The United States Department of Agriculture's Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) has analyzed the potential environmental effects of establishing an integrated management strategy to control cogongrass in Alabama, Georgia, Mississippi, and South Carolina. The draft environmental assessment is now available for comment. Cogongrass is an invasive exotic grass found on public and private property, along roadways, in forests, and on farmland. This federally regulated noxious weed grows rapidly, reducing forest productivity, harming wildlife habitat and ecosystems, and encroaching on pastures and hayfields. Because of cogongrass' impact on agriculture and forest industries, Congress has given APHIS funding to partner with Alabama, Georgia, Mississippi, and South Carolina to control the spread of this weed. APHIS is proposing is an integrated management strategy that uses preventive, cultural, mechanical, biological, and chemical methods to control cogongrass in key areas of its distribution. APHIS invites the public to review and comment on this environmental assessment by April 1, 2020.
Invasive Species Resources
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USDA. Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service.
DOD. USACE. Omaha District.
A draft integrated letter report and programmatic environmental assessment has been developed to determine the economic and environmental impacts of federal participation in state-managed watercraft inspection programs along the Upper Missouri River Basin in Montana, Wyoming, North Dakota, South Dakota and Nebraska. Public comments on the draft EA will be accepted until March 2, 2021.
The existing watercraft inspection programs are managed collaboratively by the states of Montana, Wyoming, North Dakota, South Dakota and Nebraska, where watercraft transported along highways are inspected for the presence of aquatic invasive species and decontaminated when detected. If approved, federal participation in the program would be cost-shared (50 percent) with each of the states, and would employ a regional strategy to identify locations that would provide the greatest likelihood of preventing the spread of aquatic invasive species to reservoirs operated and maintained by the Corps in the Upper Missouri River Basin.
United States Department of Agriculture.
U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Secretary Sonny Perdue joined Wyoming Governor Mark Gordon in a virtual ceremony to sign a Shared Stewardship Agreement between USDA’s Forest Service and the State of Wyoming (PDF | 2.06 MB). The Shared Stewardship Agreement establishes a framework for federal and state agencies to promote active forest management, improve collaboration, and respond to ecological challenges and natural resource concerns in Wyoming. Under the agreement, the State of Wyoming and USDA will work together on forest and grassland restoration across all land ownerships, with a focus on protecting at-risk communities and watersheds from wildfire. The USDA Forest Service initiative for cross-boundary land management is described in the 2018 document Toward Shared Stewardship Across Landscapes: An Outcome-Based Investment Strategy (PDF | 14 MB). This strategy addresses the increasing challenges faced by federal, state, and private managers of forests and rangeland, including catastrophic wildfires, invasive species, degraded watersheds, and insects and disease.
DOC. NOAA. Fisheries.
Natural resource managers in British Columbia discovered several adult male and female European green crabs on Haida Gwaii this past July. Alarm bells immediately went off for biologists in Alaska. The archipelago of Haida Gwaii, off the coast of Prince Rupert in British Columbia, is very close to Alaska. The July discovery is the closest confirmed finding of the invasive crustacean since it was first detected in the San Francisco Bay area in 1989.
United States Senate. Mark R. Warner.
U.S. Sens. Mark R. Warner and Tim Kaine (both D-VA) announced $1,549,891 in federal funding for the University of Virginia (UVA) and Virginia Tech to improve resources for the U.S. agricultural industry and rural communities. This funding was awarded through the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA)'s Food and Agriculture Cyberinformatics and Tools (FACT) Initiative, which focuses on data-driven solutions to address problems facing the agricultural industry. Funding includes $499,952 for the University of Virginia to better understand America's agricultural commodity flows and their role in the spread of invasive species, which is important for food security and economic stability. This project will help provide policy makers with guidance to better address vulnerabilities in food systems.
DOI. NPS. Devils Tower National Monument.
Wildlife researchers have confirmed the presence of white-nose syndrome (WNS) in bats at Devils Tower National Monument. While this is the first confirmation of WNS in the state, the fungus that causes WNS, Pseudogymnoascus destructans (Pd), was potentially detected in southeast Wyoming as early as 2018. Biologists from the University of Wyoming discovered evidence of WNS during surveys completed in early May 2021, when they captured and sampled bats to test for the fungus.
The NPS will be working closely with the climbing community at Devils Tower to better understand and develop guidance for climbers to help care for and protect Wyoming’s bat populations – including how to safely clean and disinfect climbing gear. Climbers and cavers who have used gear or clothing in WNS-infected areas should not re-use them in areas not already known to have Pd fungus. If you see a sick or dead bat, report it to park rangers or Game and Fish biologists, but do not touch or pick up the bat.