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GLIN==> FWS News: Invasives Awareness Program Hits a Benchmark as 120th PartnerJoins Effort








For Release: September 8, 2004
Ken Burton 202-208-5657

               INVASIVES AWARENESS PROGRAM HITS A BENCHMARK
                   AS 120TH PARTNER JOINS IN THE EFFORT

"Stop Aquatic Hitchhikers!," the national Aquatic Nuisance Species Task
Force program designed to raise public awareness about aquatic invasive
species, has signed its 120th partner to a long list that includes Federal
agencies,states, universities,businesses and national, regional and local
conservation organizations.  As the primary funding agency for the
campaign, the Service works to promote "Stop Aquatic Hitchhikers!" to all
the partner organizations.

"This campaign is fundamentally different from most other efforts that deal
with natural resources," said Mamie Parker, the Assistant Director for
Fisheries and Habitat Conservation and a co-chair of the ANS Task Force.
"Stop Aquatic Hitchhikers! is a communications vehicle that urges the
conservation community to speak with a single voice.  Partners join this
campaign and incorporate it into their own outreach programs, and that's
made it a huge success."

Parker said the National Wildlife Federation is the newest partner, linking
the Service program to the nation's largest conservation organization
membership.

The program provides information to more than 1,600 subscribers through an
Email news service that carries updates on aquatic nuisance species,
information about how communities are addressing the issue and general
coverage of developments in the aquatic nuisance species field.

A grant from the International Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies
has enabled New Hampshire, South Carolina, Missouri and Arizona to
implement pilot programs that will measure public awareness among various
audiences and attempt to gauge the program's effectiveness.

"In the long term," said Parker, "the goal is to enlist Americans across
the country in a campaign that will hopefully translate into a decrease in
damage caused by invasive species in the United States."

Stop Aquatic Hitchhikers! is available at http://www.protectyourwaters.net/
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is the principal Federal agency
responsible for conserving, protecting and enhancing fish, wildlife and
plants and their habitats for the continuing benefit of the American
people.  The Service manages the 95-million-acre National Wildlife Refuge
System, which includes 544 national wildlife refuges, thousands of small
wetlands and other special management areas. It also operates 69 national
fish hatcheries, 64 fishery resources offices and 81 ecological services
field stations.  The agency enforces federal wildlife laws, administers the
endangered Species Act, manages migratory bird populations, restores
nationally significant fisheries, conserves and restores wildlife habitat
such as wetlands, and helps foreign and Native American tribal governments
with their conservation efforts.  It also oversees the Federal Assistance
Program, which distributes hundreds of millions of dollars in excise taxes
on fishing and hunting equipment to state fish and wildlife agencies.







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Questions concerning a particular news release or item of
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contact. General comments or observations concerning the
content of the information should be directed to Mitch Snow
(Mitch_Snow@fws.gov) in the Office of Public Affairs.




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