Adding invasive species bio-surveillance to the U.S. Geological Survey streamgage network

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The costs of invasive species in the United States alone are estimated to exceed US$100 billion per year so a critical tactic in minimizing the costs of invasive species is the development of effective, early-detection systems. To this end, we evaluated the efficacy of adding environmental (e)DNA surveillance to the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) streamgage network, which consists of > 8,200 streamgages nationwide systemically visited by USGS hydrologic technicians. Incorporating strategic eDNA sample collection during routine streamgage visits could provide early detection surveillance of aquatic invasive species with minimal additional cost. For this evaluation, USGS hydrologic technicians collected monthly eDNA water samples, May – September 2018, from streamgages downstream of reservoirs in the Columbia River Basin thought to be vulnerable to invasive dreissenid mussel (Dreissenidae spp.) establishment. We tested water samples for dreissenid mussel DNA and also for kokanee (Oncorhynchus nerka) and yellow perch (Perca flavescens) DNA; the two fishes were used to assess if streamgages are adequately located to provide early-detection eDNA surveillance of taxa known to be present in upstream reservoirs. No Columbia River Basin streamgage samples met our criteria for being scored as positive for dreissenid DNA. We did detect kokanee and yellow perch DNA at all streamgages downstream of reservoirs where these species are known to occur. Field collection, laboratory analyses, and personnel time required for collection of four eDNA samples at a streamgage site cost US$500 -US$600 (net). Given these results, incorporating eDNA biosurveillance into routine streamgage visits might decrease costs associated with an invasion since early detection maximizes the potential for eradication, containment, and mitigation.

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Publication type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Title Adding invasive species bio-surveillance to the U.S. Geological Survey streamgage network
Series title Ecosphere
DOI 10.1002/ecs2.2843
Volume 10
Issue 8
Year Published 2019
Language English
Publisher ESA
Contributing office(s) Forest and Rangeland Ecosys Science Center, Forest and Rangeland Ecosystem Science Center, Idaho Water Science Center, Northern Rocky Mountain Science Center, Upper Midwest Environmental Sciences Center
Description e02843, 17 p.
Country United States
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