Fish and Wildlife Service - Seaplane Invasive Species Risk Analysis. Due: 8/3/22. $80K Available.
Seaplane Invasive Species Risk Analysis - Phase II
The ANS Task Force, within its Strategic Plan for 2020-2025 (Objective 2.2 and 2.3), identifies a need to evaluate and prioritize pathways, develop risk management strategies, and encourage implementation of non-regulatory and regulatory measures to prevent the establishment and spread of aquatic invasive species (AIS) in waters of the United States. While evaluating pathways, the ANS Task Force determined that more information is needed to assess the risk of spreading AIS via the seaplane pathway and develop measures to mitigate this risk. This project will address these objectives. Air travel has historically connected otherwise isolated areas, providing a means to transport species from one location to another. The risk of species movement associated with commercial airplanes and air cargo carriers has been previously evaluated (e.g., Tatem, AJ. 2009. Ecography 32:99-102); however, the ANS Task Force Prevention Subcommittee found that information on the potential risks associated with seaplanes is currently lacking. Seaplanes may be a more direct risk to aquatic habitats, as opposed to passenger or cargo aircraft. For example, studies of the seaplane transportation pathway in Alaska have concluded that seaplanes have contributed to the spread of Elodea, an invasive aquatic plant within Alaska (Schwoerer, T. 2017. Doctoral Dissertation. University of Alaska, Fairbanks). The spread of Elodea could have significant economic impacts on fisheries, businesses, and recreation if left unchecked. Currently, the significance of the seaplane pathway as a vector for high-risk species, such as Dreissenid mussels, within the contiguous United States, and between Alaska and the contiguous United States is poorly understood. The Service, co-chair of the ANS Task Force, requests proposals to build upon previous studies and evaluate the risk of the seaplane pathway as a vector for AIS. This risk analysis includes two components: a risk assessment and identification of risk management actions. Phase I of the assessment is in progress to identify the range of waterbodies utilized by seaplanes, seaplane travel patterns, structural and operation risk factors related to seaplanes, and measures taken by seaplane operators to prevent the transport of AIS. Phase II of the assessment (this announcement) will conduct a risk assessment on AIS transported through the seaplane pathway and identify risk management actions to reduce the spread of AIS.
August 3, 2022
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