WEBINARS ON THE USE OF THE TOOLKIT
When we launched this toolkit, we hosted a series of webinars on its use. The following is one of these training webinars (held in January 2021):
Prevention is the first line of defense against invasive species, and is widely recognized as the most cost-effective approach to lessen the introduction and establishment of invasive species. The primary challenge associated with invasive species ecology is management of introduction pathways, or vectors. A comprehensive biosecurity approach that emphasizes minimizing invasive species introductions through risk management strategies focused on interdiction of vectors is the most successful approach to preventing new introductions of invasive species.
LOCAL GOVERNMENTS AND INVASIVE SPECIES PREVENTION EFFORTS
Although a substantial amount of attention has been placed on federal and state invasive species policy development and coordination, the potential exists for municipalities to play a significant role in invasive species prevention efforts by implementing rules and regulations that address key gaps not addressed by state and federal regulations. The extent of the authority of cities and counties varies by state, but these entities generally have the ability to enact and enforce laws to protect the welfare, safety, and health of their citizens.
Different levels of government that work together to collaboratively address invasive species can more efficiently prevent, mitigate, and control invasive species risks. However, local government efforts to address invasive species risks are generally not mobilized in a coordinated or effective manner. Local government officials are often unaware of the extent of their authority to address invasive species risks and therefore do not enact ordinances to regulate key pathways. In addition, state funding priorities may not align with local needs, or available funding is insufficient to cover program costs.
Federal and state invasive species prevention and management programs would benefit from increased engagement and empowerment of local governments to develop invasive species programs. Local governments can help extend the reach of federal and state outreach programs, develop and enforce local laws and policies to support federal and state policy goals, and assist with federal and state law enforcement efforts.
The US Fish and Wildlife Service supported this research on the role of local municipalities and entities in AIS prevention efforts as well as the development of this website. This work fills key a key gap that exists in federal and state management plans, which neither mention nor consider the role of local governments in achieving AIS management goals. This work will directly support the goals of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Aquatic Invasive Species Program, which includes preventing the introduction and spread of AIS, detecting and monitoring AIS, rapid assessment and responses to new introductions, control of established invaders to reduce impacts, and increasing public awareness to prevent introduction and spread. All of these goals can be better achieved with close coordination and collaboration with local jurisdictions.
NAVIGATING THE COMPLEXITY OF ADDRESSING AIS AT THE LOCAL LEVEL
Local governments have a variety of non-regulatory tools to address aquatic invasive species, including public outreach, prevention efforts, incentives for landowners and land managers, detecting new invaders, conducting surveys and inventories to assess the status of populations, prioritizing sites for potential control actions, treating high priority infestations, and monitoring through time to evaluate the efficacy of control efforts (Invasive Species Council of British Columbia 2014). Numerous entities can be involved in these non-regulatory efforts, including entities with regulatory authorities as well as lake associations, nonprofit organizations, privately-owned marinas, community groups, and others. In any particular instance, a suite of regulatory and non-regulatory entities may participate in AIS-related efforts.
If the determination is made that a regulation is needed, it is important to identify and engage all entities with jurisdictions over the water body or pathway in question. Consider, for example, a water body spanning two municipal jurisdictions located within one county. Any of the three jurisdictions (two cities and a county) could potentially adopt a regulation or take action to address the threat. However, depending on the nature of the regulation, the scope of municipal authority, and the governmental relationships, it might be more efficient for the county to enact the desired regulation. On the other hand, the cities may possess certain authorities that the county lacks. Local action may also be complicated or restrained if federal or state entities also have regulatory or management authority over the water body. Understanding jurisdictional and management authorities for specific water bodies is critical to streamlining regulation development efforts.