Invasive species often are spread unknowingly by people. The council has developed protocols for agency field staff and others to prevent this inadvertent spread of invasive species. These protocols represent the most basic steps to take both before and after working outside and should serve as a starting point for all agencies.
When working in the field, there are numerous ways that invasive species may be spread. Following are some examples:
- Driving a car or truck to a field site and moving soil embedded with seeds or fragments of invasive plants in the vehicle’s tires to another site. New infestations may begin miles away as the seeds and fragments drop off the tires and the undercarriage of the vehicle.
- Sampling streams and moving water or sediment infested with invasive plants, animals, or pathogens via your boots, nets, sampling equipment, or boats from one stream to another.
- Moving weed-infested gravel or dirt to a new site, carrying the weed seeds along with it, during restoration and construction activities. Before long, the seeds germinate, and the new site is infested.
Two sets of protocols were developed. The first set of protocols pertains to field operations occurring on land; the other set is for work in the water. The major difference between them is the decontamination step in the water protocol. This step becomes necessary to completely remove immature stages of invasive animals as well as pathogens such as VHS fish disease that are spread much more readily in water. Considerations for construction projects also are provided.
Other state and federal agencies have developed their own invasive species prevention and decontamination protocols, which are more detailed and tailored to the specific mission and operations of the agency.
- Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife
- U.S. Forest Service – Noxious Weeds
- National White-Nose Syndrome Decontamination Protocols (bats)
- National Wildfire Coordinating Group Guide to Preventing Aquatic Invasive Species Transport by Wildland Fire Operations
See more information on ways to prevent the spread of invasive species.