Injurious Aquatic Invasive Species (IAIS) are animals that cause or are likely to cause damage or harm to native ecosystems or to commercial, agricultural, or recreational activities that are dependent on these ecosystems. The Ohio Department of Natural Resources, Division of Wildlife (ODW) Chief has the authority to establish an active list of Ohio IAIS high risk species. A risk analysis process has been established by the Division of Wildlife to evaluate non-native candidate species.
The ODW risk analysis process includes a review of existing literature about the candidate species, running the species through ecological risk screening methodologies, and comparing climate, water temperatures, habitats, ranges, biology, other water quality parameters, and the potential to transmit diseases to aquatic resources in the State of Ohio. The next step in the risk analysis process includes Quality Assurance/Quality Control (QA/QC) protocol reviews by ODW biologists. Results of the overall risk assessment, including the proposed decisions to be made regarding the candidate species, will be reviewed by the Ohio Aquatic Invasive Species (AIS) Committee. Lastly, the ODW Chief will review any final risk assessment report documents generated by ODW biologists and approved contractors, and comments provided by the Ohio AIS Committee for determination of risk to the aquatic resources of the State of Ohio.
The Ohio IAIS list will be updated if an animal is listed as invasive under the United States Fish and Wildlife Service’s Lacey Act, or if an animal is determined to be a high risk species to the State of Ohio through the ODW risk assessment and review processes. If an animal is listed as an Ohio IAIS under Ohio Administrative Code 1501:31-19-01, it is unlawful for any person to possess, import or sell these animals unless they are eviscerated (internal organs removed), have their head removed, or are preserved in ethanol or formaldehyde.