Invasive Species Compendium

Detailed coverage of invasive species threatening livelihoods and the environment worldwide

Abstract

Getting to a decision: using structured decision-making to gain consensus on approaches to invasive species control.

Abstract

One of the great challenges with invasive alien species is deciding how to act when a new invasive population is detected. This is partly due to a variety of diverse perspectives on risk perception, objectives, predicted effectiveness of different management actions and uncertainty in likelihood of success for each action. These differences of opinion are largely due to divergent perspectives and experiences among individuals or agencies, and can be overcome with careful consideration, consensus-building and collective action. Structured decision-making (SDM) is a formal method to identify shared goals and facilitate discussion among diverse participants with an aim to collaboratively achieve an outcome in natural resource management. While SDM is used by many agencies to deal with a spectrum of natural resource decision problems, other agencies do not use this process. This article acts as a primer on SDM, discussing key considerations relevant to each step. We reinforce these steps by reporting on a case study using SDM. The problem we address is a non-native smallmouth bass (Micropterus dolumieui Lacépède, 1802) population discovered in Cultus Lake, British Columbia (BC), Canada, in 2018. Smallmouth bass are invasive to BC, and while they may provide a unique and satisfying experience for recreational fishers, they may also exert high predation rates on at-risk sockeye salmon Oncorhynchus nerka and coastrange sculpin Cottus aleuticus endemic to the lake. We report on early successes to this process and how it fostered collaboration and collective action to begin the process of population control for this invasive smallmouth bass population.