National Management Plan: An Action Plan for the Nation - Restoration

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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 Order requires Federal agencies to "provide for restoration of native species and habitat conditions in ecosystems that have been invaded." Invasive species are often found in disturbed environments, and they can cause a wide range of disturbances, both to the structure of ecosystems and their processes. For example, in the southern U.S. the invasive plant, kudzu, covers and shades out other vegetation and can cause a wide variety of plants to die. In Africa's Lake Victoria, water hyacinth (a fast growing plant native to the Amazon basin) forms large floating mats, that deplete dissolved oxygen concentrations in the water and can kill fish. Water hyacinth has had a profound effect on the region's water cycle, causing lake levels to drop dramatically (Mooney and Hobbs 2000).

If an invasive species is eradicated in an area and the impact on the environment was small, recovery can be rapid. In many cases, however, disturbances caused by invasive species have multiple effects throughout an ecosystem and may be exacerbated by human alterations of the environment. For example, invasive species can dramatically reduce biodiversity and alter the ecosystem processes that provide surface water and other natural resources. These alterations are not easily healed. Depending on the scale, duration, and frequency of the invasion, restoring the ecosystem to its original condition may not be technically or financially feasible.

Restoration is an integral component of comprehensive prevention and control programs for invasive species that may keep invasive species from causing greater environmental disturbances. Although restoration efforts have certain elements in common, each invasion and area is unique. Restoration projects need to be based both on general principles and site-specific considerations and analysis. Resource managers need the research community to provide them with information for the development of a wide range of environmentally sound management strategies and tools, including detailed site assessments and information on the inter-relationships of the species involved. These assessments can help identify the key factors that will affect the success of restoration projects. In addition, monitoring programs are needed to track the success of control and restoration efforts and to ensure that the area is not reinvaded.

Ecological information and restoration techniques have improved. With attention to site preparation, hydrology, nutrient cycling, beneficial plantings, monitoring the effects of natural disturbances, some terrestrial systems can be extensively recovered. Restoration of aquatic systems has proven more difficult, but significant progress in being made. Resource managers believe that restoration efforts will contribute to control actions and that once habitats have been restored, they will be less vulnerable to future invasions by the same or other invasive species. From this perspective, restoration is an important part of a site-specific prevention and control strategy.

Actions Planned

  1. Starting in January 2001, the USDA, Interior, and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers will identify sources of propagative material for native species in areas of restoration or reclamation projects.

  2. By January 2002, the Council will prepare draft legislation to authorize tax incentives and otherwise encourage participation of private landowners in restoration programs.

  3. By July 2002, the Council will develop and issue recommendations, guidelines and monitoring procedures for Federal land and water management agencies to use, where feasible, in restoration activities. Among other things, these will:

a. Address restoration programs mandated by law (e.g. natural disasters, oil and chemical spills, and acid mine drainage).

b. Identify appropriate use of native and desirable non-native (non-invasive) species and encourage management practices that promote regeneration of native species.

c. Develop and describe the best available techniques for restoring habitats such as arid and aquatic environments and highly eroded or disturbed sites, and identify research needs for technique development.

  1. By April 2003, the Council, led by the Interior and USDA in cooperation with NSF, USAID, and other relevant bodies, will develop criteria for the use of non-native species in overseas restoration projects.

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