Paul Heimowitz is a Regional AIS Coordinator for the Pacific Region of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service's Aquatic Invasive Species (AIS) Program. He is one of a dedicated group of people working closely with state invasive species coordinators, non-governmental groups, private landowners and many others in their day-to-day activities.
One of the premier activities that the AIS coordinators have worked on with public and private entities is the 100th Meridian Initiative. The goal of the Initiative is to prevent the spread of aquatic invasive species by boats personal watercraft and other pathways. Boat inspections and assessments are conducted across the states west of the 100th Meridian. Through inspections and boaters assessments, partners can learn how to prevent the spread of zebra mussels and other AIS via transport of boats and personal watercraft. Often recreational users have unknowingly had their watercraft in zebra mussel-infested waters and haven’t washed it thoroughly enough to prevent a transfer of the small critters into an uninfested waterbody.
The AIS coordinators also organize cooperative sampling efforts with other Federal, State, and local agencies, universities, and public interest groups to track the distribution of AIS. AIS Coordinators author articles and provide interviews for national publications and news programs. They often attend boating and sport fishing shows, informing thousands of participants about the definition, biology, and impacts of AIS and what they can do to help prevent their spread.
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