On July 18-19, 2023, the Aquatic Nuisance Species (ANS) Task Force held a two-day virtual meeting. Action items and Decisions are listed below, followed by a summary of the meeting.


  1. The ANS Task Force adopted the document “Decontamination Firefighting Equipment to Reduce the Spread of AIS: How to Guide” to be used as a national voluntary guidance document.
  2. The ANS Task Force approved the formation of a working group to respond to the report requested by the Don Young Coast Guard Authorization Act of 2022 regarding legislative, programmatic, or regulatory changes to eliminate gaps in authorities between members of the Task Force to effectively manage and control the movement of aquatic nuisance species
  3. The ANS Task Force approved the National European Green Crab Management and Control Plan for posting in the Federal Register for public comment.
  4. The ANS Task Force approved the Model Process for a Rapid Response Fund for Aquatic Invasive Species.

Action Items

  1. Executive Secretary will make a request for participants on the Legislative Report Working Group. The Working Group report back at the next ANSTF meeting with a recommendation for a process to develop and the report that meets the requirements outlined in the Don Young Coast Guard Authorization Act of 2022.
  2. Executive Secretary will prepare a Federal Register Notice for public comment on the National European Green Crab Management and Control Plan. Comments will be forwarded to the European Green Cab Working Group for consideration. Once all comments are addressed, a final plan will be submitted to the ANS Task Force for approval.
  3. Executive Secretary will prepare a Notice of Funding Opportunity for the Rapid Response Fund for Aquatic Invasive Species, targeting early August for the notice to be posted.

Tuesday, July 18, 2023


Dave Miko (U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS)), introduced himself, welcomed the attendees and thanked them for attending virtually. Miko thanked Bonnie Johnson with USFWS and Joe Krieger from National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) for assisting with the meeting preparation.  

Miko reviewed the agenda, which was distributed to registered participants and posted on the ANS Task Force website and in the meeting chat. Topics on the agenda included presentations from U.S. Geological Survey, National Invasive Species Council, and Great Lakes Commission, as well as progress reports from Prevention and Outreach Subcommittees and presentations associated with these subcommittees.  Another agenda item is a decisional document for ANSGF Legislative Report Workgroup.

The second day will include reports from Control and Early Detection Rapid Response Subcommittee. Presentations will be provided for utilizing 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
commercially and aggregating risk assessments.  Planned decisional items on the agenda for European Green Crab Management Plan and Model Process for a Rapid Response Fine for Aquatic Invasive Species.  Regional panel recommendations are on the agenda for tomorrow as well.

Debbie Lee from NOAA introduced herself. Lee seconded thanks to Bonnie Johnson and Joe Krieger for their work and appreciated their support and enthusiasm.  Lee recognized the ANSTF Task Force members, who volunteer their time from their regular jobs to move Task Force priorities forward, and the outstanding regional panels and subcommittee members who have also dedicated hours of personal time and expertise to ensure that the meeting action items and work plans are progressing.

Bonnie Johnson of USFWS introduced herself and went over meeting logistics. She also announced there would be a public comment period at the end of each day.


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



Aarav Chavda

INVERSA Leathers

Adila Fathallah

The American Waterways Operators

Aimee Agnew

US Geological Survey

Alanna Keating

BoatUS Foundation

Ali Schwaab

Association of Fish & Wildlife Agencies

Alivia Kaplan

Inversa Leathers

Alyssa Miller-Hurley

Pet Advocacy Network

Amy Wray

US Geological Survey

Andrew Furness

US Fish and Wildlife Service

Angela McMellen Brannigan

National Invasive Species Council

Antoine Moreau-Johnson

Department of Fisheries and Oceans Canada

Ashley Brinkman

Pet Advocacy Network

Ashley Grimsley-Padron

Arkansas Game and Fish Commission

Bonnie Willison

Wisconsin Sea Grant

Bryan Falk

National Invasive Species Council

Caroline McLaughlin

Florida Sea Grant

Carolyn Junemann

U.S. Department of Transportation - Maritime Administration

Celilia Weibert

Great Lakes Commission

Charlie Robertson

Gulf States Marine Fisheries Commission

Chelsea Bohaty

Army Corps of Engineers

Chris Hendershot

BoatUS Foundation

Christie Trifone Millhouse

North American Invasive Species Management Association

Christina Coppenrath


Christine VanZomer5en

US Army Corp of Engineers

Chuck Bargeron

University of Georgia

Cole Harty

Mississippi River Basin Regional Panel

Connor Bevan

American Sportfishing Association

Craig Martin

US Fish and Wildlife Service

D Davis

Quagga D LLC

Dave Miko

US Fish and Wildlife Service

David Beugli

Willapa Grays Harbor Oyster Growers Association

David Ufberg

INVERSA Leathers

Deborah 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

Dominique Norton

California Department of Fish and Wildlife

Donald R. MacLean

US Fish and Wildlife Service

Elizabeth Brown

Elizabeth Brown Environmental Consulting

Emily Dean

Cherokee Nation System Solutions

Eric Fischer

Indiana Department of Natural Resources

Heather Desko

NJ Water Supply Authority

Heidi McMaster

US Bureau of Reclamation

Henri Ferré

INVERSA Leathers

Ian Pfingsten

US Geological Survey

Jane Anderson

US Fish and Wildlife Service

Jim Page

Georgia Department of Natural Resources

Jim Williams

Public Citizen

Joe Krieger


Joe Vacirca

US Forest Service

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

Joyce Bolton

US Department of Agriculture

Justin Bush

Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife

Kaitlyn Jacobs

Naval Facilities Engineering Systems Command

Karen McDowell

San Francisco Estuary Partnership

Kariscia Ramjag

Department of Fisheries and Oceans Canada

Kate Wyman-Grothem

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

Kerry Wixted

Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies

Kim Bogenschutz

Association of Fish & Wildlife Agencies

Kim Holzer

US Fish and Wildlife Service

Kristen Sommers

US Fish and Wildlife Service

Kristina Burnette

Washoe Environmental Protection Department

Leah Elwell

Western Regional Panel

Leah Harnish

The American Waterways Operators

Lisa DeBruyckere

Creative Resource Strategies, LLC

Lynn Creekmore


Mark Lewandowski

Chesapeake Bay Program

Mark Minton

Smithsonian Environmental Research Center

Martha Volkoff

California Department of Fish and Wildlife

Matt Horton

Arkansas Game and Fish Commission

Matthew Neilson

U.S. Geological Survey

Matthew Nichols

Florida Fish & Wildlife Conservation Commission.

Meagan Kindree

Fisheries and Oceans Canada

Meg Modley

Lake Champlain Basin Program

Michele L Tremblay

Northeast Aquatic Nuisance Species Panel

Mike Greer

US Army Corp of Engineers

Mike Ielmini

US Forest Service

Mike Weir

US Army Corps of Engineers

Mitzi Reed

Native American Fish & Wildlife Society

Moira van Staaden


Monica McGarrity

Texas Parks and Wildlife Department

Nicole Hernandez

US Geological Survey

Nicole Olmsted

Navy Region Hawaii

Olivier Marois

Fisheries and Oceans Canada

Patrick Kocovsky

U.S. Geological Survey

Paul Zajicek

National Aquaculture Association

Peter Kingsley-Smith

Gulf & South Atlantic Regional Panel

Portia Sapp

Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services

Riley Doherty

Connecticut Agricultural Experiment Station

Rob Bourgeois

Mississippi Interstate Cooperative Resources Association

Rochelle Sturtevant


Sandy Moore

Segrest Inc

Sara Cowell

Fisheries and Oceans Canada

Sara Piccolomini

U.S. Geological Survey

Sarah Morningred

Office of the US Trade Representative

Shelley Jepps

Fisheries and Oceans Canada

Steven Pearson

New York State Department of Environmental Conservation

Summer Stebbins

Connecticut Agricultural Experiment Station

Susan Pasko

US Fish and Wildlife Service

Tammy Davis

Alaska Department of Fish and Game

Tanya Brothen

U.S. Department of State

Tara Whitsel

U.S. Army Corps of Engineers

Theresa Thom

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

Tim Campbell

University of Wisconsin Sea Grant

Tim Counihan

US Geological Survey

Wesley Daniel

US Geological Survey

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 January 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.

Karen McDowell stated list of attendees was not included in the minutes and asked for a conditional approval of the minutes and add in list of attendees when available.

Lee called for a friendly amendment that list of attendees be added to the minutes.  There was a motion to approve, and a second.  There was no discussion.  The friendly amendment was approved.

The status of the Action Items from the last meeting were reviewed and are listed below.

  1. 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 members and regional panels.

    Status: Complete.  The U.S. Geological Survey provided all the information after the January 2023 meeting and forwarded to the task force members and the regional panels.
  2. 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.

    Status: Complete.  The document was distributed after the January 2023 meeting.  The Prevention Subcommittee reviewed all comments and they will provide update on this project in today's meeting.
  3. The Executive Secretary will distribute the “Model Process for a Rapid Response Fund” document to ANSTF members and regional panels for comments.

    Status: Complete.  The document was distributed after the January 2023 meeting.  The Rapid Response Fund Work Group reviewed the comments, and will provide updates tomorrow at this meeting.
  4. The Outreach Subcommittee will consider options to develop a single online national resource similar to “Protect the West” for communicating watercraft inspections and decontamination requirements, procedures, and state program contacts.

    Status: Complete.  The Outreach Subcommittee discussed this issue and will provide update options and recommendations tomorrow.
  5. Subcommittees will submit work plans to the Executive Secretary by January 23 for distribution to ANSTF members and regional panels.

    Status: Complete.  All work plans were distributed to the task force members and the regional panels after the January 2023 meeting.  The individual subcommittees addressed any comments received.

Presentation: Nonindigenous Aquatic Species Database

Wesley Daniel, U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) Nonindigenous Aquatic Species (NAS) Program Lead, presented on recent introductions of aquatic invasive species (AIS) across the U.S. and provided updates on Horizon Scans, hotspot analysis, and recently completed projects.

Daniel provided an overview of the NAS database with updates on new occurrences. The database serves as a centralized source for AIS data. The database is currently tracking every nonindigenous, nonnative, invasive, exotic aquatic species in U.S. waters. The database includes 1395 species and has just under 700,000 records. NAS tracks entire history of invasions, verifies, and sends alerts of new species detections. There are 1,119 alert users; this number is lower after cleaning up email accounts. 

There have been 180 NAS alerts.  Two new species found in the U.S., 5 new for state; 11 for drainage, 46 for county, and 16 bonus.  75 species/taxa represented across the 180 alerts.  Forty of the fifty states are represented and Puerto Rico.  The states with top sightings were California (26), and Pennsylvania (21), and Texas (12).

The group breakdown of taxa of those new occurrences was shown, with top three being plants; quite a few new mollusk introductions, especially with mystery snails and Louisiana mud snails, and turtle sightings through the iNaturalist system.  Source data was literature, other data systems, and directly through the NAS sighting report form.

More important sightings in last few months.  The number one big jump occurred with northern snakehead, representing the most northern spread in the Mississippi Basin and most southern, Louisiana.  This was reported by Missouri Department of Conservation.  There was one found in Louisiana.  A fry ball that was visible, so there is representation of reproduction by this group.

The new species to U.S. are two cichlids, the DE Mason’s cichlid and threespot cichlid hybrid.  Although not new to Hawaii, but underreported, is smallflower umbrella sedge found in Lawaii Stream.

Large-flower water primrose-willow was emphasized as newer introductions into Texas, expanding the known range.  Primary introduction was through trade, a release or escaped captivity from a pond, but now can be spread through waterfowl which is problematic.

Several mollusks have been moving into new areas, especially Chinese mystery snail and the New Zealand mud snails.  Both occurred in wildlife refuges, which presents an opportunity for when these first introductions occur to think of the option for rapid response as they are federal lands. 

The NAS database is contributing to development of plant and invertebrate horizon scans.  Over 70,000 plants have been identified in the trade.  They are now looking at climate match of those plants to the U.S., and plan to launch into horizon scan using expert consultation to review the risk of establishment spread and impacts. For the terrestrial and aquatic invertebrate taxa, 7,000 invertebrates have been identified being purposefully imported, and looking towards including hitchhiking species.

For Puerto Rico and U.S. Virgin Islands effort, experts from the island will help with the horizon scan.   It is an all taxa scan for Puerto Rico and U.S. Virgin Islands.

In process of finalizing manuscript for the Terrestrial and Aquatic Vertebrate Taxa.  That project was completed last year, and in the process of writing the manuscript and distributing for review.

Hotspot predictions are attempting to look across the landscape at various landscape factors and socioeconomic-associated activities and how that influences the risk for invasive.  Michigan State University is developing a prediction process utilizing both occurrence model (SDM) with MaxEnt and climate model occurrence with Climatematch to create a presence/presence model.  It is more sensitive than doing a climate-only process, being more conservative in predictions, and also allows to look towards the future.  This can also be used for individual species.  This will help predict areas that need to have surveillance and think about future climate scenarios.  Boat ramp density has shown to be an important factor in predicting high-risk areas.

Kelly Gilbeau’s project on Risk Communication within the Pet and Aquarium Trade has been approved through USGS.  Will be reviewed through Fish and Wildlife Service and will be distributed through the ANSTF for review.  Zoey Hendrickson study on  Identifying Management Gaps for Nonindigenous Aquatic Species was sent through Fish and Wildlife for review. 

Q.  Can you give us a bit of an indication of how you are isolating the magnitude you mentioned?

A.  We are trying to come up with those five categories of how magnitude we will look at.  The team is actually working on that right now. 

Update:  National Invasive Species Council

Angela McMellen Brannigan provided an overview of the National Invasive Species Council (NISC) current and future work plans.  Climate Change was a new addition to the work plan.  Several activities were formed. The first being the formation of Community of Practice (CoP) which is an opportunity to bring interested federal experts together to share information and identify strategic opportunities related to the intersection between invasive species and 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
.  Next activity under climate change is Managed Relocation.  First is getting everyone speaking the same language in terms of Managed Relocation.  Going to be looking at harmonizing terminology.  Second is to address invasive species risks associated with managed relocation as a conservation strategy. 

Next is Disaster Preparedness and Response.  There are more frequent storms, lightning, heat waves and disastrous events and there is a need to figure out when a disaster might lead to the spread of an invasive species and how to respond to these disasters such as equipment, personnel and cleanup of the debris.  Task team is bringing together people that have experience managing disasters and people who are experts in invasive species. 

Aquatic Invasive Species at Ports of Entry task team formed in response to the detection of moss balls.  Working on enhancing coordination between various entities that are working at ports of entry and clearing cargo into the US for commerce.  Communications tool between USFWS, USDA-APHIS, and DHS-CBP.  Guidance to APHIS and CBP on referrals to USFWS. 

Early Detection and Rapid Response Framework (EDRRF) task team will help facilitate coordination across federal agencies to support DOI’s development and implementation of this framework.  Includes working through many groups associated with ANSTF and other workgroups within DOI to support inter-agency work on this framework. 

Intersection between Invasive Species and Wildland Fire is a joint NISC and WFLC task advancing coordination of wildland fire and invasive species management.  A 13-priority document that has led to additional outputs. 

Information Management team is working with the NISIC including providing input on content, 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
, curation and long-term sustainability. There also is a task team working on a briefing paper highlighting the types of information and data and how that data can be used for decision makers. 

Horizon Scanning team is working  on how to translate work on horizon scans into decision making and resource allocations on the ground, including interagency information sharing on data sources, analytical tools and horizon scan outputs. 

Outreach and Engagement team is developing consistent messaging and support the deployment of that messaging across all the different agencies that use Recreation.gov to interface with the general public in making reservations.  . 

FY2024 topics for consideration.  Research, development and science support; international engagement and biological control.  Have opportunity to explore what agencies are concerned about in terms of biological control for invasive species and see where that might lead us to the next fiscal year. 

ISAC was formed in 2000. Last year, three subcommittees were formed to focus on priority areas of work.  Hope to have a draft of those priorities at our next ISAC meeting.   Area to focus on was climate change and under served communities.  Looking to write a paper both on the impacts of invasive on those communities as well as recommendations for better engagement with underserved communities and how to combat invasive species within those communities.    

Q.  You showed a slide on our crosscut budget numbers; are those normalized to a specific fiscal year or is that just the dollar value each fiscal year because I’m wondering; you were showing the upward trend and I wonder if that is a real trend based on real dollars or real buying power?

A.  I don’t believe they are normalized; I think it is just a dollar figure and if you noticed, Should normalize to show buying power and not just investment. 

Progress Report from the Prevention Subcommittee Workplan

Joseph Krieger (NOAA) provided an update on the Prevention Subcommittee. The US Geological Survey is going to hold a workshop on the secondary pathways and developing new tools and looking to revise this pathway’s risk assessment.  Second strategy is to work with applicable federal agencies and responsible industry sectors to make organisms in trade importation data electronically available and searchable and help ensure that this data is correctly identified to species.  Some information has been made available on a public website.  They are continuing to explore ways to make species and trade data more accessible. 

USGS and USFWS have completed a number of global and regional horizon scans.  Looking to make these scans available online at https://ecos.fws.gov/ServCat.  The USGS has completed a raw list of species and trade in the US that could be of concern as to AIS managers. 

Next category is aquatic plants and hitchhiker risk analysis to determine gaps in prevention authorities.  USGS received funding for an aquatic plant and hitchhiker risk analysis and asked the USDA’s for data from their hitchhiker database.  An Organism in Trade Hitchhiker Group has been formed from the Prevention and Communications subcommittees.   Zoey Hendrickson (M.S. student, University of Florida) has also completed an assessment on gaps in federal authorities and is revising the document.   

An ad hoc committee is pending to evaluate and implement the roles and responsibilities of the ANSTF under the Vessel Incidental Discharge Act (VIDA).  VIDA would require the Coast Guard in consultation with EPA and acting in coordination with or through the ANSTF to establish a framework for federal intergovernmental response to aquatic nuisance species risks.  Second requires EPA in coordination with Coast Guard and Smithsonian to establish a risk assessment and response framework using ballast water discharge data and aquatic nuisance species monitoring data to track ANS populations, evaluate risks and establish emergency best practices.  EPA is still developing standards and we will engage once the regulatory text has been finalized. 

Next objective is to enter into national prevention practices agreements that promote effective risk management measures.  USFWS awarded a grant to Creative Resource Solutions for the seaplane risk analysis project.  Scheduled to be completed by late 2024. 

Presentation: Great Lakes AIS Landing Blitz

Ceci Weibert presented on a landing blitz event in the Great Lakes in which volunteers, agencies, staff, people conducted inspections and education on boat ramps. The first regionally coordinated landing blitz was held in 2019.  Prior to 2019, Landing Blitz events were coordinated individually within each jurisdiction.  Over the course of four events, approximately 553,000 boaters were educated at boat launches; 1.8 million people saw information about the event on Facebook, Instagram and/or Twitter and 446,000 inspections were conducted. 

Map shown for 2023 Landing Blitz Event Locations.  Excellent location coverage in some states and some inconsistent coverage in other states.  We put together a project that enhances the good work that states and provinces were already accomplishing while also working to put together tools and empower local partners to expand event coverage where possible.  Put together a project team which are representatives of Great Lakes states and tribes.  Team makes decisions, guides implementation of project activities, participates in subrecipient selection, and provides input on and consent to project outputs. 

Three primary objectives.  First being to improve capacity for boat inspections and in-person outreach. Secondly, outreach efforts through mass and social media and is an important aspect of the success of our Landing Blitz program.   Finally working to develop tools to recruit and retain local event partners. 

Under Objective One, outputs would be up to 28 sub-awards for boat inspections and in-person outreach.  Training provided to subrecipients to follow existing protocols.  Provide event starter kits to each subrecipient. 

An RFP is available on The Great Lakes Commission’s website if you wish to look through the specifics.  Opportunity for the local agencies and organizations looking for capacity funding.  Awarded 11 sub-rewards in 2022, in 2023 additional 12 sub-rewards.  Awards were capped at $10,000.  Goal is to build new partnerships and augment those efforts and jurisdictions with lower capacity for engagement. 

Objective two are efforts to expand outreach through mass and social media.  Putting together public service announcements for both television and radio.  Mass media marketing strategy is to run PSA’s, but we only ran them in Minnesota.  Identification of social media influencers that are relevant to recreational boating in the Great Lakes. 

2022 and 2023 focused on geotargeted advertising at specific boat launches used to make sure we are targeting the correct audience and online digital marketing including advertisements, pre-roll video, etc. 

Objective three, developing tools to recruit and retain our local event partners.  Goal is to establish tools for jurisdictions to continue to build a local partnership.  Developing foundational event outreach materials to recruit new event partners for future events and watercraft voluntary inspection training modules. 

Total number of media engagements is 42; 31,000 social media impressions, talked with 5,000 voters and over 10,000 people.  Identified species that were found include coontail, Eurasian water milfoil, curlyleaf pondweed, Canadian waterweed, wester waterweed, starry stonewort, zebra mussels, variable milfoil, water chestnut, and slender nyad.

Q.  Do any of these guidelines cover the wake setter types of boats, the personal recreational vehicles that take on ballast water in order to do surfing?

A.  Yes.  We have promoted to our participants and our state partners the use of the ANSTS Voluntary Guidelines which includes some of that information. 

Presentation: Data Driven Tools to Support AIS Management Decisions:

Part 1: Development and stakeholder engagement

Nichole Angell and Dr. Nick Phelps, Minnesota Aquatic Invasive Species Research Center present on two recent studies from the Minnesota Aquatic Invasive Species Research Center.

We have more than 10,000 lakes in Minnesota and hundreds are infested with a variety of invasive species.  Zebra mussels at nearly 400 lakes, milfoil more than that, starry stonewort is relatively new here in about 20 lakes.  We have about 800,000 registered boats. Project to develop a model to inform of risk based management activities that will prevent the spread of AIS in Minnesota.  Bringing together the environmental landscape in a human system.  Need to know where invasive species are right now.  An important data source is looking at boater movement.  We have a long-standing watercraft inspection program.  Data available from 2014 to 2017; during that time DNR and local partners had conducted 1.3 million inspection surveys across the state to determine patterns of movement.  737 lakes that received inspection efforts; almost 1,500 lakes that were connected and 7,000 or so lakes that were not mentioned in the data set.  Able to create Estimated Boater Network which shows movement between lakes.  Boat movement that would be risky based on known data are boats that move from an infested water to an un-infested water.  Focused on boats moving from infested waters to non-infested waters. 

Another data source is environmental suitability.  Used a fairly basic environmental suitability modeling approach for North American spread of zebra mussels and starry stonewort.  Develop models to estimate the risk of introduction to guide surveillance programs.  Second, focusing on those at-risk boats, wanted to prioritize watercraft inspections using optimization models.  Models and documents were created and uploaded to AIS Explorer which is an online tool that you can find at https://AISexplorer.umn.edu.  With the Introduction to Risk for Surveillance Tool, data can be visualized by county level or with tribal boundaries to see the risk of introduction from zero to 100%.  If it is red, it is already infested.  Able to download these files.  Second option is Prioritization for Watercraft Inspection.  Visualizes the location and lakes ranked by the number of risky boats that an inspector could intercept. 

Co-creation was essential for this work and is critical for any research on this topic.  Managers identified the need for these types of tools.  Met through the process giving managers early versions, getting feedback and us trying to make it happen.  Outreach with stakeholders, many webinars and presentations. Local management online workshops teaching how to use this tool, understanding data that went into it, the assumptions.  Started to socialize these ideas with other states and countries. 

Q.  Do you have enough information to determine which lake was which for different lakes within the same county?

A.  We do have a lot of duplication of lake names; that became a challenge and we had to create rules for adjusting that.  First identified lake county pairs and if we can find a lake within that county with that name or similar, we assigned it to that lake.  If there were two lakes in that county with the same name, we defaulted to the lake with the public access or the lake that was bigger.  Any confusion or uncertainty we removed the data from the data set. 

Q.  Did we consider assigning confidence to future water bodies visited?

A.  No, we did not. 

Part 2: Adding Complexity and Future Directions

Assumption is that lakes are largely the same.  In the models, we would start to incorporate that variability with the types of connections, the degrees of suitability, incorporating real time data on infestation status.  Right now, we are adding interventions. We know there are interventions happening within the network.  There are inspections happening, boaters are being educated, but managers wanted a way to turn dials such as if I added an intervention here, what would happen, etc.  That has been our current focus. 

Top three interventions to look at were boater education, watercraft inspection by trained professionals and hot water or water decontamination for high-risk boats.  Need more information on how effective were those interventions on the landscape and the benefits.  Trying to look at the cost effectiveness of these prevention measures.  Hosted experimental boat inspections where participants inspected a typical fishing boat that AIS were purposely planted on. Chose 10 standardized locations and species to plant based upon expert opinion on where AIS are likely to get stuck on a boat.  Plants in six locations, zebra mussels in two locations, residual water in one and spiny waterflea in another.  Used dead species so as to not introduced risk while completing these experimental inspections. 

Decided to recruit boaters to represent the effectiveness of boater education programs, inspectors for watercraft inspections and subsequently decontaminators to represent the effectiveness of hot water decontaminations.  Two evaluators observed the experimental inspection process, first recording what they removed and second evaluator reporting where they were looking and touching on the boat.  Treating this data as baseline data for the best-case scenario for removal.  Used UMPS protocol for decontamination evaluation.  Boaters were around 56% in their removal efforts; inspectors around 79% and decontaminators around 84%. 

Observed a lot of variability between regions and participant types.  Observed regional differences with boaters in the outstate region removing fewer AIS than the metro area.  Differences with the inspectors between the two different regions without outstate inspectors removing more than those in the metro area.  Its likely that spiny water flea are being more removed in the outstate region because spiny water flea are not present in the metro area lakes but they are in outstate regions. 

Observed differences in removal by the type of AIS.  Plants were most removed by all participant groups; however for other AIS the groups struggled.  Results from the lava lake thermal imagery, darker color represents a lower sufficiency and brighter color represents better sufficiency.  These are the percent of decontaminators that sufficiently decontaminated a boat section.  Low sufficiency overall.  Inspectors are doing their job.  Decontaminators are focusing below the water line where AIS are likely to get stuck.  In contact with state agencies and local to talk about what can be done moving forward to increase the effectiveness of hot water decontamination.  Recorded times taken for inspections; the more time taken, the better the removal efforts.

Managers have to work on a budget, so need to think about cost data.  First reached out to Minnesota DNR and asked them for data that counties had reported to them to get an idea of general spending trends.  Chose counties that reported well to host interviews with and ask for itemized cost information.  Slide with average cost per intervention.  Boater trip cost around $.40, an inspection cost around $20 and a hot water decontamination cost around $362. 

We have a beta version available now but will be live very soon.  It will allow managers to manipulate the underlying networks through a series of steps where they select their lakes, define the type of intervention, and define their effectiveness. The default settings are based on empirical data and the costs that the different interventions carry. The output visualizes and sends an HTML report to you via email.  As the user modifies spending patterns and changes the effectiveness of different things from default settings, dramatically different outcomes can occur.  This allows managers to get an informed plan based on these models.  Future directions we have to add additional years of water movement data from 2018 to 2022, looking at the changes during the pandemic.  Sub networks based on boat types, using mobile applications to track boaters, and exploring the availability of cell phone tracking data.  Several projects underway that will be expanding the scope of the AIS Explorer and risk models. 

Presentation:  Stop the Spread:  Organisms in the Trade (OiT) Hitchhikers Work Group Progress Report and Discussion

One way that AIS are introduced and transported is via commerce.  Further, manage their risk of hitchhikers by engaging with aquaculture producers and pet industry retailers.   Focus areas are producing a master list of regulated species by authority.  Secondly, produce and maintain a master list of regulatory contracts.  Thirdly, develop outreach messaging and training for retailers.  Fourth, creating improving management practices for preventive hitchhiking nonnative species.

Emily Reed with Virginia Tech provided a presentation on integrating policy and biology for invasive species management.  Prototype for developing a state-level regulation database on policies.  Group will continue to explore ways to partner on funding and support this type of work. 

Kerry Wixted, Association of Fish & Wildlife Agencies, discussed how Kris Stahr found crayfish showing up in some of their feeder fish shipments, sometimes bullfrog tadpoles as well at local pet stores. Idaho also identified crayfish hitchhikers.  Incidents have happened in the past but have not been reported.  Safeguards are in place, but not all are being followed by stores and employees.  Seasonal reminders need to be sent out to keep an eye out on shipments, particularly late winter/early spring.

Kristen Sommers, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, spoke on prevention.Visited four different aquaculture farms, focused on concerns of the farms, concerns that eDNA could indicate a species that wasn't there, but DNA might be in water.  Concern about eDNA being used as an enforcement tool in the future.  Hitchhikers are being identified but not actually present.  Another concern was that unintended hitchhikers may trigger violations of Title 16 of the Lacey Act.  Looking forward to the outcomes and recommendations that are being developed by the AIS in commerce work.  

Presentation: Mitigating the Risks of Aquatic Invasive Species in Commerce to North America with Leah Elwell, Conservation Collaborations, LLC, and Lisa DeBruyckere, Creative Resources Strategies, LLC.

Lisa DeBruyckere with Creative Resources Strategies stated project started in October 2022 with goal of creating action plan to intersect AIS trade and transport in commerce.  Team consists of Lisa DeBruycker, Leah Elwell (Conservation Collaborations, LLC), and Stephanie Otts (National SeaGrant Law Center).  Important issue because global commerce an e-Commerce growing rapidly. Regulatory and agency staff have insufficient capacity and training to provide compliance and enforcement relative to global commerce and e-Commerce. Under biosecurity framework want to identify the key pieces that result in an efficient and effective framework.  At the draft stage, voluntary industry practices, legal authorities, accessible information, record requirements, resources in capacity, knowledgeable consumers, collaborative interdiction, and innovative technology.  Biggest strategies under knowledgeable consumers is the large comprehensive outreach campaign, incorporating elements of what they have currently from Habitattitude and other efforts that have taken place to date.

Purpose of project is not to reinvent the wheel but to build on the strengths of past programs, identify those gaps that exist and seize on those opportunities.  Asked participants a series of questions that they could go onto a website and answer the questions. Improve investments in and the use of innovation in technology to advance the ability of agencies to intercept AID in commerce.    Can do this by screening imported goods and using eDNA technologies and taking steps to modernize customs.  Implement notifications prior to shipments to promote priority of inspections.  Develop the use of web crawlers to filter, screen, and provide administrative oversight to online sales.

Leah Elwell presented in the progress of the Stop the Spread: Organisms in the Trade (OiT) Hitchhikers Work Group. Early this year released a background document which is AIS in e-commerce, that's on their project website.  Case studies have been done examining different aspects of three different species.  The marbled crayfish, red-eared slider, and water hyacinth.  Distribution of these species is a contributor to the issue of these regulatory problems.  Marbled crayfish - nod indigenous population recognized.  Red-eared slider, native to southeastern U.S. and very popular in pet trade.  Water hyacinth has been a recognized problem since 1899.

Conduct effective outreach may include Developing and maintaining toolkits that will include best management practices for people to use.  Providing easy access to restricted species in each state.  Let buyers and sellers find a one-shop location to find the information that they need to help educate them in not spreading invasive species in commerce.

Scope and scale of these issues is to work collaboratively to develop effective and efficient solutions.  Everyone in the supply chain has a responsibility to prevent the spread of AIS in commerce.  Need a disciplined approach to make progress.  Majority of people have positive intentions, although fraud and illegal activities exist.

Outreach Session

Outreach Subcommittee Progress Report

Tim Campbell (Wisconsin SeaGrant) presented on the progress of Outreach Subcommittee, including reviewing the findings of the outreach assessment implementation plan, maintaining and evaluating the AIS Community of Practice, updating the Stop Aquatic Hitchhiker website, and social science coordination. 

Protect the West website recommendation supporting Wildlife Forever in grant application to further develop and manage this resource.  Support Wildlife Forever in grant application to further develop and manage this resource. 

Science Storytelling through Podcasts

Bonnie Willison, Wisconsin Sea Grant, discussed Science Storytelling through Podcasts.  Makes podcasts and videos out of Wisconsin Sea Grant.  Been there for four years and self-taught, making videos and podcasts.  Talking about the approach to podcasting.  The benefits of storytelling and communicating about science.  Practical advice for podcasting.  At Wisconsin Sea Grant, they tell stories about the work of outreach specialists, research, and topics of interest.  Been presenting podcasting for 10 years.  Can find all the podcasts on the Wisconsin Sea Grant website.

Introduced is a podcast about the human decisions in invasive species that are changing Wisconsin's waters.  Have done podcasts about smelt, fired ear slider turtle, invasive carp, crayfish, and salmon.  Also interested in the cultural, political, and economic aspects behind the science.   Favorite story is Crayfish Crisis Episode 8.  Story happened ten years but only covered in scientific literature or DNR documents.  In 2009 the DNR detected a newly established population of red swamp crayfish in the Esquires State Pond in Germantown, Wisconsin.  They cause shoreline erosion and bank failure due to growing habits.  Control actions included manual removal through trapping, chemical treatment, and shoreline manipulation.  Including filling in infected pond successfully eradicating the crayfish invasion.  

Narratives are the default mode of human thought.  Narratives are easier to comprehend and more engaging than traditional logical scientific communication. Nonexperts get most of their scientific information from mass media content.  Stories have the ability to touch people emotionally.  One way to stop people from spreading invasive species is to tell them stories that they'll remember.  Another approach to podcasts is field trips.  With podcasts, you're able to lift up the voice of your guest and let people tell their stories in their words.  Podcasts are a mix between quality, content, and marketing.  Resources about starting podcasts are NPR training.  Transom Sound School, Association for independent radio, and podcast marketing magic.

AIS Commission Report Discussion - Elizabeth Brown, North American Invasive Species Management Association.

Led by Theodore Roosevelt Contribution Partnership.  Purpose of process was to assess the current threat from AIS and gaps in public policy and funding to develop recommendations for how AIS can be addressed more effectively.  Project started back in winter 2021. The AIS Commission  had a series of listening sessions from experts that led to final report in March. Talked about updating federal law and policy, increasing federal funding, enhancing collaboration, maintaining access to water, and public education and engagement.  Gave list of priorities.  First was new AIS legislation should build and modernize existing policies.

Priority number 2 was strategic, targeted funding for AIS prevention and management.  Recommendations to appropriate funds with reduced cost share.  Increasing funding for previous ANSTF management plan.  Increasing funding through regional restoration programs.    Reduce cost share for ANSTF, NISA, WRDA, and other grants.  Recommendation to authorize and fund ANSTF as an independent federal agency.  NOAA should establish of an office of Aquatic invasion species at NOAA headquarters as the cochair of the ANSTF and have dedicated staff, funding, and resources for AIS.

Point three is EDRR funding.  NISC and ANSTF should continue with working on EDRR plans and workflows.   There is an EDRR task force making a lot of progress.  Congress and federal agencies should examine the creation of categorical exclusions and waivers for EDRR actions.  NISC and ANSTF should cooperatively develop active inventory to enable agencies to do a cost-cut budget and share resources.  Federal, state, interstate, tribal, regional, international, and interagency coordination. Could be aided by a legal inventory with recommendations to mitigate regulatory gaps and redundancy.  

Point 4 is maintaining access to the water bodies.  Focused on watercraft inspections, decontamination, and enforcement.  Recommendation for more space and provide to adopt a model legal framework for watercraft inspection and decontamination.  Defining federal authority to conduct inspections.  Federal policy should seek to incentivize further development of AIS-resistant boating and recreational equipment. Furthering the implementation of the data-sharing system. Analyzing decontamination station effectiveness. 

Top priority in rank was funding, updated foundational federal law and policy, ensuring all federal agencies have sufficient funding to administer and operate an AIS program, streamlining bureaucracy, and cutting red tape.    Direct research on climate change-driven AIS impacts. Prevent new invasives from outside the country.

Public Comment

23rd International Conference on Aquatic Invasive Species.  May 12 -16 in Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada.  Meeting theme is meeting challenges with innovation.   Topics were shown on slide show.  Some were Innovation Management Tools, Social Sciences, Policy, Industry Adaptations, Geography and Migration, Environmental and Ecosystem Impacts, and Rising Threats Species, and Atlantic Canada -focused species. Abstract Preparation and Submission portal open on June 2, and will close on September 18.

There was a motion to adjourn, and it was seconded.  There was no discussion. The meeting was adjourned for first day.

Wednesday, July 19, 2023


Debbie Lee from NOAA introduced herself and thanked the participants for attending on July 19, 2023.

Today will include reports from Control and Early Detection Rapid Response Subcommittee, as well as presentations.  Report on how invasive species may be used in harvest to help control them in the fashion industry and the economic costs of invasive species.

Dave Miko (U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS)) welcomed new attendees and thanked everyone for the July 18, 2023 presentation.  Miko stated that after yesterday's first day of this meeting, he was very impressed to see the depth and breadth of the work that's being done specifically for the invasive species world.

Presentation: Developing a Recipe for Success:  When Can Public Harvest be Used to Successfully Control Invasive Species

Jason Goldberg (USFWS) presented on how the harvest of invasives can be effective under many circumstances. It can supplement other control management and containment options. Offers unique and potentially cost-efficient ways to reduce invasive species populations.  It can generate significant public awareness and engagement, but used incorrectly could make the problem worse.  It may also be a perverse incentive, create opportunities for additional spread, and create long-term markets and demand.

Targeted populations can lead to biological overcompensation. As populations decline, additional resources become available, making survival easier for those individuals that remain. That's promoting increased breeding and survival. Prevention, monitoring, and rapid response are still going to be necessary.

The Everglades likely have 10s of 1000s of pythons but estimating them is really challenging. Not only does that cryptic behavior make it difficult to capture or locate the species, but it also makes it difficult to estimate the population size. So without that accurate information, it's impossible to monitor and evaluate the success of control programs. Biological invasion can have ecological effects. It can result in the loss of biodiversity as well as altering ecosystem processes complexities that mean restoring native eco-communities.

Successful application of harvest incentives is species enrich independent. Good planning and monitoring are just as essential as any other option. Incorporating adaptive management harvest will not work on its own.  It might be cost-effective, but it is not free.

Presentation:  Luxury Fashion's Role in the Management of High-Density, Established Invasions

Aarav Chavda (INVERSA Leather):  Swiss watches and French handbags have a role in invasive management. Invasive management can be an investable activity proven and can drive as much as three to 20 times the leading bounty program of value to the hunter without requiring the same level of investment on an annual basis. Fashion is under attack for unsustainable practices and seeking novel materials.

The repeated removals of invasive lionfish off coral reefs affected coral reefs over time, leading to biomass and biodiversity recoveries of up to 70%. Fashion can be a way to tackle some of these large-scale scaled invasions. Fashion industry is a $3 trillion industry.  Fashion is high priced, high demand, very consistent, and it's scalable.  Fashion consumers who care about sustainability and environmental impact are drawn to their products, which helps spread the word about invasive species management.  Goal is to create as much maximum broad pressure to get local densities below the impact threshold in as many geographies as possible. 

INVERSA's goal is to shift the critical density threshold (CDT) as low as possible. CDT is the density required for a hunter to break even on direct and opportunity costs for hunting at a particular hotspot.  CDT decreases as prices increase. The version has been around for almost three years now and has expanded to three different species.  Only operate in heritage areas, and geographies where the animals removed are invasive. We removed about 40,000 invasives so far.

Eradication is extremely hard to achieve.  Given the scale of established invasives, the lionfish invasion started with 11 original females, and look at the size and the scope of it today.  Our goal or objective right now is to get invasives below the impact threshold. 

Presentation: Invests, a Database of the Economic Costs of Biological Invasions Worldwide

Dr. Anna Turbelin, Université Paris-Saclay presented on the development of the input cost database and share key results from the cost synthesis drawn from that database. In invasion biology, we have a few issues, and one of them is the difficulty of measuring and demonstrating the impact of invasions in a consistent way.  Ecological impacts related of native fish have an impact on society and reduce fish stocks. Now, not only these cuts, the impacts are complex, but also they evolve over time, which increases their complexity. And all this together really leads to complexity by potentially cost when you're trying to do a valuation and quantify the impacts. Example is spotted lanternfly.  Ecological impacts are plant stressor.  Causes dieback of tree branches, reduce photosynthesis activity and nutria levels. Societal impacts is it threatens agricultural and forestry species and is a human nuisance.

Ecological impacts in relation of native fish have an impact on society and reduce fish stocks. The impacts are complex, but also they evolve over time, which increases their complexity. All of this together really leads to complexity by potentially cost when you're trying to do a valuation and quantify the impacts. Not only did it overlap, but then you have monetary cost, non-monetary costs, and it makes it quite tricky to get an estimate.

Approach was to compile all studies already done and be as exhaustive as possible.  Make a typology of costs, and standardize them in a database.  Develop a defensible, systematic, transparent, and repeatable work strategy for data collection.  Make the database open, collaborative, and updatable.

Three steps for data collection. First one is to search references and requests documents from experts. Then all the material was screened to assess for relevance, everything was compiled into a database and all costs are standardized. Have a full description of all the references, and have 65 descriptors for each of the cost, including reference, taxonomy, study, and typology of costs. Were able to get over 13,000 cost records that cover nearly 1000 species and across 180 countries.

After the release of the database, and a couple of workshops, there were a total of 53 studies that have been published that use the database.  When you just look at the damage cost of biological invasion over a period from 1980 to 2019, the damage cost is actually comparable to natural hazards like earthquakes and floods, slightly lower down than storms, but still on the similar order of magnitude. And this is global data. But if you focus on the US, you actually see similar patterns. The cost of electrical invasions are comparable to natural hazards.

Cost of invasions to fisheries from 1970 to 2017, cost was 1.3 billion.  Did some modeling and looked at species that were known to have a negative impact or costs to fisheries, aquaculture. Then used attribute-based modeling and distribution modeling to see what the cost would be if we included those species, and found that actually is closer to 6 billion for that same period.

With costs and databasing, there's always uncertainty associated with what is presented, and here in the case of invasion, the costs are generally highly underestimated. There are geographic and taxonomic biases to knowledge gaps, and not all cost information is accessible. There is still a lot of information in grey material or unpublished documents or reports. The database is living.  It gets updated regularly.  The damage, and cost of invasion, are about the same amount it would take to eradicate AIDS over the next decades.

Control Subcommittee Progress Report

Kim Bogenschutz (AFWA) report on the progress of the Control Subcommittee.   Original Ruffe Control Plan Committee recommended revision by the subcommittee.  United States Fish and Wildlife, Regions 3 and 5, decided to archive the plan based on the Ruffe's distribution, rate of expansion, and current work being conducted.  To properly decide the next steps, USFWS decided a Ruffe management summary document was needed as a basis for a recommendation on the next steps for Ruffe Control Program plan.

New Zealand Mud Snail Plan Revision. In process of revising draft based on input from their control Working Group. No significant substantive revisions are needed based on Working Group control.  Have a lot of minor edits and comments and are streamlining content.  Next step is to send draft to all of the Panels' email lists for preliminary public input prior to submitting to NSTF.  Reviewers will have 14 days to provide comments directly to Martha Volkoff. Once those comments are incorporated, plan will be submitted to the task force for their consideration. Aiming to have comments incorporated no more than seven days from the response deadline, but if there are substantial comments, then they may request more time.

Invasive carp plan update.  USFWS sub-basin partnership coordinators are working with state partners and others to prioritize projects for the upcoming fiscal year.  Hoping to have final project proposals by early November and full funding package compiled by early May 2024

Still working on the decision-making process for new control plans.  Document completed for what should go in the plans, but need to develop process to decide whether or not a national control plan is warranted. 

FY24 work plan. Decision-making process for approval to develop new species control and management plans. Looking to the task force for a recommendation on the proper risk assessment methodology to recommend in the decision-making process.  Will then submit to the ANSTF for final approval. Then combine it with the development process and content guidance. NZMS plan out for public comment.  Other potentially new work elements pending. 

European Green Crab Presentation

Theresa Thom (USFWS) presented on the newly revised management plan for European green crab.  Recognized work group and plan manager as well as volunteers. Green crabs are native to Europe with potential for widespread coastal invasion.  European green crab is now one of the most damaging predators in nearshore coastal communities for both Eastern and Western North America. The European green crab is notorious and successful invaders worldwide, with established populations in South Africa, Japan, Argentina, and Australia. Green crab colonized in eastern North America in the early 19th century.  They now occur from Newfoundland to Maryland and are relatively recent to western North America, with successful colonization in San Francisco Bay in California in the early 1990s.

Following an assessment from the ANSTF of control plans that was completed and approved in June 2021, subsequent work to approve a structure and for new and updated species-specific management plans has helped guide this work, as well as surveys of experts and helping identify volunteers to shepherd these plan updates. A diverse working group was formed in early spring of 2022.  Subsequently sought input from stakeholders and developed an updated draft management plan that has been provided to the ANSTF for discussion today. Purpose of this plan is to help guide local, state, and federal agencies, tribal communities, and other stakeholders in detecting green crab in the earliest stages of invasion.  Responding to new detections and determine the extent of invasion, then implement immediate containment or other management actions. Overall goal is to minimize the likelihood of further spread and establishment in other locations.

Focusing on the following goals:  Prevention, monitoring, rapid response, emergency management actions, containment and control, eradication, research, economic analysis, outreach, and education, coordinated network, and adaptive management.

In addition to the evaluation criteria, establish an advisory committee for European green crab that would be showcasing different local, state, and federal tribal communities, universities and NGOs, and other relevant stakeholders to keep forward progress of the plan and evaluate adaptively how we're doing with this control plan.

There was a motion to add to Federal Register for comment, and it was seconded.  There was no discussion. The motion was approved. 

Northern Snakehead Control and Management Plan for the Chesapeake Bay Watershed

Andrew Furness (USFWS) provided an overview of the recently completed northern snakehead control and management plan for the Chesapeake Bay watershed. Plan was developed during the past year. Political interest in developing a controlling management plan for this species from Congressman Andy Harris, whose district includes Maryland's eastern shore.

Chesapeake Bay's northern snakehead plan differs from these existing plans in several ways. It's dealing with a single species, the northern snakehead.  It's at the regional level encompassing the six states of the Chesapeake Bay watershed plus Washington, D.C. The plan is now publicly available on the Mid Atlantic panel of aquatic invasive species website under the resources tab.

Chesapeake Bay region, which is really ground zero for northern snakeheads in the United States. First reproducing population of northern snakehead was discovered in 2002, in Crofton Pond in Maryland. This generated a great deal of media attention, and it actually led to the eradication of this population. Two years later, a reproducing northern snakehead population was discovered in the Potomac River.  A few months after that, a reproducing northern snakehead population was discovered in the Delaware River near Philadelphia.

Over subsequent years, northern snakeheads have colonized in the lower reaches of all major rivers connected to the Chesapeake Bay. They have also turned up in a variety of isolated water bodies such as reservoirs, lakes, and ponds.  Much of this is inferred to be natural spread, particularly during the springtime during flood events, but this has been greatly accelerated by human transport of northern snakehead from one body of water to another in order to create fisheries, so illegal transporting movement of the species.

Northern snakehead are native to Russia, China, and the Korean Peninsula.  Northern Snakeheads are the only species in the family which are found in temperate zones and are cold-tolerant.  Rest of the snakehead species are subtropical or tropical species.  They have been introduced and become established in Japan and Central Asia as well. This is the commercially most important snakeheads species. And in China, in particular, they're big in aquaculture. It's strongly suspected that in the US, people simply bought northern snakehead live in markets and then later released them into the wild.

There are six different objectives.  Under each objective, there is a list of actions that can be taken in support of that objective.  First objective, prevent new northern snakehead introductions into waterbodies within the Chesapeake Bay watershed and into adjacent watersheds. Primary law and regulations surrounding the species are that live transport and possession are prohibited. Anglers illegally transport northern snakeheads to new water bodies and introduce them in order to establish future fisheries for themselves.

Second objective is detecting new distinct northern snakehead populations at an early stage.  Identify areas containing species of conservation concern for priority detection.   A second key action is to develop a watershed-wide environmental DNA sampling design, in collaboration with partners, that focuses on these high-priority areas and leading edge.  Finally, develop coordination between state and federal agencies about appropriate rapid response actions.

Third objective, limit the spread of northern snakehead within the connected waterways of the Chesapeake Bay watershed.  Where possible, maintain artificial barriers to northern snakehead dispersal while simultaneously allowing for native anadromous fish passage fish passage
Fish passage is the ability of fish or other aquatic species to move freely throughout their life to find food, reproduce, and complete their natural migration cycles. Millions of barriers to fish passage across the country are fragmenting habitat and leading to species declines. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service's National Fish Passage Program is working to reconnect watersheds to benefit both wildlife and people.

Learn more about fish passage

Fourth objective, in established areas, minimize northern snakehead biology, population dynamics, and impacts and develop more effective detecting surveillance and control methods.

Fifth objective, conduct research to better understand northern snakehead biology, population dynamics, and impacts and develop more effective detection, surveillance, and control methods.  Key actions, determine what, if any, long-term impacts northern snakeheads have on aquatic communities of various types. Research selective fish passage to allow native anadromous species to bypass dams while preventing northern snakehead from doing so.  And then finally, conduct studies on the contaminant levels in northern snakehead from across the Chesapeake Bay watershed, and develop a consistent strategy for consumption guidance.

Sixth objective, implement public outreach in order to prevent additional introductions of Northern snakehead, and limit spread. First key action, present a message on the illegality of live possession and transport of northern snakehead as the primary message across all states and jurisdictions.  Second, regularly review websites and communication materials to make sure they're up to date as new information becomes available and control and management goals change.

In the national snakehead plan from 2014, they did some climate modeling of expected range of northern snakehead in the United States.  It's basically like the entire East Coast, and the Midwest is predicted to be suitable habitats. So they are found in Asia, their native range, they're found across a pretty wide variety of habitats from southern Russia, all the Korean peninsula to China.

Presentation: Early Detection and Rapid Response Subcommittee Progress Report

Wes Daniel (USGS) provided an update on the EDRR Subcommittee. Modifications to plan based on recent meeting.  Proposed outputs include, in particular, develop training course similar to that developed for HAACP for rapid response.  First objective is to keep the capacity for the USGS Non-indigenous Aquatic Species Database high.  Goal is to show capacity building and how to maintain and enhance the database.  Draft of this plan will be made available in September for review in the October meeting. 

Original strategy was looking toward in stative command system processes and provide training to eight individuals or jurisdictions that want to learn how to implement ANS response.  Modified into developing a rapid response plan template with the idea that any jurisdiction that has never completed a rapid response plan can pick this up and be able to build a rapid response plan.  Subgroup, the R2T3 team, has been working on this. 

The subcommittee is assisting with horizon scan tools and developing a framework for members to conduct them.  One development is potentially looking at gaps.  When scans are completed, we can then try to identify the gaps and make recommendations.  Also looking at decision tools to translate patterns of positive eDNA detections into risk profiles interpretable by natural resource managers.  Next steps will be taken after USGS work is finished. 

Opportunity here to work with USFWS to develop criteria or tool to judge when rapid response is feasible.  Opportunity to provide guidance on when an appropriate time would be to use rapid response.   Aid and development and upkeep of Fish & Wildlife Services Experts Database which will replace the older database.  Worked through a survey that was created to gather information for the aquatic portion of the database.  Interested in developing a complimentary terrestrial portion. 

Presentation: America's most wanted: Aggregating risk assessments to support early detection and rapid response to invasive plants and animals

Emily Dean presented on aggregating risk evaluations to help prioritize species for management.   Stopping an invasion is most effective when the species is insipient and even better when we can anticipate that species and set up preventative measures. Risk, the probability of the species showing up, is a way we can anticipate.  Evaluating risk is a useful tool to help prioritize the large species for management. Risk evaluations are stored in information systems and are published as grey literature or peer reviewed journal articles.  National IS Examples include USFWS Ecological Risk Screening Summaries database (ERSS) https://fws.gov/story/ecological-risk-screening-summaries:  Aquatic Invaders in the Marketplace: https://takeaim.org/.  Regional IS include Great Lakes Aquatic Nuisance Species Information System (GLANSIS) https://www.glerl.noaa.gov/glansis/, Ecological risk assessment Grass Carp (Ctenopharyngodon Idella) for the Great Lakes Basin, and peer-reviewed journal articles. 

Created an Invasive Species Risk Catalog (ISRC) to prioritize species for management action.  Thank you to Fort Collins for getting this catalogue out and online.  The catalogue is a living document, intent is to make data partnerships to get risk evaluations constantly updated. Decided to synthesize the current knowledge on the fish invaders in the US.  Tried to prioritize imported fishes for management action.  Interesting exercise to see if high risk live species are imported using the LEMIS list and understand if these high-risk fishes are managed for using Lacey Act or state policy.  Species that are unmanaged and high risk, but imported, could be those that are prioritized for management action or consideration. 

First aggregated those risk evaluations.  Searched existing information systems, Google Scholar and Web of Science using optimal search terms.  The assigned risk to species by creating standardized categories including introduction, establishment spread and impact as well as the overall status and assigned a scripter to those categories.  Then information was taken to determine if high risk species are imported through the LEMIS and are managed under the Lacey Act or state policy regulations and develop a list to consider for Priority Management Action.  Results were for 2,063 fishes from over 128 families and risk evaluations were available  nationally.  Wanted to focus on overall status results in the conterminous US, Great Lakes, and Florida. 

Approximately 98 high risk species in the conterminous US which includes native transplants and exotics.  There are 11 species that are high risk, imported but not prohibited.  Florida 26 high risk species. Several are not prohibited under the Lacey Act or under Florida policy.  Next steps are to pilot integration of all vertebrate risk evaluations in NEDRIS and complete aggregation of risk evaluations for plants and invertebrates.  Slide of sneak peek of plant species with risk evaluations.  Found 6,146 plant species and over 10,034 risk evaluations sifted through conducted through Hawaii, Texas, Florida and Minnesota. 

Q.  For the high-risk fish species being imported live, is the purpose of import related to primarily agriculture or pet related?

A.  I think mostly pet related but would need to look at data. 

EDRR Framework Updates to the ANSTF

Craig Martin (USFWS) and Hilary Smith provided an update on the implementation of the EDRR Framework and how the Department elevated it as a keystone initiative within BIL.  Also heard about the institutional architecture projects and how they fit together. National EDRR Framework in the United States has been recognized as a critical need in multiple strategic planning documents in the last decade and in the special edition of Biological Invasions in 2020.  Blueprint to facilitate the communication, collaboration and innovation needed for an effective National EDRR Program for non-agricultural invasive species.  Funding from BIL has enabled DOI to go from blueprint to bill.  DOI committed to advancing the framework and collaboration with states, federal agencies, tribes, territories and other partners and invasive species management forums. DOI is advancing projects such as conducting horizon scans, invasion hot spot analysis to inform strategic early detection surveillance activities, enhancing the environmental DNA capabilities and developing an online repository for sharing. 

DOI also made FY2023 investments and planning future investments.  Example includes the pilot rapid response fund which is a core element of the framework which will be voted on today.  Fund will bring one million dollars annually.  ANSTF and partners will benefit from the framework is first, it leverages funding for EDRR from BIL and budget requests.  Surveillance leverages first century technology with surveillance within invasion hot spots for high-risk species using traditional tools.  Will protect DOI assets.  Expedited source of rapid response funding through a coordinated rapid response fund for aquatic invasive species.  National EDRR Information System will help support the National Framework and can knit together local, regional, and national efforts into a readily accessible location and provide capabilities to EDRR practitioners. 

Coordinating on framework implementation is a work in progress.  Essential to explore forums with lead management authorities.  Looking to initiate an EDRR Framework Webinar Series through AFWA’s Invasive Species Committee.  Important to recognize there are different stages of development of EDRR, whether for terrestrial or AIS.  Great Lakes has a program that EDRR can learn from; others the framework can provide a blueprint for any management level to consider as a model when developing or enhancing their own EDRR work. 

Q.  How do you see those frameworks being leveraged by other federal agencies or the guests interweaving with the other agencies responsibilities?

A.  There’s not a lot of money in the federal government for invasive species as compared to other priorities in the federal government and by working together and coordinating work across agencies, we can have the most being for our buck.  DOI investments are creating a framework that exists in a lot of the agricultural invasive species but hasn’t existed in other invasive species.  That piece of coordinating hasn’t been as invested in and making those investments count for as much as possible by coordinating them across agencies. 

Presentation: Model Process for a Rapid Response Fund for Aquatic Invasive Species

Susan Pasko (USFWS) provided an overview of comments received from ANSTF and regional panel members on the Model Process.   Reminder this was an effort that supports the President’s America the Beautiful Initiative and helps implement the BIL fund.  The Rapid Response Fund will allow partners and agencies to assess and support response actions to quickly contain and eradicate newly detected species.  Designed to be administered within the existing authorities of the USFWS, Fish and Aquatic Conservation Program and to be coordinated through the AISTF. 

Expanded eligible AIS to include wetland species.  Addressed whether neo-native species would be eligible and decided if there was a species which was unknown, it would be eligible for funding provided that the species had not been previously detected in a defined area and that there was evidence that the presence would result in adverse impacts.  Interstate organization is now defined in the document.  Changed metric criteria percentage to put more weight on Potential Impact of the Invasion.  Was intended to be weighted at 15%, raised to 25%.  Developed metrics to monitor the success of the Rapid Response Fund.  Expanded metrics specific to projects to be funded and the overall fund.  To track the fund, there will be a template to be filled by the funded person to track the performance of the projects over time.  Adjusted the start date of the quarterly cycles of the Fund.  Delayed each quarters by one month to establish a timeline to make the first announcement of the fund and noting that of the start and end dates fell within the holiday season. 

No changes to quarterly award cycle.  Overtime may reach a point where we receive a proposal and be able to make that funding recommendation on a more rolling basis, but in pilot phase there is a need to evaluate proposals to establish a threshold for funding. Key points to be aware of, definition of rapid response did not change.  Defined as a process employed to eradicate the founding population of a non-native potential invasive species in a specific location before that species begins to reproduce. 

Eligible taxa has been expanded for AIS which now means fresh water, wetland as well as marine species. Eligible locations are areas where a new species has been detected.Eligible applicants are federal agencies as well as state agencies, US territories, Native American tribal government organizations and interstate organizations.  Those entities would be able to partner with or provide sub-awards to any other entity that may be excluded from this list. 

Eligible Activities, those applying to Rapid Response Fund should have a management goal that is the eradication of a targeted species from a defined location.  They should be activities that support or lead up to achieving that goal, including activities of evaluating response options, site delineation, containment of a species and actual deployment of a response measure.  Expected to identify the targeted species before applying for the Rapid Response Fund with evidence that species is likely to cause significant impact to the environment, economy, culture, resources or human or animal plant health. 

It is possible to apply for assessment funding in circumstances where not quite sure the best response plan or site delineation to understand the full extent of the invasion.  Once preliminary assessment is completed, you would need to submit a new project narrative, new budget narrative to the review team which will be evaluated in the same manner as your original application.  Funds cannot be used for long-term management.  Primary goal should be eradication or a significant reduction of the population that is of concern.  Recommended to have a three-year expiration from the time the project starts so as not to support long-term efforts.  If management goal is not achieved within that time period, project would have to reapply. 

Competitive discretionary funding activity running on a quarterly cycle.  Review team will take proposals received and make a funding recommendation.  Proposals submitted early that the team deems to be lower priority, they may choose not to fund the project or defer it to a later quarter.  Any selected project has the possibility of having pre-award costs approved.  Application information is detailed in the Notice of Funding Opportunity as well as the process documents. 

Review Team will have four people consisting of the Rapid Response Fund Coordinator, ANSTF member, regional panel member and subject matter expert.  Merit criteria, categories have not changed, but the weights have changed slightly.  Potential Impact of the Invasion 25%, Proposed Approach 25%, Preparedness 15%, Experience and Qualifications 15%, Budget 10% and Post Response Commitment 10%.  Award reporting: progress report to USFWS every six months, final report 120 days after award period ends.  Working on a template that would accompany final report to make sure we have consistent information to track metrics. 

Next steps we are on track to post the first Notice of Funding Opportunity by August 1st.  In preparation for the first proposals, we are reaching out to individuals to recruit them to serve on the different review teams. 

Q:  Is there a 25-percent cost share required for an award?

A: No, but projects with a cost share would score higher in the budget merit criteria.

Q: If you submit one quarter but are not selected, do you have to resubmit in a future quarter, or will you be carried over to the next quarter?

A: You would have to submit each quarter.

There was a motion to approve process for Aquatic Invasive Species, and it was seconded.  There was no discussion. The motion was approved. 

Regional Panel Recommendation

The ANSTF received one recommendation came from the Mid-Atlantic Panel:

Chinese Pond Mussel (Sinanodonta woodiana; CPM), a large freshwater bivalve native to eastern Asia with extensive invasive history in Europe, was first discovered in North America in 2010 inhabiting former aquaculture ponds near a tributary of the Delaware River in New Jersey.  Subsequent eradication efforts were believed to be successful.  However, in 2020-2021 using a fit-for-purpose environmental DNA (eDNA) survey tool, CPM were detected within these ponds and in small stream pools just downstream (Delaware River watershed), and at the one surveyed site within the lower Raritan River (Raritan River watershed). Based on its invasion history in Europe, and risk assessment by the USFWS, CPM is considered a damaging invasive species with potential to establish across much of North America with particularly high invasion potential in the US northeast. The invasion threat of CPM is still manageable, and eradication possible, given its currently small population size and the species’ tendency to exhibit lagged spread…. At this time, NJDEP has begun the process to initiate surveys where eDNA detections have been confirmed; however, there is no dedicated funding source for AIS surveying and/or management within New Jersey at this time (state AIS plan is in development). The Mid-Atlantic Panel recommends that the ANSTF provide funding to support such survey efforts in coordination with NJDEP.

Response: It is a misconception that the Aquatic Nuisance Species Task Force (ANSTF) has its own budget with which to fund aquatic invasive species (AIS) projects.  The only funding for the ANSTF comes from the AIS Program budget of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.  The AIS Program budget does not currently have any excess funding with which to assist New Jersey with pond mussel surveys and subsequent genetic species confirmation. However, with the approval of the Rapid Response Fund earlier in this meeting, the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection will be able to submit a competitive grant application to potentially receive rapid response funding for the pond mussel work.  It is anticipated that the first Notice of Funding Opportunity for the Rapid Response Fund will be posted in Grant Solutions in early August 2023.

Meeting Summary

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

Public Comment Action Items for Day Two

No comments.

Adjourn meeting

There was a motion to adjourn, and it was seconded.  There was no discussion. The meeting was adjourned.