Join us at the LRF Conference to learn more about regional defenses and successful practices to prevent and deter aquatic invasive species in our waters. Register Now.

Aquatic invasive species, particularly zebra and quagga mussels, continue to be of great concern in the Northwest. One need only look to Lake Mead, the Great Lakes or the Mississippi River to see their horrific effect on dams, irrigation pumps, boats and the general environment. Besides being unsightly, the costs of mitigation and lost economic development runs into the millions of dollars annually.

The Northwest and British Columbia has, thus far, largely been spared. That’s partly good fortune, and partly the result of agencies across sixteen states and two Canadian provinces working collaboratively to leverage resources and forces to set up effective defenses. Lisa DeBruyckere, who has been working with and co-facilitating the Building Consensus consortium, sums up the effort this way, “The work the western states and Canadian provinces have done during the past five years to coordinate and collaborate is a model for how regions can work together to prevent the spread of invasive species.”

We are very fortunate to have consortium members presenting at the conference. They will get participants up to speed on what’s being done and what you can do to support these efforts. Here’s a taste of what’s on tap with presentations:

At, three types of databases and mapping tools are available. One of the databases shows where watercraft inspection stations are located and associated technical information. Another provides contact information for AIS coordinators, so that if you’re moving a boat, you can contact someone familiar with the AIS rules and regulations at the destination location. At the same time, the USGS waterbody monitoring data base is being moved to this site, enabling you to find where various sampling is occurring. In addition, the site currently contains a data sheet showing all of the quagga/zebra mussel sampling methods used by western organizations as well as a listing of all quagga/zebra mussel field and laboratory protocols used.

There are also new education and outreach materials, such as boat hauler notification sheets describing the regulations and requirements from state to state. On another front, and with the assistance and direction of National Sea Grant and the Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies, they are developing a “model legal framework” so that states, provinces and others can be as consistent as possible in regulating transportation and other variables designed to prevent the spread of invasives.

The net result is a successful effort to put on the ground best practices to prevent introduction. That said, the consortium is also keenly aware of the need for swift response when invasives are identified. Toward this end, they’ll also share the rapid response exercise developed to train people across agencies in how to collaboratively attack the problem if it does materialize.

It’s an all-star cast of knowledge that will help anyone interested in learning more and wanting to access resources that can easily be adapted and put on the ground in your local area. Register Now.