National Invasive Species Outreach and Education: 2013 Annual Report, Reaching Millions and Millions

The Stop Aquatic Hitchhikers! (SAH!) campaign grew and improved in 2013 thanks to partnership efforts, social media and a consistent message to Clean, Drain, Dry. Wildlife Forever is honored to be leading the internationally recognized campaign to stop the spread of aquatic invasive species (AIS). Education about invasive threats encourages the outdoor community (anglers, boaters, hunters, and recreational users) to protect our lakes, streams and woods by accepting behavior changing practices. This stewardship development has also resulted in industries changing products to reduce risk of invasive species transfer. Stop Aquatic Hitchhikers! is becoming a known consumer brand. Working closely with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service our goal is to modernize the brand, develop social media, renew the newsletter and website to build a strong and stable coalition. Together we have amassed the largest team in the nation of states, federal agencies, professional angler associations, tribal organizations and NGOs, plus local lake associations to Stop Aquatic Hitchhikers! Wildlife Forever started the task by boosting program capacity with increased staff and outreach to states and regional organizations. We identified opportunities for growth with social media, television, radio and print reaching over 200 Million impressions. Through active partner engagement the Stop Aquatic Hitchhikers! newsletter was re-issued in an e-news format with a new Partners in Action (PIA) feature. The Protect Your Waters website was evaluated and found to have a 10-year old legacy platform in need of a major redesign. Investments were made to keep the important resource on-line. Plans for 2014 include a new site as funds become available. PIA features exceptional efforts by groups or outstanding individuals making a difference and setting an example for everyone to learn from and emulate. The first PIA was a local bass fishing sportsman's club in Victoria, Minnesota. Access was being closed. The local club found a solution, unfortunately it included a dock covered in zebra mussels from a nearby infested lake. They invited local media and the DNR to decontaminate making the dock safe for use in the non-infested lake. Access was reopened and a lake was saved. That is indeed a Partners In Action example. Successful stories of AIS prevention gives us confidence that we can change behavior with outreach, education and enforcement. New species continue to become threats. By using the talents, skills and resources of all partners, behavior can be changed and our great outdoors can be conserved. This coming year presents many challenges. Federal budget cuts threaten the SAH! campaign. Funding, or the lack there of, is the number one SAH! problem. Without funding we go back to an old sterile SAH! website, offering no social media or local outreach tools. Partners will not have a central collective voice. Wildlife Forever is working to identify new partners. Nearly 140 million Americans enjoy hunting, fishing, birding and hiking. Sharing the cost to continue expanding the SAH! campaign to an outdoor audience that generates $646 billion to our U.S. economy is an opportunity. Join us! Support SAH!
Date Issued
2013 (year uncertain)
Number of Pages
Rights Holder
Minnesota Water Research Digital Library
Rights Management
Creative Commons