National Management Plan: Conclusion

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

Invasive species are found in every country and type of environment. They have damaged our waters, farms, natural areas, and even our backyards. They have abetted the collapse of valuable commercial fisheries; ruined thousands of acres of food crops and livestock forage; nearly eliminated several native tree species; interrupted utility services; hastened the decline of many endangered species; and harmed animal and human health. Scientists, academics, leaders of industry, and land managers now recognize invasive species as one of the most serious environmental threats of the 21st century (Mooney and Hobbs 2000).

Despite an array of Federal programs designed to stop or control them, the number of invasive species and their cumulative impacts are accelerating at an alarming rate. This Plan is an important first step for a unified and cooperative approach to address invasive species issues.

The Plan is intended to present an ambitious yet "doable" blueprint from which the U.S. Federal agencies, along with their partners, can work to minimize the significant impacts of invasive species. The next and most difficult step will be implementation of the Plan - which is the highest and most immediate priority. To implement the Plan, the Council will provide coordination as the Federal agencies work to integrate the Plan's recommendations into their existing programs.

The Council recognizes that other governments, many Federal agencies, and interagency groups (e.g., ANSTF, FICMNEW, CENR), as well as State and local entities, have prepared plans on invasive species. These plans provide an opportunity for the Federal agencies to identify the priorities they share with other stakeholders and thus establish cooperative, well-coordinated approaches to Plan implementation.

As implementation proceeds, the Council will provide updates on its Web site and continue to expand its information-sharing network. The Web site will become a "gateway" to Federal information and a link to non-Federal resources, especially international, State, local, and regional invasive species priorities and data. The site itself will function as an important coordination tool, bringing multiple kinds of information to one location.

In the past, it was common to view individual invasive species and geographic areas in isolation. Furthermore, attempts to deal with invasive species problems have suffered from a lack of coordination among Federal agencies, and between Federal agencies and other stakeholders. This uncoordinated approach has contributed to the invasive species problem we face today.

With a global economy, increasing demand for foreign products, great mobility, and more accessibility to distant locations, former methods of dealing with invasive species are no longer adequate. By adopting a comprehensive plan and coordinating our efforts, the Federal agencies can help minimize the spread of invasive species. Ultimately, the greatest asset in meeting the invasive species challenge is an informed and involved public.

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