Washington State Aquatic Nuisance Species Committee Report to the 2011 Legislature


Published: January 2011

Pages: 74

Author(s): Pam Meacham and Allen Pleus

Executive Summary

This report is submitted to the 2011 Legislature to meet the biennial reporting directive of Chapter 77.60.130 RCW. This is the Aquatic Nuisance Species Committee.s (ANSC) fifth biennial report to the Legislature since its establishment under SSB 6294 (2000 c 149).

The ANSC was formed primarily to foster state, federal, tribal, and private cooperation on Aquatic Nuisance Species issues (hereafter termed Aquatic Invasive Species or AIS), and implement the Washington State AIS Management Plan. Members cooperatively identify and implement tools and management practices that minimize the unauthorized or accidental introduction and spread of nonnative aquatic species such as Spartina, milfoil, elodea, invasive tunicates, crayfish, nutria, and zebra and quagga mussels. This report summarizes the ANSC.s accomplishments and provides recommendations to the Legislature for accomplishing the purposes of statute directives.

Primary accomplishments for the 2008 and 2009 are summarized below for the ANSC as a whole and by state and federal agency, tribal government, and NGO participants.

Aquatic Nuisance Species Committee
The Aquatic Nuisance Species Committee (ANSC) works on multiple levels to foster cooperation including facilitation, providing substantive reviews and recommendations, creating species or issue-specific subgroups, and developing consensus products. Specific accomplishments include:

  • Developed and adopted the ANSC Watch List.
  • Worked with the Puget Sound Partnership to:
    • Include invasive species in their Action Agenda (Priority action A.5); 
    •  Design and implement a "Clean Your Hull" outreach campaign;
    • Develop conservation measures for invasive species
  • Played an important role in the development of the Washington Invasive Species Council (WISC) Priority Species List and continues working closely with the WISC on AIS issues.
  • Facilitated the creation of the Crayfish in the Schools ad hoc group that is working to replace currently used prohibited crayfish species with native species.
  • Facilitated the creation of the Capitol Lake Response Group to address the New Zealand Mudsnail infestation.
  • Facilitated the creation of an invasive Japanese Eelgrass scientific workshop to help identify cost/benefit/management issues/options.
  • Created an email listserve for members and interested public.
  • Worked with the US Geological Survey to design and implement their national aquatic invasive species database with Washington-specific tools.
  • Facilitated discussions with the Department of Transportation on aquatic invasive species issues regarding the transportation of new highway 520 bridge pontoons.
  • Worked with the Department of Ecology to develop a NPDES permit for the Department of Fish and Wildlife for the use of physical and chemical treatments in managing aquatic invasive species.

Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife
The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) manages priority AIS at various levels depending upon legislative directive and available resources. There are three primary aquatic invasive species management programs including for zebra and quagga mussels, invasive tunicates, and ballast water. Other species and pathways are captured under the departments general AIS Prevention and Enforcement Program. Specific accomplishments include:

  • Continued development and implementation of the State AIS Prevention and Enforcement Program (covered in detail in a separate report to the Legislature.
    • Contacted 4,970 fresh water and 759 marine boaters/anglers. o Inspected 1.509 boats and educated boaters at check stations.
    • Collected 438 samples from 49 different water bodies to check for the presence of zebra or quagga mussels.
    • Set out more than 100 substrate samplers in 47 different water bodies.
  • Continued implementation of a state tunicate management program.
    • Completed containment efforts at 6 marinas each year.
    • Conducted experiments (with appropriate permits and waivers) to evaluate efficacy of 5 eradication methods.
    • Implemented baseline monitoring with full scientific assessments of tunicate densities at 3 sites to date.
    • Developed a GIS based mapping system for cataloging and tracking nonnative tunicate sightings.
  • Continued development and implementation of a state ballast water management program.
    • Established comprehensive permanent rule to implement E2SSB 5923 (2007 c 350 § 8 through 15).
    • Working with the department's Ballast Water Work Group to develop state standards for treated ballast water that will correlate with other coastal states and the U.S. Coast Guard.
  • WDFW Lands Management treated approximately 2,189 total acres of aquatic weeds statewide coordinating with federal, state, and county governments, Tribes, landowners, and local restoration groups.

Washington Department of Ecology
The Washington Department of Ecology (ECY) Aquatic Weeds Program provides financial assistance and grants to state and local governments and technical support to deal with fresh water invasive plants statewide. Specific accomplishments include:

  • During 2008 and 2009, conducted aquatic plant inventories at 127 lakes and rivers, discovered 2 new invasive species to add to the class-A noxious weed list.
  • Conducted research to evaluate various control methods for fresh water weeds.
  • Set aside funds for rapid response to new infestations. . Collaborated with other agencies and local governments on special eradication projects.
  • Manages permits for aquatic plant and algae management. . Is developing a general permit for the control of nonnative invasive aquatic animals and nonnative marine algae.

Washington Noxious Weed Control Board

  • Added 6 new invasive plant species to the noxious weed list. Three of which were aquatic or wetland species during the 2009-2011 biennium.
  • Redesigned and reprinted the publication "Garden Wise: Non-Invasive Plants for Your Garden."
  • Continued to provide funding assistance to county weed boards for control of Class-A noxious weeds.

Washington State Department of Agriculture

  • In conjunction with state, federal and local government, tribal entities and land owners treated over 100 solid acres of Spartina in Puget Sound, Grays Harbor and Willapa Bay, and an additional 80 Solid acres of Spartina scattered throughout Willapa Bay.
  • Reduced Spartina in marine waters of the state by 98% over the past 7 years.
  • Is implementing a labor intensive survey and eradication program focused on finding and treating remaining individual plants.
  • Revised WAC 16-752 to add four additional plants to the Wetland and Aquatic Weed Quarantine.

The Puget Sound Partnership

  • Finalized their Action Agenda to recover and restore Puget Sound by 2020.
  • Obtained U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Estuary Management Funds to implement relevant priorities of the WISC.s strategic plan.
  • Completed a successful interagency agreement with WDFW to survey for, control the spread of and, if possible, eradicate invasive tunicates.
  • Developed the budget to protect and restore Puget Sound, providing funding to other state agencies to implement invasive species actions.
  • Hosted a workshop of international tunicate experts to re-evaluate the risks and identify management strategies.
  • Printed and distributed educational materials, posters, and handouts.

Washington Department of Natural Resources

  •  Conducted surveys and herbicide applications over 5063 total acres of mud flat, shoreline and salt marsh to treat a total of 24.1 solid acres of Spartina in 2008.
  • Collaborated with WDFW on a Washington Wildlife and Recreation Program grant for a restoration project.
  • Provided funding to counties for eradication of aquatic weeds.
  • Co-sponsored scientific workshop on the benefits and harm of nonnative Japanese Eelgrass.

Washington Department of Health

  •  Continues to act in an advisory role and provide assistance as necessary regarding AIS with the potential to pose serious human health risks.

Washington State Patrol

  • Commercial Vehicle Enforcement Officers inspect commercially-hauled watercraft at state Port of Entry weigh stations.

Washington Sea Grant

  • Funded a research project on the impacts of an invasive predator on a threatened native oyster.
  • Collaborated with University of Washington researchers to publish the first records of the invasive crayfish Orconectes rusticus west of the Rocky Mountains in the Middle Fork of the John Day River Basin, Oregon: Olden et al. 2009.
  • Participating in a study of biological supply houses and schools and their role as a pathway for introduction of AIS.
  •  Provided AIS presentations and field trips to approximately 1,000 students, volunteers, stakeholder groups.
  • Co-sponsored scientific workshop on the benefits and harm of nonnative Japanese Eelgrass.

 Lower Elwha Klallam Tribe

  • Elwha Watershed Restoration Project.

Jamestown S'Klallam Tribe

  • Dungeness River Restoration Project.

Lummi Nation

  • Habitat Restoration along Bells Creek and the Nooksack River.
  • Intertidal Baseline Inventory of more than 7,000 acres of tidelands on the reservation.

Tulalip Tribe

  • Invasive Species Control Programs for Spartina at Big Flats in 2008 and Tulalip Bay in 2009.
  • Knotweed surveys.
  • Obtained a grant to support Pepperweed control in the Quilceda estuary.

Skokomish Tribe

  • Completed their Aquatic Nuisance Species Management Plan. The plan focuses on the identification of effective management practices to prevent and control AIS in the Tribe's usual and accustomed area.

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

  • Partners with state and local entities by providing funding and technical assistance for management, monitoring and control efforts for AIS.
  • In Cooperation with the Pacific States Marine Fisheries Commission (PSMFC) completed the "Columbia River Basin Interagency Invasive Species Response Plan: Zebra Mussel and Other Dreissend Mussels" and organized three table-top response exercises.
  • Completed an Asian carp risk evaluation for the Columbia Basin.
  • Surveyed all of their hatcheries for the presence of New Zealand mudsnails.
  • Provided funding and technical support to multiple partners for surveying and controlling invasive species.
  • Participated in a number of committees and advisory groups. 
  •  Made educational presentations to a broad range of audiences, and distributed educational materials and signage.

Pacific States Marine Fisheries Commission

  • Held a table top exercise in Boise, Idaho to evaluate the "Columbia River Basin Interagency Invasive Species Response Plan: Zebra Mussel and Other Dreissenid Mussels." Recommendations from the exercise were presented to policy makers for discussion and approval.
  • More than 70 State, Federal, and Local Government agencies and organizations have implemented watercraft interception programs. To assist in implementation of region-wide uniform standards PSMFC developed recommended minimum protocols and standards for watercraft interception programs for Dreissenid mussels in the Western U.S.
  • PSMFC has been providing training for boating law enforcement personnel and others to successfully intercept, inspect, identify, contain and decontaminate trailered watercraft. Nearly 2,000 individuals from 90 agencies in 12 western states have completed the training.
  • PSMFC continued to provide administrative support and staffing for numerous AIS interjurisdictional efforts.

Suggested citation

Aquatic Nuisance Species Committee. 2011. Washington State Aquatic Nuisance Species Committee: Report to the 2010 legislature. Prepared by P. Meacham and A. Pleus. Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife. January.

Short Citation
ANSC 2011