Aquatic Invasive Species Rapid
Progress Report - June 2008
The first line of defense against aquatic invasive species (AIS)
introductions is prevention; however, even the best prevention efforts may
not stop all introductions. Early detection and rapid response efforts
increase the likelihood that invasions will be addressed successfully while
populations are still localized and can be contained and eradicated. There
are a variety of species-specific and location-specific contingency plans
that have been completed by natural resource, environmental protection, and
land management agencies. However, current organizational and fiscal
resources do not allow for planning for all possible events. As an interim
step toward improving AIS response capability in situations where specific
contingency planning does not exist, a Rapid Response Communication Protocol
has been developed to insure that agencies can efficiently coordinate and
pool resources as soon as a new invader is detected.
- In December 2005, the federal agencies endorsed forty-eight Federal
Near Term Actions in support of the Great Lakes Regional Collaboration
(GLRC) Strategy, including “The Federal Interagency Task Force will
explore creating a Rapid Response Subcommittee under the Regional
Working Group to serve as a central point of contact for information and
activities related to invasive species rapid response efforts.”
- Over the year 2006, the Regional Working Group established the
Federal Aquatic Invasive Species Rapid Response (FAISRR or “phaser”)
Subcommittee. The subcommittee developed a Communication Protocol with
formal points of contact to help insure that Federal agencies can
efficiently coordinate and pool resources.
- Recognizing that this effort would only be successful if non-federal
partners were included, the Regional Workgroup began discussions with
GLRC Executive Committee. In the Spring of 2007, the GLRC Executive
Committee endorsed the formation of an Aquatic Invasive Species Rapid
Response Initiative which would expand the Communication Protocol to
include points of contact within State, Tribal, and City agencies. This
Great Lakes “Regional” AIS Rapid Response protocol is referred to as the
RAISRR (or “razor”) protocol.
- A letter signed August 3, 2007 has been transmitted to GLRC
agencies, requesting the identification of formal points of contact by
September 15, 2007. A complete set of contacts has been compiled.
- Now that the Communication Protocol is in place, in 2008 we will be
testing the responsiveness and effectiveness of the Protocol by
conducting a mock AIS rapid response exercise. This exercise will take
at Presque Isle, Pennsylvania on July 29-31, 2008.
- Planning for the Mock Exercise: Pennsylvania has begun
contacting State and local agencies that are likely to be involved.
The meeting will include participation from management agencies
beyond the state boundary, as well. We hope to have both a table top
exercise as well as boats on the water. We are working on logistics
to have opportunities for anyone who is interested to be involved,
either as a participant or as an observer. We also want to hold a
short media event to help get out the message on the importance of
preventing introductions of invasive species in the Great Lakes.
- July 29-31, 2008: Conduct the Mock Exercise to test and refine
the Communication Protocol. This event may also occur in conjunction
with Pennsylvania's Clean Boats Day.