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Manager's Tool Kit
Vectors and Pathways


Provides resources for the movement of invasive species, including both natural and man-made pathways.

Global Treaty to Halt Invasive Aquatic Species to Enter into Force in 2017 (Sep 8, 2016)
International Maritime Organization.
The International Convention for the Control and Management of Ships' Ballast Water and Sediments (BWM Convention) will enter into force on 8 September 2017, marking a landmark step towards halting the spread of invasive aquatic species, which can cause havoc for local ecosystems, affect biodiversity and lead to substantial economic loss. Under the Convention’s terms, ships will be required to manage their ballast water to remove, render harmless, or avoid the uptake or discharge of aquatic organisms and pathogens within ballast water and sediments.

A Floating Threat: Sea Containers Spread Pests and Diseases (Aug 17, 2016)
UN. Food and Agriculture Organization.
Last year, the Commission on Phytosanitary Measures adopted a recommendation encouraging national plant protection organizations to recognize and communicate the risks posed by sea containers, and to support implementation of related parts of the UN Code of Practice for Packing of Cargo Transport Units (CTU Code), a non-regulatory industry guide book.

Council or Task Force

Invasive Species Pathways Working Group: Focus Group Conference Report and Pathways Ranking Guide (June-August 2005) (Jul 2006; PDF | 1.08 MB)
Aquatic Nuisance Species Task Force.
Published by: National Invasive Species Council, Aquatic Nuisance Species Task Force, and NISC Prevention Committee Pathways Work Team

Reducing the Risk of Introducing or Spreading Nonindigenous Plants, Animals, and Microorganisms through Science and Engineering Fair Projects (PDF | 331 KB)
Aquatic Nuisance Species Task Force.
Prepared by: Education and Outreach Working Group on the Gulf and South Atlantic Regional Panel

Pathways - Washington Invasive Species Education (WISE)
Washington State Recreation and Conservation Office. Washington Invasive Species Council.

Invasive Species Pathway Risk Analysis for California (2013; PDF | 1.64 MB)
Invasive Species Council of California.

Pathways of Introduction
Georgia Invasive Species Task Force.


AIM - How Invasions Happen
Aquatic Invaders in the Marketplace.
The AIM campaign that focuses on providing information and best practices to manage The Organisms in Trade (OIT) pathway. The OIT pathway is one of the main avenues by which non-native aquatic species become established in waterways. Many of the aquatic plants and animals available in the marketplace can negatively impact ecosystems, economies, and public health when introduced to new freshwater habitats. AIM was developed by a collaboration of researchers and outreach specialists led by Illinois-Indiana Sea Grant and the Illinois Natural History Survey.

Pathways and Prevention
Northeast Marine Introduced Species.

Portals and Pathways: Invasive Species in Louisiana
Tulane University and Xavier University. Center for Bioenvironmental Research.

Neighborhood Watch: Early Detection and Rapid Response to Biological Invasion Along US Trade Pathways (2009)
International Union for Conservation of Nature.

Denying Entry: Opportunities to Build Capacity to Prevent the Introduction of Invasive Species and Improve Biosecurity at US Ports (2007)
International Union for Conservation of Nature.

Trade and Invasive Species in the Caribbean: A Universe of Risk (Jul 2009)
International Union for Conservation of Nature.
This report reviews the potential risk of introductions of invasive species through trade related pathways in the insular Caribbean, with a particular emphasis on larger islands and on the potential impacts of trade-related introductions of invasives on forests.

MetroInvasive - Globalization, Metropolitan Areas, Invasive Species
Collaborative project between Federal Agencies and Universities researchers. Provides a perspective that considers urban areas as hubs of human-mediated invasions in natural and managed ecosystems and provides resources to enhance our understanding of the role of international trade in the dissemination of invasive species. Contains maps of hot spots for human-mediated invasions where early detection strategies could be implemented.

A Pathway Approach Towards Prevention of Movement of Pests and Pathogens with Live Plants in International Trade
Forestry Commission (United Kindom). Forest Research; International Union of Forest Research Organizations (IUFRO).

Closing the Pathways of Aquatic Invasive Species across North America: Overview and Resource Guide (2003; PDF | 298 KB)
Commission for Environmental Cooperation.
North American Agenda for Action: 2003-2005

Federal Government

Marine Debris as a Potential Pathway for Invasive Species (2017)
DOC. NOAA. Marine Debris Program.

Invasive Animal Species in Marine and Estuarine Environments: Biology and Ecology (Jan 2005; PDF | 1.6 MB) (Chapter 4: Pathways of Introduction)
DOD. USACE. Engineer Research and Development Center.

USDA. Animal and Plant and Health Inspection Service.

Invasive Species Pathways
DOI. Fish and Wildlife Service. Alaska Region.

Invasive Species Pathways Working Group: Pathways Ranking Guide and Proceedings Report, Focus Group Conference (Jun 21-22, 2005) (Dec 2005; DOC | 3.33 MB)
USDA. NAL. National Invasive Species Information Center.
Published by: USDA. Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service; DOI; DOC.

Invasive Species Pathways Team Final Report (Oct 29, 2003; DOC | 315 KB)
USDA. NAL. National Invasive Species Information Center.
Published by: Invasive Species Advisory Committee. Pathways Task Team.

Training and Implementation Guide for Pathway Definition, Risk Analysis and Risk Prioritization (Jan 2007; PDF | 1.36 MB)
USDA. NAL. National Invasive Species Information Center.
Published by: Aquatic Nuisance Species Task Force (ANSTF) and National Invasive Species Council (NISC) Prevention Committee via the Pathways Work Team.

State Government

Invasive Species Methods of Introduction
Alaska Department of Fish and Game.


Preventing Aquatic Species Invasions in the Mid-Atlantic: Outcome-Based Actions in Vector Management - Aquatic Invasive Species in the Mid-Atlantic Vector Workshop Findings (2010; PDF | 3.3 MB)
Maryland Sea Grant.
Maryland Sea Grant hosted a workshop in 2009 in Baltimore, Maryland that focused on examining and controlling exotic species vectors. The workshop, sponsored in partnership with the Mid-Atlantic Panel on Aquatic Invasive Species, drew experts from throughout the region and beyond. Participants detailed specific research, management, and education and outreach actions for the major AIS vectors, or pathways, in the Mid-Atlantic.
See also: Aquatic Invasive Species for additional information about the risks in Maryland and the Mid-Atlantic.

DON'T DUMP BAIT: Marine Bait Worms as a Potential Vector of Non-Native Species (2009)
University of Connecticut. Connecticut Sea Grant.
Researchers from the University of Connecticut and SUNY Purchase completed a study that reinforces concerns that live marine bait, such as bait worms, and more particularly, the seaweed or other material they are packed in, can serve as a vector or pathway by which organisms from one region can be introduced into another. The study was funded by the Environmental Protection Agency Long Island Sound Study, with additional support from Connecticut Sea Grant. For the complete study results, see the Long Island Sound Study: EPA Assistance Award Final Report (2009; PDF | 183 KB).

The Aquarium Trade as an Invasion Pathway in the Pacific Northwest (Feb 2011; PDF | 753 KB)
University of Washington. School of Aquatic and Fishery Sciences. Olden Research Lab.
Published in Fisheries, Vol 36, Issue 2, 2011.

Weed Seed Dispersal by Vehicles (2017)
Montana State University Extension.


American Fisheries Society Position on Introductions of Aquatic Species
American Fisheries Society.

Firewood: Buy It Where You Burn It
Nature Conservancy.

Pathways of Invasion
Houston Advanced Research Center.

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Last Modified: Aug 22, 2018
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