What We Do

Aquatic Nuisance Species Prevention and Management

The Aquatic Nuisance Species Task Force Strategic Plan for 2020 – 2025 presents a coordinated approach to achieve its mission of protecting the waters of the United States from the threat of aquatic nuisance species. The Plan’s six goals, described below, serve as a roadmap for the Aquatic Nuisance Species Task Force by outlining specific objectives and strategies to be implemented in the five-year timeframe. The success of the Plan depends on the ability of the Aquatic Nuisance Species Task Force to work collaboratively with federal agencies, states, tribes, industries, nonprofits, and stakeholders.

  • Coordination Goal: The Aquatic Nuisance Species Task Force was created to facilitate cooperation and coordinate efforts among federal, state, tribal, and local agencies, the private sector, and other North American interests. This goal focuses on maximizing the organizational effectiveness of the Aquatic Nuisance Species Task Force by establishing effective processes that create opportunities for members and participants to work collaboratively across agency and organizational lines. The objectives under the Coordination Goal include strengthening cooperation at national, regional, state, and community levels and establishing processes to prioritize and address aquatic nuisance species management needs.
  • Prevention Goal: Preventing harmful introductions before they occur is the most effective means to avoid the risk of aquatic nuisance species. Long-term success in prevention will reduce the rate of introductions, the rate of establishment, and avoid many of the long-term economic, environmental, and social costs associated with aquatic nuisance species. The objectives under the Prevention Goal focus on efforts to evaluate and refine risk analysis procedures, conduct pathway assessments, and expand implementation of regulatory and non-regulatory approaches to interdict aquatic nuisance species.
  • Early Detection and Rapid Response Goal: When prevention measures fail, it is essential to detect new invasions and respond quickly to keep the species from becoming established and spreading. By slowing the range expansion of aquatic nuisance species, Early Detection and Rapid Response avoids the need for costly long-term control efforts. Objectives under the Early Detection and Rapid Response Goal include evaluating existing monitoring programs, determining needs for additional early detection monitoring, prioritizing potential aquatic nuisance species threats and management needs, and building capacity to respond rapidly to newly detected species.
  • Control and Restoration Goal: In those cases where aquatic nuisance species populations are abundant and widespread, implementing management actions to minimize their impacts and long-term costs may be needed. Habitat restoration is also important to guard against future invasions and to minimize harm from aquatic nuisance species. The objectives under the Control and Restoration Goal include evaluation and support for aquatic nuisance species control and management plans, development of innovative control and restoration techniques, and mitigation of aquatic nuisance species impacts that may result from restoration activities.
  • Research Goal: Information and research can quantify and clarify the effects that aquatic nuisance species are having on native species and habitats, socioeconomics, and human health. Research supports all facets of the Strategic Plan and is necessary to increase the effectiveness of prevention and management of aquatic nuisance species. To ensure that aquatic nuisance species research addresses critical needs, the objectives under the Research Goal focus on prioritizing research needs at regional and national levels and working to ensure research priorities are funded.
  • Outreach and Education Goal: One of the largest management obstacles facing managers can be the lack of understanding by the public regarding the wide-ranging impacts of aquatic nuisance species and actions that should be taken to prevent their introduction and spread. Educating people about aquatic nuisance species threats, the importance of their actions, influencing motivations, and removing barriers to actions will help to achieve and sustain the goals outlined in the Strategic Plan. Accordingly, objectives under the Outreach and Education Goal focus on assessing the efficacy of existing outreach campaigns and programs and developing more effective messages to influence targeted at-risk audiences.

State and Interstate Aquatic Nuisance Species Management Plans

States play a critical role in aquatic nuisance species management. Accordingly, the Aquatic Nuisance Species Task Force provides guidance and technical support to develop state or interstate management plans for aquatic nuisance species.  They focus on identifying feasible, cost-effective management practices and measures to be undertaken by state agencies, local programs, cooperating federal agencies, and others to prevent and control ANS infestations in an environmentally sound manner. Through these plans, State efforts implement the broad framework of a national aquatic nuisance species program and support the Aquatic Nuisance Species Task Force mission.  Since its establishment, the Aquatic Nuisance Species Task Force has approved 42 State Plans and 3 Interstate plans for aquatic nuisance species.

Our Laws and Regulations

The National Invasive Species Act of 1996 amends the Nonindigenous Aquatic Nuisance Prevention and Control Act of 1990 to mandate regulations to prevent the introduction and spread of aquatic nuisance species into the Great Lakes through ballast water.

To prevent and control infestations of the coastal inland waters of the United States by the zebra mussel and other nonindigenous aquatic nuisance species, to reauthorize the National Sea Grant College Program, and for other purposes.

The Federal Advisory Committee Act became law in 1972 and is the legal foundation defining how federal advisory committees operate. The law has special emphasis on open meetings, chartering, public involvement, and reporting.