National Management Plan: An Action Plan for the Nation - Leadership and Coordination

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[Executive Summary] | [Introduction] | [Survey of Federal Roles & Responsibilities] |
[An Action Plan for the Nation] | [Conclusion] | [Appendices]

Action Plan:
Leadership | Prevention | Detection | Control | Restoration |
International | Research | Info Management | Education

The Council is directed by the Order to provide national leadership and oversight on invasive species issues and to see that Federal agency activities are coordinated, effective, partner with States, and provide for public input and participation. The Council established permanent staff positions, and the Departments of the Interior (Interior), Agriculture (USDA), and Commerce (Commerce), appointed liaisons from their Departments to assist the Council. Other agencies with responsibilities for invasive species appointed technical liaisons to the Council. These people represent an informal but effective interdepartmental liaison group that works directly with Council staff to complete activities assigned by the Council and has been instrumental in assisting the Council. The group also facilitates information flow among the Council members, Council staff, and the other Federal agencies.

The Council will meet in plenary session at least twice annually, and will convene meetings of the Advisory Committee on a regular basis and no less than four times before the first revision of this Plan in January 2003. At least two of the Advisory Committee meetings will be held in conjunction with Council meetings.

The Council staff plans to meet at least every 3 months with the interdepartmental liaison group. The primary purpose of these meetings will be to ensure that the duties assigned to Federal agencies in the Order are being carried out, including implementation of the actions recommended in this Plan. The interdepartmental liaisons will inform the Council of progress on recommendations, suggest new recommendations, and facilitate the exchange of information among all involved. The development of an Internet-based information sharing network, as mandated by the Order, will greatly facilitate coordination and information exchange, (see Section H; Information Management).

When appropriate, the Council and its staff will draw on various existing organizations for coordination and leadership. These include, among others, State, tribal, and local government agencies, State invasive species committees and councils, regional organizations such as regional weed boards, the Aquatic Nuisance Species Task Force (ANSTF), Federal Interagency Committee on the Management of Noxious and Exotic Weeds (FICMNEW), Committee on Environment and Natural Resources (CENR), international bodies, and various non-government organizations.

The States play a key role in the management of invasive species within their borders. Therefore, this Plan reflects the need to build capacity and capability at State and local levels to coordinate, detect, and respond to invasive species. However, additional steps are needed to ensure a unified, effective, and coordinated Federal response. One critical step is the development of an oversight mechanism for use by Federal agencies in complying with the Order and reporting on implementation. An example of an oversight mechanism is the policy adopted by the U.S. Coral Reef Task Force, which was established by E.O. 13089. This policy can be reviewed at Coral Reef Task Force. In addition, the Departments of the Council shall submit a written report on an annual basis summarizing their invasive species activities during the previous year and including a description of their actions to comply with the Executive Order on invasive species, budget estimates, and progress in implementation of the Plan.

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Coordination and Leadership

Actions Planned

  1. By April 2001, the Council will establish a transparent oversight mechanism for use by Federal agencies in complying with the Order and reporting on implementation. The oversight mechanism will employ an interactive process that engages public involvement.

  2. By July 2001, the Council will ensure that a clearly defined process will be developed and procedures will be in place to help resolve jurisdictional and other disputes regarding invasive species issues. The goals will be to resolve disputes at the most effective and least formal level possible, in an unbiased manner, and to involve only those parties with an interest in the dispute. The process will use unbiased third party mediators if appropriate. When requested by a State, the process may apply to disputes between Federal and State entities.

  3. By January 2002, the Council will conduct an evaluation of current legal authorities relevant to invasive species. The evaluation will include an analysis of whether and how existing authorities may be better utilized. If warranted, recommendations will be made for changes in legal authority.

  4. Starting in October 2001, each member Department of the Council shall submit an annual written report summarizing their invasive species activities, including a description of their actions to comply with the Order, budget estimates, and steps in implementing the Plan. These reports will be used in preparing the invasive species cross-cut budget and will help the Council in drafting the biannual updates to the year Management Plan.

  5. By January 2002, the Council will prepare an analysis of barriers to coordinated and joint actions among Federal agencies, including legal and policy barriers and barriers relating to the transfer and pooling of funds for invasive species projects. The analysis will include consideration of a standard Memorandum of Understanding that would allow interagency transfer of funding for invasive species actions identified in the Plan.

  6. By July 2002, the Council will identify at least two major invasive species issues, regulations, or policies where coordination is inadequate and will take action that fixes the problem.

  7. Beginning with Fiscal Year (FY) 2003, and each year thereafter, the Council will coordinate and provide to the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) a proposed cross-cut budget for Federal agency expenditures concerning invasive species, and in particular will address implementation of the actions recommended in this and future editions of the Plan. The cross-cut budget will take into account views of the Advisory Committee, States, and the full range of stakeholders. In addition, it will be used as a tool for planning and coordination, giving emphasis to funding priorities to implement action items.

  8. By January 2003, and every 2 years thereafter, the Council will give a report on success in achieving the goals and objectives of the current Plan, and issue an updated Plan. These updates and reports will be prepared in consultation with the Advisory Committee and through mechanisms securing comment from stakeholders and the general public.

  9. By 2004, the Council will assess the effectiveness of the Order, as required by section 5(c) of the Order. The assessment will include an evaluation of whether the President should expand, or propose legislation to expand, the authorities of the Council to ensure that the requirements of the Order and the Plan are carried out effectively and efficiently. The assessment process will include the solicitation of comments from program participants, including State partners and other interested stakeholders.

  10. By February 2001, the Council will convene a working group of agency leads on international agreements relevant to invasive species in order to facilitate communication and the development of U.S. positions that have adequate stakeholder input and are mutually supportive.

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Facilitating Non-Federal Action

The Council is charged with facilitating action at local, State, tribal, regional, and international levels. It has reviewed opportunities for encouraging non-federal efforts through discussions with the Advisory Committee, participation in listening sessions, and interaction with the general public.

Many of the actions and goals outlined will not succeed unless they are done in cooperation and partnership with the State, tribal, and local governments, given their critical role and extensive programs dealing with invasive species. The essential and often leading role of State and local efforts and the importance of coordinated Federal and State action are mentioned throughout this Plan.

Action Planned

  1. By June 2001, Council staff will prepare a 2-year work plan identifying specific initiatives for presentation to the Council and will pursue projects in the interim as feasible and appropriate. The Council will develop and pursue joint projects in collaboration with the Advisory Committee and, when appropriate, the Aquatic Nuisance Species Task Force (ANSTF), the Federal Interagency Committee on the Management of Noxious and Exotic Weeds (FICMNEW), and the Council on Environment and Natural Resources (CENR). In preparing the work plan, the Council staff will seek advice from, and coordinate with, non-federal agencies and organizations, including the National Governors Association, managers of State invasive species programs, State plant boards, tribal governments, the National Association of Counties, the National Plant Board, the U.S. Animal Health Association, the National Association of Conservation Districts, the North American Weed Management Association, the International Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies, land trusts, environmental non-profit organizations, community organizations, regional compacts such as the Great Lakes Panel on Aquatic Nuisance Species, the Intermountain Noxious Weed Advisory Committee, and international bodies, such as the Global Invasive Species Programme (GISP), as well as other stakeholders.

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National Environmental Policy Act Guidance

Federal agency decisions to undertake many Federal actions that affect or are affected by invasive species are usually preceded by the need to comply with the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA). Under NEPA, Federal agencies, often in cooperation with State, local, and tribal governments, must analyze the environmental, economic and social affects of their proposed actions and alternatives to the proposed action. Through greater familiarity with the issue and available literature, such analyses can be utilized to identify more efficient and effective means of addressing invasive species issues in the course of undertaking numerous Federal actions.

Action Planned

  1. By August 2001, the Council in cooperation with the President's Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ), will prepare and issue guidance to Federal agencies based on the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) for prevention and control of invasive species.

Federal/State coordination in Action: TEAM Leafy Spurge

Since its introduction into the United States, leafy spurge has doubled its acreage every 10 years (USDA Agricultural Research Service 1999). This formidable terrestrial weed now infests at least 5 million acres in 29 States. Costs to agricultural producers and taxpayers for production losses, control expenses, and other economic impacts are estimated at $144 million every year in North Dakota, South Dakota, Montana, and Wyoming alone.

In 1999, USDA's Agriculture Research Service (ARS) began The Ecological Area-wide Management (TEAM) Leafy Spurge, a $4.5 million, 5-year area-wide pest management demonstration project in the Little Missouri River drainage. Partners include the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS), Forest Service (FS), National Park Service (NPS), Bureau of Land Management (BLM), U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), State departments of agriculture and other State agencies, land grant universities, county weed managers, and landowners.

TEAM Leafy Spurge's integrated pest management strategy relies on biological control agents and techniques such as combined sheep and cattle grazing. There has been progress on several fronts. The effectiveness of one biological control agent, the leafy spurge flea beetle, has been demonstrated at numerous test sites. Successful establishment of flea beetles has improved because TEAM Leafy Spurge members are working directly with landowners on the proper methods for release of the insect. Tours of the demonstration sites as part of a comprehensive public education program have already begun, and the response by farmers and ranchers has been overwhelming. Research funded by TEAM Leafy Spurge in the United States and abroad seeks improved understanding of how biological controls work and is attempting to identify new leafy spurge parasites and pathogens for testing.

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