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 May 24-26, 2022, the ANS Task Force held a virtual public meeting, in accordance with the Federal Advisory Committee Act.  The following is an executive summary of the meeting. 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
  • U.S. Department of Transportation, Maritime Administration
  • U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
  • U.S. Fish and Wildlife
  • U.S. Forest Service
  • U.S. Geological Survey
  • National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration
  • National Park Service


  • Great Lakes Commission
  • Lake Champlain Basin Program
  • Chesapeake Bay Program
  • San Francisco Estuary Partnership
  • American Public Power Association
  • 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

Regionally-Focused Presentations:

  • European Green Crab – West Coast Activities
  • Great Lakes Biotic Symposium
  • Great Lakes Panel Risk Assessment Database
  • Hydrilla on the CT River
  • Invasive Carp in the Mississippi River Basin
  • Nutria Eradication and Chesapeake Bay Restoration
  • SE Cooperative Fish Parasite and Disease Laboratory


  • Department of the Interior Initiatives
  • Invasive Carp National Plan
  • Vessel Incidental Discharge Act Implementation
  • National Invasive Species Council Work Plan
  • Regional Panel Activities
  • USACE Programs and Authorities
  • USGS NAS Database: New Species Occurrences

Informative Presentations:

  • Call Before You Haul Program
  • Climate-Informed Advice for Resilience Resources and Communities
  • Early Detection Rapid Response Framework
  • eCommerce and Invasive Species
  • Potential expansion of Prussian Carp
  • Reflections on the Rhetoric of Invasion Biology

Decisional Items

  • The ANS Task Force approved the “Revised Minnesota State ANS Management Plan.”

Action Items

  • The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, U.S. Geological Survey, and Department of the Interior will consider recording a webinar presentation on the National Early Detection Rapid Response Framework that can be shared with the regional panels and other interested audiences.
  • The Executive Secretary will distribute the Framework for Determining the Need for an Aquatic Invasive Species Control and Management Plan to ANSTF members and regional panels. Comments on the will be due to the Control Subcommittee by July 15.
  • The Executive Secretary will work with the appropriate agencies to provide an update on activities related to stony coral tissue loss disease. A session on this topic will be included on the agenda for the Fall 2022 ANSTF meeting.
  • The Prevention Subcommittee will facilitate a discussion with appropriate agencies and the National Invasive Species Council to encourage the use and adoption of the guidelines to prevent AIS transport by wildland fire operations.
  • The Executive Secretary will hold a discussion with the regional panels and watercraft industry representatives to discuss the evolution of boat design and determine if the Boating Ad-Hoc Committee should be reestablished to update the design standards from the 2013 Technical Information Report and improve interactions between the watercraft industry and managing partner entities

Regional Panel Recommendations

Mid-Atlantic Panel

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: There are currently two potential funding opportunities are this work. 1) The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, on behalf of the Department of the Interior, is providing grants to support implementation of measures that prevent the introduction or spread of invasive species. Proposals are due June 22, 2022.2) The National Fish and Wildlife Foundation through anticipated cooperative agreements from the Department of the Interior, Department of Defense, and the Department of Agriculture’s U.S. Forest Service  and Natural Resources Conservation Service also launched the America the Beautiful Challenge 2022 Request for Proposals.. Proposals are due July 21, 2022.

Western Regional Panel (NEANS)

The WRP respectfully requests an update from the ANSTF at an upcoming meeting about task force agencies’ activities related to stony coral tissue loss disease, including any EDRR planning and capacity-building activities in the Pacific islands, Hawaii, and other US-affiliated coral reef areas that are currently free of this disease.

Response: The topic will be added to the next meeting agenda. The Executive Secretary will work with the appropriate agencies to present on the topic, including management actions planned or currently being pursued. (Action item).

The WRP respectfully requests the Task Force to repeat their encouragement for the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation to implement and fund the Coastal AIS Mitigation Grant Program and Mitigation Fund (Vessel Incidental Discharge Act Sec. 902(10)(f)) at the requested $5 million per year plus any USCG penalties for violations. The WRP made this recommendation in 2019 to encourage implementation of the grant program and mitigation fund that was specifically described in statute. The WRP wishes to elevate this issue again, as the grant program and mitigation fund have not yet been implemented.

Response: The Coastal AIS Mitigation Grant Program and Mitigation Fund, as established under the Vessel Incidental Discharge Act, is a congressionally mandated program that has not received any appropriations to date. Without congressional funding, activities outlined by the VIDA cannot be performed. However, several of us within NOAA are actively trying to raise awareness around this issue within the agency. We support the Western Regional Panel’s recommendation and will keep the Western Regional Panel updated on our progress towards advancing this goal.

Western Regional Panel and Mississippi River Basin Panel (Joint Recommendation)

The national interagency fire team created guidelines for preventing the spread of aquatic invasive species through wildland fire operations in 2017 (PMS 444). However, implementation of these guidelines has varied greatly across jurisdictions and incidents. With the increased frequency and intensity of catastrophic wildfire, the WRP and MRBP strongly recommend that all federal and national agencies involved in fire operations (USDA Forest Service, Bureau of Land Management, Bureau of Indian Affairs, National Park Service, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, National Association of State Foresters, US Fire Administration) adopt the national AIS guidelines as mandatory and encourage all subsequent regions, offices etc. to comply/implement for mitigating the risk of AIS introduction and transport related to wildland fire operations.  Recognizing that fire season has evolved to fire year, initiating implementation as soon as possible is suggested.

Response: The Guide to Preventing Aquatic Invasive Species Transport by Wildland Fire Operations will be reviewed by the Prevention Subcommittee. After the review, the subcommittee members facilitate a discussion with the panels and agencies involved in fire operation to determine appropriate next steps to implementing the guidelines. (Action Item)

Western Regional Panel, Mississippi River Basin Panel, and Great Lakes Panel (Joint Recommendation)

The AIS Management Community, with the help of the ANS Task Force, has fostered a good and needed partnership with the watercraft industry. However, the constant evolution of boat design within the watercraft industry creates situations that impact the ability to perform effective decontaminations and adequately protect vital resources. Given boaters are a shared customer with industry, this is also a detriment to the boater experience. In order to keep up with design changes and perform decontaminations successfully, the AIS management community requests that the ANSTF assist in continuing to increase and improve interactions between the watercraft industry (e.g. American Boat and Yacht Council) and WRP managing partner entities.

Response: In 2013, the ANSTF established an ad-hoc committee to address recommendations for reducing the spread of AIS through boats. This subcommittee worked with the boating industry to produce a Technical Information Report for the Design and Construction of Watercraft in Consideration of Aquatic Invasive Species. The Executive Secretary will work the panels and industry representatives to discuss the evolution of boat design and determine if the Boating Ad-Hoc Committee should be reestablished to update the design standards in the Technical Information Report. (Action item)

For More Information

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