Sometimes good things goes wrong!. Providing Direction and Planning for Combating Invasive Species in Alaska. Michele Hebert, Agriculture and Horticulture Agent, UAF Cooperative Extension Service Chair, Alaska Invasive Working Group.
Michele Hebert, Agriculture and Horticulture Agent,
UAF Cooperative Extension Service
Chair, Alaska Invasive Working Group
Invasive species are causing $ 1.4 trillion in US dollars of loss annually.
All US states, including Alaska, are being affected by invasive species.
While Alaska does not have a major problem with invasive species, they are being introduced at an increasing rate.
Three of Alaska’s major industries, commercial fishing, sport fishing and tourism risk economic loss.
Several agencies currently are working on invasive species issues in Alaska believe that a statewide mechanism is needed.
Alaska is lucky to be at the beginning of what could become very expensive and damaging to fishing, agriculture, and tourism.
Marine Invasive Species of concern:
Shipping: The diversity of ship traffic in Alaska – oil tankers, commercial freighters, military vessels, fishing vessels, and chip, timber barges – bring in invasive species in ballast water, bilge water or live wells. Port of Valdez, in Prince William Sound receives the third largest volume of tanker ballast water of US ports. Alaska is the only west coast state that has not recently updated its legislation regarding non-native species in the ballast water of ships.
Aquaculture: Fish farming can bring in parasites and disease that damage native fish, a concern with Atlantic farmed salmon.
Agriculture and Horticulture: Imported plants, seeds and other products can carry hitchhikers such as fire blight, Canada thistle and sudden oak disease.
Recreation and Tourism: Pack animals, dogs, vehicles and people can all transport seeds, insects and disease. For example hay brought to feed horses or used as sled dog bedding can be contaminated with weed seeds.
Cost include: increased labor, pesticide/eradication efforts, loss to fisheries and crops and loss of native species.
Potential invasion of the European green crab could be costly to the $117 million shellfish industry.
Since 1949, the US Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) has spent roughly $3 million to remove arctic and red fox from some 40 Aleutian islands.
FWS spent at least $400K in two-year efforts to remove abandoned reindeer that overgrazed Hagemeister Island.
Prince William Sound Citizens Advisory Council has spent $500K on ballast water studies.
Forage loss from invasive weeds on pastures amounts to nearly 1 billion in the US along.
Asian long horned beetle has already cost 30 billion dollars to eradicate.
In the Fall of 2006, 20 state, federal, tribal and non-governmental organizations did sign a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to create AISWG as a means to improve the collective ability to slow the pace of invasion and its impacts in Alaska.
One of the key goals of AISWG is to help the State of Alaska establish an Alaska Invasive Species Council with a formal structure for continued collaboration, cooperation and communication to minimize invasive species impacts.
AISWG cooperators are already working actively on improving communication by maintaining a list serv, website, and sharing information.
Formation of a unified Council for invasive species management is an important step in coordinating existing resources with in Alaska.
AK Dept. Environmental Conservation
AK Dept. Natural Resources
AK Dept. of Transportation
USDA Forest Service
USDA Nat. Resource Conservation Service
USDHS Coast Guard
USDI Bureau of Indian Affairs
USDI Bureau of Land Management
USDI Fish and Wildlife Service
USDI Geological Survey
USDI Minerals Management Service
USDI National Park Service
Prince William Sound Regional Citizens' Advisory Council
Prince William Soundkeeper
Alaska Inter-Tribal Council
Alaska Assoc. of Conservation Districts
The Nature Conservancy in Alaska
•Coordinating the state resources to maximize opportunities to prevent and control invasive species.
•Organize and streamline the interagency process for exclusion, early detection and control.
•To provide policy level direction and planning for managing invasive species and preventing the introduction of others.
•Foster coordination, streamline approaches that support initiative for management.
•Avoiding program duplication by building a strong collaborative approach.
• Form advisory subcommittees with top level support.