Extension - Ecosystem Stewardship
Aquatic Invasive Species Prevention and Control
An invasive species is defined as "a species that is 1) non-native
to the ecosystem under consideration and 2) whose introduction causes
or is likely to cause economic or environmental harm or harm to human
In Pennsylvania, some of the aquatic invasive
species (AIS) of most concern include the zebra mussel, round goby, purple
loosestrife, water chestnut, Eurasian watermilfoil, northern snakehead,
and flathead catfish (invasive in eastern Pennsylvania). Pathways of
AIS introduction and spread include ballast water, recreational boating,
fishing, gardening, and aquaculture.
Pennsylvania Sea Grant has worked since its inception to identify and
address ways to prevent the introduction and spread of AIS. PASG conducts
teacher trainings, develops outreach materials targeting specific pathways,
works to educate decisions makers, and participates in statewide and
regional coordination efforts. Some specific activities include:
- Recreational Boater AIS Survey - With 83,161 miles
of streams and rivers, 3,900 lakes, ponds, and reservoirs, and Lake
Erie and Delaware Estuary coasts right on our doorstep, Pennsylvania's
recreational boaters have an enormous potential to transfer AIS accidentally
between coastal and inland waters. In fact, recreational boating may
be one of the most significant pathways through which AIS are introduced.
Fortunately, it may also be one of the most preventable. The survey
found overall boater awareness of AIS to be very low. Although 75 percent
of boaters were informed about zebra mussels, few had heard of Eurasian
watermilfoil, flathead catfish, purple loosestrife, round gobies, or
rusty crayfish that are also present in many of Pennsylvania's waterways.
Because knowledge of AIS and the perceived importance of preventing
the spread of AIS are strongly correlated, it's evident we need to
provide better education on AIS via the media sources boaters reported
using most frequently: newspapers, magazines and newsletters, fishing
regulation and boating registration pamphlets, and television programs
- Training teachers in the Delaware Estuary region about how
to incorporate AIS information into their science curriculum - Invasive
Species: the Good, the Bad and the Prolific was a series of professional
development workshops for teachers and environmental educators conducted
in collaboration with Maryland Sea Grant and Delaware Sea Grant. A
total of 120 educators from Washington, DC, Delaware, Maryland,
New Jersey, and Pennsylvania participated over the 22-month grant period.
on the Pennsylvania Invasive Species Council -
The Pennsylvania Invasive Species Council (PISC) was established
via Executive Order #2004-1, in January 2004. PISC met for the first
time in October 2005, and has begun to develop an organizational structure
and define its mission and purpose. One major undertaking of PISC
will be to develop a comprehensive invasive species management plan.
This plan will help coordinate, direct, and fund prevention programs
to augment and enhance existing management efforts.
PASG is helping to lead this effort.
- Organized Setting
the Road Map: A Workshop to Begin Developing an Invasive Species
Management Plan for Pennsylvania - This
workshop, held in October 2005, was attended by 65 participants,
and its outcomes will be directed to the PISC for consideration
as it develops an invasive species management plan.
proceedings are now available online.
- Conducting training on Aquatic Invasive
Species Hazard Analysis of Critical Control Points (AIS HACCP)
- AIS HACCP
planning is a methodology used to identify risks and focus procedures
to prevent the spread of AIS through natural resource management
pathways. Understanding vectors and developing plans to remove
non-target species and prevent biological contamination can prevent
the spread of AIS. Using practical examples, case studies, and
hands-on exercises, workshop participants learn principles of pathway
management planning as a tool to prevent the spread of invasive
If you are interested in participating in an AIS-HACCP training, please contact
Eric Obert or Sarah
- Flathead Catfish Research and Outreach Initiative - Combined
scientific study and educational efforts to increase knowledge about
the flathead catfish in the Delaware Estuary Coastal Zone. This project
collected information on distribution and diets of flathead catfish
in the Schuylkill River. The research enables fisheries managers
to make better-informed decisions to protect the Delaware Estuary
Coastal Zone's native fish and shellfish resources. Outreach materials
developed in conjunction with the project include boat stickers,
a table top display, and the online resource "So
What's the Big Deal About Flathead Catfish"
will help prevent the spread of introduced flathead catfish to new
waterways including those in New York, New Jersey, and Delaware.
- Organized Conducting an Aquatic Invasive Species Early Response Exercise in Pennsylvania: A workshop for evaluating the effectiveness of Pennsylvania's Rapid Response Plan - This workshop was held October 28-29, 2009 in Bellefonte, PA to help finalize Pennsylvania's rapid response plan. The purpose was to simulate an early response mock exercise for a specific aquatic invasive species with potential impacts in Pennsylvania; giving participants the opportunity to walk through the steps outlined in the rapid response plan. This allowed the 22 participants, spanning federal and state agencies, non-governmental organizations, non-profits, and private stakeholders to critique its usefulness, and identify any existing gaps and challenges that may affect a timely response in the event of a new AIS infestation. The suggestions and recommendations from the workshop were used to finalize the Rapid Response Plan for Agencies Responding to Aquatic Invasive Species in Pennsylvania (updated April 2011). The workshop proceedings are available online.