Zostera japonica Workshop

Addressing the designation of the non-native species Zostera japonica 23-24 September 2010

Funded by the Washington State Department of Natural Resources and Washington Sea Grant

Co-Principle Investigators: S. Wyllie-Echeverria and J. Rhode (UNC-Asheville)

The introduction of Zostera japonica to the west coast of North America is believed to have occurred early in the 1900’s. Until recently these plants were found in estuaries and lagoons from Southern British Columbia to Southern Oregon. Now coast wide distribution includes sites in Northern California, and the size of extant populations has increased in several locations. Studies describe the physiology, autecology and ecosystem impact of Z. japonica at particular locations; however, there is limited understanding about the alteration or enhancement of ecosystem services should the distribution of this species continue to expand.

The Washington State Noxious Weed Board recently received a request to list Z. japonica as a noxious weed on the State Noxious Weed List. That request came from Pacific County.

If Z. japonica is listed on the State Noxious Weed List, Counties could choose to designate it for control and/or eradication. DNR wants sound scientific input, in addition to commercial interests, to be considered by the State Noxious Weed Board in the decision to list or not. Therefore, DNR is co-sponsoring with Washington Sea Grant a two-day Z. japonica workshop at the Friday Harbor Laboratories, University of Washington to assemble regional regional scientists and policy makers for the purpose of discussing the state of science on Z. japonica and ultimately, to make a recommendation for management. DNR staff will participate in this workshop and carry the recommendation forward to the State Noxious Weed Board.

Read more about the project at Sea Grant Washington’s website