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Airplane flying over lake near mountain range.

Reducing the Potential to Spread Aquatic Invasive Species Via the Seaplane Pathway

A project funded by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and implemented by:

Creative Resource Strategies LLC logo
Pacific States Marine Fisheries Commission logo
National Sea Grant logo
Conservation Collaborations LLC logo


The Aquatic Nuisance Species (ANS) Task Force implements the Nonindigenous Aquatic Nuisance Prevention and Control Act (NANPCA) and the National Invasive Species Act by preventing the introduction and spread of aquatic invasive species; monitoring aquatic invasive species; controlling aquatic invasive species; researching methods that improve how aquatic invasive species is monitored, controlled, managed, and eradicated; coordinating with agencies and entities; and public outreach. This project is intended to help the ANS Task Force reduce the risk of impacts of aquatic invasive species through the seaplane pathway by engaging with seaplane pilots and seaplane/seaplane equipment manufacturers in the lower 48 and Alaska to help prevent the introduction and spread of aquatic invasive species; improve the ability of seaplane pilots to lessen the spread of aquatic invasive species by developing best management practices that will be accepted and used by pilots; assessing the risk of aquatic invasive species spread by the seaplane pathway in different regions of the United States; and compiling and sharing all information garnered through this research.


  • Build on existing knowledge and understanding of seaplanes as a potential pathway for the transport of aquatic invasive species.

  • Develop a shared understanding of information and statistics associated with seaplanes and U.S. waterbodies as well as their potential nexus with aquatic invasive species by compiling information on U.S. seaplane statistics, seaplane inspection and decontamination protocols, existing regulations governing seaplane operation, and seaplanes as a pathway for aquatic invasive species transport, and to share that information via a website.

  • Conduct a risk assessment that compiles data and maps waterbodies and aquatic invasive species, including current waterbody monitoring for aquatic invasive species at seaplane bases in the lower 48 and Alaska.

  • Implement a survey to seaplane operators to obtain information about current aquatic invasive species knowledge and existing and potential prevention practices.

  • Develop recommendations to enhance seaplane aquatic invasive species prevention efforts through a series of eight remote focus group meetings in different regions of the United States followed by a survey to obtain feedback on proposed aquatic invasive species best management practices for self-inspection and decontamination.

  • Host a “Think Tank” summit with representatives from seaplane manufacturers and seaplane float manufacturers that culminates in a Technical Report that proposes guidelines for industry standards to lessen the transport of aquatic invasive species through seaplane equipment, such as water rudders.

Colored illustration of seaplane.
  • Compile scientific literature, information, and statistics on U.S.  seaplanes and aquatic invasive species 

  • Compile aquatic invasive species information and outreach on seaplane self-inspection protocols

  • Compile regulations governing U.S. seaplane use nationally and at the state levels

  • Compile U.S.G.S. and iMapInvasives aquatic invasive species data distribution of high priority AIS species

  • Identify, quantify, and map U.S. waterbodies used by seaplanes

  • Create a project website 

  • Describe social,   environmental, and ecosystem impacts of aquatic invasive species and the potential effects of climate change for increasing the spread of aquatic invasive species via seaplanes

October - December 2023

Seaplane at edge of lake.
  • Survey seaplane pilots to identify travel patterns on a regional basis and to assess  knowledge and awareness of seaplanes as a potential aquatic invasive species pathway; assess  knowledge and use of seaplane inspection and decontamination protocols; understand challenges to implementing  protocols; document design changes to floats and other equipment that could reduce, or eliminate, spread of aquatic invasive species; and identify  willingness to inspect and decontaminate prior to visiting waterbodies

  • Describe the most likely aquatic invasive species to be transported by seaplanes in 8 different regions of the country

  • Develop case studies 

January - June 2024

Seaplane flying over water.
  • Draft best management practices to reduce the risk of aquatic invasive species transport by seaplanes, then share with seaplane operators via 8 focus group meetings in 8 regions of the United States to obtain feedback

  • Conduct a survey to seaplane operators that shares the proposed final best management practices to obtain feedback

  • Host a “Think Tank” summit to explore and discuss potential redesign of seaplane equipment design that could be considered

July - December 2024

Seaplane flying over large water body.
  • Create and share the final report and recommendations via the website, and present recommendations to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and ANS Task Force


January - February 2025

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