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Aquatic Invasive Species Subcommittee

Since its establishment in 2006, the GYCC Aquatic Invasive Species Subcommittee has coordinated efforts between agencies, states, and non-government partners to advance AIS science, communication, and management.

Subcommittee Mission: 

Our mission is to work cooperatively to develop effective programs that address the threat of aquatic invasive species throughout the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem (GYE).

Subcommittee Leadership:

Co-Chair - Chad Whaley, Fisheries Biologist and AIS Program Coordinator, Grand Teton National Park,

Co-Chair - Mike Canetta, AIS Biologist/Program Lead, Yellowstone National Park,

NEXT MEETING (virtual): 4/18/24, 12:30-4:30

Aquatic Invasive Species: Threat to the Ecosystem

Aquatic invasive species (AIS) threaten to fundamentally alter aquatic ecosystems and put the native plants and animals of the GYE at risk. AIS are organisms or pathogens that are introduced to an ecosystem outside their historical natural range. They frequently cause irreversible ecological and economic damage or harm to human health. Eliminating AIS after they become established is usually impossible, and efforts to reduce their impact can be extremely expensive. Preventing new introductions and the spread of existing AIS is a fiscally responsible and ecologically important task that requires a focused, coordinated effort among all parties within the GYE, whether governmental, nonprofit, or private.

Aquatic Invasive Species: Status and Trends in Greater Yellowstone

In addition to nonnative fish in the GYE, these AIS are already having a detrimental effect:
Myxobolus cerebralis causes whirling disease in cutthroat trout and other species.
New Zealand mud snails (Potamopyrgus antipodarum) form dense colonies and compete with native species.
Red-rimmed melania (Melanoides tuberculatus) out-compete native snails.
American bullfrogs, big-ear radix, red-eared sliders, Eurasian watermilfoil, and curly-leaf pondweed are
also in the GYE.

Numerous species of AIS are expanding in their ranges and pose a tremendous risk to GYE ecological, recreational, and economic values. These AIS include quagga and zebra mussels, Asian clams, Asian carp species, Eurasian watermilfoil, hydrilla, flowering rush, and viral hemorrhagic septicemia. Quagga and zebra mussels, two of the most feared AIS in the U.S., have continued to expand their distribution since they were introduced to the Great Lakes in the 1980s. In 2022, zebra mussels were documented in western South Dakota and central Colorado, less than 400–500 miles from the GYE. In 2023, quagga mussels were confirmed in the Snake River near Twin Falls, Idaho, less than 300 miles from the GYE.

Publications/Products Produced:

What you can do to stop aquatic invasives

CLEAN - Remove all plants, animals, and mud from your boat, anchor, boots, and other equipment before you enter and after you leave the water. If traveling to another body of water, rinse equipment and boat hulls with high-pressure hot water at a hot water wash station.

DRAIN - Before leaving the area, drain all the water from your boat, including the motor, bilge, livewell, ballast, hull, and anything else that traps water. Leave drain plugs out during transport.

DRY - Dry all compartments and equipment completely before entering another body of water.

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