Mississippi River Basin Panel on Aquatic Nuisance Species

The Mississippi Interstate Cooperative Resource Association (MICRA) has hosted the Mississippi River Basin Panel on Aquatic Nuisance Species (MRBP) since 2003 under the oversight of the national Aquatic Nuisance Species (ANS) Task Force headquartered in Washington, DC.  The MRBP is one of six Regional ANS Panels established by the ANS Task Forec to coordinate governmental efforts to prevent and manage introductions of ANS in the United States with those of the private sector and other North American interests. The MRBP project area includes the entire Mississippi River Basin, the largest watershed in the nation, covering 1.25 million square miles, and draining 41% of the continental United States.

 

 Mississippi River Basin

Mississippi River Basin Map

 

 

Aquatic Nuisance Species

 

ANS are aquatic organisms introduced into new habitats that produce harmful impacts on aquatic natural resources in these ecosystems and on the human use of these resources.  The term ANS is often used interchangably with the more contemporary term Aquatic Invasive Species (AIS).  The Mississippi River Basin has been greatly impacted by a number of invasive fish, plants, and mussels and continues to be threatened by new ANS introductions.  Twenty-three of MICRA's 28 members states reported 149 ANS in the Mississippi River Basin during a 1999 survey.  These included 56 plants, 16 invertebrates, 75 fish, 1 amphibian, and 1 mammal.  Invasion of ANS can occur through many pathways including aquarium and live bait releases; horticulture and water garden aquatic plant sales and use; escape from aquaculture facilities; attachment to boats, trailers, waders and other water/outdoor recreation equipment; attachment to barges and other commercial vessels; and connections between waters and watersheds.  The best defense against ANS is prevention.  Once an ANS becomes established it is very difficult and expensive, or impossible, to achieve complete eradication.  Please explore the MRBP website to learn more about ANS in the Mississippi River Basin and how you can help prevent and manage ANS introductions.