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.
United States Department of Agriculture.
Cattle grazing on a nearly half mile wide targeted strip of cheatgrass near Beowawe, Nevada, created a firebreak that helped limit a rangeland fire to just 54 acres this past August compared to rangeland fires that more commonly race across thousands of acres of the Great Basin. This "targeted grazing" firebreak and eight others are part of an evaluation project being managed by the Agricultural Research Service (ARS), partnering with other federal, state and local agencies and local cattle ranchers in Idaho, Nevada and Oregon. These demonstration sites are being studied so the concept's efficacy and environmental impacts can be uniformly evaluated and compared.
Cheatgrass, also known as downy brome, is an invasive annual that dominates more than 100 million acres of the Great Basin in the western U.S. Germinating each winter, cheatgrass grows furiously in spring and dies in early summer, leaving the range carpeted in golden dry tinder. The Great Basin now has the nation's highest wildfire risk, and rangeland fires are outpacing forest fires when it comes to acreage destroyed.
USDA. FS. Southern Research Station. CompassLive.
Forest Service scientists have published a guide synthesizing best practices for controlling these tiny bugs. It promotes a strategy of combining insecticide use with adelgid-eating insects.
USDA. NAL. National Invasive Species Information Center.
Watercraft Inspection and Decontamination Programs - Many Western states instituted watercraft inspection and decontamination programs after the discovery of invasive mussels in Lake Mead in 2007. This section provides resources on mandated watercraft inspection and decontamination programs, as well as some non-mandated but state-funded watercraft inspection efforts.
Aquatic Invasive Species Decals - Some U.S. states require that boaters purchase an aquatic invasive species decal (sometimes called a stamp, sticker, or permit) before operating watercraft in that state. Many of these regulations were instituted as a response to the spread of zebra and quagga mussels into the Western U.S. Fees from the purchase of these decals are typically used to fund local aquatic invasive species outreach and prevention activities.
DOC. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.
New research by NOAA and partners finds that two species of invasive Asian carp -- the bighead carp and silver carp, collectively known as bigheaded carps -- could be capable of establishing populations in Saginaw Bay, Lake Huron and affecting the health of ecologically and economically important fish species such as yellow perch. The research, appearing online in the journal Biological Invasions, is based on a new model that simulates interactions between the bigheaded carps and a range of fish species, including walleye, yellow perch, and groups lower on the food web over a time period of 50 years. Over 180 non-indigenous aquatic species have already become established in the Great Lakes, with a handful of these producing substantial negative impacts. While bigheaded carps are established in watersheds near the Great Lakes, they have not yet become established in the Great Lakes.
USDA. Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service.
The United States Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) confirmed the presence of virulent Newcastle disease in a small flock of backyard exhibition chickens in Utah County, Utah. This is the first case of virulent Newcastle disease in Utah. This case is believed to be connected to the current outbreak of virulent Newcastle disease in California, as three of the birds at the premises were recently moved to Utah from Los Angeles County, California. Since May 2018, 299 cases of Newcastle disease have been confirmed in Southern California, primarily in backyard exhibition birds.
Virulent Newcastle disease is not a food safety concern. No human cases of Newcastle disease have ever occurred from eating poultry products.
USDA. FS. Eastern Region.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture's Forest Service Eastern Region is requesting applications for the FY 2021 Landscape Scale Restoration (LSR) competitive grant program. The LSR program encourages collaborative, science-based restoration of priority rural forest landscapes and support for priorities identified in State Forest Action Plans while leveraging public and private resources. The Eastern Region has distributed nearly $20 million in funding for LSR projects since 2016. Objectives for the Landscape Scale Restoration Program:
- Reduce the risk of uncharacteristic wildfires;
- Improve fish and wildlife habitats, including for threatened and endangered species;
- Maintain or improve water quality and watershed function;
- Mitigate invasive species, insect infestation, and disease;
- Improve important forest ecosystems;
- Measure ecological and economic benefits including air quality and soil quality and productivity.
Visit the LSR website to learn more about the program and how to apply. Applications must be received in Grants.gov by 6 p.m. EST on September 17, 2020, with additional draft deadlines outlined on the LSR website.