?
A: It looks like the “stop” design may not be legal on signage adjacent to roadways. We need to interpret further.
Can we just avoid using billboards? Are they making changes in behavior?
A: Well, this is a good way to reach a LOT of viewers. It is a huge source of information to boaters and anglers in MN based on research. Not using billboards would be a big hit to the communications effort. I’m not saying we need to stop using billboards; we may just need to be careful with what we put on them in the future. We don’t know yet whether we need to take them down yet.
Can you elaborate on the reason funding dissolved?
A: The one time seed investment dried up and the program cannot obtain new funding.
David Hoskins: We gave a 1 time payment of $50,000 and were not in a position to give money in later years and directed them to region 2 for other monies but they were unsuccessful in getting funds from them. After reaching out to Wildlife Forever to discuss options, we got the letter of termination of the MOU. From our perspective, we were surprised and disappointed by their decision. Looking forward, FWS will resume the lead role in implementing the SAH! brand.
We need to recognize Wildlife Forever for the work they have done thus far to get the campaign to a national level.
David Hoskins: We echo that sentiment here at FWS.
17. Discussion: Plans for Revitalizing Habitattitude (Marshall Meyers, Pet Industry Joint Advisory Council)
Peg Brady: Another AIS outreach campaign is Habitattitude. For the past several years the campaign and website have languished. Recently Marshall Meyers former CEO/General Counsel and now Senior Advisor for the Pet Industry Joint Advisory Council (PIJAC), has initiated discussions for revitalizing the campaign. Marshall is here to give us an update.
Habitattitude was created in 2000. It is a nationally branded campaign to reach targeted audiences and is designed to collaborate. The challenges of the program are to produce a proactive solution and nurture unique partnerships. We need to get everyone involved in this process, including pet stores.
The website has been problematic because of design and functionality issues. PIJAC has changed messaging and created new guidelines. The pet industry has been active on this front. The goal is to change habits, protect habitats, and alter attitudes. The 2014 work plan includes rebranding, focusing on positive messaging. Re-launch is intended for spring 2015 and will start with a focus on aquatic organisms. Three committees established include the Steering committee lead by Marshall and David Hoskins, Advisory committee include advice from social scientists and provides advice to the steering committee and the implementation committee may include Sea Grant extension agents (Doug Jensen, Tim Campbell, etc.) and is responsible for rolling out the campaign. This will require volunteer efforts. We also need to do an inventory of what materials are already out there so we don’t reinvent the wheel and can get good information to folks as quickly and efficiently as possible. The new design will have more a pleasant look and design rather than a green slab with text as it currently is. The website will include information so that interested aquarists/hobbyists can find more in-depth information on things like risk assessments, etc. We are looking to partner with River Monsters so people interested in bringing species over are educated on why it is a bad idea.
The pet industry has been collaborating with agencies on invasive species issues for a long time and is glad to be partners. We both need each other’s help and are happy to continue working together.
You mention aquatic gardens at the end. The emphasis is always on animals however, a plant could get thrown out with some fish, so they are both problematic. I hope that these messages can take part in the retooling of Habitattitude.
A: Plants will have a prominent role. Plants are the major problem in the Great Lakes, not the tropical fish that are dumped with them.
Doug Jensen: We have created materials and tools that include plants. How does this coordinate with the outreach committee?
A: We need to improve that, no question about it.
Are you planning to make it mobile compatible?
A: To the extent that the budget will allow it. We have talked about apps, but may have to get some others involved to help because our budget may not be able to address that issue.
David Hoskins: Thank you Marshall for stepping up to take this on.
Marshall Myers: We could use help in the reptile and amphibian components as well as the water garden arena.
18. Informational: ANS Hotline Update (Don Maclean, FWS)
David Hoskins: The Fish and Wildlife Service maintains a toll-free number for reporting potential sightings of aquatic invasive species called the ANS Hotline. Recent developments have caused the Service to question the continued existence of the ANS Hotline and consider phasing out its use. Don MacLean is here to give us some more details.
FWS was asked to look at the effectiveness of the ANS Hotline in 2014. The Hotline was started in 1998 through an MOU between the USGS and FWS to help develop the USGS NAS database. It was originally an answering machine that was eventually transferred to FWS region 2 with calls were directed to a 24/7 call center. ANS are entered into the database, and if it is a new sighting, an alert is provided to those that requested. Currently there is low call activity.
Basically the hotline is not getting used as much as (2-5 calls/month) in the past (up to 25/month). Use has gone down since states have their own hotlines or reporting mechanisms. Calls received are typically not for AIS reports but more often information requests. Is the Nuisance Aquatic Species (NAS) reporting system online a good alternative? FWS proposes to phase out the ANS hotline and support reporting through the NAS reporting system connected to the USGS database. The phase out plan would require a heavily advertised hotline disconnection. Don has talked to all 7 FWS Regional AIS coordinators, USGS (Pam Fuller and Amy Benson) and others, and they are all on-board with the switch.
What is the cost of the ANS hotline, and do you have any feel on demographics of the current ANS hotline callers? If we stop the hotline we may be phasing out an older generation.
A: This isn’t a cost issue. The costs for the hotline are minimal. We don’t have information on demographics at all. We just don’t think that the hotline is needed anymore and we want a better, more useful alternative.
Are there funds that can be transferred into the NAS system?
A: Again, costs are not the issue. There is a cost to maintain the 1-800 number, but it is not a lot. $69 to run the call center and we pay by the call (2-3K per year). Region 2 is running tight on money, so that is why we started looking at this.
David Hoskins: It is more a question of is this system useful anymore. Do we need this hotline in addition to the USGS system?
Reflecting on Doug’s comments—is there a way to have this number connected to the state numbers? Can it forward to state help lines?
A: I envision we have some recording that points callers to the NAS alert system, and that page could link to state numbers.
Pam Fuller: Our reporting form is working very well (NAS); at least 1 call/day. Lots of good information and it almost always has photographs to verify information. you cannot make verifications reporting via phone calls, so it is not resulting in valuable data.
Doug Jensen: At the state level we’ve been operating our program such that the information we are providing points users to make phone calls to report sightings. We’ve seen a drop in the number of calls ourselves. I’d prefer to have traffic directed to the NAS online system or the states. People are more likely to call state agencies or agencies they know rather than a federal hotline.
Peg Brady: We may want to reach out to states that have hotlines to let them know that we are phasing out the national hotline.
A: The original idea was to have state contacts available in the ANS database.
Doug Jensen: For those states that don’t have a central reporting system, we should encourage them to develop one.
Are we OK with ramping up reporting a bit at USGS, are there funding concerns?
Cindy Kolar: It isn’t a burden but new things like adding plants to the NAS system is problematic since we don’t have funds to pursue those things.
Is there a motion to phase out the ANS hotline and move towards the NAS reporting mechanisms via the USGS and move to state systems: by John Moore, seconded by Mike Ilelmini.
Don MacLean will start a phase out committee and will contact folks in the near future.
19. Informational: Member Updates
John Moore, BLM: We are working with Wildlife Forever on fishing and hunting regulations, since we have limited funding for outreach.
John Darling, USEPA: We are working on the VGP information described yesterday. Bill Bolen can speak to the 5 year extension on GLRI, but he can’t be here. The Great Lakes offices are determining what the next 5 years will look like and are hoping for similar funding levels as the last 5 years. We’ve recently completed some big projects funded through GLRI related to ongoing detection and monitoring in the Great Lakes region. The Duluth Lab is developing the optimization of sampling strategies and a sampling networks Implementation plan will come out in the early spring. This is mandated under the Great Lakes water quality agreement. EPA has also been working on development of eDNA detection methods. The bulk of our research has been on next generation sequencing. Recently had a workshop in our Duluth lab to develop enhanced eDNA monitoring approaches. USFWS folks attended that will be more involved in the implementation side of the monitoring network. The US co-lead for the implementation plan attended the workshop and thought it was a worthwhile endeavor to get the scientists involved with the implementers. We will keep the ANSTF informed on the progress.
Al Cofrancesco, USACE: We are working on a new hydrilla infestation in the Erie Canal. We will present on the infestation, which is proving difficult to treat at the next meeting. We’re working with the Asian carp issues, including barrier issues. One big thing is that the USACE is directed by Congress every two years to work on 16-17 specific initiatives addressing invasive species. We’re developing guidance on how our staff will address implantation. We’ve been directed to look at all of our regulations and report to OMB on our authorities and directives.
We’ve been asked to report on how we can slow the Asian carp movement. We’ve been asked to look at alternatives on the Asian carp report in the CAWS. We’re working on prevention and management of invasive species in the Missouri River, including work with wash stations. We’ve been directed to close the Upper St. Anthony’s lock and dam to stop movement of invasive species. Our authorities to do invasive species and plant work allows us to work on invasive plant growth. Congress inserted words behind that to include other aquatic invasive species however, we are unclear if that means all aquatic invasive species or just plants? Congress increased the authorization for invasive plants from 15 to 40 million and We’re still waiting on implementation guide clarification to decide what to do.
Mike Ielmini, USFS: We’re trying to ramp up AIS work in the Montana region with local states in the region and Canadian patterns. New FS policy is still being developed. Partnerships with Wildlife Forever continue, including SAH! support. We’re still struggling with locals to help our state partners. Our manual calls for us to help implement state AIS plans and state laws. We’re increasing the number of partnerships with inspection/decontamination stations. We’re participating in the regional panels more. We’re working with Canada and Mexico on a North American framework to develop a common all-taxa invasive species goal. Stream monitoring surveys are increasing. We have our own record keeping and reporting systems for ANS. Internationally we’re partnering with State Department working with countries on all taxa invasives strategies, on this.
Cindy Kolar, USGS: Half of the USGS invasive species program is aquatic. We are spending the most money on Asian carp and are also spending more money on quagga and zebra mussels than we have in the past. We are deploying water gun technologies. Working with the manufacturer on micro particle treatment technology using antimyacin to target Asian carp has been troublesome, so we’ve tested them in-house. Lab tests have killed paddlefish as well as Asian carp, so the next step is to do pond tests. We are working with the state of Illinois to find places to test microparticles in the field. We are working with USEPA and USFS to get the chemical listed for use. We are also testing sound and CO barriers as behavioral deterrents. As far as detection, we’re working with partners to develop new markers for monitoring via microbes. We are also working on a portable eDNA testing device that should be done by the end of the fiscal year. Brandon Road Lock and Dam should come online as a test facility in the coming year. We will incorporate our tools in the lock system. We have been involved in a grass carp risk assessment program and are starting one soon for black carp. Quagga and zebra mussel microparticles have been under development and we are also testing Zequinox treatment for quagga and zebra mussel control.
Dreissenids don’t reproduce with cyanobacteria present, so we’re looking to see what it is that keeps them from spawning and to utilize that. Pam Scofield has a new paper on the introductions of freshwater fish in Florida. Now we have a bulk data uploader and are harvesting external data to add to our database and are identifying gaps, new records, and museum errors. We are also looking at state fish stocking data and will start looking at inverts in the near future. New web tool will be coming out in the next week or so. USGS provides reports on new introductions in the region at the panel meeting and Pam will also report at the ANSTF meeting.
John Wullschlager, NPS: The NPS has had staff changes in the last year. NPS spent 2 million at 9 western parks (see John’s notes and presentation from day 1). The NPS is participating in the Arctic species group via NISC. The NPS is active in the ballast water issue in the Great Lakes, specifically to use ballast water filtering systems in the Great Lakes. We’re concerned with ANS and our parks. We’ve been active in Asian carp prevention and management in the upper Mississippi River region. a Colorado River invasive species working group is putting together a plan to improve efficacy of ANS management in the river system related to quagga and zebra mussel control. The NPS will be at the World Parks Congress, with some level invasive species management at that event.
Coast Guard and USEPA: Gave updates on day 1 during their presentation
Scott O’Meara, BOR: We have had lots of personnel changes. The AIS coordinator position is vacant at BOR and multiple people are acting in the coordinator capacity and we hope to fill that position soon. We have an invasive species lab RDLIS (reclamation detection lab for invasive species that processes ~2,500 samples annually to look for quagga and zebra mussels throughout the US. We are spending $4.5 mil on control research, including Zequinox research. We published 4 papers on detection and sample preservation. We are looking at environmental factors to see if we can predict how mussel populations will expand in the future. We are also doing some anti-fouling coatings work. We are mapping giant salvinia in areas of infestation and doing some spraying. We are backing out of some biocontrol work but may get back into it in the future with USACE.
David Lodge, U.S. Dept. of State: Lodge is spending a year at the Dept. of State and taking a leave from U of Notre Dame. State helped draft a Caribbean Lionfish plan. I’m looking forward to cooperating with other agencies in this capacity. We hope to take up a role in the Arctic Council issues, and seize upon ANS issues in that arena.
Meg Modley, Lake Champlain Basin Program: The ANSTF wrote a letter of recommendation supporting a feasibility study for a barrier on the Champlain Canal to prevent ANS transfer.
Water chestnut management continues in Lake Champlain and the mechanical harvesting effort has been pushed further and further south each year. The long term goal is to eliminate mechanical harvesting in 5-10 years and conduct maintenance harvesting with hand pulling. The Lake Champlain Rapid Response Task Force responded to the newly detected spiny water flea infestation in Lake Champlain. The species was first detected in routine lake water quality monitoring which was surprising (not by anglers). The population exploded very quickly and spread prevention measures through press releases and the boat launch steward program have been pursued. The second rapid response was triggered by a new water chestnut infestation discovered in the outlet of Lake Carmi, VT. The VT Agency of Natural Resources, being the lead agency, has sufficient resources to aggressively harvest the population and has integrated the site into its long term survey and hand harvesting control program. NY State passed two new invasive species laws. NYSDEC launch sites are now required to post invasive species signage and boats cannot launch at NYSDEC sites unless boats are cleaned and drained. Enforcement will likely be mostly compliance based. Boat launch steward data from the Paul Smiths College, Lake George Association, and Lake Champlain Basin Program steward programs has been analyzed and a white paper was written recommending expansion of the steward program and installation of boat wash and decontamination stations at high risk water bodies with small bodied organisms to prevent landscape level spread of AIS. This project may be a good ANSTF presentation at a future meeting. The region is very sorry to have lost Hillary Smith to a position at DOI, but you are fortunate to have her and we look forward to working with her at the federal level. The Nature Conservancy just finished an economic impact study of 8 key invasive species that has helped set a benchmark for impacts to the region. Two conferences coming up are the NE Aquatic Plant Management Society meeting in Saratoga, NY in January and the IAGLR Conference in Vermont in May 2015.
Erika Jensen, GLC: We have a few ongoing projects. The OIT (Organisms in Trade) web crawler project was presented yesterday. We are also working with the CAWS advisory committee to recommend changes in the CAWS system. We asked Congress to provide USACE with funding to work on the Asian carp issue. We are continuing a partnership with the USGS Science Center on phragmites, including microbial control. See the GreatLakesPhragmites.net for more information. The invasive mussel collaborative is being started with NOAA, USGS, and GL Fisheries Commission. We just finished a project with USFWS and the GL Fisheries Commission on the online mapping tool that lists all sea lamprey barriers that stop their movement. You can select a barrier to see what tributaries and streams are protected by each barrier. The project will be rolled out very soon, and the information can be shared with the ANSTF as soon as it is available.
Greg Conover, MICRA: The National Analysis of Grass Carp Project funded by the USFWS in July 2012 is nearly complete. The evaluation work has been completed, MICRA is currently reviewing a draft project report, and the final project report will be submitted to the USFWS by December 27, 2014. MICRA has been working with the Mississippi River sub-basins (i.e., Upper Mississippi, Lower Mississippi, Missouri, and Ohio rivers) to develop basin level Asian carp management and control plans stepped-down from the National plan. Ohio River basin states are furthest along on this effort. The Ohio River states highest priority is to prevent establishment of Asian carp in the upper reaches of the Ohio River and inland tributaries. MICRA has been actively coordinating with the ACRCC to learn about and potentially field test some of the new containment and population control technologies being developed for the Great Lakes region.
MICRA initiated a conversation last month between the states, USFWS, and USACE to discuss the potential for stopping silver carp from invading the Tom-Bigbee Waterway. Also brought up during this discussion is the need to protect the uninvaded upper Tennessee River system.
MICRA was invited and is participating in the Chicago Area Waterways Advisory Committee to consider short-term and long-term options to prevent the exchange of AIS between the Great Lakes and Mississippi River basins. MICRA will again be sending a delegation to Washington, DC, during National Invasive Species Awareness Week in 2015. One of the highest priority issues likely to be discussed during Congressional visits is the need to reauthorize NANPCA/NISA legislation.
Kim Bogenschutz, AFWA: We’ve been working with the ABYC on the boat design summit. Bill Hyatt (AFWA Invasive Species Committee Chair) is working to grow membership in the Congressional Invasive Species Caucus by using panels, councils, and others to make recommendations to their state delegates and encouraging them to join the caucus. We are looking to get more of the established caucus members (wildlife, etc.) talking about invasive species. We’re exploring the option of helping states to develop 1 page summaries of invasive species issues as hand-outs to members of Congress. Another task we’re working on is implementation of the MOU between PJAC, AFWA and FWS regarding non-regulatory approaches in trade to reduce the introduction of potential of ANS in the US. AFWA’s responsibility in that MOU is to chair a working group (7 members identified thus far) to review ecological risk screenings that USFWS has created and look at 16 species that we potentially do not want to see introduced into trade. We’re considering ways that we can help disseminate the ANSTF Report to Congress. We will have more updates after our meeting in March.
Ron Johnson, National Association of State Aquaculture Coordinators: We are working with Wildlife Forever on the SAH! campaign and with the state aquaculture organization. In WI I’ve been working with Wildlife Forever to provide information on invasive species on aquaculture events. I do a kids fishing day in WI (600 people come through) using a display from Wildlife Forever describing ANS which teaches kids about all aspects of fishing. We are working with the bait sector to get them to be more “protectors” rather than vectors.
James Ballard, GSMFC: in addition to the Lionfish plan development work; we have a lionfish monitoring program which is a cooperative effort between multiple organizations. We’re looking to examine changes in fish assemblages and movement of lionfish leading edge.
Peg Brady, NOAA: (See PowerPoint for more details on the member report). We have an active role in developing the ANSTF Report to Congress. We developed some invasive species articles for NOAA “invasive species month” in July. National Marine Sanctuaries continue to work on their lionfish plan. We are working with partners to fund an ICAIS meeting in Winnipeg next year, stay tuned for more information.
20. Informational: National Invasive Lionfish Prevention and Management Plan (James Ballard, Gulf States Marine Fisheries Commission)
David Hoskins: The Invasive Lionfish Control Ad-Hoc Committee has finished drafting and revising the “National Invasive Lionfish Prevention and Management Plan” or (Lionfish Plan). The Lionfish Plan has been through a review by the ANSTF and the National Invasive Species Council, and all comments have been addressed. We appreciate all the work the Committee has put into the plan and believe it is a good document. However, the statute (NANPCA) requires that the plan undergo public review before Task Force approval. We had hoped that because of the inclusive development and comprehensive review process of the Committee we would not have to post the plan in the Federal Register. We sought legal advice and they confirmed that the plan is required to be made available for public review. We acknowledge this could delay implementation but we believe this can be accomplished quickly. The plan can be posted in the Federal Register under an emergency notice, any comments can be addressed quickly, and a Task Force teleconference can be set for approval as long as the public is invited. This issue also relates to the Snakehead Plan which was approved by the ANSTF during the May 2014 meeting. Through an oversight, the Snakehead Plan was not vetted to the public through the Federal Register. Since then, the Maryland DNR has identified corrections needed and has provided comments. The US Fish and Wildlife Service Fisheries Resource Office in Annapolis, who was the author of the original Snakehead Plan, has agreed to Chair the Snakehead Committee. They will incorporate the comments and any new comments from a Federal Register publication. Then the Snakehead Plan will need re-approval by the ANSTF. We want to give James Ballard, the Committee Chair, an opportunity to present highlights of the Lionfish Plan.
James gave a timeline of the lionfish plan development, outlined in his PowerPoint presentation. Questions:
James Ballard: Should we incorporate current comments/suggestions now and then post on federal register, or should we post it as-is on the FR and incorporate comments at a later date?
Peg Brady: I think we should go public with the current version and incorporate all comments after FR posting. This will avoid duplicate editing efforts.
Ron Johnson: Agree with Peg.
James Ballard: What date should we include on the document? It will be out of date as soon as it is posted, so we should reflect the age of the content, not the date of the approval.
All: It should reflect the date that the majority of the content was incorporated.
Consensus: Take the current draft, send it to the FR for public comment, and then incorporate all outstanding comments. The Snakehead plan will incorporate MD DNR comments and then post to FR. The goal is to get both re-approved at the May meeting.
21. Discussion: Lionfish in Florida-Florida’s initiatives and potential next steps (Kristen Sommers, Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, via webinar)
Peg Brady: Florida sits at the forefront of the lionfish invasion. Concerns about the impact to the state’s ecosystem, economy, human health and safety with the lionfish invasion have spurred many changes in the approach that Florida has taken to address the lionfish invasion. This presentation summarizes the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission’s efforts to address the presence of non-native lionfish in Florida waters in the areas of regulation, control measures, assessment, and education and outreach. Kristen Sommers of the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission will discuss Florida’s experiences with Lionfish management, via webinar.
(See presentation for details.)
Through your efforts, have you been using Habitatittude or included guidelines in your communications messages? I’d be happy to talk offline about social science issues. There is also a k-12 invasive species program being offered in MN that may be something you can look to adopt.
A: We’ve been doing some walk up surveys asking the public about invasive species issues. 70% of people at fishing derbies weren’t aware of the size of the lionfish problem. As for Habitattitude, we’ve been looking more and more at that program, but it isn’t the first site I go to regarding lionfish or messaging issues. It is a website that we can look to use more in the future.
22. Informational: Updates on Climate Change Report and Pathway Management Plan Guidance (Stas Burgiel, NISC)
David Hoskins: Stas Burgiel with the National Invasive Species Council will provide an update on 2 projects that the joint ANSTF/NISC invasive species and working group has been working on. The first is in response to a 2012 decision by the ANSTF. The working group has drafted the report Bioinvasions in a Changing World: A Resource on Invasive Species- Climate Change Interactions for Conservation and Natural Resource Management. Stas will discuss the report and its applications. The 2nd project is a summary of the working groups’ updates to the pathway diagrams initially developed in 2005 and 2007. The updates include a new web-based configuration that will be populated with links to available regulations, best management practices and other guidance for individual pathways.
Invasive Species & Climate Change: This is an update to previous presentations. We received lots of information on the IS/CC report, thanks to co-chair at USDA/APHIS and other on the Ad Hoc working group. The is the same as described at the spring meeting. Next steps: the document will soon be circulated to ANSTF and NISC communities and others. USGS climatedata.gov initiative will include invasive species as a topical node. Discussion by ANSTF or NISC on research gaps and next steps is possible in the future.
Pathways Diagrams: Follow up to the pathways diagrams that were created in 2005 and 2007 and revised and distributed at the last ANSTF meeting. Input received was mostly general support.
Next steps include posting on the new NISC website. Next steps include drafting guidance for development of pathway management plans (2013) and circulate draft to ANSTF and NISC.
23. Discussion: Hydraulic Fracturing for Gas Development as an AIS Pathway (Stas Burgiel, NISC)
Peg Brady: The Spring 2014 meeting of the ANSTF called for a scoping exercise on the need for and feasibility of developing best management practices (BMPs) for reducing the risk of the introduction and spread of invasive species through hydraulic fracturing (“fracking”) operations. The ANSTF Prevention Committee developed a project brief and efforts are ongoing to form an ad hoc group to review the brief and consider options for drafting BMPs relating to both the terrestrial and aquatic aspects of onshore fracking. To date, efforts to engage industry representatives have been relatively ineffective and further options will be explored before moving ahead with the broader group.
The spring ANSTF meeting had a presentation on AIS and “fracking.” We decided then to scope the issue, and I have consulted with experts in academia and elsewhere. Industry responses to AIS information requests have gone unanswered. Stas drafted a concept paper on the concept of fracking and AIS. The next steps include getting industry involved in things like design standards, etc. If we get no industry responses, we should continue researching this and hope that we get responses as we move forward.
The fracking concept paper was provided to the ANSTF on November 19, 2014 by Laura Norcutt.
This is a terrestrial and aquatic issue, so should we be considering this as a holistic approach?
A: Correct, the draft paper will address both issues.
With the recreational boat pathway, once we got industry support many opportunities opened up with manufacturers and engineers in the industry. It did cost some money to engage with them (meeting) but getting them together is priceless. Is there a similar organization in fracking?
A: Not entirely sure, that is something I will learn from and pursue.
Marshall Meyers: From my experience, they’ll consult with their lawyers before they ever talk to you, so be aware of that.
24. Informational: Update on Implementation of Invasive Species efforts under the National Strategy for the Arctic Region, and for the broader Pacific (Phillip Andreozzi, NISC)
David Hoskins: Phil Andreozzi, with the National Invasive Species Council (NISC) is leading the NISC efforts to address invasive species components of the National Strategy for the Arctic Region, and for the broader Pacific and will provide an update of the Arctic committee work including what we have been asked to do and its implications for invasive species. Phil will also provide an update on recent global island progress and commitments on invasive species issues, including U.S. States, Territories and Freely Associated States.
The current status of the Arctic effort is somewhat stalled at the moment. Phil recommends that the NSAR invasive species components are combined with efforts at the Convention of Arctic Flora and Fauna (CAFF) ABA efforts. It would be efficient and less redundant. There should be one team working on all aspects of invasive species in the Arctic rather than doing it piecemeal. I also suggest that we reconsider the format of our workgroups; we should do 3 long-term working groups—marine, freshwater, and terrestrial issues. We should consider convening a writing meeting (3-5 days) in early 2015 for Pathways and EDRR.
Do you want an ANSTF response or individual responses?
A: Just individual informal responses, can be offline.
25. Informational: ANSTF Involvement with National Invasive Species Awareness Week (Phillip Andreozzi, NISC)
Peg Brady: Phil Andreozzi is also leading the NISC engagement in the National Invasive Species Awareness Week (NISAW) which includes several components where the ANSTF can participate. NISAW is a great opportunity to showcase the work we do on the Task Force.
NISAW will be February 22-28, 2015. Lori Williams has been the NISAW guru for the last 5 years, but since Lori retired Phil will be the point person for NISAW. NISAW began in 2011, formerly the National Invasive Weed Awareness Week. It is an outreach opportunity that has spawned NISAWs in states and other jurisdictions. The effort took a hit during sequestration and the government shutdown. There are currently 7 NISAW task teams. Contact Phil if you’d like to be involved in any capacity.
Historically, you’ve had a registration fee. If you do that again, it will be difficult for some of us to get in.
A: There will likely be no fees.
Laura Norcutt: I’m leading the awards committee, so if you know anyone that should be nominated keep your eye open for the awards and get back to me.
Erika Jensen: Our Great Lakes Days events will be happening the same week and I’d be happy to assist with the Congressional briefings.
26. Discussion: ANSTF Report to Congress (Susan Pasko, NOAA)
Peg Brady: The draft ANSTF Report to Congress has been revised based on additional input. The report focuses on key accomplishments from federal and ex-officio members of the Task Force and its Regional Panels and ends with a series of recommendations to build a stronger, more effective national ANS program. We will discuss the content and format of the draft, establish deadlines to compile the missing information, and plan a path forward to finalize the recommendation. We hope to have a finished product by February. We’re clearly overdue for this report. We’re looking to hit the highlights and major accomplishments. If we have content completed by December, we should be on track for February roll out.
Susan Pasko: We Left the last meeting with the objective to do another data call for the draft. Reponses were limited, so there are still gaps. The draft was sent out two weeks ago in two parts: text and final product sample. Susan went through the outline of plan.
- Review report for accuracy
- Identify missing accomplishments
- Submit visual aids (pictures, quotes, testimonials, etc.)
- Finalize recommendations
- Establish a firm timeline.
Cindy Kolar: You should specify state management plans be funded, rather than species management plans. Just try to be clear in the recommendations.
Peg Brady: Are there any objections with the current recommendations?
Who are the recommendations directed to?
Peg Brady: Congress
3-6 are recommendations that should not go to Congress; these are things that we do ourselves.
Mike Ielmini: Agree with Erika’s comments. It is not our position to make recommendations to Congress, but we CAN describe limitations and gaps that hinder our ability to reach our goals. I wouldn’t call them recommendations; I would call them gaps or something like that. By making recommendations you are in effect advocating to Congress, and are we even empowered to do that?
Tom McMahon: Agree with Mike.
I need clarification for number 4. What is a national strategy for monitoring? It seems like something too big for us to accomplish that unless I misunderstand it.
A: This is further explained in the report; we simply need to increase monitoring efforts.
Can we provide a draft to one of the members of the Congressional invasive species caucus to see if it is a good product or not? They may have good recommendations for us.
A: This is something we want to do once we get this document a little bit further along, as I’m not sure if we’re allowed to do such a thing.
Don McLean: Looking over NANPCA, it seems that we may be able to write recommendations. Did we do recommendations last time or did we ever get a response back?
A: No and no. This is a great opportunity to highlight the value of what the Task Force has done.
Is the expectation that we need to have a complete concurrence before we move forward with this or can the co-chairs make the call?
A: We want to feel really comfortable with the recommendations section before we move forward.
What if a percentage of our group isn’t comfortable with this? How do we proceed then? If we go forward with multiple agencies being involved, each might have different feelings on whether we can do this or not.
A: We haven’t worked out an approval process yet, and won’t be able to vote on this after today. If folks want something else other than recommendations we need to figure that out.
Can one agency or organization refrain from approving this? Reports to Congress’ are taken very seriously at FS and can result in hearings with leadership. Does this need to go through OMB?
A: We’ll let you know what we learn and report back to you on the process.
In the current ANSTF strategic plan we have an objective to identify gaps and make recommendations, so it seems like there was already some comfort in the past with this idea. In our panel there has been a lot of discussion with the need for a revolving rapid response fund. Rapid response might be something we include in the recommendations.
A: Please let us know if that is a gap in the draft and provide us with comments.
Recommendations seem appropriate now that our conversation is evolving. I would like to finish flushing out the idea of whether or not we should do 1, 2, and 7 for the audience and keep 3,4,5,6 internal (see PowerPoint for definitions of numbers)
A: 3-6 could be sub-components of number 2.
27. Informational: Tunicate Workshop Report (Elizabeth Brown, Colorado Parks and Wildlife)
Peg Brady: In 2013, the WRP Coastal Committee asked for assistance with regard to the tunicate invasion in the Pacific Northwest coastal waters. The committee felt the first step was to convene a Tunicate Workshop to explore options. The workshop was held in August and Elizabeth will provide a summary.
Tom McMahon (Elizabeth had to leave early): We had 28 participants in a Seattle Workshop over the summer to discuss the environmental and economic risks. We covered the state of the science, distribution, vectors, shared learning, and common knowledge. We have drafted elements of a Western Regional Marine Invasive Species Management Plan. Next steps are to determine the scope in the next 6 months. See the report for details.
Thank you to Sonia Gorgula and Leah Elwell.
Comment: Local people keep hearing about tunicates but there has never been anything done about them. This is progress because it shows education and outreach even if we can’t eradicate them.
28. Informational: Minnesota Seeking Success Stories and Lessons Learned from other States to Help Guide County-Level AIS Funding - (Don MacLean – USFWS)
Peg Brady: Recent developments have created two unique funding opportunities in Minnesota for aquatic invasive species projects at the county level. Don MacLean will give us some more detail on a request for information sent to the ANS Task Force from the Initiative Foundation, who are seeking specific information to develop a coordinated AIS Prevention Framework for local implementation. (Tab #5).
Minnesota got $ 6 million in recent funding and has opportunities at the county level and they want to create an invasive species summit. They are looking for projects that have been successful and want to build a local AIS framework. Please contact Paula if you have any information that could be helpful.
29. Informational: Panel Updates (10 min each)
Peg Brady: I want to recognize the regional panels for their vital contributions to the ANSTF. Even during these difficult times, the panels continue to show outstanding leadership on regional AIS issues. Thank you all for your dedication. It's with great interest that we listen to the panel updates, so let's start with the Mid-Atlantic Panel.
The last meeting was June 25-26, 2014 in Annapolis. Proposals for grants were requested; we received 13 and funded 3 proposals. The proposals funded were NSGLC for investigating options for private land access for eradication of AIS, Penn Sea Grant to provide field guide for ANS, and provided money to a Penn State researcher looking at NZ mudsnail. The next meeting is Dec 10-11, 2014 at Virginia Beach, VA and will focus on nutria and feral hogs.
Great Lakes Panel
We’re getting ready for our next panel meeting at the GLERL lab. We will discuss rapid response exercises and recreational user surveys. We’ll also discuss organisms in trade. The next meeting will be a joint meeting with the MRBP in April 2015 in Chicago, IL. We’ve been working a lot with grass carp. We found reproducing grass carp populations in Lake Erie and we’re investigating that through panel committees for recommendations on how to deal with grass carp spread. We compiled an inventory of outreach and education campaigns in the Great Lakes (available as hand out). We’ve been working with the CAWS advisory committee and the Great Lakes Commission and the Great Lakes St Lawrence Commission to come up with a solution for the CAWS system to eliminate transfer of AIS between basins. We are hoping we can come up with a long term solution to the closure of the CAWS pathway. We provided a letter to the ANSTF about funding that states we think that restoring the $10k to the panels is very important.
- The spring meeting was convened in Brattleboro, VT and included a presentation from Steve Williams, Field Director, State of Maine, Sea Pilots Association
- The Floating Key Chain with QR code for online message retrieval and user survey was distributed over the past two seasons and the survey remains open*
- A successful server migration to an updated and more secure machine was completed for NortheastANS.org and all of its online tools*
- The Chinese Mitten Crab Early Detection / Rapid Response Plan was completed and is now posted on NortheastANS.org
- Financial support was provided by the Panel to the Connecticut River Watershed Council for a water chestnut rapid response project in the southern New Hampshire/southern Vermont part of the river*
- The Panel's Climate Change Work Group is assessing species risk in the Northeast US and Canada
- The Northeast Aquatic Nuisance Species Panel fall meeting and an adjunct Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points workshop will be convened December 1-3, 2015 in Gloucester, MA*
- It is worth noting that this is a significantly shorter and less substantial list of accomplishments for any six-month period on the Panel's history since 2001, due to the reduced funding that it receives
- Alicia Grimaldi, who has volunteered to stand for co-chair election in December works with EPA Region 1 (not New England Interstate Water Pollution Control Commission with whom the agency often works closely). Meg Modley referred to the NEANS Panel's rapid response "revolving fund" which is was a simple grant program
The * signifies pro bono services provided in part of in whole by naturesource communications due to the Panel's budget cuts.
Gulf and South Atlantic Regional Panel
In 2012 we put together 3 travelling trunks available to the public. They’ve been used by 30 different organizations for a total of 520 days. One of our PIs was involved in an apple snail sterilization project but with no success to date. We had a joint meeting with the WRP. We updated our research management priorities document.
Western Regional Panel
- The 2014 Annual Meeting was held in Houston, Texas September 17-19, 2014. The WRP collaborated successfully with the Gulf and South Atlantic Regional Panel on AIS for this joint meeting which was hosted by Texas Parks and Wildlife. This meeting was one of the best rated meetings in our history.
- The 2015 Annual Meeting is planned for Lake Tahoe for September 2015. The meeting will be hosted by the Tahoe Regional Planning Agency.
- COASTAL: - The Coastal Committee successfully held the regional tunicate workshop which was presented on earlier today. The other issue that the Coastal members are working on is
European Green Crab - Alaska, British Columbia and Washington continue cross border work to address the spread of invasive European green crab along the west coast. The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) coordinated the availability of a
$100,000 EPA Puget Sound Marine and Near-shore grant to develop and implement a volunteer-based early detection monitoring program for the invasive European green crab and other high priority species threatening Puget Sound that could be easily added to the monitoring project. The project was awarded to the University of Washington Sea Grant program and will continue into the fall of 2016. The project seeks collaboration with interested state, federal, international, local and tribal governments, as well as shellfish growers and local volunteer entities.
- INLAND - The WRP has spent the majority of time over the last year working on the Building Consensus in the West effort. The WRP hosted a work session prior to the 2014 Annual Meeting with state coordinators and other relevant participants to address items from previous workshops and items from Phoenix 2012 and the Denver 2013 and 2014 meetings. During this Texas work session, several sub-committees were created to address work needs.
- Model Legislation and Gap Analysis was published which Stephanie presented on yesterday. The Building Consensus Legal team is now moving forward with the development of model regulations associated with the model law for watercraft inspection and decontamination programs.
- Watercraft inspection and decontamination training standards, including field procedures and certifications: A subcommittee of Building Consensus has developed improved regional training standards and documents for inspectors and decontaminators. The committee adapted the Colorado’s trainer’s program and developed a standard Trainer’s course for those teaching inspectors and decontaminators. Lastly, the group is currently working to update the Uniform Minimum Standards and Protocols (PSMFC, 2012) and implement a new website for participants.
- Other Building Consensus sub-committees hard at work include outreach, inreach and data sharing.
- These committee work products will be the basis for the regulation's being developed in 2015 by the Legal Team.
- Ballast tank research: WRP completed the coordination of research for development of a filter to prevent the further dispersal of Dreissenid mussel veligers in recreational watercraft ballast tanks. Following the successful research testing of the filtration units, the developer is moving forward with many manufacturers to build and distribute the units on new boats and to retrofit older boats. WRP will continue to be involved with logistics regarding on-the- ground protocols for inspecting boats with these units at inspection stations. This effort will be discussed as part of the larger marine manufacturers summit as coordinated by the ANSTF along with USFWS, American Boating and Yachting Council and many other partners in January 2015.
Mississippi River Basin Panel
We had our coordination meeting in July. We had a good turnout. We met in connection with MICRA to discuss grass carp findings, Asian carp surveillance plan, and other carp issues. Some action items include seeking different speaking for our next meeting on topics such as water gardeners and other pathways. We also discussed alternatives to grass carp with aquaculture industry individuals (freshwater drum and red sunfish). We worked with the University of Minnesota on an eDNA project. Have an upcoming joint meeting with the Great Lakes Panel and it will focus on Asian carp issues.
- Elections were held in June. Dennis Riecke (MS) was elected first-term co-chair. Curtis is second- term.
- MRBP members have had an active role in providing input to MICRA on the National Grass Carp analyses project and reviewing draft project reports.
- Panel coordination meeting held in July in Athens, TX (30+ attendees)
- Met in conjunction with MICRA to participate in the HDR National Grass Carp analysis presentation and discussion
- Agenda built off of the HDR grass carp presentation with the first half of the meeting focusing on grass carp and Asian Carp
- Several presentations were given to discuss grass carp concerns, activities, and next steps for the Mississippi River and Great Lakes Basins
- Other presentations involved Asian Carp early detection and monitoring, the National Asian Carp Surveillance Plan, and Coordinated Asian Carp Assessments
- Committees met to discuss current issues and concerns, identify project needs, and develop recommendations for the ANSTF
- Several Action Items were developed for MRBP members
- These include seeking speakers for the next meeting to discuss pathways of concern such as illegal trade pathways, fracking industry, water gardeners, and pay lakes
- Another big topic that was discussed at length was black carp needs including food preference, collection and ID needs, and possibly placing a bounty on black carp collection
- There have been increased black carp collections from a few commercial fishermen – need to promote more reporting
- Aquaculture representative brought up interest and need to find alternatives to black carp – requested assistance in finding sources of red ear sunfish and freshwater drum to evaluate their effectiveness at controlling snails in production ponds
- Panel decided to cost-share a New Zealand Mudsnail eDNA surveillance project in UMR with states
- Aquatic Resources Education Association Conference in Traverse City, Michigan in October
- This conference was made up of mostly Aquatic Education Coordinators from each state
- Luci Cook-Hildreth (TX) and Curtis Tackett (OK) attended the conference and gave a presentation about ANS and had an exhibitors booth with handouts such as the ANS Task Force Classroom Guidelines
- Our goal was to make educators aware of ANS issues across the country and their significance, possibly incorporate ANS materials into their curriculum and make ourselves available as an informational resource
- Next meeting
- Joint meeting with Great Lakes Panel in April 2015 in Chicago
- Part of focus will be on grass carp and other Asian carp issues of common concern
30. Decisional: Panel Recommendations
David Hoskins: A crucial role of the panels is to provide recommendations to the ANSTF. The panels go through a thoughtful process to develop their recommendations, which are critical for focusing and prioritizing the work of the ANSTF. We will start with the Western Regional Panel recommendations. For reference, the Panel Recommendations are at Tab #6.
- MAP recommends that the ANS Task Force request that federal agencies continue fiscal support for nutria eradication on the Delmarva Peninsula and in VA and NC to complete this project and protect the significant investment already made.
- Recommendation to the Aquatic Nuisance Species Task Force to restore at least $10,000 to each of the regional panels.
Great Lakes Panel:
- While funding issues have been discussed at recent ANSTF meetings, we believe further action and immediate restoration of $10,000 to each of the regional panels is essential.
Western Regional Panel recommendations:
- Panel funding: Provide increased financial support to the panel(s).
- QZAP support: Continue to provide funding to support highest priority implementation components of QZAP.
Joint Panel Recommendations from WRP and GSARP:
- Request Government Accounting Office (GAO) to provide and updated economic study on the impacts of marine and freshwater AIS (plants, animals and pathogens).
- Explore funding models similar to Sport Fish Restoration program or an industry consortium to fully fund panels and state plans.
- Re-authorization of National Invasive Species Act/Non-indigenous Aquatic Nuisance Prevention and Control Act.
Joint Panel Recommendations from WRP and MRBP:
- Provide additional funding to the USGS Nonindigenous Aquatic Species (NAS) information resource to track the occurrences and distribution of aquatic invasive plants in the U.S. The USGS, through the NAS system, should be recognized as the lead organization to track the occurrence and distribution of aquatic invasive plants and animals in the U.S. Adequate funding is requested to enable the USGS to reinstate monitoring, reporting and mapping of the occurrence and distribution of aquatic invasive plants. This work was previously performed by the USGS but in recent years has been limited to invasive aquatic animals due to inadequate funding.
Gulf and South Atlantic Regional Panel Recommendations:
- The GSARP and WRP recommend that the ANSTF ask the Government Accountability Office to provide an updated economic study (“Federal and Selected State Funding to Address Harmful, Nonnative Species” 2000 http://www.gao.gov/archive/2000/rc00219.pdf) on marine and freshwater AIS.
- The GSARP and WRP recommend that the ANSTF explore alternative funding models similar to the Sport Fish Restoration program or an industry consortium to fully fund panels and state plans.
- The GSARP and WRP recommend that the ANSTF dose everything in its power to support and expedite the re-authorization of NISA.
- The GSARP recommends that the ANSTF sends a letter in support of the Environmental Law Institute’s efforts to host the “Halting the Lionfish in Texas” workshop.
Mississippi River Basin Panel Recommendations:
- Provide assistance to obtain more panel membership from private industry.
- Provide additional funding to the USGS Nonindigenous Aquatic Species (NAS) information resource to track the occurrences and distribution of aquatic invasive plants in the U.S.
- Permanently fill the vacant Aquatic Nuisance Species Task Force Executive Secretary position.
- Provide support and funding for the development of tools needed for eDNA monitoring of black carp and snakehead.
Meeting Summary (Laura Norcutt, FWS)
The next meeting will likely be in Florida in May. More information is to come.
Received no public comment either day