Alaska Invasive Species Working Group


Mission of Alaska Invasive Species Working Group

The mission of the AISWG is to minimize invasive species impacts in Alaska by facilitating collaboration, cooperation and communication among AISWG members and the people of Alaska.

What is an invasive species?

The following definitions are from Executive Order 13112, a Presidential statement of national policy:

"Alien species" means, with respect to a particular ecosystem, any species, including its seeds, eggs, spores, or other biological material capable of propagating that species, that is not native to that ecosystem.

"Invasive species" means an alien species whose introduction does or is likely to cause economic or environmental harm to human health.

Why do we need to work together?

Alaska is a BIG place -  365,000,000 acres -  with a coastline longer than all the other 49 states combined. Land is managed by the State of Alaska, the U.S. government, private holdings, and tribal entities.

Alaska is a major location for sea and air shipping, tourism and resource production. Long borders, long coastlines, busy shipping centers, and a large amount of imported goods give invasive species many ways into the state.

To control and prevent invasive species, Alaska needs to make the most of its existing organizations and their available resources.

Goals for the AISWG

  • Clarify the jurisdictional authorities of signatory parties as they relate to invasive species management.
  • Share the scientific and technical expertise of the parties related to invasive species management.
  • Encourage and enable signatory party employees or members to work collaboratively to optimize their respective capabilities to minimize invasive species impacts.
  • Collaborate in developing a needs assessment and drafting a statewide strategic plan for the management of invasive species.
  • Work to support the formation by the State of Alaska, in collaboration with the other signatory parties, a formal structure for continued collaboration, cooperation and communication to minimize invasive species impacts in Alaska. 
Formation of the AISWG
Invasive species issues are a major concern in the US. Many states have formed councils or working groups to coordinate their efforts and to increase the effectiveness of their invasive species management programs. These councils operate under a variety of structures in terms of organization, funding, and participation. Each state must work to find the best solution to its individual species concerns.
Much work is already being done in Alaska in regard to invasive species, and the state is lucky to be only moderately impacted thus far from the impacts of invasives. However, if we do not act effectively now, we may well be at the beginning of what could become a very expensive and deleterious expansion of effects from invasive species.  

 In recognition of this situation, the Alaska Invasive Species Working Group will work to address and prevent impacts from invasive species. On April 26 and 27, 2006, dozens of individuals from around the state met to kick off Alaska's effort to form an Invasive Species Working Group.  Among the attendees were representatives from state, federal, university, citizen, native, conservation, and military organizations.  After much fruitful discussion, a Memorandum of Understanding was drafted for review and approval by agency heads. The draft can be viewed here.


Summary of the AISWG Meeting Subcommittees 

  • Education
  • Research Needs
  • Management Needs
  • Data Management and Clearinghouse
  • Marine Group

Sources of Support 

The Cooperative Extension Service obtained a grant from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to investigate the options for and assist in setting up an Alaska invasive species council. This money is being used to fund an invasive species program assistant, produce supporting documents, and hold meetings.

The Alaska Department of Fish and Game maintains and staffs a toll-free hotline for invasive species reports, 1-877-INVASIV (1-877-468-2748).

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