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Invasive Species

Invasive species are considered to be one of the greatest threats to marine and coastal biodiversity world-wide, second only to habitat loss. NOAA recognizes that invasive species have a profound effect on aquatic ecosystems and is working to protect our coasts from these invaders.

The coastal areas of the United States possess some of the world’s most diverse and fragile ecosystems and support numerous species that depend on these habitats for survival. Unfortunately, human development has rendered these once pristine areas vulnerable to the introduction of opportunistic invasive species.

NOAA Invasive Species Program at a Glance

  • Co-chair of the Aquatic Nuisance Species Task Force
  • Co-chair of the National Invasive Species Council
  • Expands and coordinates prevention, early detection, rapid response, control, and monitoring programs nationwide.
  • Expands and supports research and monitoring efforts that investigate the impacts of aquatic invasive species (AIS) on ecosystems and socioeconomics.
  • Assist regions and states by providing technical support and best management practices regarding the prevention and spread of invasive species.

Taking on Coastal Invaders

Invasive species cause severe and permanent damage to the habitats they invade by reducing the abundance of native species as well as altering ecosystem processes. In addition to environmental impacts, invasive species also result in economic losses to local communities and industries through direct economic losses and management/control costs. The costs to control and eradicate invasive species in the U.S. alone amount to more than $137 billion annually.

To help prevent and control invasive species in our coastal waters and along our coasts, NOAA provides staff support for engagement and activities related to its leadership role as the co-chair of both the National Invasive Species Council and the Aquatic Nuisance Species Task Force.

The Aquatic Nuisance Species Task Force was established to implement the Nonindigenous Aquatic Nuisance Prevention and Control Act (NANPCA) of 1990 (later reauthorized and amended by the National Invasive Species Act of 1996).  As a co-chair, NOAA works with 10 federal agency representatives and 12 ex-officio members to coordinate all government efforts relating to aquatic invasive species in the United States with those of the private sector and other North American interests via regional panels and issue-specific committees and work groups.

The National Invasive Species Council was established February 3, 1999 by Presidential Executive Order 13112. Co-chaired by the secretaries of the Agriculture, Commerce, Interior; NOAA works closely with 13 Federal Departments and Agencies that coordinate and ensure complementary, cost-efficient and effective Federal activities regarding invasive species.