Washington State Aquatic Nuisance Species Committee Report to the 2008 Legislature


Published: December 2007

Pages: 72

Author(s): Pam Meacham and Allen Pleus

Executive Summary

This report is submitted to the 2008 Legislature to meet the biennial reporting directive of Chapter 77.60.130 RCW. This is the Aquatic Nuisance Species (ANS) Committee’s fourth biennial report to the legislature since its establishment under SSB 6294 (2000 c 149).

The ANS Committee was formed for two main purposes. The first was to foster state, federal, tribal, and private cooperation on ANS issues. The second was to use this forum to identify and implement tools and management practices that minimize the unauthorized or accidental introduction, or spread of nonnative aquatic species such as Spartina, milfoil, tunicates, European green crab, and zebra and quagga mussels. This report summarizes the ANS Committee’s accomplishments and provides recommendations to the Legislature for better accomplishing the purposes of statute directives.

Primary accomplishments for the 2005-2007 biennium are summarized below for the ANS Committee as a whole, by state and federal agency, tribal government, and NGO participants.

ANS Committee

  • Continuing development and implementation of an Early Detection/Rapid Response (EDRR) plan.
  • Developed an ANS watch list that provides a reference tool to assist prevention and control activities.
  • Assisted in the development of the Columbia River Basin Interagency Invasive Species Rapid Response plan for zebra and quagga mussels.
  • Working closely with the Washington Invasive Species Council with two ANS Committee members holding seats on the council.

Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife

  • Continued development and implementation of a state ballast water management program
    • Implementing E2SSB 5923, established emergency rules and working on permanent rules with Ballast Water Work Group.
    • Hired a second ballast water inspector for ports on the Columbia River, South Puget Sound and Grays Harbor. In the 2006-2007 biennium 278 vessels were inspected.
  • Continued development and implementation of a state aquatic invasive species prevention and enforcement program (separate report to legislature available)-
    • Inspected 5,236 recreational watercraft and educated boaters on how to prevent the introduction and spread of ANS via their activities.
    • Conducted enforcement emphasis patrols this summer, contacting 4720 individuals and inspecting 1,397 additional watercraft.
    • Coordinated with the Washington State Patrol who inspected over 200 boats and intercepted ten vessels contaminated with zebra mussels.
    • Monitored 180 sites for zebra and quagga mussels.
  • Continued development and implementation of a state tunicate management programiv ANS Committee Report to the 2008 Legislature
    • Surveyed 30 marinas to date for the presence of invasive tunicates, and removed tunicates from boats in five infested marinas to prevent their spread.
  • The Noxious Weed Division conducted management activities on over 12,500 acres of agency lands, treating the equivalent of 1,219 solid acres of weeds including Spartina, Phragmites, purple loosestrife, yellow flag iris, and reed canarygrass.

Washington Department of Ecology

  • Monitored about 450 lakes, ponds and rivers for the presence of aquatic noxious weeds. Milfoil was present in 150 of the sites surveyed.
  • Conducted research projects to evaluate various control methods, including biological control agents.
  • Conducted research to determine the impacts of herbicide exposure on juvenile salmon.
  • Offered competitive grants to local and state governments to help manage nonnative aquatic weeds.
  • Partnered with King County and others on successful efforts to eradicate hydrilla in Pipe and Lucerne lakes.
  • Eradicated milfoil in seven lakes and only minimal populations remain in 45 lakes where eradication is the goal.
  • Developing a general permit for the control of nonnative invasive aquatic animals and marine algae. Washington Noxious Weed Control Board
  • Added two new aquatic and riparian plants to the Class A Noxious Weed List (Variableleaf milfoil and ricefield bulrush).
  • Changed the status of Spartina angelica from a Class B noxious weed to a Class A noxious weed.
  • Changed a nonnative common reed (Phragmites australis) from a Class C to a Class B noxious weed.

Washington Department of Agriculture

  • Continued to administer the Noxious Weed Control Board and Plant Quarantine programs.
  • Conducted surveys and inspections of nurseries, agricultural sites, ports, pet stores and other sites to enforce agricultural quarantines and ensure that plant materials entering the state are pest and disease free.
  • Carried out projects to eradicate pests and invasive species such as Spartina, knotweed, and purple loosestrife.
  • Spartina statewide eradication effort has reduced the overall infestation by over 70% with expectation for full eradication as early as the end of 2010.
  • Provided resources since 2004 for knotweed control projects in 21 counties, focusing on areas with early infestations.
  • Provided comprehensive annual reports to the Legislature for the Spartina and knotweed programs.

Washington Department of Natural Resources

  • Worked with WSDA on Spartina control operations.
  • Worked with Thurston County on efforts to control Brazilian elodea in the Chehalis River.
  • Worked with WDFW to treat Phragmites australis in the Winchester Wasteway in Eastern Washington.
  • Contracted for a research study to assess the impacts of the invasive tunicate Ciona savignyi on geoduck populations. Puget Sound Partnership (formerly the Puget Sound Action Team)
  • Chaired and staffed the state’s Ballast Water Work Group.
  • Secured funding from the Governor and Legislature and contracted with WDFW to contain and eradicate tunicates from boat hulls.
  • Prepared an Interagency Invasive Tunicate Response Plan, prepared educational information, and funded a project to educate recreational divers about invasive tunicates.
  • The ANS elements in the 2007-2009 Puget Sound Conservation and Recovery Plan includedo $116,000 to Ecology to develop a permit for aquatic herbicide and pesticide use, funding and management strategies for noxious, invasive freshwater weeds;
    • $364,000 to help implement the WDFW Ballast Water Management Program; and
    • $500,000 to continue invasive tunicate control and eradication work, carry out tunicate surveys and conduct a 'clean your hull' education campaign.

Washington Department of Health

  • Protected citizens from eating shellfish that were contaminated by pathogens.
  • Monitored water quality and biotoxins in marine shellfish areas.
  • Contract with Ecology for the development of statewide Cyanobacterial management guidelines.
  • Developing a website focusing on the human health aspects of Cyanobactria toxins.
  • Participated in the ANS Committee, Ballast Water Work Group, and in the development of the Early Detection and Rapid Response Plan. U.S. EPA Regions 9 and 10
  • Developing a DNA-based molecular probe for detecting and monitoring AIS in ballast water.
  • Studying the implications of climate and land use change on AIS, and the economic impacts of AIS.
  • Awarded a number of grants with an invasive species focus under a number of programs.
  • Made numerous outreach and education presentations to a wide variety of audiences.
  • Co-chaired the ANS Committee for four years, and holds a seat on the Washington Invasive Species Council.

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

  • Provided funding for monitoring and control efforts.
  • Provided funding to the WDFW Aquatic Nuisance Species Program for the implementation of the Washington State ANS Management Plan for ten years.
  • Participated in the Olympic Knotweed Working Group, Tunicate Response Advisory Committee, Columbia River Basin 100th Meridian Group, and the Washington Invasive Species Council.

Federally-Recognized Tribes

  • The Quileute, Jamestown S’Klallam, and Swinomish Tribes have been involved in numerous invasive species monitoring and eradication efforts of Spartina, knotweed, and other invasive plants in riparian habitats.
  • The Tulalip and Stillaguamish Tribes are growing native plants to replace invasive species that are removed from riparian areas.
  • Divers from the Skokomish Tribe were active in tunicate surveys and control efforts in Hood Canal.

Washington Sea Grant

  • Coordinated outreach and education projects to educate harbormasters, recreational divers and dive related industries about ANS and how they are spread.
  • Provided assistance to the University of Washington’s Ballast Water Research Team on a project to determine the efficacies of potential ballast water treatment systems.
  • Funded research projects related to ANS, which produced a number of published and gray literature articles.

Suggested citation

Aquatic Nuisance Species Committee. 2007. Washington State Aquatic Nuisance Species Committee Report to the 2008 Legislature. Prepared by P. Meacham and A. Pleus Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife.