The Aquatic Nuisance Species (ANS) Task Force was established by the Nonindigenous Aquatic Nuisance Prevention and Control Act (reauthorized in 1996 with the passage of the National Invasive Species Act) as a multi-agency body dedicated to preventing and controlling ANS (also known as aquatic invasive species invasive species
An invasive species is any plant or animal that has spread or been introduced into a new area where they are, or could, cause harm to the environment, economy, or human, animal, or plant health. Their unwelcome presence can destroy ecosystems and cost millions of dollars.

Learn more about invasive species
, or AIS). On January 11-12, 2023 the ANS Task Force held a public meeting, in accordance with the Federal Advisory Committee Act. The meeting was held at the U.S Fish and Wildlife Headquarters, in Falls Church, Virginia (with a virtual participation option).  The following is an executive summary of the meeting. Additional details about the meeting, including the agenda and detailed meeting minutes can be found at: https://www.fws.gov/program/aquatic-nuisance-species-task-force/meetings    


The full list of attendees, including the names of individuals present, are recorded in the full meeting minutes. In addition to member organizations below, representatives from each of the 6 regional panels were in attendance.


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


  • Great Lakes Commission
  • Chesapeake Bay Program
  • San Francisco Estuary Partnership
  • American Water Works Association
  • Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies
  • Gulf States Marine Fisheries Commission
  • Mississippi Interstate Cooperative Resources Association
  • Native American Fish and Wildlife Society
  • Smithsonian Environmental Research Center
  • Tahoe Regional Planning Agency

Meeting Agenda Highlights

Update Reports:

  • USGS NAS Database: New Species Occurrences
  • National Invasive Species Council Work Plan
  • Aquatic Invasive Species Commission Report
  • Canadian Council on Invasive Species
  • Prevention Measures Gap Analysis
  • Early Detection Rapid Response Framework
  • Invasive Carp National Plan
  • Quagga Zebra Action Plan
  • European Green Crab Plan
  • New Zealand Mudsnail Plan
  • Vessel Incidental Discharge Act Implementation
  • Subcommittee Activities

Discussion Topics:

  • Evolution of Boating Designs
  • Wildland Fire Operations

Informative Presentations:

  • Biofouling and Off-Shore Wind Operations
  • Analysis of Outreach Campaigns targeting the  Pet Trade and Outdoor Recreation
  • Environmental DNA Detection
  • Molecular Detection of Aquatic Pathogens
  • Lake Tahoe Control Efforts
  • Stony Coral Tissue Loss Disease Transmission, Prevention, and Response

Decisional Items

  • ANS Task Force 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 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 March 28, 2023. The Prevention Subcommittee coordinate with the Western Regional Panel and National Invasive Species to 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 March 17. 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 for distribution to ANSTF members and regional panels.

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 also 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: The ANSTF agrees 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 (action item).

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). 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 has limited states such as Massachusetts from utilizing 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: The 5% cap on administrative cost is written into the Nonindigenous Aquatic Nuisance Prevention and Control Act. Removing this requirement will require Congress to amend the Act. The-U.S. Army Corp of Engineers has conducted several studies of the biology of hydrilla and has conducted some small scale treatments. In the FY 23 budget there is language for up to $6 million on demonstration research. The Corp will continue to look for opportunity to support the region’s recommendation.
  3. The Northeast Aquatic Nuisance Species (NEANS) Panel recommends that the 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.  

    Response: The ANS Task Force 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.  

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.   But 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: The ANS Task Force understands the importance of this effort. We will continue to work within our membership to identify opportunities to support this work.

For More Information

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