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West Coast Regional AIS Collaboration
A Regional Approach to Predicting and Managing Aquatic Invasive Species Pathways
The West Coast features some of the most diverse habitats in the nation and areas especially vulnerable to the ecological and economic threats of invasive species. From Canada to Mexico, non-native species continue to invade aquatic habitats. Once established, infestations are often permanent and may spread throughout the region. Effective management of aquatic invasive species requires strong regional coordination and collaboration. Sea Grant programs in Washington, Oregon, California and Southern California are undertaking a Regional Evaluative Approach to predict the risks of AIS introduction and spread, and to develop and test AIS education and management strategies.
Invasive species spread in a variety of ways. Our project examines three primary pathways for invasions:
- Use of live organisms in the classroom
- Boating and other outdoor recreation activites
- Water conveyance systems such as aqueducts
Using an innovative model developed by Oregon Sea Grant, the West Coast project is evaluating pathway pressures and habitat suitability for predicting how vulnerable a region is to AIS. It will also estimate economic and ecological costs of specific aquatic invasive species for each of three pathways:
- Rusty crayfish for the schools pathway
- New Zealand mudsnails and the tunicate Didemnum vexillum for the recreation pathway
- Quagga and zebra mussels for the water systems pathway.