A bi-level model for state and county aquatic invasive species prevention decisions

Robert G. Haight, Denys Yemshanov, Zoe Kao, Nicholas B.D. Phelps, Amy C. Kinsley

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Recreational boats are important vectors of spread of aquatic invasive species (AIS) among waterbodies of the United States. To limit AIS spread, state and county agencies fund watercraft inspection and decontamination stations at lake access points. We present a bi-level model for determining how a state planner can efficiently allocate inspection resources to county managers, who independently decide where to locate inspection stations. In our formulation, each county manager determines a set of optimal plans for the locations of inspection stations under various resource constraints. Each plan maximizes inspections of risky boats that may carry AIS from infested to uninfested lakes within the county. Then, the state planner selects the set of county plans (i.e., one plan for each county) that maximizes the number of risky boats inspected throughout the state subject to a statewide resource constraint. We apply the model using information from Minnesota, USA, including the infestation status of 9182 lakes and estimates of annual numbers of boat movements from infested to uninfested lakes. Comparison of solutions of the bi-level model with solutions of a state-level model where a state planner selects lakes for inspection stations statewide shows that when state and county objectives are not aligned, the loss in efficiency at the state-level can be substantial.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number116855
JournalJournal of Environmental Management
StatePublished - Feb 1 2023

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This research was supported by the Minnesota Environment and Natural Resources Trust Fund as recommended by the Legislative-Citizen Commission on Minnesota Resources and the Minnesota Aquatic Invasive Species Research Center. The research was also supported by the Northern Research Station , USDA Forest Service . For the illustration in Fig. 3 , we gratefully acknowledge Julie Johnson (Life Science Studios).

Publisher Copyright:
© 2022


  • Eurasian watermilfoil
  • Integer programming
  • Invasive species prevention
  • Optimization
  • Stackelberg game
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  • Tradeoff analysis
  • Zebra mussel

PubMed: MeSH publication types

  • Journal Article


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