Oregon State University

Aquatic Invasive Species

Non-native crayfish, imported for school biology classes, are invading Oregon streams

Plants and animals have adapted over the centuries to the habitats and conditions where they originate. And for just as long, humankind has been moving those organisms to new homes - sometimes intentionally, sometimes not.

When an introduced species is bigger, tougher, hungrier or faster-growing than others in its new home, it can crowd them out and wreak havoc on entire ecosystems - and regions. Effective prediction, detection, identification and mitigation strategies are critical to control.

Spread the word, not the invaders

Contact: Sam Chan

Oregon Sea Grant's invasive species specialist, Sam Chan, works with a wide range of people, from school teachers to resource managers, to educate Oregonians about aquatic invasive species, how they spread, and how they can be controlled. He serves on Oregon Invasive Species Council, and collaborates with state and local agencies and Sea Grant programs in other states. Sam and his team also work with the mass media to spread the word about invasive species to the general public. In 2008, for instance, they teamed with Oregon Public Broadcasting and the Salem Statesman-Journal in a highly successful, year-long "Stop the Invasion" series to educate Oregonians about the subject. The project included an award-winning OPB documentary, The Silent Invasion, and establishment of a "100 Worst" list of Oregon invaders.

Regional collaboration for more effective detection, control

Contact: Sam Chan, Tania Siemens

The West Coast features some of the most diverse habitats in the nation, many of them especially vulnerable to the ecological and economic threats of invasive species. Once established, infestations are often permanent and may spread throughout the region. Effective management  requires strong regional coordination and collaboration.  Oregon Sea Grantis leading a two year, $416,000 NOAA-funded effort to combat high-priority aquatic invasive species in the Pacific Northwest and Southwest. Working with other West Coast Sea Grant programs and others throughout the region, we are developing better methods for predicting the spread of aquatic invaders, better understanding of the economic value of early detection and rapid response, and better strategies for educating the public about invasive species prevention. Recent regional efforts have included workshops, evaluations presentations and publications on legal and regulatory efforts to control the spread of invasive mussels in the West.   Read more ...

Helping schools become part of the solution

Contact: Tania Siemens

Oregon Sea Grant's Watersheds and Invasive Species Education (WISE) program works with teachers to develop curricula, learning activities and other tools that bring invasive species learning into the science curriculum. At the same time, we're teaching teachers how to prevent their classroom science projects from becoming inadvertent pathways for releasing invaders into the wild. Among our educational tools is a growing AIS Toolkit of classroom-created projects and activities designed to bring home the "stop the invaders" message. Read more ...

Public pathways, public education

Boaters, campers, gardeners, pet hobbyists, school activities, water systems and even tsunami debris can provide pathways for the spread of non-native invaders. Sea Grant applies its arsenal of public engagement and outreach tools to spreading the word about invasive species and the environmental and economic damage they can do. From publications and videos to campground and marina campaigns, we deliver the message where people live, work and play. Read more ...

Preventing the spread of invasive species by recreational boats: Model legislative provisions and guidance

Contact: Sam Chan

These model state legislative provisions were developed for two purposes. to provide guidance to states with Watercraft Inspection and Decontamination programs to create a foundation for reciprocity, and for states without such programs, to  outline a legal framework their authorization. Where states are able to align their legal authorities on this topic, the initial groundwork is laid for adopting standard protocols and agreements among states to accept one another’s inspections, decontaminations, and receipts. In turn, aligning state laws can reduce confusion among the boating public and increase compliance, reduce the need for federal legislation to address interstate issues and simplify law enforcement with respect to knowing violators or repeat offenders. Read more ...

Related research

  • Regional Aquatic Invasive Species Research and Outreach. Sam Chan, Sea Grant aquatic ecosystem health specialist. (Funding: NOAA Sea Grant).
  • Boater attitudes and practices in preventing invasive species. Sam Chan. (Funding: National Sea Grant Law Center)
  • Biological and Ecological Assessment of the Living Marine Biota Arriving in Oregon on a Tsunami‐Generated Floating Dock from Japan (R/NIS-23). Jessica Miller, OSU Coastal Oregon Marine Experiment Station, HMSC. (Program Development grant)
  • The Identification and Biology of the Seaweeds of the Japanese Tsunami Floating Dock (R/NIS-24). Gayle Hansen, OSU Botany and Plant Pathology. (Program Development grant)
  • Exploration of methods for restricting spread of invasive marine species in fouling communities (R/NIS-22-PD) Richard Emlet, University of Oregon. (Program Development grant)

Graduate theses from our student research assistants and interns:

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Publications and videos

Additional Oregon Sea Grant publications and videos about:

Additional AIS resources

Contact Info

Oregon Sea Grant
1600 SW Western Blvd
Suite 350
Corvallis OR 97333
Phone: 541-737-2714
FAX: 541-737-7958

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