New USGS Map Identifies Non-Native Aquatic Species Potentially Spread by Hurricane Isaias Floodwaters

Release Date:

The USGS has released the initial Flood and Storm Tracker (FaST) map for Hurricane Isaias, the Category 1 storm that swept up the mid-Atlantic coast last week.

A pile of invasive Zebra mussels

Once introduced to a new area, zebra mussels can quickly colonize pipes, reducing water supply to hydroelectric and nuclear power plants and other industrial facilities.

(Credit: Amy Benson, USGS)

The innovative mapping tool, developed by members of the USGS Nonindigenous Aquatic Species (NAS) team along with USGS Wetland and Aquatic Research Center’s Advanced Application Team, helps natural resource managers track and manage the potential spread of non-native aquatic species into new water bodies due to storm-related flooding.

The FaST maps integrate information from USGS streamgages (Waterservices and Waterwatch) and records of non-native species sightings from the USGS NAS database to predict storm-related flood conditions inside watersheds and identify non-native aquatic species that are established and those that have the potential to disperse into new areas due to flooding impacts.

If introduced to a new area, non-native species could potentially disrupt the environment, choking waterways or preying on native aquatic species, and once established, they’re difficult to eradicate. The FaST maps are easily accessible, informative, and provide the most up-to-date information to resource managers about potential new invasions and act as an additional tool for early detection and rapid response (EDRR) systems.

The initial FaST map for Hurricane Isaias indicates 114 non-native aquatic species may have been spread into new water bodies by the storm’s floodwaters. In the coming weeks, the maps will be revised to incorporate more data, including hydrologic connections and elevation divides.

For more information, please visit: https://nas.er.usgs.gov/viewer/Flooding/

Hurricane Isaias (2020) Flood and Storm Tracker (FaST) Map for Zebra Mussels

The initial FaST map displays areas where zebra mussels are known to exist and where they may have been spread by Hurricane Isaias-related flooding. (Map provided by the USGS NAS)