Invasive Species

Monitor and rapidly respond to the introduction and spread of terrestrial and aquatic invasive species.
Invasive species have the potential to negatively impact biodiversity in various terrestrial and aquatic habitats and food webs. Many nonnative predatory fish species outcompete native fish species which can lead to the decimation of native fish communities such as steelhead and salmon species, including Chinook. Over the past several decades, intentional and illegal introductions of nonnative fish have been observed.

This strategy focuses on the need to protect and restore the native diversity and abundance of Puget Sound species and prevent and respond to the introduction of terrestrial and aquatic invasive species. To be effective at protecting and enhancing biodiversity in the ecosystem, species recovery plans must be implemented in an integrated and coordinated way, across geographies and jurisdictions. This includes supporting ongoing programs and efforts across state agencies to monitor, assess and rapidly respond to the introduction and spread of terrestrial and aquatic invasive species. Monitoring invasive species will allow agencies to establish targeted approaches to ultimately reduce invasive populations and limit their spread to other locations.
  • Reduce impact of invasive species

Prevent and rapidly respond to the introduction and spread of terrestrial and aquatic invasive species, including green crab, predatory fish, and invasive plants. (ID #46)

Key opportunities for 2022-2026 include:

  • Use surveillance to detect invasive species and better understand pathways of introduction;
  • Establish response networks for coordinated rapid response to invasive species;
  • Support and encourage voluntary groups working to reduce and control invasive species.

Develop, fund, and implement coordinated outreach and incentive programs that educate and raise awareness and motivate action for Puget Sound residents (including boaters) to reduce the spread of invasive species. (ID #202)

Key opportunities for 2022-2026 include:

  • Use surveillance to detect invasive species and better understand pathways of introduction;
  • Educate communities including residents and visitors including boaters and preK-16 students;
  • Increase education and signage at all public boat launches, large and, perhaps small (cleaning, disinfection, enforcement) for both marine and freshwater bodies;
  • Include education (flyers) when registering boat licenses and purchasing fish and shellfish harvest licensing;
  • Increase more boat inspection stations along highways (like Zebra mussels), like along trucker way stations.

Create an integrated planning approach to protect and enhance biodiversity in the Puget Sound ecosystem by mitigating the threat of invasive species. (ID #203)

Key opportunities for 2022-2026 include:

  • Address key invasive species research questions;
  • Collaborate on monitoring and mitigation across state and local agencies and tribal co-managers;
  • Support pilot studies to test invasive removal and management approaches;
  • Establish regulations for inter and intrastate boat inspections.
Implementation Considerations

Key opportunities for 2022-2026 to integrate human wellbeing considerations and climate change responses into efforts include:

Human Wellbeing

  • Better articulate connections between invasive species and their impacts on the Puget Sound ecosystem, including human health and communities.
  • Expand local programs (for example, Green Cities) that offer volunteer stewardship opportunities and learning to promote native plant care, planting, invasive species removal, and eradication.
  • Expand training and financial support for community science to monitor invasive species.
  • Leverage existing preK-16 curricula to include invasive species identification and prevention created and awareness of invasive species.
  • Develop guidance that provides specific examples for how to hold accessible meetings (time, locations, incentives, compensation, etc.). This includes asking communities how they want to be involved.
  • Collaborate with communities to determine engagement and outreach opportunities as well as the best opportunities to take action (for example, incentives, community-based events, and prek-16 curricula), identify, remove, eradicate, and prevent invasive species at the local level.
  • Engage residents in frequented community spaces (for example, garden stores, social media, grocery stores, and restaurants).
  • Develop (or leverage existing) guidance on plain language material development and how to create accessible materials in multiple languages and formats for meetings.
  • Ensure field staff from all jurisdictions are trained in recognizing and preventing invasive species.
  • Collaborate with nurseries, native plant and gardening groups, and schools in education on native plant benefits and impacts of non-native plants.
  • Include information on invasive species identification, removal, and prevention in navigational maps.
  • Develop communication materials articulating connections between the natural resource industry and Puget Sound recovery; enhance messaging around sustainable and non-sustainable products (for example, sustainable fish consumption).
  • Create a coordinating body or hub to provide education, training, communication, and technical support to local groups around oil spills, invasive species, and boater best practices.
  • Identify vulnerable populations and underserved communities to the impacts of invasive species across Puget Sound.

Climate Change

  • Incorporate climate change information into integrated planning for protecting and enhancing biodiversity.
  • Include climate change in research and monitoring of invasive species.
  • Use volunteer invasive removal and tree planting events to educate the public about climate.
Ongoing Programs

Ongoing programs provide regulatory oversight, technical support, implementation resources, funding, or guidance and serve as the critical foundation for Puget Sound recovery. The following is a list of example state and federal ongoing programs that help to implement this strategy. Many more local, tribal nations, and nongovernmental programs exist that support this strategy.

What We're Measuring

We achieve our recovery goal of thriving species and food webs by increasing the ability to respond to emerging outbreaks and ongoing impacts of invasive species.

Current Legislative Actions