Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Units Program: Arkansas
Education, Research and Technical Assistance for Managing Our Natural Resources

Arkansas Project

Enhancing proactive aquatic nuisance species management in Arkansas by developing a standardized risk screening workflow

December 2023 - July 2024


Participating Agencies

  • Arkansas Game & Fish Commission

Preventing new invasions from occurring is the most effective way to avoid the negative ecological, economic, and societal impacts of invasive species. Two established and highly related methods for preventing new invasions are horizon scans and risk screening. Horizon scans use expert consultation and consensus building to conduct rapid risk screening. Arkansas, like the rest of the U.S., is experiencing negative impacts of invasive species, and thus, there is a critical need to prevent new invasions and thereby avoid new negative impacts. Here, we propose to meet this need through three objectives: 1) extracting risk screening results for fish in trade from the U.S. Geological Survey’s Horizon Scan and adapt these results to Arkansas, 2) using fish species screened in the USGS Horizon Scan, determine how climate matching scores shift under future climate scenarios, and 3) develop a standardized workflow for risk screening for aquatic nuisance species in Arkansas that incorporates risk of establishment under future climate scenarios. To accomplish the first objective, we will pull risk screening scores (comprised of risk of establishment, risk of spread, and potential negative impacts) for each aquatic species in the USGS Horizon Scan. For the second objective, we will use all fish species identified and screened in the USGS Horizon Scan. Then, we will use Representative Carbon Pathway models to predict future climatic conditions and then calculate climate matching scores between potential fish invaders’ native ranges and the U.S. under future climate scenarios in 2050, 2060, and 2070. For the third objective, we will create a scoring protocol for risk of establishment under future climate scenarios and apply the scoring to all fish species from Objective #2. Overall, this project will result in a standardized rapid risk screening workflow, tailored to Arkansas and incorporating risk under future climate scenarios. We envision our results being the basis for standardized protocols for developing aquatic invasive species watchlists in Arkansas.