Aquatic invasive species leaders gather to discuss regional threats
By angelamontana

Posted: October 7, 2019

This week experts on invasive species will gather to discuss the most pressing issues on aquatic invasive species management.  The Western Regional Panel on Aquatic Nuisance Species (WRP) will hold its annual meeting in Missoula Oct. 9-11, hosted by Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks.  Aquatic invasive species (AIS) cause tremendous damage to our economic and natural resources.

Whether conducting thousands of boat inspections, tackling tsunami debris, or developing management plans, managers and biologists work in a fast-paced environment where they must anticipate and react to damaging AIS. AIS pose a serious threat to our rivers and lakes and require comprehensive management strategies to protect our water resources.

“The WRP annual meeting is an important gathering for those dealing with invasive species,” says Thomas Woolf, AIS Bureau Chief with FWP and WRP voting member. “Keeping the communication lines open is critical in protecting our water resources from invasive species”.

The WRP addresses both coastal and freshwater management issues that deal with aquatic invasive species.  During the annual meeting this week, participants will learn from informative lectures and discussions to foster coordination of AIS management among western states.  The WRP annual meeting is a public event.  To learn more about the WRP and their annual meeting, visit the WRP web page.

“Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks has stepped up to host the annual meeting,” says Leah Elwell, coordinator for the WRP. “Their determination to bring together invasive species experts for this meeting is indicative of their strong program to deal with AIS in Montana.”

The WRP on AIS was formed in 1997 to help limit the introduction, spread and impacts of aquatic nuisance species into the western region of North America. This panel of public and private entities was formed by a provision in the National Invasive Species Act of 1996 (P.L. 101-636), the amendment to the 1990 Act.  The WRP membership has representatives from state, federal, tribal agencies as well as entities from academia, business interests, and non-profit entities.