Sycan River and marsh in the Fremont-Winema National Forest, Oregon. USDA Forest Service photo.
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service regulates invasive and harmful species imported into the United States under the injurious wildlife provisions of the Lacey Act. Injurious species are prohibited from U.S. import to prevent potential ecosystem damage caused by their introduction and establishment. Prior to importation, species must be evaluated to determine the risk they may pose to the nation. This evaluation process is often lengthy.
Bruce Marcot, research wildlife biologist with the station, worked with the Aquatic Invasive Species program of U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to create a standardized, formal analysis framework that can be used to help assess freshwater fish being considered for listing under the Lacey Act.
• The system combines U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s rapid screening procedure, the Ecological Risk Screening Summary, with the new probability-based Freshwater Fish Injurious Species Risk Assessment Model.
• When the screening summary is unable to determine the potential risk with certainty, the assessment model can be used to further assess risk probability based on the known biology and ecology of the species in question and potentially affected ecosystems.
The framework predicts the likelihood that a freshwater fish species imported into the United States could become invasive and harm native species, the ecosystem, or people. It provides a clear decision pathway and repeatable evaluation methods with rigorous standards that can be used by anyone to assess any potentially invasive or harmful species. U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service recently used the framework to assist the state of Michigan in assessing the risk of invasiveness of the African longfin eel, a species being considered for U.S. import for aquaculture.