Who Are North America’s Invasive Species Managers?

What concerns do people have when thinking about managing invasive species with your job? What do they want to learn more about?

In December 2019, NAISMA released a survey to understand the work and needs of people who manage terrestrial and aquatic species across all taxa in North America. The survey was open to anyone who identifies as an invasive species manager and distributed through the NAISMA newsletter, NAISMA and PlayCleanGo social media, and personal channels.

We thank the 156 people who participated in this survey!

Shared below are responses to a selection of questions pertaining to the type of work, concerns, and successes invasive species managers are seeing on the ground.

We intend to use responses to guide NAISMA’s work and communications in 2020, to provide the support and resources you are looking for.

 

What best describes their work and affiliation?

Government employees topped the list at 50% of respondents. Natural Resource/Invasive Species Manager was another popular choice. Of the folks who marked “Other,” affiliations included Tribal Government employees, private consultants, utility workers, volunteers, landowners and more.

NAISMA is a network of professionals who implement management programs to prevent the detrimental impacts of invasive species to North America’s lands and waters.

We welcome professionals of all kinds: government, nonprofit, private contractors, and all others who have a stake in protecting North America’s lands and waters from invasive species.

Not a member? Learn more about how NAISMA can help you do your invasive species job better, wherever you work.

 

What concerns do you have when thinking about managing invasive species with your job?

Funding is the primary concern of invasive species managers (65%), and staying vigilant about new species is a close second (53%). About one in three invasive species managers are concerned about whether invasive species are a lost cause, treatment timing, when to use chemical versus mechanical management methods and networking. Outreach, education and community action was the most common response in the “Other” category. Monitoring sites and working on long-range success was another common answer.

Whether you’re seeking more legislative or financial support, wishing for a better way to track incoming threats, curious about biocontrol, or wanting specific instructions on management tools, treatments and restoration, NAISMA staff and committees are working to improve your access to tools, resources, and communications to support your work.

 

When thinking about managing invasive species with your job, what are you most excited about?

As much as there is to be concerned about, the people who took this survey have a lot to show up to work for, too.

63% of invasive species managers are excited to see increased public awareness of and concern about invasive species. 48% see public engagement as an encouraging factor in their work. If you’re looking for a consistent message to give in invasive species outreach, check out how PlayCleanGo reminds recreationists of their role to be stewards of the places they love.

Also high on the list—at 60%—is site restoration. That’s great news for our natural habitats.

Scientific advancement, eradication, networking and grant awards were highlights for some respondents. Prevention efforts were the primary comment in the “Other” category.

 

What topics regarding invasive species management do you want to know more about?

A word cloud of responses to topics invasive species managers want to know more about in 2020.

You used 440 different words to describe your job and interests. While that probably still doesn’t capture the complexity of your job as invasive species managers, let’s start from the top.

Above you’ll see a word cloud of all the responses. Here are the 12 top most commonly used words (because “invasive” and “species” seemed a little too obvious).

  • species
  • invasive
  • success
  • new
  • management
  • treatment
  • chemical
  • control
  • stories
  • effective
  • public
  • plants

 

Our communications team is processing your responses in detail. We are working on creating regular articles that will help invasive species managers make sense of new species, implement management and control strategies, learn about biocontrol research, plan restoration projects and more.

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