What is Rapid Response?

Even the best prevention efforts cannot stop all invasive species. Early detection, rapid assessment and rapid response (EDRR) is a critical second defense against the establishment of aquatic invasive species. EDRR increases the likelihood that localized invasive populations will be found, contained, and eradicated before they become widely established. EDRR can slow range expansion, and avoid the need for costly long-term control efforts. Effective EDRR depends upon the timely ability to answer critical questions such as:

  1. What is the species of concern, and has it been authoritatively identified?
  2. Where is it located and likely to spread?
  3. What harm may the species cause?
  4. What actions (if any) should be taken?
  5. Who has the needed authorities and resources?
  6. How will efforts be funded?

Why should I care?


Invasive species exact a high price from both society and our environment, threatening native fish and wildlife and their habitats. Invasive species:

  • Cost Americans more than $137 billion a year.
  • Impact nearly half the species listed as threatened or endangered.
  • Can devastate key industries including seafood, agriculture, timber, hydro-electricity, and recreation.
  • Impede recreation such as boating, fishing, hunting, gardening, and hiking.
  • Spread easily by wind, water, animals, people, equipment, and imported goods.
  • Increase frequency and intensity of wildfires and livestock poisonings.
  • Destabilize soil and alter hydrology of streams, rivers, lakes, and wetlands.

Successful Early Detection and Rapid Response Programs include:
  1. Potential threats are being identified in time to allow risk-mitigation measures to be taken;
  2. New invasive species are being detected in time to allow efficient and environmentally sound decisions to be made;
  3. Responses to invasions are effective and environmentally sound and prevent the spread and permanent establishment of invasive species;
  4. Adequate and timely information is being provided to decision-makers, the public, and to trading partners concerned about the status of invasive species within an area; and
  5. Lessons learned from past efforts are being used to guide current and future efforts.