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Legal research and outreach leads to regional policy consensus on recreational watercraft pathway

One of the primary pathways for the spread of aquatic invasive species (AIS) is the movement of trailered watercraft. Inconsistency, overlaps, and gaps between neighboring states’ legal regimes can hinder prevention and enforcement efforts. The National Sea Grant Law Center (NSGLC) began providing legal research and other technical assistance to the Western Regional Panel on Aquatic Nuisance Species (WRP) “Building Consensus” Committee in 2012.

In July 2016, the Western Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies passed a resolution recommending its member states adopt standardized regulations requiring watercraft operators to take certain action regarding drain plugs and visible plant material on watercraft and trailers.

In December 2016, the NSGLC and AFWA finalized the “Model Regulation for State Watercraft Inspection and Decontamination Programs.” Over a dozen western states amended agency regulations and policies to conform to the model provisions.

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Images of Sea Grant's work in research, education and extension provided by (from left to right) Wisconsin, Guam and Florida Sea Grant programs. Design by Hallee Meltzer | National Sea Grant Office.

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