Mississippi River Basin Panel:
The mission of the Mississippi River Basin Panel (MRBP) on AIS is to assist in the development and implementation of strategic, action-oriented programs to prevent new introductions and manage the spread of aquatic invasive species in the Mississippi River watershed through coordinated communications, education, outreach, and research between basin stakeholders, agency partners, regional panels, and the ANS Task Force.
The MRBP was formed in 2003 and is hosted by the Mississippi Interstate Cooperative Resources Association (MICRA) under the guidance of the ANSTF. MICRA is an interstate partnership of 28 state departments of conservation and natural resources organized to provide a basin-wide coordination mechanism for the Mississippi River Basin. MICRA is not presently recognized by Congress under any formal statute, and holds no regulatory authority, but participates as an ex-officio member of the ANSTF. Under such arrangement, MICRA is charged with carrying on the daily operations of the MRBP. The MRBP works with MICRA and the MICRA Aquatic Invasive Species Committee.
Participation by diverse interests in the basin is maximized to ensure that Section 1203 goals and responsibilities are fully addressed. The design and conduct of MRBP activities are guided by the following objectives:
- The MRBP will not duplicate or replace ongoing ANS efforts.
- The MRBP will adopt a consensus-based approach in priority-setting and decision-making activities.
- The MRBP will serve as a coordinator, catalyst, and convener, relying upon its membership and other cooperators for the conduct of most program activities.
- The MRBP will identify or provide basin-wide clearinghouse and referral services.
Completion of these objectives is, of course, limited by the amount of funding and in-kind contributions and services made available to the MRBP.
MRBP Roles and Responsibilities:
- Identify priorities for activities in the Mississippi River Basin.
- Develop and submit recommendations to the ANS Task Force.
- Coordinate ANS program activities in the Basin.
- Advise public and private interests on prevention and control efforts.
- Submit an annual report to the ANS Task Force describing education, prevention, control and research activities in the Basin.
Regional Panels on ANS:
The Nonindigenous Aquatic Nuisance Prevention and Control Act of 1990 (NANPCA) or Public Law 101-646 was enacted with the following purposes:
- To prevent unintentional introductions;
- To coordinate research, control, and information dissemination activities;
- To develop and carry out environmentally sound control methods;
- To minimize economic and ecological impacts; and
- To establish a research and technology program to benefit state governments.
Section 1204 of NANPCA allows states to prepare comprehensive state and interstate aquatic nuisance control plans that describe state and local programs; identify needed federal programs; and provide a schedule for plan implementation. Approved plans are eligible for federal grants, with no less than a
25% state cost-share.
To supplement state efforts, Section 1203 of NANPCA (Appendix A) provides direction for Regional Panels to be established by the National ANS Task Force, outlines regional panel responsibilities, and provides direction for panel membership to include “representatives from federal, state and local agencies and from private environmental and commercial interests.”