Management Plan: Executive Summary
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[Executive Summary] |
[Introduction] | [Survey
of Federal Roles & Responsibilities] |
[An Action Plan for the Nation]
| [Conclusion] | [Appendices]
Invasive species affect each
of our lives, all regions of the U.S., and every nation in the
world. Society pays a great price for invasive species - costs
measured not just in dollars, but also in unemployment, damaged
goods and equipment, power failures, food and water shortages,
environmental degradation, increased rates and severity of natural
disasters, disease epidemics, and even lost lives. Stimulated
by the rapid global expansion of trade, transport, and travel,
invasive species and their costs to society are increasing at
an alarming rate.
For centuries, people have moved
organisms around the world. Plants and animals, and their products,
are imported into the U.S. to be used, for instance, as food,
construction materials, ornamental plants, livestock, and pets.
Organisms that have been moved from their native habitat to a
new location are typically referred to as "non-native,"
"nonindigenous," "exotic," or "alien"
to the new environment. Most U.S. food crops and domesticated
animals are non-native species, and their beneficial value is
obvious - for instance, managed livestock are examples of non-native
species which are not invasive. Many other non-native species
are simply benign. However, a small percentage cause serious
problems in their new environments and are collectively known
as "invasive species".
An "invasive species"
is defined as a species that is 1) non-native (or alien) to the
ecosystem under consideration and 2) whose introduction causes
or is likely to cause economic or environmental harm or harm
to human health. (Executive Order 13112,
Appendix 1). This National Invasive Species Management Plan
(Plan) focuses on those non-native species that cause or may
cause significant negative impacts and do not provide an equivalent
benefit to society.
The means and routes by which
invasive species are imported and introduced into new environments
are called "pathways." Some non-native organisms that
are intentionally imported escape from captivity or are carelessly
released into the environment and become invasive. While most
importations are legal, smuggling of invasive species also occurs.
Some invasive species arrive as hitchhikers on commodities such
as produce, nursery stock, and livestock. Other invasive species
are stowaways in transport equipment, such as packing materials
or a ship's ballast water.
One report indicates that the
economic cost of invasive species to Americans is an estimated
$137 billion every year (Pimentel et al. 2000). The Formosan
termite costs an estimated $300 million in property damage annually
in New Orleans (Bordes pers. comm.). Zebra mussels invaded the
Great Lakes through ballast water, and clog water intake pipes
needed by a variety of industries.
Up to 46% of the plants and animals
Federally listed as endangered species have been negatively impacted
by invasive species (Wilcove et al. 1998). While purple
loosestrife has beautiful purple flowers, it also diminishes
waterfowl habitats, alters wetland structure and function, and
chokes out native plants. The Asian longhorned beetle, which
probably arrived in solid wood pallets made in China, is causing
the destruction of valuable city trees and could spread to natural
forests. The nutria, a large rodent native to South America originally
imported for a private zoo, now exists in the wild and is devastating
large portions of wetland ecosystems.
The newly introduced West Nile
virus, an invasive virus which is transmitted to humans by mosquitoes
that feed on the blood of infected animals, now threatens people
and animals in 12 eastern States and the District of Columbia.
Cholera and some of the microorganisms that can cause harmful
algal blooms along the U.S. coast are moved in the ballast water
carried by large ships. Imported red fire ants cause painful
and potentially deadly stings to humans, livestock, and pets
in the southern U.S..
Farmers, ranchers, scientists,
State officials, and many others have urged the Federal government
to consider invasive species issues a priority and to develop
a coordinated national effort to address the problem. In response,
the President issued Executive Order 13112 on Invasive Species
(Order) in February 1999. The Order established the National
Invasive Species Council (Council), co-chaired by the Secretaries
of Agriculture, Commerce and the Interior; and includes the Secretaries
of State, Treasury, Defense, and Transportation, and the Administrator
of the Environmental Protection Agency. The Order directs the
Council to form a non-Federal Invasive Species Advisory Committee
(ISAC) to advise the Council in its work. The Council (specifically,
the eight department members) is to: provide national leadership
on invasive species; see that their Federal efforts are coordinated
and effective; promote action at local, State, tribal and ecosystem
levels; identify recommendations for international cooperation;
facilitate a coordinated network to document and monitor invasive
species; develop a web-based information network; provide guidance
on invasive species for Federal agencies to use in implementing
the National Environmental Policy Act; and prepare the Plan -
This Plan presents nine interrelated
and equally important areas that the Council considers priorities
in addressing invasive species problems. The following actions
are recommended. The Council will undertake these actions in
coordination and partnership with other stakeholders as appropriate:
and Coordination: The
Council is directed by the Order to provide national leadership
and oversight on invasive species and to see that Federal agency
activities are coordinated, effective, work in partnership with
States, and provide for public input and participation.
When appropriate, the Council
and its staff will draw on various existing organizations for
coordination and leadership. These include, among others, State
agencies, State invasive species committees and councils, regional
organizations such as regional weed boards, the Aquatic Nuisance
Species Task Force (ANSTF), the Federal Interagency Committee
on the Management of Noxious and Exotic Weeds (FICMNEW), the
Committee on Environment and Natural Resources (CENR), 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. Additional steps are also needed to ensure
a unified, effective, and coordinated Federal response.
- Establish a transparent oversight
mechanism for use by Federal agencies in complying with the Order
and reporting on implementation.
- Ensure that a clearly defined
process will be developed and procedures will be in place to
resolve jurisdictional and other disputes regarding invasive
- Conduct an evaluation of current
legal and regulatory authorities relevant to invasive species.
- Prepare an analysis of legal
and policy barriers to coordinated and joint actions among Federal
- Identify at least two major
invasive species issues, regulations, or policies where coordination
is inadequate and take action that fixes the problem.
- Coordinate and provide to the
Office of Management and Budget (OMB) a proposed cross-cut budget
for Federal agency expenditures concerning invasive species.
- Convene a working group of agency
leads on international agreements relevant to invasive species.
- Prepare a 2-year work plan identifying
specific initiatives to work with State, local and regional organizations.
- Prepare and issue guidance on
invasive species for Federal agencies to use in implementing
the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA).
Prevention: The first line of defense is prevention.
Often, the most cost-effective approach to combating invasive
species is to keep them from becoming established in the first
place. Diverse tools and methods are needed to prevent invasive
species from becoming established in ecosystems where they are
not native. A risk-based approach is mandated by the Order and
requires consideration of the likelihood an invasive species
will establish and spread as well as the degree of harm it could
- Develop a fair, feasible, risk-based
comprehensive screening system for evaluating first-time intentionally
introduced non-native species in consultation with the Invasive
Species Advisory Committee (ISAC), State governments, scientific
and technical experts and societies, and other stakeholders,
including affected industries and environmental groups.
- Develop modifications to the
screening system or other comparable management measures (i.e.,
codes of conduct, pre-clearance or compliance agreements) to
formulate a realistic and fair phase-in evaluation of those intentional
introductions currently moving into the U.S., in consultation
with ISAC, State governments, scientific and technical experts
and societies, and other stakeholders, including affected industries
and environmental groups.
- Identify the pathways by which
invasive species move, rank them according to their potential
for ecological and economic impacts, and develop mechanisms to
reduce movement of invasive species.
- Take the steps to interdict
pathways that are recognized as significant sources for the unintentional
introduction of invasive species.
- Implement a process for identifying
high priority invasive species that are likely to be introduced
unintentionally and for which effective mitigation tools are
- Develop a risk assessment program
for the intentional and accidental introduction of non-native
species through U.S. international assistance programs and encourage
other countries and international organizations to do the same.
Detection and Rapid Response:
We cannot prevent all introductions. However, early detection
of introductions and quick, coordinated response can eradicate
or contain invasive species at much lower cost than long-term
control, which may be infeasible or prohibitively expensive.
Invasive species should be detected and dealt with before they
become established and spread. An integrated approach involving
research and development, technical assistance, and operations
is needed to facilitate and implement effective action. No comprehensive
national system is in place for detecting and responding to incipient
invasions. Unfortunately, inadequate planning, jurisdictional
issues, insufficient resources and authorities, limited technology,
and other factors often hamper early detection and rapid response
in many locations.
- Take steps to improve detection
and identification of introduced invasive species, recognizing
the need for jurisdictional coordination.
- Develop a program, in close
cooperation with State and local efforts, for coordinated rapid
response to incipient invasions.
- Develop and recommend to the
President draft legislation, in consultation with the States,
to address rapid responses to incipient invasions, possibly including
permanent funding for rapid response activities.
and Management: 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. Control and management of invasive
species encompasses diverse objectives such as eradication within
an area, population suppression, limiting spread, and reducing
effects. Complete eradication is not generally feasible for widespread
invasive species or where adequate control methods are not available.
Integrated pest management (IPM) is an approach to pest control
(including invasive species) that flexibly considers available
information, technology, methods, and environmental effects.
Methods include physical restraints (e.g., fences and electric
dispersal barriers), mechanical removal (e.g., hand-pulling,
burning and mowing), judicious use of pesticides, release of
biological control agents (such as host-specific predatory organisms),
cultural practices (e.g., crop rotation), and interference with
reproductive capacity (e.g., pheromone-baited traps and release
of sterile males). Consideration of cumulative environmental
impacts requires that environmentally sound methods be deployed,
especially in vulnerable areas. Because control actions have
local effects and cross jurisdictional borders, they are often
carried out by or in cooperation with State or local agencies.
Adequate funding and public awareness are critical to success.
- Land management agencies will
seek additional resources - through the annual appropriations
process consistent with Administration policy - to significantly
enhance control and management of invasive species on Federal
- Develop and recommend to the
President draft legislation to authorize matching Federal funds
for State programs to manage invasive species.
- Explore and, as appropriate,
adopt sanitation and exclusion methods for preventing spread
of invasive species.
- Develop and issue a protocol
for ranking priority of invasive species control projects at
local, regional, and ecosystem-based levels.
- Develop a proposal for accelerating
the development, testing, assessment, transfer, and post-release
monitoring of environmentally safe biological control agents.
- Develop a proposal for cooperation
with private industry to utilize current programs and to facilitate
development, testing, transfer and training concerning use of
environmentally compatible pesticides and herbicides in controlling
- 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.
- Expand opportunities to share
information, technologies, and technical capacity on the control
and management of invasive species with other countries, promoting
environmentally sound practices.
Restoration: Executive Order 13112 requires Federal
agencies to "provide for restoration of native species and
habitat conditions in ecosystems that have been invaded."
Without restoration, areas may become reinfested by the same
or new invasive species.
- Develop and issue recommendations,
guidelines and monitoring procedures for Federal land and water
management agencies to use, where feasible, in restoration activities.
- Identify sources of propagative
material for native species in areas of restoration or reclamation
- Prepare draft legislation to
authorize tax incentives and otherwise encourage participation
of private landowners in restoration programs.
- Develop criteria for the use
of non-native species in overseas restoration projects.
Cooperation: The U.S.
cannot succeed in addressing its domestic invasive species problems
unless it takes a leadership role in international cooperation
and invests in strategies that raise the capacity of other nations
to manage the movement of invasive species. Our ability to prevent
invasive species from entering the U.S. depends a great deal
on the capability of other countries to effectively manage invasive
species and invasion pathways domestically. Once invasive species
become established within one country, they pose a threat to
an entire region, as well as to trading partners and every country
along a trading pathway. If an invasive species never leaves
its native country, it will never become a problem in the U.S..
Actions by the U.S. have sometimes contributed to the invasive
species problems faced by other countries. Despite good intentions,
we have occasionally facilitated the introduction of invasive
species to other countries through development assistance programs,
military operations, famine relief projects, and international
- Strengthen and expand U.S. participation
in mutually supportive standards and codes of conduct within
- Develop a strategy and support
materials for U.S. representatives to encourage and assist all
countries with development of coordinated policies and programs
on invasive species.
- Identify the limitations and
strengths of existing international agreements and develop a
program of work to further strengthen them.
- Outline an approach to a North
American invasive species strategy.
- Establish an ongoing process
to consider the risks of invasive species during the development
of U.S. trade agreements.
- Sponsor technical assistance
workshops in other countries.
- Provide financial and technical
support to international meetings of policy makers, as well as
regional and global programs.
- Conduct a study of international
assistance as an invasion pathway.
Research: Research supports each aspect of the
Plan. Complementary research projects ranging from basic investigations
with broad application to highly targeted applied efforts are
required. Federal research outcomes, where appropriate, will
be transferred to Federal, State, local, tribal and private sector
stakeholders for their utilization.
- Include, as part of the cross-cut
budget proposal, an initiative to adequately fund Federal invasive
species research programs.
- Establish and coordinate a long-
and short-term research capacity that encompasses the range from
basic to applied research for invasive species. This initiative
will build on existing efforts that reflect a range of perspectives
and program approaches.
- Prepare a catalog of existing
aquatic and terrestrial control methods.
- Develop and implement a plan
to strengthen international research collaborations between the
U.S. and other countries.
Management: The Council
is charged with establishing a coordinated, up-to-date information-sharing
system. Although there are many sources of information concerning
invasive species, incompatible database formats and other factors
impede information sharing. The Council is currently developing
an information "gateway" accessible through the Council's
Web site - www.invasivespecies.gov. The long-term
goal is to provide accessible, accurate, referenced, up-to-date,
comprehensive, and comprehensible information on invasive species
that will be useful to local, State, tribal, and Federal managers,
scientists, policy-makers, teachers, students, and others.
- Develop guidance for managing
information concerning invasive species in aquatic and terrestrial
- Maintain and enhance the Council's
Web site, www.invasivespecies.gov, on a continuing
- Post and maintain "case
studies" on control and rapid response efforts on the Council's
- Include a locator for occurrences
of invasive species in the United States by county.
- Link the Web site to major U.S.
databases, Web sites, and most State information networks that
deal with invasive species, and to Web sites in other nations
that have active invasive species programs.
- Develop and implement a memorandum
of understanding among appropriate Federal Departments to establish
an invasive species assessment and monitoring network.
- Expand the Web site to include
information on internationally relevant agreements, codes of
conduct, meetings, publications, experts, programs, and financial
resources, as well as regional and global invasive species databases.
- Produce an Invasive Species
Compendium for North America.
and Public Awareness:
How invasive species are viewed is molded by human values, decisions,
and behaviors. The prevention and control of invasive species
will require modifying behaviors, values, and beliefs and changing
the way decisions are made regarding our actions to address invasive
species. A wide variety of education, outreach, and training
programs are needed.
- Coordinate development and implementation
of a national public awareness campaign, emphasizing public and
- Identify and evaluate existing
public surveys of attitudes and understanding concerning invasive
- Compile a comprehensive assessment
of current invasive species communications, education, and outreach
- Develop a model public awareness
program that incorporates national, regional, State, and local
level invasive species public education activities, including
a plan for testing the model over the next year.
- Coordinate development and implementation
of an international education campaign.
- Develop a series of education
materials to guide organizations in development assistance, industry,
international finance, and government sectors to write and implement
"codes of conduct."
- Co-host a series of international
workshops on invasive species in different regions for policy