2007-09 Tunicate Management Plan

Category: Management Plans

Published: February 2008

Pages: 64

Author(s): Allen Pleus, Larry LeClair, Jesse Schultz and Gretchen Lambert


The Washington Department of Fish & Wildlife (WDFW) is charged by the state legislature to prevent the introduction or spread of prohibited and unlisted aquatic animal or plant species1. This effort supports priority WDFW fish and wildlife, public, funding, competence and science goals (Appendix A). The WDFW Aquatic Nuisance Species (ANS) Unit is tasked with implementation of these regulations and other legislative directives.

The Tunicate Management Plan (TMP) has been developed in response to a widespread agreement among the ad hoc Tunicate Response Advisory Committee (TRAC) that invasive non-native tunicates pose a substantial threat to Washington’s environmental, economic, and social health. Based on this recognition, the governor authorized $250,000 in emergency and supplemental funding for 2006 and 2007. Funding for the 2007-09 biennium, for which this TMP is directed, comes from the governor’s budget of $500,000 to the Puget Sound Partnership. WDFW has contracted $300,000 of this funding to lead state management efforts in assessing the ongoing risks and implementing strategies for controlling or eradicating already established populations.

TRAC is was originally established by the Puget Sound Action Team and is made up of representatives from state and federal agencies, tribal governments, environmental groups, and affected industry stakeholders (Appendix B). The TMP is built on an adaptive management structure and a collaborative approach to addressing invasive species. The TMP is one of many WDFW management plans developed, or in development, by the ANS Unit as part of its overall strategic plan (Appendix C). The basis of all ANS management plans is six unit goals including:

1) Prevent the introduction of new ANS;

2) Control, contain, or eradicate established ANS populations;

3) Predict and detect new or recurring ANS;

4) Coordinate / collaborate in state, regional, national, and international ANS processes;

5) Promote public education and volunteer opportunities; and

6) Promote biodiversity and restoration.

The TMP is structured with this chapter describing the problem being faced and the current status of invasive tunicates in state waters. The second chapter provides the best available science regarding the target species and tools for preventing introductions and managing known populations. The third chapter lays out the 2007-09 priority objectives and tasks under each unit sub-goal. The rest of the chapters provide information on the department’s management infrastructure. The TMP is considered an adaptive document where knowledge gained will be incorporated back into the plan and utilized as best available science and management tools. A new TMP is produced biennially unless new information requires earlier revisions.

Suggested citation

Pleus et al, 2008

Pleus, A., L. LeClair, J. Schultz, and G. Lambert. 2008. 2007-09 Tunicate Management Plan. Washington State Department of Fish and Wildlife. Aquatic Invasive Species Unit. In coordination with the Tunicate Response Advisory Committee. February.