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Invasive Species Resources

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USDA. Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service.

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.

USDA. FS. Southern Research Station. CompassLive.

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.

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.
DOI. NPS. Yellowstone National Park.

DOI. Office of Insular Affairs.

U.S. Department of the Interior Assistant Secretary, Insular and International Affairs, Douglas W. Domenech announced the release of $3,442,389 in fiscal year (FY) 2020 grant funding to suppress and control the brown tree snake (BTS), Boiga irregularis, primarily on Guam. Funds also support prevention, detection, and rapid response efforts in the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands (CNMI) and Hawaii, in addition to research and development on how to improve suppression methods and potentially eradicate the snake on Guam. The Office of Insular Affairs (OIA) Brown Tree Snake Control program FY 2020 funds are divided among several federal, state, and territorial agencies that collaborate in support of the three pillars of BTS suppression: $1,229,296 is used for control in rapid response and research activities, $1,724,210 is used for interdiction, and $488,883 is used for prevention through coordination and outreach.

DOI. Office of Insular Affairs.

U.S. Department of the Interior Assistant Secretary, Insular and International Affairs, Douglas W. Domenech announced $942,206 in fiscal year (FY) 2020 Coral Reef and Natural Resources Initiative grants to eradicate and control the spread of invasive species in the U.S. territories of Guam and the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands (CNMI), as well as in the Republic of Palau, and Yap, in the Federated States of Micronesia (FSM). Funding will be used to introduce biological control of coconut rhinoceros beetles, control and eradicate feral cats and monitor lizards, and destroy wild vines, all of which are disruptive to ecological systems and impacting communities and livelihoods in the islands.

DOI. Office of Insular Affairs.

Doug Domenech, U.S. Department of the Interior Assistant Secretary for Insular and International Affairs this week announced $1,488,890 in fiscal year 2018 grants to combat invasive species and protect natural resources in the U.S. Territories of American Samoa, Guam, the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, the U.S. Virgin Islands, as well as the freely associated states of the Federated States of Micronesia and the Republic of Palau. "Invasive species in the islands are disruptive for both marine and terrestrial resources in the islands, which already face a delicate balance," said Assistant Secretary Domenech. "Secretary Zinke and I are pleased to help control and eradicate invasive species in the islands in order to protect public health, livelihoods, and fragile environments and economies."

United States Department of the Interior.

Interior Acting Assistant Secretary for Insular Areas Nikolao Pula made available $409,885 to preserve natural and cultural resources and protect against invasive species on Guam. “We are especially pleased that Congress was able to provide some extra funding in FY 2017 to mitigate and control the coconut rhinoceros beetle and little fire ant on Guam,” said Pula. “All funding supports Governor Eddie Calvo’s efforts in protecting Guam’s natural resources now and for the future.”

USDA. Natural Resources Conservation Service.
DOI. National Park Service.
The National Park Service (NPS) has finalized a long-term strategy to reduce the impacts and threats from invasive plants and to restore native plant communities and historic landscapes for 15 national park areas in D.C., Maryland, Virginia and West Virginia. The Invasive Plant Management Plan will guide park staff in standardizing and streamlining their treatment of non-native invasive plants. The plan will also help the NPS identify areas with the most urgent needs in order to address the most immediate threats to park resources. Each of the 15 area parks will develop an annual non-native invasive plant treatment strategy that is based on science, is cost effective, and poses the least amount of risk to people and park resources.
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. 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 pet chickens in Coconino County, Arizona. This is the first case of virulent Newcastle disease in Arizona. This case is believed to be connected to the current outbreak of virulent Newcastle disease in California, as tests show the virus is almost identical to the virus causing disease in California. Virulent Newcastle disease is not a food safety concern. No human cases of Newcastle disease have ever occurred from eating poultry products. In addition to practicing good biosecurity, all bird owners should report sick birds or unusual bird deaths to their veterinarian or to State veterinary officials. Additional information on biosecurity for all poultry flocks can be found at www.aphis.usda.gov/animalhealth/defendtheflock.

DOI. United States Geological Survey.

On May 14, Director Reilly signed a Memorandum of Agreement with the Department of the Navy and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. The MOA provides for continuity of operations for the USFWS and the USGS with construction of new office and lab facilities on the Guam National Wildlife Refuge in conjunction with DOD’s construction of a Marine Corps firing range. "The USGS has a long history of collaborating with the Department of Defense in support of U.S. facilities and force readiness in the INDOPACOM Area of Responsibility. One of our signature efforts ongoing today is a collaboration with DOD, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and the local government in minimizing the impacts of the invasive Brown Treesnakes (BTS) and improving BTS controls on military lands on Guam," said Jim Reilly, director of the USGS.

DOI. NPS. Mammoth Cave National Park.
Bats are dying. Please help us protect them. A disease called white-nose syndrome (WNS) is spreading through the eastern United States, killing bat populations. White-nose syndrome is considered to be present in the Mammoth Cave System. It is believed that humans may contribute to the spread of white-nose syndrome by visiting contaminated caves or mines and then wearing the same clothing or carrying the same objects to unaffected caves or mines, transporting spores from one place to the other. You can help us save bats by following a few simple guidelines.