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  • ASSESSMENT OF POTENTIAL FOR DISPERSAL OF AQUATIC

    NUISANCE SPECIES BY RECREATIONAL BOATERS

    INTO THE WESTERN UNITED STATES

    Technical Report

    on Research Carried out under

    USFWS Cooperative Agreement No. 1448-20181-99-J818 to The University of Texas at Arlington

    from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

    for the Western Regional Panel of the

    Aquatic Nuisance Species Task Force

    Report Prepared by

    Kevin Len Buch1 and Robert F. McMahon Department of Biology

    Center for Biological Macrofouling Research Box 19498

    The University of Texas at Arlington Arlington, Texas 76019

    29 May 2001

    1Present Address: Flower Garden Banks National Marine Sanctuary, 216 West 26th Street, Suite 104, Bryan, Texas 77803.

  • ii

    ABSTRACT

    The 100th Meridian Initiative is a multi-state, multi-agency program whose purpose is to

    prevent or slow the westward expansion of aquatic nuisance species (ANS), especially the zebra

    mussel, Dreissena polymorpha. It was implemented under the National Invasive Species Act of

    1996 (P.L. 104-332). A major component of the Initiative is a large-scale recreational boater

    survey and inspection project conducted by agencies in states located along the 100th Meridian

    (i.e., North Dakota, South Dakota, Nebraska, Kansas, Oklahoma, Texas) under administration of

    the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. A preliminary survey was conducted in 1998. The results of

    the 1998 survey were used to design a much more extensive and intensive 1999 survey. The

    1999 survey was carried out from April 1999 to April 2000. Survey components included boater

    interviews and inspections of accompanying watercraft; timed counts of trailered watercraft

    entering 100th Meridian Initiative states from the east; and counts and inspections of trailers at

    public launching areas of major lakes and reservoirs in 100th Meridian States. Survey results for

    1999 revealed that, in Texas, Oklahoma, Kansas, and South Dakota, high percentages of out-of-

    state boaters were from home states harboring zebra mussels (mean = 84%). These states also

    reported that high percentages of boaters who had previously launched out-of-state last launched

    in states with zebra mussel infestations (mean = 86%), with 8% of these boaters last launching in

    bodies of water currently harboring zebra mussels. Nebraska reported low percentages of out-of-

    state boaters from zebra mussel-infested states (3%), but high percentages of out-of-state boaters

    from states west of the 100th Meridian (93%), indicating that it could serve as an important

    staging area for westward ANS dispersal. Seven hundred and twenty-four vessel inspections

    revealed only one instance of ANS transport (i.e., zebra mussels in Nebraska), but confirmed

  • iii

    sightings of zebra mussels on recreational boats independent of the 100th Meridian Initiative

    Survey were reported in Texas, Arizona, and Colorado during the 1999-2000 survey period.

    Survey results suggested that the transport of zebra mussels by recreational boaters may occur

    unpredictably and at low levels, and that programs relying heavily on inspections and removal to

    control ANS dispersal into western states may prove ineffective. Recommendations for future

    surveys include collection of more specific data relating to boater movements, concentrations,

    and home lake usage, and using data to effectively target expanded ANS education and

    awareness activities.

  • iv

    TABLE OF CONTENTS ABSTRACT .................................................................................................................. ii LIST OF TABLES ....................................................................................................... vi INTRODUCTION ........................................................................................................ 1 MATERIALS AND METHODS ................................................................................. 3

    Survey Components ............................................................................................... 4 Data Collection by State ........................................................................................... 6

    Texas .................................................................................................................. 6 Oklahoma ........................................................................................................... 7 Kansas ................................................................................................................ 7 Nebraska ............................................................................................................. 8 South Dakota ...................................................................................................... 9

    RESULTS ....................................................................................................................... 9

    State Survey Results ................................................................................................. 9 Texas—1998 ...................................................................................................... 9 Texas—1999 .................................................................................................... 11 Oklahoma—1998 ............................................................................................. 15 Oklahoma—1999 ............................................................................................. 16 Kansas—1998 .................................................................................................. 17 Kansas—1999 .................................................................................................. 19 Nebraska—1998 ............................................................................................... 23 Nebraska—1999 ............................................................................................... 25 South Dakota—1998 ........................................................................................ 28 South Dakota—1999 ........................................................................................ 31 North Dakota—1998 and 1999 ....................................................................... 33

    Overall Summary of Results .................................................................................. 36

    DISCUSSION .............................................................................................................. 40 Survey Analysis by State ........................................................................................ 40

    Texas ................................................................................................................ 40 Oklahoma ......................................................................................................... 43 Kansas .............................................................................................................. 44 Nebraska ........................................................................................................... 45 South Dakota .................................................................................................... 48 North Dakota .................................................................................................... 49

    CONCLUSIONS AND RECOMMENDATIONS ...................................................... 51

    Conclusions ............................................................................................................ 51 Recommendations .................................................................................................. 54

  • v

    APPENDIX 1. Trailered Boat Survey Interview Form—1998 ................................................. 58 2. Trailered Boat Survey Interview Form and Instructions—1999 ...................................................................................... 59 3. Boater Survey for Nonnative Aquatic Species Form and Instructions .................................................................................................. 62 4. Trailer Counts for Launch Areas and Related Facilities Form and Instructions ............................................................................................ 64 5. Trailered Boat Traffic Summary Report Form and Instructions ....................... 66

    ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS ........................................................................................ 68 LITERATURE CITED ................................................................................................ 68

  • vi

    LIST OF TABLES Table Page

    1. Data Collection by State—1998 .............................................................................. 7

    2. Data Collection by State—1999 ............................................................................... 8

    3. Interview and Inspection Data—Texas 1998 ........................................................ 10

    4. Last Launch Site Locations in Zebra Mussel-Infested States—Texas 1998 ...............................

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