The database was originally started with the passage of the Nonindigenous Aquatic Nuisance Species Control and Prevention Act of 1990 (P.L. 101-646). The Act created the Aquatic Nuisance Species Task Force. In turn the Task Force created our program. We were charged with providing information to the ANS Task Force. Wording from the ANSTF’s strategic plan follows:
The goal of the information system is to provide timely, reliable data about the presence and distribution of nonindigenous aquatic species. Ideally, this would be an interactive system. A National Nonindigenous Aquatic Species Information Center (Center) will be established with the following components:
Data Repository and Information Management. Using geographic information system (GIS) technology supported by significant information management and analysis capability, a computerized data repository will be established to collect, analyze and disseminate information about the presence and distribution of Nonindigenous aquatic species and their effects. Species files containing publications and correspondence as well as computer data will be established for each Nonindigenous aquatic species reported to the Center. All information obtained about species of concern will be maintained in a comprehensive and integrated database and will be readily available to interested entities.
Occurrence Detection and Reporting. Information for the GIS will be obtained from a variety of sources such as researchers, field biologists, fishermen, and others involved in activities in the aquatic environment. This information will be provided either directly to the Center or through intermediaries, such as university researchers, State fish and wildlife agency staff, Sea Grant Marine Advisory Service agents, and research laboratories. The need for timely information about sightings of Nonindigenous aquatic species and the existence of the Information System and its capabilities will be publicized. Informants will be actively solicited through personal communication, announcements in professional publications and other media, at technical meetings, in pamphlets, and other appropriate means. Published reports in a broad array of journals and museum collections, a traditional source of information about the presence and distribution of nonindigenous species, will also be reviewed. Another source of information will be ongoing biological data gathering. Center staff will be available to consult with informants, including assisting in the identification of potential Nonindigenous species. The Center will ensure that appropriate species experts confirm specimen identification.
Information Transfer. The Center will promptly disseminate information about all confirmed sightings and impacts to interested parties. Literature summaries and biological synopses, including an assessment of its nuisance potential and information about effective control strategies and techniques, will also be prepared and disseminated for each detected nonindigenous aquatic species and periodically updated or revised when warranted.
Communications. Rapid communication of oral and written information will be a hallmark of the proposed information system. This will facilitate and encourage timely reporting of possible new nonindigenous aquatic species and prompt dissemination of confirmed reports about the presence, or changes in distribution, of such organisms and their effects. Advanced communications technology will be employed to the extent necessary and feasible. The information system also will be used to maintain information generated in conjunction with implementation of the control and other elements of the proposed Program.