A Strategy and Implementation Plan for
the Oregon Invasive Species Council
Invasive species pose an enormous threat to the ecosystems, economy,
and health of humans, animals, and plants in Oregon. Although methods exist
to control some invasive species, the Oregon
Invasive Species Council (OISC) is working to prevent the worst invaders from becoming established in the
first place. Unfortunately many people remain unaware that invasive species
cause serious problems and that human actions can enable their introduction
Purple Starthistle, photo by Barry A. Rice, Nature Conservancy
Building public awareness and promoting appropriate behavior
is therefore an important line of defense in control and prevention of
invasive species. A wide range of agencies and organizations in Oregon
already engage in invasive species education and outreach.
To use limited
resources most effectively and achieve the greatest benefits, however,
the OISC is coordinating efforts among stakeholders and establishing
overarching themes that emphasize the similar concepts that link all invasive
OISC is charged with producing and maintaining a variety of mechanisms
for informing Oregonians about invasive species, including:
the existence of Internet sites and toll-free numbers to report invasive
- Producing educational materials and press releases concerning invasive
- Conducting educational meetings and conferences
- Soliciting proposals
and reviewing applications for grants or loans to further projects
providing education about invasive species.
During OISC meetings in 2002, Council members discussed a variety of
activities and products aimed at informing and educating target audiences
about invasive species. In January 2003, the Council accepted a proposal
entitled Reaching out to Oregon on Invasive Species developed by Diane
Kightlinger and Mark Sytsma of the Center for Lakes and Reservoirs at Portland
State University and by Paul Heimowitz of Oregon Sea Grant.
had three primary goals:
- To inventory and assess existing education
and outreach products on invasive species in Oregon and the Pacific
- To develop a generic template for use when developing an education
and outreach plan on any invasive species in Oregon; and
- To develop
a strategy and implementation plan for education and outreach on aquatic
The final plan will serve as one component of the
overall OISC Statewide Action Plan on Invasive Species.
The first step toward developing an education and outreach plan on invasive
species in Oregon is to inventory and assess existing activities and materials
to determine where gaps lie in invasive species education and outreach.
Next, we will review other public awareness campaigns on environmental
issues to identify best practices for informing and educating specific
With that information, we will develop a generic template that
outlines the steps necessary to develop an education and outreach plan
for any invasive species in Oregon, then proof that template by following
it to produce a strategy and implementation plan for education and outreach
on aquatic invasive species.
We will conduct a survey to identify existing knowledge and attitudes
about aquatic invasive species among key groups. We will use that information
to develop a strategy that will set forth goals and objectives, list associated
activities and products, identify target audiences, develop key messages,
and establish effective distribution channels.
The implementation plan will specify the responsible agencies and organizations,
partners, cost, and schedule. The success of the education and outreach
plan for AIS will depend also on obtaining adequate funding and on establishing
a credible monitoring and evaluation process. Ultimately we expect that
the generic template, strategy and implementation plan, and lessons we
learn while pursuing this process will be applicable to other invasive
species education and outreach efforts in North America.
Giant Salvinia, photo by Barry A. Rice, Nature Conservancy
Below is the proposed schedule for initial activities to develop a strategy
and implementation plan for OISC education and outreach on invasive species.
Learn more about each activity by following the link:
April - June 2003
May - July 2003
Inventory and evaluate
existing education and outreach materials on invasive species in Oregon
and the Pacific Northwest
A systematic inventory and evaluation of invasive species education
and outreach products and activities will enhance coordination among
stakeholders. Many groups have developed communication programs on
invasive species, including educational institutions, state departments
of natural resources and agriculture, civic and environmental organizations,
and regional councils. Evaluating their materials will help us identify
gaps in messaging and develop new initiatives that will reach target
audiences more effectively.
The inventory will cover all products and activities in Oregon, plus those
from other locations if they address a species relevant to the state.
studies of public awareness campaigns on environmental issues
A review of other public awareness campaigns, particularly those on environmental
issues, will help us identify the techniques best suited for education
and outreach on invasive species in Oregon. We will focus on social marketing
campaigns - those that use commercial marketing techniques to promote adoption
of a behavior that will improve the well-being of an individual or society
as a whole (Weinreich 1999). Included in campaigns for review will be those
of the Great Lakes Panel on Aquatic Nuisance Species (1995), the Canadian
Climate Change Action Fund (2002), and the Coalition for Acid Rain (Enviros-RIS
Evaluate existing Aquatic Invasive Species surveys and develop a survey
to gather information in Oregon
To shape an E/O campaign on ANS in Oregon and measure its effectiveness, we
need to develop and conduct a survey of knowledge and attitudes prior to implementing
a plan. ANS and boating surveys have already been conducted by mail in Minnesota,
Vermont, California, Ohio, and Kansas and in person in Connecticut, Louisiana,
and the province of Manitoba (Jensen 2003).
A survey in Oregon will allow us to compare the knowledge and attitudes
of Oregonians with those of target audiences in other states; define the
strategy that will best accomplish OISC goals; and refer to a baseline
to evaluate and fine-tune a public awareness campaign.
Generate a template for developing an education and outreach plan to address
any invasive species in Oregon
Regardless of the particular invasive species, similar steps are involved in
developing an education and outreach plan to build public awareness of potential
impacts and motivate behavior change to halt its introduction and spread. All
plans will require the developer to acquire and apply the following information:
pathways of introduction; environmental, economic, social, and health impacts;
available scientific research; existing knowledge among various audiences;
actions people can take to combat introduction and spread of the invasive species;
target audiences, key messages, and effective distribution channels; funding
sources; and measures for evaluation and feedback. The education and outreach
template will help developers work through the steps necessary to produce an
E/O plan for any invasive species in Oregon.
Engage in short-term activities
to promote invasive species awareness
Education and outreach on invasive species in Oregon should not be put on
hold while we pursue longer-term activities. We need to establish overarching
messages that emphasize similar concepts linking all invasive species, whether
terrestrial or aquatic, animal, plant, or microbe. We can begin to build
awareness through activities such as the following:
- Target print and
broadcast media personnel throughout the state and region to receive
updated information on invasive species issues.
- Expand and improve the
OISC Web site to provide appropriate information on species of concern
in Oregon, prevention and control, news releases, and other stories.
a quarterly e-mail newsletter providing up-to-date information on Oregon
invasive species to reach biologists, natural resource managers, environmental
organizations, and others who disseminate information to the public.
Climate Change Action Fund. 2002. Public Information Campaigns to Support
Household Action for Environment: Lessons and Best Practices.
Enviros-RIS. 1999. Discussion paper on
public policy and social change: The role of awareness building. Submitted to the Public Education and Outreach
Table, Canadian Climate Change Action Fund.
Great Lakes Panel on Aquatic Nuisance Species. 1995. 1994 Annual Report.
Ann Arbor, MI: Great Lakes Commission.
Jensen, Doug. 3 January 2003. Telephone conversation with Diane Kightlinger.
Kightlinger, D., M. Sytsma, and P. Heimowitz. 2003. Reaching out to Oregon
on invasive species: A proposal for the Oregon Invasive Species Council.
Weinreich, N.K. 1999. Hands-on social marketing: A step-by-step guide.
Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications.