Category: Aquatic Invasive Species
Published: February 2016
A. Policy Background
Policy 5310, Managing Invasive Species, commits the Department to “adopt and actively maintain science-based protocols for minimizing the risk that field and property management activities will contribute to the spread of invasive species.” The accompanying Procedure established the Invasive Species Management Committee (ISMC), with responsibility for developing and updating these protocols, monitoring their implementation, and ensuring that training needs are met.
B. Adaptive Management
The ISMC relies upon best available science in developing these decontamination protocols. However, the science regarding effectiveness of decontamination protocols (either chemicals or procedures) on the entire suite of undesirable or invasive aquatic organisms remains incomplete. In particular, protocols known to be effective on selected undesirable organisms remain untested or poorly understood on others. Ultimately, science can adaptively fill these gaps. However, where effectiveness of a protocol on a specific undesirable organism is unknown and alternatives for control are lacking, protocol application must be viewed as exploratory and experimental, and control is not guaranteed. The ISMC will keep abreast of scientific developments, as well as monitoring implementation issues, and will adaptively modify these protocols as necessary to ensure they remain science-based, effective and safe.
C. Phase In and Funding Constraints
Policy 5310 stipulated that “Fiscal impacts may be phased in based on available revenue.” Full implementation of these protocols, in terms of purchase of materials and establishing proper decontamination stations, may take several years. However, all staff are expected to comply with these protocols to the extent feasible, within existing budget and staff constraints. Basic techniques of Clean, Drain and Dry can be followed at little or no additional cost to the agency and should be implemented immediately. Much of this is already required by existing statutes prohibiting transport of aquatic plants, noxious weeds or prohibited aquatic animal species.