On January 11-12, 2023, the Aquatic Nuisance Species Task Force (ANSTF) held a two-day meeting at the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Headquarters in Falls Church, Virginia. A virtual participation option was also offered. Action items are listed below, followed by a summary of the meeting.

Decisional Items

  • The ANSTF approved the establishment of an ad-hoc subcommittee to determine the financial impacts to state and territories from limitations on motorboat registration fees as presented by the U.S. Coast Guard guidance letter

Action Items

The ANSTF assigned the following action items:

  • The U.S. Geological Survey will provide the Executive Secretary information on the timing and intent of the Black Carp Community of Practice, NAS User Meetings, and NEDRRIS Network Meetings to share with the ANSTF member and regional panels.
  • The Executive Secretary will distribute the “Decontaminating Firefighting Equipment to Reduce the Spread of Aquatic Invasive Species” to ANSTF members and regional panels. Comments will be due to the Prevention Subcommittee by February 28. The Prevention Subcommittee coordinate with the Western Regional Panel and National Invasive Species address comments. The Prevention subcommittee will provide recommendations regarding adoption of the protocol at the next ANSTF meeting.  
  • The Executive Secretary will distribute the “Model Process for a Rapid Response Fund” document to ANSTF members and regional panels for comments. Comments will be due to the Rapid Response Workgroup by February 28. The work group will address comments and present a final document of ANSTF approval consideration at the next meeting.
  • The Outreach Subcommittee will consider options develop a single online national resource similar to “Protect the West” for communicating watercraft inspection and decontamination requirements, procedures, and state program contacts. The Outreach Subcommittee will report their recommendations for developing this resource at the next ANSTF meeting.
  • Subcommittees will submit workplans to the Executive Secretary by January 23 for distribution to ANSTF members and regional panels. Comments on the work plans to the February 17.

Wednesday, January 11, 2023


Dave Miko (U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) introduced himself, welcomed the attendees and provided an overview of the agenda.

Debbie Lee (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration ((NOAA) introduced herself. Lee recognized the ANS Task Force members, regional panels, and subcommittee members who have dedicated hours of personal time and expertise to ensure that the meeting action items and work plans are progressing.

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


Miko preformed a roll call of the ANSTF membership. Others in the room were asked to introduce themselves. The List of virtual participants could be viewed within Microsoft Teams.

Roll call was taken of ANS Task Force membership. The complete list of attendees follows.



Aaron Martin

US Fish and Wildlife Service

Adam Carpenter

American Water Works Association

Adam Sepulveda

US Geological Survey

Aimee Agnew

US Geological Survey

Aimee Hurt

Working Dogs for Conservation

Alanna Keating

BoatUS Foundation

Amy Kretlow

WI Department of Natural Resources

Amy Wray

US Geological Survey

Andrew Stump

Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources

Angela McMellen Brannigan

National Invasive Species Council

Ashleigh Epps

Florida Sea Grant

Ashley lutto

US Fish and Wildlife Service

Ben Holen

North Dakota Game and Fish

Brenda Koenig

Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry

Bryan Falk

National Invasive Species Council

Carolyn Junemann

USDOT Maritime Administration

Ceci Weibert

Great Lakes Commission

Cesar Blanco

U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service

Charlie Robertson

Gulf States Marine Fisheries Commission

Chelsea Bohaty

US Army Corps of Engineers

Chris Klein

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency

Chris Steffen

Kansas Department of Wildlife & Parks

Christina Baugher

Michigan Department of Natural Resources

Christine Densmore

US Fish and Wildlife Service

Christine Lipsky

National Park Service

Christine Moffitt

Western Regional Panel Coastal Committee

Christine Vanzomeren

US Army Corps of Engineers

Christy Martin

Hawaii Coordinating Group on Alien Pest Species

Cindy Simpson

North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission

Cindy Williams

US Fish and Wildlife Service

Clayton Ridenour

US Army Corps of Engineers

Cole Harty

Mississippi River Basin Regional Panel

Colleen Allen

National Park Service

Connor Bevan

American Sportfishing Association

David Reid

Great Lakes Seaway

David Wigglesworth

US Fish and Wildlife Service

Debbie Lee

NOAA Great Lakes Environmental Research Laboratory

Debra DiCianna

Lake Carriers’ Association

Dennis Zabaglo

Tahoe Regional Planning Agency

Dolores Savignano

US Fish and Wildlife Service

Donald R. MacLean

US Fish and Wildlife Service

Doug Jensen

Minnesota Department of Natural Resources

Doug Jensen

Minnesota Department of Natural Resources

Drew Gay

North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality

Edwin Grosholz

University of California, Davis

El Lower

Michigan Sea Grant

Elizabeth Brown

North American Inasvice Species Assoication

Emily Booth

National Park Service

Emily Rose

U.S. Department of State

Eric Fischer

Indiana Department of Natural Resources

Erin Frew

National Park Service

Gene Seagle

National Park Service

Greg Conover

US Fish and Wildlife Service

Greg Hitzroth

Illinois Natural History Survey and Illinois-Indiana Sea Grant

Heidi McMaster

US Bureau of Reclamation

Holly Eddinger

USDA Forest Service

Ian Pfingsten

US Geological Survey

Jacob Bradford

Bureau of Reclamation

James Ballard

Gulf States Marine Fisheries Commission

James English

US Geological Survey

James Yrigoyen

US Fish and Wildlife

Jane Anderson

US Fish and Wildlife

Jen Poirier

US Fish and Wildlife

Jennifer Riddle

Invasive Species Action Network

Jenny Carney

Smithsonian Environmental Research Center

Jeremy Crossland

US Army Corps of Engineers

Jim Williams

Research Associate, Florida Museum of Natural History

Joey Milan

Department of the Interior

John Darling

Environmental Protection Agency

John Navarro

Ohio Department of Natural Resources

John Warpeha

Washoe Tribe of Nevada and California

John Wullschleger

National Park Service

Jolene Trujillo

US Bureau of Reclamation

Jonathan Thompson

California State Lands Commission

Jonathon Knacke

U.S. Army Corps of Engineers

Jordan Spaak

National Park Service

Joris Van Zeghbroeck


Joseph Krieger


Joshua Fisher

US Fish and Wildlife Service

Joyce Bolton

US Department of Agriculture

Julie Holling

South Carolina Department of Natural Resources

Justin Cutler

US Fish & Wildlife Service

Karen McDowell

San Francisco Estuary Partnership

Kate Wyman-Grothem

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

Katie O'Reilly

Illinois-Indiana Sea Grant

Katie VinZant

National Park Service

Kelsey Kniffen

US Army Corps of Engineers

Kennedy Wall

Florida Sea Grant

Kerry Wixted

Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies

Kim Bogenschutz

Association of Fish & Wildlife Agencies

Kim Holzer

US Fish and Wildlife Service

Kristin Hubbard

 California Department of Fish and Game

Kristopher Stahr

Nebraska Game and Parks Commission

Kurt Kowalski

U.S. Geological Survey

Leah Elwell

Western Regional Panel

Leah Harnish

American Waterways Operators

Lina Ceballos

California State Lands Commission

Lisa Weddig

National Fisheries Institute

Lynn Creekmore

US Department of Agriculture

Maggie Hunter

US Geological Survey

Mark Frey

National Park Service

Mark Lewandowski

Chesapeake Bay Program

Mark Minton

Smithsonian Environmental Research Center

Marshall Meyers

N Marshall Meyers PLLC

Martha Volkoff

California Department of Fish and Wildlife

Matt Horton

Arkansas Game and Fish Commission

Matthew Nichols

Florida Fish & Wildlife Conservation Commission.

Maurice Sadowsky


Meg Modley

Lake Champlain Basin Program

Michael Sandel

Mississippi State University

Michele L Tremblay

Northeast Aquatic Nuisance Species Panel

Mike Ielmini

US Forest Service

Mike Weir

US Army Corps of Engineers

Nicholas Rosenau

US Environmental Protection Agency

Nick Torsky

Minnesota Department of Natural Resources

Nicole Dobroski

California State Lands Commission

Nicole Jennings

US Geological Survey

Nicole Swenson

US Fish and Wildlife Service

Olin Reed

Vermont Department of Environmental Conservation

Olivier Marois

Department of Fisheries and Oceans

Paige Filice

Michigan State University Extension

Patrick Kocovsky

U.S. Geological Survey

Paul Zajicek

National Aquaculture Association

Pete Fasbender

US Fish and Wildlife Service

Peter Kingsley-Smith

South Carolina Department of Natural Resources

Phil Andreozzi

US Department of Agriculture

Phil Matson

Flathead Lake Biological Station

Portia Sapp

Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services

Rachael Diaz

Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission

Raya Nedelcheva

California State Lands Commission

Rebecca D'Orazio

Invasive Species Centre

Rebecca El-Gharib

Fisheries and Oceans Canada

Richard D. Lee

USDI-Bureau of Land Management

Rob Bourgeois

Mississippi Interstate Cooperative Resources Association

Rochelle Sturtevant


Ryan Portalatin

Bureau of Indian Affairs

Sara Cowell

Department of Fisheries and Oceans Canada

Sara Piccolomini

US Geological Survey

Sarah LeSage

Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy

Stas Burgiel

National Invasive Species Council

Steven Pearson

Mid-Atlantic Regional Panel

Stewart Cogswell

US Fish and Wildlife Service

Sue Mills

Yellowstone National Park

Tanya Brothen

Department of State

Terri Hogan

National Park Service

Theresa Thom

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

Thomas Jensen

California Deptartment of Fish and Wildlife

Tom Woolf

Idaho State Department of Agriculture

Tory Gabriel

Ohio Sea Grant

Valerie Brown


Wesley Daniel

US Geological Survey

Yale Passamaneck

Bureau of Reclamation

Zach Burnside

Wildlife Forever

Zach Montreuil

US Army Corps of Engineers

Zachary Hunt

US Army Corps of Engineers

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

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

Lee called for approval of the minutes from the May 2023 meeting. They were distributed to all members electronically and posted on the website. There was a motion to approve the minutes, and a second. There was no discussion. The minutes were approved.

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

  1. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, U.S. Geological Survey, and Department of the Interior will consider recording a webinar presentation on the National Early Detection Rapid Response Framework that can be shared with the regional panels and other interested audiences.

    Status: Complete: The webinar recording was distributed to panels and members in September. Link: https://www.doi.gov/sites/doi.gov/files/national-edrr-framework-project…
  2. The Executive Secretary will distribute the Framework for Determining the Need for an Aquatic Invasive Species Control and Management Plan to ANSTF members and regional panels. Comments on the will be due to the Control Subcommittee by July 15.

    Status: Complete: The document was distributed after the May meeting. The Control subcommittee compiled all comments, will provide on update on this product in January 12, 2023.
  3. The Executive Secretary will work with the appropriate agencies to provide an update on activities related to stony coral tissue loss disease. A session on this topic will be included on the agenda for the Fall 2022 ANSTF meeting.

    Status: Complete: Presentations on stony coral tissue loss disease will be provide on January 12, 2023.
  4. The Prevention Subcommittee will facilitate a discussion with appropriate agencies and the National Invasive Species Council to encourage the use and adoption of the guidelines to prevent AIS transport by wildland fire operations.

    Status: Complete / In progress: The Prevention Subcommittee discussed this issue, yet determined that more information is and discussion is need from ANSTF members. This topic is included on the agenda for January 11, 2023. 
  5. Subcommittees will refine their work plans and resubmit them to the ANS Task Force by December 17. ANS Task Force members and panels will provide comments by January 14.

    Status: Complete/ In progress: Discussion were held with regional panels, with potential next steps to address the issue. Discussion on this topic is included on the agenda for January 11, 2023. 

Presentation: Nonindigenous Aquatic Species Database

Wesley Daniel, U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) Nonindigenous Aquatic Species (NAS) Program Lead, provided gave an overview of the NAS database with updates on new occurrences. The database serves as a centralized source for aquatic invasive species invasive species
An invasive species is any plant or animal that has spread or been introduced into a new area where they are, or could, cause harm to the environment, economy, or human, animal, or plant health. Their unwelcome presence can destroy ecosystems and cost millions of dollars.

Learn more about invasive species
(AIS) information. The database is currently tracking 1390 species ad has 688,097 records. NAS tracks entire history of invasions and send alerts of new species detections. Four new species were introduced last year into the United States and there were 39 new species introductions within individual states. The three states with the highest numbers of new occurrences were Pennsylvania (22), Florida (10), and New York (10). Source of data was literature (63%), iNaturalist, and NAS sightings reports (27%).

There were 152 unique taxa report to the NAS database. The three taxa with the most reports were plants, fish, and gastropods. Four new species to US reported were: ribbon weed (Sacramento River, CA), pacu (retention pond in Denton, TX), lung fish (Guadeloupe River, TX), and tire track eel (Cape Coral Canal, FL). There were new two-horn water chestnut reports, three in Maryland and one in central Virginia. In Texas, Australian red claw crayfish was seen for the first time, although already recorded in Puerto Rico and California. Water lettuce was reported for the first time in New Mexico. Zebra mussel new occurrences comprised five new drainages since May ANS Task Force meeting (CO, OK, SD, OH, and PA). New black and silver carp reports, there in concern about the possible movement of invasive carp into the Mobile Basin. A Community of Practice is being formed to discuss management options.

The NAS database published eDNA standards for data display (Ferrante et al. 20221). The NAS database also continues to track movement of species from flooding and storms, most recently determined 157 potential taxa that could have been moved on flood waters resulting from Hurricane Ian. American the Beautiful funding is supporting updating and enhancing the NAS database. A number of user meetings are being planned to receive input on this project.  

Update: National Invasive Species Council Work Plan

Stas Burgiel, Executive Director of the National Invasive Species Council (NISC), provided an update on the FY2022 outputs and FY2023 annual work plan.  Output themes for FY2023 are climate change climate change
Climate change includes both global warming driven by human-induced emissions of greenhouse gases and the resulting large-scale shifts in weather patterns. Though there have been previous periods of climatic change, since the mid-20th century humans have had an unprecedented impact on Earth's climate system and caused change on a global scale.

Learn more about climate change
, wildland fire, early detection rapid response, information management, outreach and engagement, and interagency dialogues. The Climate Change Federal Community of Practice will cover topics including disaster preparedness, risks associated with managed relocations for conservation, and wildlife disease. The Wildland fire and invasive species committee is focusing on specific actions for Council member agencies to advance coordination of activities the build on the options identified by the joint NISC /Wildland Fire Leadership Council task team. The joint team recently completed a memo that includes 13 priorities, including pre-fire, post-fire, research, and information management.  The ERDD committee is focused on AIS at ports of entry by
coordinating interagency discussions on preventing the introduction of AIS associated with imported goods. Information Management Interagency task team has been reviewing agency programs and activities related to horizon scanning and will discuss means to identify and share information where possible across agencies and with stakeholders. They are also providing input on content and long-term sustainability for the National Invasive Species information Center including drafting a briefing paper that highlights the types of information and data relevant for invasive species management; how such data and information are used in decision-making; and relevant federal data, information, and innovation programs and resources.  The Outreach and Engagement committee is working with Recreation.gov to improve public awareness and modify the behavior of federal land users to reduce invasive species risks. The committee is developing an internal briefing paper on the impacts of invasive species on underserved communities. To progress Interagency Dialogues, NISC staff are engaging in agency and government-wide discussions on public health, OneHealth, zoonotic pathogens, and island biosecurity. Lastly, NISC is re-establishing its Invasive Species Advisory Committee (ISAC) Nominations have been approved and formal invitations were send in early January 2023. First virtual meeting is scheduled late February or early March 2023.

Update: AIS Commission

Alanna Keating (Boat US Foundation) gave an overview of the recently formed AIS Commission that was formed last year by the Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership. The AIS Commission received input from and engaged in dialogue with key stakeholders, federal and state decision makers, and leading experts. The purpose of this collaborative process was intended to assess the current threat from AIS, explore gaps in public policy and funding, and offers recommendations for how AIS can be addressed more effectively at the federal, state, tribal and regional levels. The Commission has diverse membership including state, tribe, and industry and include representatives from organizations with interest and expertise in the prevention, management, mitigation, and eradication of AIS in the United States. The AIS Commission conducted a series of listening sessions to receive input from experts on various AIS-related topics to inform a final report with recommendations to effectively address major AIS challenges in the United States. The commission will draft a report with recommendations related to federal law and policy, funding, collaboration, maintain access to the water, and public education and engagement. The final report is expected to be published in February 2023.

Q: Will the ANS Task Force consider report recommendations?

A: The ANS Task Force has not received the report yet, but will consider recommendation once received.

Q: Are recommendations primarily marine or freshwater?

A: They are limited to aquatic invasive species spanning freshwater and marine habitats.

Q: Will Commission help move recommendations forward?

A: Steering committee will help to organize Congressional briefings to be led by individual partners and organizations.

Presentation: Canadian Council on Invasive Species Update

In the next presentation, Kellie Sherman, Canadian Council on Invasive Species (CCIS) Operations Supervisor, described an overview of projects occurring across Canada and the Chapter Networks. CCIS is a federally registered nonprofit providing a national voice to protect Canada from invasive species. With members and chapters from all corners of Canada, along with governments and businesses, the CCIS brings people together to build practical solutions to prevent the spread of invasive species to protect Canada’s landscapes, species, and communities from invasive species for the generations to come. Throughout the presentation, Sherman described and gave examples of work taking in place in Canada through CCIS programs, including the feral swine working group, public outreach campaigns, retailer recognition programs, phragmites and yellow flag iris management efforts, invasive mussel monitoring, and training. Next steps of the Council include expanding tools and training, webinars and eLearning, sharing lessons learned, and seeking collaboration opportunities

Update: Prevention Subcommittee Progress Report

James Ballard from the Gulf States Marine Fisheries Commission provided an update on the Prevention Subcommittee work plan items. The Pathways Risk Assessment evaluation will require a literature review as a foundation step to this assessment, advancement of this work element will depend on the availability of staff time and funding to complete the literature review. To progress the action on organisms in trade data, the USFWS is working with law enforcement staff and formed a team to explore ways to get the data off invoices and into usable formats. The Office of Law Enforcement has a new software that may be able to accomplish this task and are running tests on that software to see if it will work as expected. The USGS and USFWS have nearly completed a global horizon scan on vertebrate organisms coming into the U.S. The University of Florida was funded to complete a project to explore gaps in prevention and it is anticipated to be completed this summer. The subcommittee is awaiting EPA and USCG to compete work on the new standards, after which it plans to form an Ad-Hoc Committee on ANSTF Roles and responsibilities under VIDA.

Craig Martin, U.S Fish and Wildlife Service, presented on the OIT Hitchhikers workgroup, which was  formed in response to some issues regarding contaminants with aquatic shipments within the U.S. This group met several times to identify objectives to focus on. Potential tasks include producing and maintaining a master list of prohibited species as well as a master list of regulatory contacts at the federal, tribal and state levels; developing outreach messaging and tools; evaluating education campaigns for permitting, licensing and inspection; and refining BMPs for OIT hitchhikers.

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

Jack Faulk, US Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA), provided an agency update on EPA’s Vessel Incidental Discharge Act (VIDA) rulemaking activities since publication of the proposed discharge standards in October 2020. Notably, since proposal, EPA has been reviewing comments and re-engaging with states and other commenters to understand comments received and work towards finalization of the rule. Key takeaways from the ANS comments received was to retain best management practices from Vessel General Permit, use all available treatment data to establish discharge standards, make incremental progress on control of ballast discharges from Great Lakes “Lakers,” and improve biofouling and hull cleaning regulations. Current schedule is to finalize rule in November 2023 One requirement of VGP is that vessels submit annual reports. From 2014 to 2021, vessels with installed ballast water management systems jumped from 4% to 79%. VIDA also established Great Lakes and Lake Champlain Research and Development Plan. The three research areas in the current plan include: Identify Methods and Alternatives (and Costs) for Great Lakes Ballast Water Management, Develop Great Lakes Relevant Ballast Water Management System Testing Protocol, and Assess the Risk of Aquatic Nuisance Species Transfer from Ballast Water Discharge. The Plan available on UW-Superior website (https://www.uwsuper.edu/lsri/gwrc/gllcisp/index.cfm). The next stakeholder meeting will be scheduled in early 2023.

Matt Reudelhuber, U.S. Coast Guard, presented on the U.S Coast Guard’s ballast water management program. Coast Guard continues to enforce current Ballast Water regulations until it publishes final VIDA implementing regulations. Compliance enforcement is similar to other pollution prevention and control requirements and technologies. Compliance continues to be one of most challenging in marine industry. There was double the number of deficiencies issued last year. Reasons for incompliance include an inoperable BWMS, deficient ballast water management plan (BWMP), or failure to report to National Ballast Information Clearinghouse (NBIC) in required timeframe. Vessels can be compliant without having Type Approval by using an Alternate Management System or applying for an extension. Currently, there are ~1,500 active extension letters and 50 Type Approved BWMSs.

Vessel Incidental Discharge Act (VIDA) was enacted on December 4, 2018 to help streamline the U.S. patchwork of federal, state, and local requirements for commercial vessels. VIDA will require new forms of cooperation among USCG, EPA, Canada, tribes, and state and provincial governments. Highlights from VIDA include maintaining existing vessel discharge requirements established through EPA 2013 VGP and USCG ballast water regulations, authorizing EPA and USCG to develop new vessel discharge regulations, establishing enhanced and regional ballast water requirements to address invasive species, requiring USCG to consider ballast water test methods based on organism viability. VIDA also requires EPA and USCG to develop two sets of federal regulations for 23 vessel discharges The EPA national standards of performance to replace current VGP is expected to publish in late 2023. Two years after EPA final rule, the USCG is will begin implementing, monitoring, and enforcing regulations to replace current BWM regulations. The EPA, USCG, and U.S. states will have enforcement authority, yet much of this remains to be determined, including through the rulemaking process. Other VIDA activities not related to rule making include viability testing methods, annual report requirement to Congress, and framework for interagency response to AIS risk from vessel discharge. Maritime Commons blog is a good way to keep apprised of new information.

Presentation: Gap analysis for Invasive Species Pathways

Zoey Hendrickson, University of Florida graduate student, discussed gap analysis research with the hopes of filing gaps in prevention measures. Despite current federal and state efforts, new introductions of aquatic invasive species (AIS) are reported each year, indicating that prevention measures for specific introduction pathways are either ineffective or non-existent. Using the USGS Nonindigenous Aquatic Species database, in addition to other publicly available records, case studies of prominent AIS have been identified to perform a gap analysis to understand where current AIS preventative measures have been ineffective, potentially from gaps in authority. The products will include analysis of the current state of AIS prevention, policy recommendations and new measures to fill any "gaps" in prevention measures, a review of current prevention tools, and a set of metrics to measure future effectiveness.

Presentation: Biofouling and Off-Shore Wind Operations

Chris Scianni, California State Lands Commission, provided an overview of the biofouling management guidance that the Coastal Committee of the Western Regional Panel has been working over the past several years. The 2017 Biofouling Report (2017) focused on four main pathways: commercial ships, recreational vessels, fishing vessels, and mobile marine infrastructure. The committee reviewed authorities and gaps for each pathway and produced outreach materials as needed (available on the Western Regional Panel website). Biofouling management guidance was been provided to owners, operators, and government entities, specifically for unregulated pathways (e.g., recreational boating, mobile marine infrastructure). The goal has been to fill management gaps and provide achievable and focused recommendations to improve biofouling management and reduce the likelihood of species introductions. The recent increasing interest in offshore wind (and wave) energy production presents new risks, and the Coastal Committee will soon begin work on developing guidance for permitting or leasing agencies to incorporate into lease terms to reduce these risks.

Presentation: Watercraft Design Evolution Discussion

Elizabeth Brown, Pacific State Marine Fisheries Commission (PSMFC), reviewed the T-32 Design and Construction in Consideration of Aquatic Invasive Species (T-32). This document is a technical information report that was developed by a partnership-based group of subject matter experts and published in 2018. The T-32 focused on methods that marine manufacturers could build boats that are less likely to move AIS, build boats that are easier to inspect and decontaminate, and amplify the message of clean, drain, dry among boaters. An evaluation was recently conducted to determine if any boats, engines, or trailers have been produced since the publication of T-32 that were specifically designed to prevent the spread of AIS or make inspection and decontamination easier. Project inputs were manufacturer websites, user manuals, marine dealerships, marine manufacturers, Western Regional Panel Decon Think Tank, and American Boat and Yacht Council AIS Projects Technical Committee members. The project researched types of design changes that benefit AIS management and reviewed ten manufacturers of ballast boats. Some user manuals incorporated AIS language, but many did not. Individual design changes have been made by some manufactures. For example, Premier Pontoons closed strakes and marketed the design for AIS spread prevention. Cobalt wake series added access ports and ballast tanks sensors. Centurion “trailer mode” allows air to pass though tanks while hauling. MasterCraft included a flushing kit in 2020. Other design changes include sloping live wells for easier drainage, direct flushing ports with garden hose fittings, and strainers. Volvo created “easy drain system” for stern drive engine. Sea-Doo Switch pontoon boat added direct flushing ports. The study concluded that there has been advancement in design to reduce AIS risks, but more work is needed to communicate these actions.

Q: Are there guidelines for manufactures to consider preventing AIS spread?

A: T-32 intended to provide this set of recommendations. ABYC also has standards, but most are safety related.

Q: Given that you documented manufacturers that made changes, could they benefit from a letter of appreciate from ANS Task Force? Are there other ways to honor and promote positive changes?

A: Great idea, worth exploring!

Presentation: Watercraft Design Evolution Discussion

Dennis Zabaglo, Tahoe Regional Planning Agency and Western Regional Panel chair, gave a refresher on discussions from May’s ANS Task Force meeting. At the panel level, they built a wildlife template with BMPs that can be customized to different agencies, jurisdictions, and regions, Requested that ANSTF distribute template as an available resource to build on. (Action Item).

James Ballard, Gulf States Marine Fisheries Commission Gulf and South Atlantic Regional Panel, recapped discussion on this issue within the Prevention Subcommittee including decontamination protocols of wildland fire operations and equipment requiring decontamination.

Comment: Note that many fires are fought by private contractors and non-federal entities, the ANSTF will need to consider complexity of building in decontamination into contracts.

Q: Given limitations of AIS prevention during fire suppression, what about using information after about water source and destination?

A: EDRR needs to go hand-in-hand with prevention. Good practice is to weave in water movement history into AIS monitoring priorities.

Update: Research Subcommittee Progress Report

Susan Pasko, USFWS, provided an update on the work of the Research Subcommittee. The National Research Priorities List was approved at November 2021 Task Force meeting, since that time the subcommittee has focused on efforts needed to track and promote the list. The subcommittee is pursuing a communications plan to promote the priories list, which includes a letter to agency leadership and partners, social media, a blog, and a peer reviewed paper. The subcommittee hopes to create tools and messages that agencies can use to help inform the scientific community about the priorities.  The subcommittee has developed a survey to track the research priorities and get feedback on future revisions. The survey has completed agency review for privacy and security concerns and is ready to be distributed. The subcommittee has compiled contacts to distribute the survey including agencies, universities, organizations, and others who are conducting research in aquatic invasive species. The information collected will be used to show progress of the priorities as well as to develop a research clearinghouse that would help researchers connect with one another, build network and partnerships, and allow agencies to better target requests for proposals or other funding opportunities.

The research priories list will be updated on an annual basis. It is possible that the priories may not shift drastically from year to year, but an annual review will provide an opportunity to document emerging issues and research accomplishments and needs.  The subcommittee will also need to develop criteria to determine when a priority has progressed enough that it can be removed from the National Priorities List. 

Update: Outreach Subcommittee Progress Report

Tim Campbell, Wisconsin Sea Grant, provided an overview of the work of the Outreach Subcommittee. In 2021, a request for proposals (RFP) was issued for an outreach assessment to assess waterway user awareness and behaviors of based off the Task Force recreational guidelines. This study has been completed and will be reported on in a later presentation.  The subcommittee has also started an AIS community of practice to create a forum for those involved in outreach to share ideas and learn from one another. Discussions have included influencer marketing, social media, and website design. The subcommittee also continues to work on collecting outreach materials and template to be added to the Stop Aquatic Hitchhikers web portal. The subcommittee has also cross-pollinated with the OIT Hitchhiker workgroup, Research subcommittee, and NEANS panel to provide advice on their outreach needs. In the upcoming year, the Outreach Subcommittee will begin to consider actions involving inclusive language in invasion biology and connecting social scientists with invasive species research ideas.

Presentation: To Release or Not to Release: An Analysis of Outreach Campaigns in the Pet Trade

Kelly Guilbeau, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service presented on a project being conducted with the USGS to assess communication in the pet trade. The international pet trade, and intentional or unintentional release of those pets by individuals, has contributed to the establishment of many species to areas where they are not native, resulting in detrimental consequences to local ecosystems, economies, and livelihoods. A number of outreach campaigns across the United States aim to communicate the risk of non-native pet release through education and the offering of alternative solutions to pet owners who are no longer able to care for their pets. The project purpose is to understand the collective goals of outreach campaigns across the United States related to preventing the release of non-native species found within the pet and aquarium trade. The project also aims to assess the scope of communication strategies used in relevant outreach campaigns in order to understand whether and how they are effectively intervening in an individual’s decision-making process to release a non-native pet. The project used semi-structured interviews with campaign managers, content analysis of campaign materials, and an analysis of relevant online search results to explore how campaigns were designed and evaluated, tone of messages, and target audiences. Three summary considerations were to integrate consistent messaging, network strategy, funding; refine content to align with audience values; and build campaign reach and long-term evaluation. Report is in the final stages and will be available for review. Ultimately, this project’s outcomes will ensure that economic and human resources invested in risk communication campaigns are using effective and inclusive techniques.

Q: During original digital analysis, were (pop-up) ads included?

A: Yes, tracked ads, but not the target audience for the ad.

Q: Did you find pet rehoming sites or resources?

A: Focused on top 10 search results, did not dig into rehoming.

Q: Was analysis conducted on campaigns across US in languages other than English?

A: Analysis focused on English text. (Kelly)

Presentation: Evaluation of the Effectiveness of Western States’ Aquatic Invasive Species Public Awareness Campaigns for Eliciting Desired Prevention Behaviors

Monica McGarrity, Texas Parks and Wildlife Department, presented on behalf of Western Regional Pane Education and Outreach Committee. Purpose of study was to enhance long-term success of AIS prevention outreach. Although prevention is widely considered one of the most effective tools for aquatic invasive species (AIS) management, there are few assessments of the effectiveness of outreach campaigns aimed at preventing the spread of these species. Such assessments are critical for guiding education and outreach efforts to enhance campaign effectiveness and make the best possible use of available resources. The Western Regional Panel on ANS Education and Outreach Committee, in collaboration with the Invasive Species Action Network, led a research study that sought to accomplish a key action strategy of the Zebra Quagga Action Plan by conducting such an assessment of the effectiveness of boater AIS education campaigns across the West. This study, conducted by Texas A&M University researchers, provides key insights on messaging and delivery methods with applicability to enhance outreach at a national scale.

A survey questionnaire was used to ask about watercraft ownership use and history, knowledge of AIS, awareness, preferences, Clean Drain Dry behavior, and socio-demographic patterns. There were 3,900 respondents with variable return by state. Most submissions came from older, white males with income above national median. Finding from the survey showed most individuals were familiar with the need Clean Drain Dry, but less familiar about waterbodies infested with AIS. Most common reported actions were draining or cleaning, yet pressure washing as less likely. 25% of respondents indicated being constrained from undertaking Clean, Drain, Dry. Items considered most constraining were absence of cleaning stations at boat ramps, crowding at boat ramps, and belief that others don’t Clean, Drain, Dry. Most common ways to obtain information was from boat ramp signs, state agency websites, and boat inspection, whereas was from agency website, boat ramp signs, inspection station personnel, and conservation organizations. Most effective methods for disseminating information perceived to be boat ramp signs, state agency, boat inspection personnel, and TV ads. Most effective messaging used a science metaphor (“factual info”). Second rated messages were protective and ecological gain messages. Third rated messages evoked personal obligation, were militaristic, nativist, and emphasized economic loss. Recommendations from the study included: messaging toward a younger cohort ought to occur early in their boating careers, partner with conservation organizations to amplify outreach efforts, target outreach to least familiar groups, make AIS information on agency websites easily accessible and prominent, and install cleaning stations with clear messaging kiosks.

Presentation: National AIS Outreach Assessment

Tom Beppler, Responsive Management, shared results from a survey conducted by Responsive Management for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Division of Fish and Aquatic Conservation, and the Aquatic Nuisance Species Task Force to determine the extent to which current invasive species campaigns are influencing the conservation‐related behaviors of active water‐based outdoor recreationists (anglers, boaters, waterfowl hunters, and other users who potentially interact or are involved with aquatic invasive species). The study entailed an online survey of adult United States residents who engaged in any of seven water‐based outdoor recreational activities: freshwater fishing, saltwater fishing, motorboating, non‐motorized boating, scuba diving, snorkeling, or waterfowl hunting. Adults who participated in any of these seven water-based outdoor activities in the last 12 months were surveyed. 5,082 interviews completed. Survey topics included recreationists’ concern about invasive species relative to other environmental issues; knowledge of invasive species and awareness of related laws; motivations for taking action to mitigate the spread of invasive species; and awareness of invasive species campaigns and the perceived effectiveness of various campaigns. The survey results show that concern about aquatic invasive species is lower than concern about other environmental issues like water pollution; awareness of aquatic invasive species is fairly high. The two most important motivations for taking action to prevent the spread of aquatic invasive species are wanting to keep invasive species out of state lakes and rivers and wanting to abide by laws and regulations that are intended to prevent the spread of aquatic invasive species. Further, while many water-based outdoor recreationists say they are aware of a campaign about aquatic invasive species, very few are able to recall the specific name of the campaign. Some of the campaigns with the highest levels of familiarity and the strongest effectiveness ratings are state-specific campaigns. The survey also found that the more familiar recreationists are with the major AIS campaigns, the more likely they are to always engage in steps to prevent the spread of invasive species. This suggests that the campaigns are having a positive impact. The most important reasons why recreationists may not always take action to prevent the spread of AIS when they are participating in their activities are wanting to take action at home rather than in the field or at the access point or  not having the cleaning or washing tools needed to take action. Recommendations from the study include: use public information and outreach to focus on laws about aquatic invasive species, target female and Hispanic/Latino recreationists specifically with information about aquatic invasive species, the aquatic invasive species community should adopt a single overarching campaign theme and tagline and stick with it, when developing AIS outreach materials, utilize messaging principles that have proven to be effective at changing behaviors

Public Comment

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

Adjourn Day 1

January 12, 2023

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

Regional Panel Recommendations:

Western Regional Panel
  1. To better support the collaborative work of each panel, an increase in the annual funding to meet the federally authorized amount of support to the panels as noted in the National Invasive Species Act. The fiscal support for each of the panels remains at $50,000 annually. This current annual support is crucial but increased support would foster increased collaborative projects, communication, and advancements in AIS management.

    Response: The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service currently provides $300,000 to support the regional panels, with each panel receiving $50,000. This is the full amount authorized by the Non-indigenous Aquatic Nuisance Prevention and Control Act was restored in 2020 to $300,000, or $50,000 per panel. The ANS Task Force understands the value of the regional panels and how funding levels may limit work from each panel. We continue to look for opportunities to increase support for the panels.
  2. QZAP funding is an integral component of dreissenid focused management actions to protect western waters. Many state, tribal, and non-governmental entities rely on this funding for key actions on prevention, containment, outreach, and research on dreissenid mussels.  The funding to support the implementation of the Quagga Zebra Mussel Action Plan 2.0 is a critical element in the protection of western waters from dreissenid mussels.  The WRP recommend support for QZAP funding be maintained at the current level or increased to support the highest priority elements of QZAP 2.0. 

    Response: Beginning in FY20 funding for control and prevention under QZAP implementation increased from $1 to $2 million. In FY21, the allocation increased to $2.25 million. That level will continue into FY 23.
  3. The Western Regional Panel on ANS encourages the ANS Task Force to seek to coordinate development, maintenance, and promotion of a single online national resource similar to Protect The West for communicating watercraft inspection and decontamination requirements, procedures, and state program contacts to boaters before they travel between states to aid in preventing the spread of AIS and encouraging compliance, commercial hauling watercraft information and other relevant information.  The Education and Outreach Committee of the ANSTF is suggested to play a role in the consideration and development of such a resource. A single online location for this type of information would further advance accurate information sharing to prevent the spread of AIS via watercraft. WRP recognizes that the development of such a resource will take planning and funding, therefore highlighting the significance of this recommendation is intended to encourage discussion and advancement.

    Response: We agree that there would be value in creating such a resource.  The Executive Secretary will work with the Outreach Subcommittee and others as appropriate to discuss options and logistics for creating this type of resource. The Outreach subcommittee will report out of their recommendations for advancing this item at the next Task Force meeting.
Northeast Regional Panel
  1. Since the first regional panel was formed in 1990, funding has been flat at the authorized $50,000. This static funding means that the six regional panels’ buying power is reduced significantly. In today’s dollars*, panels would be receiving $116,841.05 to keep up with inflation. Currently, panels struggle to afford their core service of regional coordination, including conducting one or two meetings and attending two of the ANS Task Force meetings each year with $50,000. In the past, panels have been able to fund projects with their annual coordination grant, despite heroic cutting measures that are negatively affecting some panel’s operations. In the past few years, State Management Plan funding has been appropriated above the authorized amount. These SMP funds support a variety of important programs and projects. As a parallel, regional panels’ appropriated funds should be raised above the current authorized amount of $50,000.  The collective work of the regional panels is a significant part of the ANS Task Force’s work plan and accomplishments reported to Congress. It should be supported with sufficient funding to keep up with inflation and to continue and broaden its work.

    Response: See above response to Western Regional Panel
  2. What: The Northeast Aquatic Nuisance Species Panel recommends the ANS Task Force support the multi-state response efforts to prevent further spread of hydrilla from the Connecticut River by recommending interstate coordination with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

    Who: U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Connecticut Department of Energy & Environmental Protection, Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation, New Hampshire Department of Environmental Services, Vermont Department of Environmental Conservation, and Acts of Congress or riders to current bills 

    How: Petition Congress to remove the 5% limit on administrative costs for activities and programs carried out with grants from the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service under NANPCA, and/ or petition the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to provide financial support and coordination to states with ANS control efforts on the Connecticut River

    Background: A novel genetic strain of Hydrilla verticillata was discovered in the Lower Connecticut River near Glastonbury, CT in 2016. This is the third known biotype of hydrilla to enter navigable waters in the U.S. (1st in 1950s, 2nd in 1980s). Surveys conducted in 2018 indicated this new biotype occupies an over 100 km stretch of the CT River as far north as the MA border.  The Connecticut ANS Management Plan classifies hydrilla under Management Class 1, where primary actions include eradication of incipient populations and prevention of new introductions. According to Sec. 1204(b)(4) of the Nonindigenous Aquatic Nuisance Prevention and Control Act of 1990 (NANPCA), “... administrative costs for activities and programs carried out with a grant in any fiscal year shall not exceed 5 percent of the amount of the grant in that year.” This 5% cap on administrative costs (about $4,850 of the average $97,000 awarded to states annually) has limited states such as Massachusetts from utilizing USFWS State Management Plan grants to fund multi-year projects on their own. Available state funds are inadequate to address the river-wide issue even within the CT border. Thus, a multi-state coordinated effort with federal support from the Army Corps of Engineers is needed to adequately address the management of this new strain of hydrilla and keep it from entering other waterbodies. The Army Corps of Engineers is authorized to treat hydrilla under Section 104 of the River and Harbor Act of 1958, and they have partnered with multiple state agencies to control hydrilla such as in the Erie Canal, Tonawanda Creek, and Cayuga Lake, NY, with funding through the Corps of Engineers Aquatic Plant Control Research Program.

    Response: U.S. Army Corp has been conducting research on the biology of Hydrilla and is planned to conduct some small-scale treatments next year. In FY 23, there is language for up to $6 million on demonstration research. U.S Army Corp will keep the NEANS Panel updated on the progression on this work.

    What: The Northeast Aquatic Nuisance Species (NEANS) Panel recommends that the Aquatic Nuisance Species (ANS) Task Force form an ad-hoc group to deliberate the financial impacts presented by the United State Coast Guard Guidance Letter issued to all States and Territories (July 11, 2022) who receive grant funds from the Office of Boating Safety (46 U.S.C. §12307) notifying States and Territories that they are unable to levy a fee on motorboat registrations not related to the Coast Guard certificate of number and in doing so would potentially lose these funds. As most States do levy fees associated to support State Agency ANS Programs, this condition and the loss of funds will negatively effect, if not all together eliminate State Agency ANS Programs.  

    Background:  (see recommendation for full text) The United State Coast Guard Guidance Letter issued to all States and Territories (July 11, 2022) and the consequent further Coast Guard audit during the Summer, 2022 to a select number of northeastern States (and others) that describes the State’s failure to meet the terms, conditions, and eligibility requirements from 46 USC 13103(c) is a concerning action. If allowed, the potential reduction or inability to receive Coast Guard State grant funds, or the measure necessary to comply with the eligibility requirements, will severely impact State ANS Programs. 

    Response: The ANSTF voted to approve establishment of this ad-hoc subcommittee. (See action item).
Mid Atlantic Regional Panel
  1. The Eastern Shore of the Chesapeake Bay was once heavily infested with nutria, an invasive rodent from South America that destroys marshes by devouring them.  The Chesapeake Nutria Eradication program has eliminated that population.   However, nutria have begun moving north from the Norfolk area and present a danger to the marshes of the Virginia and Maryland Tidewater.  Virginia is making a valiant effort to thwart the invasion, but they have few resources.  We ask that the Federal Agencies work with the Commonwealth of Virginia to find funds in the Infrastructure bill and other sources to eradicate Virginia before they become widespread.  Nutria are on the move and time is of the essence.  This invasive species is now within sixty miles of the Potomac River and damage to the rich and biodiverse marshlands that lie in between would be a devastating loss to Virginia and the Chesapeake Bay.

    Response: ANSTF Members will need to follow on this recommendation after the ANS Task Force meeting.  The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Services’ Chesapeake Bay Field Office and the USDA’s Wildlife Services have been involved with nutria eradication efforts on Maryland’s eastern shores. We will reach out to see how efforts may be expanded into Virginia.

Update: Early Detection Rapid Response Subcommittee Progress Report

Wes Daniel, U.S. Geological Survey, provided an overview of the work of the Early Detection Rapid Response (EDRR) Subcommittee.  To build capacity within the NAS database, a three-year plan is being drafted with input from the planned listening sessions. A survey of stakeholders revealed a need for rapid response training; accordingly, the subcommittee decided to focus upon creating a rapid response template and checklist and expects to have a draft by Fall. There are numerous efforts to develop watch lists based on horizon scans, a few have been completed or near completion, including the USGS's national vertebrates in trade scan and regional transportation horizon scans. The subcommittee is also developing decision tools that translate patterns of positive eDNA detections into risk profiles for interpretation. The subcommittee is recommending to make the experts database a standing work element for the EDRR subcommittee, with the goal to maintain and update the list of experts within the database.

Update: Update on EDRR Framework Implementation

Hilary Smith, DOI, and James English (USGS) presented information about continued implementation of a National EDRR Framework with a view towards Fiscal Year 2023 and beyond and how it integrates with broader DOI priorities such as "3 in 3 for the WIN: advancing 3 invasive species initiatives in 3 years. The Horizon Scans within the framework include a national horizon scan of terrestrial and aquatic plants, invertebrate tax, and a national transportation horizon scan for terrestrial species. Molecular detection tools are being developed for invasive species at ports of entry. There is also efforts to develop an eDNA web-based tool targeted toward resource managers that will include a list of markers, standards, and eDNA findings communications and decision-making assistance. Work has also been initialed to create a genetic material repository and network for long-term preservation of genomic samples and providing information for samples that can be borrowed / loaned to other network members. Another project, Rapid eDNA Assessment & Deployment Initiative Network (READI-Net), will integrate eDNA detection devices into water gage stations. A National Early Detection Rapid Response Information System (NEDDRIS) capabilities to help improve surveillance for invasive species nationally and will include monitoring and response tools, findings, databases, models and other elements to coordinate and improve EDRR, risk assessment, surveillance, and control efforts. By using a common system for all these related activities, status can be monitored, information communicated, activities coordinated, lessons learned, information shared and stored for later assessment, and for historic purposes.

Presentation:  National Early Detection Rapid Response Information System

Aimee Agnew (USGS) provided an overview of the National Early Detection Rapid Response Information System (NEDRRIS). This System is centralized network that improves access to existing and emerging information resources and expands collaboration to facilitate early detection and rapid response (EDRR) to biothreats across the nation. NEDRRIS fosters collaboration at national, regional and local levels to improve situational awareness of biothreats, support their effective management and increase understanding of management outcomes. This human and information network will be made available through a web application that aids the EDRR community of practice in planning, detecting, responding and reporting biothreats and management actions. Throughout the process of designing and building the web application, the US Geological Survey is engaging partners and interest groups and developing interagency, interdisciplinary working groups to provide input that guides application development in support of the National EDRR Framework.

Q: Is there a central landing page for all of this info for the public?

A: Information will be available at the National Invasive Species Information Center as well as the ANSTF website.

Presentation: Rapid Response Fund: Process Review and Discussion

Susan Pasko (USFWS) provided an overview of the Rapid Respond (RR) Fund that is being developed as part of the EDRR Framework. The need for a RR fund has been articulated for some time, and is identified in the ANSTF Strategic Plan. As this effort was gained some momentum, a work group was formed through the ANSTF to outline a structure structure
Something temporarily or permanently constructed, built, or placed; and constructed of natural or manufactured parts including, but not limited to, a building, shed, cabin, porch, bridge, walkway, stair steps, sign, landing, platform, dock, rack, fence, telecommunication device, antennae, fish cleaning table, satellite dish/mount, or well head.

Learn more about structure
and process for a pilot Rapid Response Fund for AIS. The presentation will outline the draft process the workgroup has developed, the draft will be distributed and will be revised based on comments received.  For the fund, “Rapid Response” is defined as a process employed to eradicate the founding population of non-native, potentially invasive, species in a specific location before that species begins to reproduce or spreads so widely that eradication is no longer feasible. It will cover all AIS, both freshwater and marine introduced to the U.S. or its territories. The workgroup has recommended conducting the fund using a competitive funding opportunity. A Review Team composed of ANSTF members, regional panel members, and subject matter experts will evaluate proposals quarterly. Given the substantial workload of managing a grant program, the workgroup recommends that a portion of the fund be used to support a RR Fund Coordinator. The documents will be distributed after the meeting. The workgroup will reconvene to discussion comments and refine process as needed.

Presentation: Environmental DNA Detection of Aquatic Non-Native Species

Maggie Hunter (USGS) provided an overview of the technological advances and application of eDNA.  Environmental DNA is defined as DNA that has been shed, excreted, or sloughed from an organism into its environment. Environmental DNA (eDNA) detection in water samples is a sensitive tool to detect aquatic invasive species DNA and help inform their range expansion and distribution.  However, with high sensitivity comes great responsibility for careful consideration of best practices such as study design, quality assurance protocols for assay development and sample analysis and data interpretation. Additional critical considerations include environmental factors, target species characteristics, eDNA degradation and transport, stakeholder consultation, and communication and FAIR data plans.

Presentation: Molecular Detection of Aquatic Pathogens in Environmental Samples

Maureen Purcell, (USGS) reviewed the use of environmental DNA (eDNA) methodology for the detection of aquatic pathogens in water and other environmental samples. There has been a long history of working on waterborne stage of aquatic pathogens, with increases in the use of typical eDNA pipelines. The two primary purposes are diagnosis and surveillance. The World Org for Animal Health drafted a white paper to discuss the way eDNA can be used to support these purposes. At this point, there is no formal validation framework for animal pathogens; rather it will likely will become an extension of current diagnostic validation. At this time, eDNA is not the best tool for disease diagnosis, but may have a role for disease surveillance programs.

Update: Control Subcommittee Progress Report

Kim Bogenschutz, the Invasive Species Committee chair of the Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies, provided an overview of the work of the Control Subcommittee. The subcommittee has completed a draft decision‑ making process for species management plans. This will be bundled together with the control plan development process and the control plan content guidance previously approved by the Task Force.  Five existing control plans were identified as needing revision by the subcommittee. Workgroups have been formed to revise the European Green crab and New Zealand mudsnail plans, and update on the plans will follow.  The lionfish plan is not being activity used or known to have led to the development of individual state or regional plans. Several other plans have been developed for lionfish, highlighting that National Control Plans are not always what practitioners utilize for day-to -day control of an infestation. The ruffe plan was developed on 1995 and may need to be archived rather than revised, as it may be better to work from a regional perspective to address the potential expansion of ruffe.

Presentation: Lake Tahoe AIS Control Efforts in an Outstanding National Resource Waters 

Dennis Zabaglo, Tahoe Regional Planning Agency, provided an overview of AIS control efforts in Lake Tahoe. The Tahoe Regional Planning Agency (TRPA) is a Compact regulatory agency, whose mission is to lead the cooperative effort to preserve, restore, and enhance the unique natural and human environment of the Lake Tahoe Region, while improving local communities, and people’s interactions with our irreplaceable environment. Aquatic invasive species (AIS) are a grave threat to Lake Tahoe’s unique environment and have devastating impacts to the ecology and local economy. TRPA leads a partner driven AIS program with control efforts that utilize innovative approaches within a complex regulatory environment given Lake Tahoe’s status as an Outstanding National Resource Waters (ONRW). Control techniques include the use of ultraviolet light, pioneered in Lake Tahoe, along with other mechanical methods using benthic barriers, diver hand pulling and diver assisted suction. Localized eradication has been achieved in several areas, with efforts now focusing on larger infestations, one of which is testing the use of aquatic herbicides for the first time in Lake Tahoe or any other ONRW waterbody.

Update: Quagga Zebra Action Plan 

Thomas Woolf, vice chair of the Western Regional Panel, gave on update on the priority work under the Quagga Zebra mussel Action Plan (QZAP). This original plan was developed in 2010, but was recently revised to develop more specific priority actions. This plan continues to expand capacity and support priority projects focused on Zebra and Quagga mussel prevention, early detection, outreach and research. Recent projects supported by QZAP include an investigation of how AIS outreach messaging influences behavior change, building capacity for Western AIS programs and supporting dreissenid mussel containment and prevention at locations across the West.

Update: Invasive Carp Update 

Amy McGovern, the USFWS invasive carp national lead, provided an overview of the efforts taken to support the National Invasive Carp Management Plan. Invasive carp have caused a wide range of negative ecological, economic, and social impacts since their introduction to the United States and subsequent escapement and spread. As a result, the ANSTF charged the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) to develop a national management and control plan to guide national efforts to prevent and control invasive carps. Federal funding to support invasive carp prevention, management and control in all six sub-basins of the Mississippi River Basin, including the Upper Illinois River and Great Lakes, has been supported since FY20. The level of coordination at a national level continues to grow and the Service is working internally and with the sub-basin partnerships to improve communication and collaboration across the sub-basins regarding assessment data collection, management, and analysis.  Federal and state partners are working together now through the Invasive Carp Advisory Committee (ICAC) to purse a coordinated population assessment of invasive carp across sub-basins to better inform management actions.

Update: New Zealand MudSnail Control Plan

Martha Volkoff, California Department of Fish and Wildlife, is leading efforts to update the New Zealand MudSnail Control Plan. The revision team includes representatives from federal and state agencies, universities, and non-governmental organizations. The team has completed revisions to the plan objectives, prioritized actions, and developed implementation details. The team is currently in the process of finalizing the draft including technical editing with accessibility compatibility in mind. In is anticipated that the final draft will be shared with ANSTF for approval at the Fall 2023 meeting.

Update: European Green Crab Control Plan

Theresa Thom (USFWS) followed with an update on the Management Plan for the European Green Crab. The European green crab has been a successful invader. It invaded the East Coast several years ago, but the West Coast more recently and has the potential for worldwide coastal invasion. Last year, Washington governor issued an emergency proclamation and emergency funding to address impacts.  There has been extensive EDRR and trapping in recent years and it expected to increase in the next year. Alaska Department of Fish and Game is conducting green crab monitoring and are developing a rapid response plan that will need to be incorporated soon. In the Northeast, green crabs have become increasingly problematic, especially in Maine as they threaten the shellfish industry. Since Canada is also experiencing impacts, management plans need to include cross boundary work. The revised plan will update information on distribution and impacts as well as include actions for prevention, forecasting, early detection, rapid response, eradication, control, and mitigation. It currently has nine management goals as the revision team continues to incorporate new learning and tools. In is anticipated that the plan will be ready for ANSTF review in May 2023.

Presentation: Stony Coral Tissue Loss Disease Transmission Overview

Nicholas Rosenau, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, reviewed the current studies related to transmission of Stony Coral Tissue Loss Disease (SCTLD). Research has shown that SCTLD can be transmitted via seawater and direct contact with sick corals and sediments.  Transmission mechanisms and causative agents not fully understood. There is evidence of possible bacterial involvement given effectiveness of antibiotic treatments, yet viruses of algal symbionts may also play a role. Over small-scale distances, such as Florida’s Coral Reef, the disease is likely transmitted via ocean currents. However, currents alone cannot explain disease spread across the wider Caribbean. Recent attention has focused on the role ships (ballast water, biofouling) may play in transmitting the disease. Shipping is considered a potential mechanism for SCTLD transport, especially to explain counter current shifts in SCTLD distribution and SCTLD outbreaks across geographically disjunct and distant locations. Vessels are known to be a significant global vector for the spread of aquatic nonnative species; a diverse assemblage of microbes is carried in ballast water. There are several examples of SCTLD including in the Bahamas, Cayman Islands, U.S. Virgin Islands, and Turks & Caicos. SCTLD pathogens can persist in both untreated and UV treated ballast water and remain pathogenic posing a potential threat to the continued spread and persistence of SCTLD. Targeted detection for bacteria and phytoplankton is needed to evaluate more specific SCTLD causing agents. New studies are underway including pathogen identification, environmental cofactors, and Pacific coral susceptibility. The Coral Disease Working Group is composed of ~30 federal, state, and academic partners. It provides support for local response, mitigation, and prevention efforts, and aims to enhance coordination of coral disease response activities across federal/state/local levels, including prevention of the spread of SCTLD to Pacific coral reefs. In 2021, the U.S. Coast Guard initiated an enhanced vessel screening program for SCTLD. Since inception, the Office of Commercial Vessel Compliance has identified 51 non-compliant vessels in support of SCTLD screening efforts

Presentation: Pacific Preparedness:  Building Capacity for Coral Disease Prevention and Response in the Pacific Islands

Valerie Brown, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, presented on the potential threat of SCTLD to Pacific waters.  While SCTLD has not yet been detected in the Pacific, it represents a real threat to the health and long-term sustainability of coral reefs and the coastal communities that depend on them. SCTLD is likely to become the most lethal coral disease ever recorded because of its high prevalence, the high number of susceptible species, its transmissibility, and the high levels of mortality exhibited by affected corals. Evidence suggests this disease is spreading via human activities and could eventually reach coral reefs in the U.S. Indo-Pacific, including Hawai’i, American Samoa, Guam, and the CNMI. The NOAA Strategy for SCTLD Response and Prevention includes eight goals, the last to prevent the spread of SCTLD to the Indo-Pacific region. The US Coral Reef Task Force Coral Disease Working Group has provided support for these jurisdictions to build preparedness and has identified key priorities that may minimize damage and protect coastal communities to the greatest extent practicable. The group has held a series of virtual workshops focused on preparedness, surveillance, and interventions. Input was used to develop an implementation plan for response and prevention that builds on the goals and priorities identified in NOAA’s SCTLD Strategy. The implementation plan outlines a –year course of action, highlighting key actions to address threats over the long-term.

Meeting Summary

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

Public Comment

Mark Minton, Smithsonian Environmental Research Center, informed the group that the International Conference on Marine Bioinvasions will be held May 15 – 19, 2023 in Baltimore, Maryland.

Maurice Sadowsky, member of the public, spoke to concerns regarding the use of commercial harvest to control invasive carp.

Adjourn Meeting

1Ferrante, J. A., Daniel, W. M., Freedman, J. A., Klymus, K. E., Neilson, M. E., Passamaneck, Y., ... & Hunter, M. E. (2022). Gaining decision-maker confidence through community consensus: developing environmental DNA standards for data display on the USGS Nonindigenous Aquatic Species database. Management of Biological Invasions13(4), 809-832.