Seaplane Pilots’ Survey Explores Invasive Aquatic Plant Species


The Aquatic Nuisance Species (ANS) Task Force is asking the seaplane pilot community for help in preventing the introduction and spread of invasive plant species from waterway to waterway. The National Aquatic Nuisance Prevention and Control Act (NANPCA) and the National Invasive Species Act are meant to prevent the proliferation of damaging non-native plant species that can overpower indigenous species to upset the ecology of the lakes and other waterways where seaplanes operate.

The program mission includes: monitoring aquatic invasive species; controlling aquatic invasive species; researching methods that improve how aquatic invasive species are monitored, controlled, managed, and eradicated; coordinating with agencies and entities; and conducting public outreach. According to an announcement, “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.”

The project includes four tiers: Phase I (completed) compiled scientific literature, information, and statistics on U.S. seaplane activity and aquatic invasive species and how they could potentially combine to create an ecological threat; Phase II involves surveying seaplane pilots to ascertain travel patterns and other activity and make use of their feedback. Phase III includes drafting best management practices to reduce the risk of spreading aquatic invasive and sharing the proposal with seaplane operators for feedback from eight focus group meetings in eight regions of the U.S.; Phase IV involves “creating and sharing the final report and recommendations via the website, and presenting recommendations to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and ANS Task Force.”

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Mark Phelps is a senior editor at AVweb. He is an instrument rated private pilot and former owner of a Grumman American AA1B and a V-tail Bonanza.


  1. It will only take one aircraft, (or boat), to carry an invasive species. For those jurisdictions that care, they will usually have a boat washing station. This is a problem that the aviation community should be mindful of. Derisive attitudes don’t help.

    • I wonder if pouring some methyl alcohol in each pumpout wouldn’t sterilize each float as that’s where the contaminated water will leak in and then get pumped out at another location possibly. Any bottom paint on the bottom skins may cause galvanic corrosion and be worn away quickly. It might work.

  2. It sure would be great if AvWeb would include links in stories like this. Where can I get more information about this survey, and this project? It is easy to find the website for the ANS Task Force (at fws dot gov slash program/aquatic-nuisance-species-task-force), but searching there I don’t find any mention of “aviation” or “seaplane”. Could AvWeb please edit the story to include a link to more information about the survey?

    • Hear, hear. I’ve posted asking for this in the past as well but it’s sure not something AvWeb makes a habit of doing.