White-nose syndrome has been spreading through U.S. bat populations since 2006 and has caused mass die-offs in various regions of the country. The syndrome is caused by Pd (Pseudogymnoascus destructans), a fungus that invades the skin of bats while they hibernate. USDA Forest Service wildlife biologists Roger Perry and Phillip Jordan conducted a study to calculate the survival rates of tricolored bats (Perimyotis subflavus) in the Ouachita Mountains of west-central Arkansas. The research helps satisfy the need for robust estimates of population data amid the WNS outbreak. The scientists chose to study the tricolored bat because it is common across North America and has suffered substantial declines due to WNS. The research highlights the importance of maintaining and protecting small hibernation sites as they may be critical to the conservation of the tricolored bat species.
Invasive Species Resources
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USDA. FS. Southern Research Station. CompassLive.
DOI. NPS. Buffalo National River.
On Tuesday, June 5, 2018, the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) National Veterinary Services Laboratory (NVSL) confirmed the presence of the Longhorned tick (Haemaphysalis longicornis) in Arkansas. The Longhorned tick is an exotic East Asian tick associated with bacterial and viral tickborne diseases of animals and humans in other parts of the world. This tick is considered by USDA to be a serious threat to livestock because heavy tick infestations may cause stunted growth, decreased production and animal deaths. Like deer-ticks, the nymphs of the Longhorned tick are very small (resembling tiny spiders) and can easily go unnoticed on animals and people. This tick is known to infest a wide range of species and has the potential to infect multiple North American wildlife species, humans, dogs, cats, and livestock.
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.
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.
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.