National Management Plan: An Action Plan for the Nation - Control and Management

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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

When invasive species appear to be permanently established, the most effective action may be to prevent their spread or lessen their impacts through control measures. For certain invasive species, adequate control methods are not available or populations are too widespread for eradication to be feasible. For example, zebra mussel control is focused largely on preventing clogging of water intake pipes and preventing spread from infested waters to other areas rather than the eradication of populations within infested waters.

Control and management objectives may include: eradication within a local area, population suppression, limiting dispersal, reducing impacts, and other diverse objectives. Control and management of invasive species populations is accomplished using an integrated pest management (IPM) approach. The IPM approach considers best available scientific information, updated target population monitoring data, and the environmental effects of control methods in selecting a range of complementary technologies and methods to implement to achieve a desired objective. These methods may include: 1) cultural practices (e.g., crop rotation, revegetation, grazing, and water level manipulation); 2) physical restraints (e.g., fences, equipment sanitation, and electric dispersal barriers); 3) removal (e.g., hand-removal, mechanical harvesting, cultivation, burning, and mowing); 4) the judicious use of chemical and biopesticides; 5) release of selective biological control agents (such as host-specific predator/herbivore organisms); and 6) interference with reproduction (e.g., pheromone-baited traps and release of sterile males). Often several methods are used within an overall integrated strategy. For example, control of purple loosestrife may involve biological control, mechanical removal, and other methods. Consideration of the environmental impacts of control actions requires that environmentally sound methods be available and judiciously deployed, especially in highly vulnerable areas.

Control actions are often carried out by or in cooperation with State or local agencies and may span jurisdictional borders. For example, more than 60 percent of noxious weed infestations in Montana are on private lands. Adequate funding of cross-jurisdictional efforts along with support and understanding are critical to success. Full funding of existing Federal cost-share programs and for programs for species and areas with no current programs is needed.

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Actions Planned

  1. Starting in January 2001, the Council member agencies will work with Global Invasive Species Programme (GISP) and other relevant bodies to expand opportunities to share information, technologies, and technical capacity on the control and management of invasive species with other countries, promoting environmentally sound control and management practices.

  2. By February 2002, the Council will identify and, as appropriate, adopt sanitation and exclusion methods for preventing spread of invasive species (e.g., restrictions on use of contaminated soils and fills, cleaning fire-fighting equipment before deployment to new areas, requiring pest-free forage and mulch and weed-free sod, washing of construction equipment, and managing ballast water).

  3. By January 2002, the Council will develop and propose to the President draft legislation, in full consultation with States, to authorize matching Federal funds for State programs to manage invasive species, including a provision to provide assistance to States for the development of State invasive species management plans. The draft legislation proposal may also include tax incentives or other provisions to encourage voluntary participation of private landowners in control programs and to promote their actions to prevent the spread of invasive species. Consideration will also be given to extending current Federal authority to conduct control activities on State and private lands where invited by the landowner.

  4. By January 2002, the USDA, in consultation with regional, State, tribal, and local agencies, will develop a proposal for accelerating the development, testing, assessment, transfer, and post-release monitoring of environmentally safe biological control agents and submit the proposal to the Council for review.

  5. By January 2002, EPA will develop and provide to the Council a proposal for cooperation with private industry. The proposal will utilize current programs to facilitate development, testing, and training of personnel concerning proper use of environmentally sound pesticides in controlling invasive species populations, consistent with the 1996 Food Quality Protection Act (P.L.140-170) and the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA). In addition, maintaining registrations for useful and safe products should be considered since the relatively small market for many invasive species control products makes it less economical for registrants to pay the registration costs.

  6. By January 2002, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers will prepare a list of connecting waterways to develop a strategy for preventing movement of aquatic species among watersheds and initiate a research program on methods to prevent such movement.

  7. By FY 2003, additional funding will be requested through the annual appropriations process, consistent with Administration policy, for Federal agencies' control and management activities to reduce the spread of invasive species from Federal lands to neighboring areas and to lessen the impact of invasive species on natural areas. Consideration should be given within existing authorities to provide additional funding for control work on neighboring State or private lands where invited by the landowners. Volunteers should be utilized wherever appropriate to help extend the limited funds available for control efforts.

  8. By January 2003, the Council will develop and guidance for ranking the priority of invasive species control projects at local, regional, and ecosystem-based levels. The guidelines will provide for consultation with expert individuals and organizations, including consultation with ANSTF, FICMNEW, CENR, and regional, State, tribal, and local agencies, affected industries, and private landowners.

Alligator weed: A Case Study in Biological Control

Alligator weed, a plant native to South America, made its first appearance in the United States in about 1890. Within a few years, it was well established from Virginia to Florida in the east and westward to Texas, with populations also existing in California. This aquatic invasive species takes root in shallow water and then forms dense floating mats that expand rapidly causing major problems for navigation, irrigation, and flood control.

Alligator weed was the first aquatic plant targeted for biological control research in this country. In 1959, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and USDA began a collaborative effort based on research conducted at a facility in Argentina established by USDA to search for potential biological agents to manage alligator weed. Three insects, the alligator weed flea beetle, alligator weed stem borer, and alligator weed thrips, were identified as potential biological control agents. After host-specificity testing in Argentina and U.S. quarantine facilities, all three species were approved for use in the U.S. The flea beetle was released first. Although highly successful in Florida, the beetle has not controlled the weed farther north. However, the combined impact from the three agents was so effective that Florida curtailed the use of herbicides to control alligator weed just three years after the insects were released in that State. Australia, New Zealand, China, and Thailand also report success in using these insects as biological agents to control alligator weed.

- Al Cofrancesco (U.S. Army Corps of Engineers)

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