Effective immediately, the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) is adding Eau Claire and Richland Counties in Wisconsin to the list of quarantine areas for gypsy moth (GM). The GM populations in these counties have reached the threshold to trigger the quarantine expansion. To prevent the further spread of GM, the attached Federal Order (PDF | 186 KB) establishes Eau Claire and Richland Counties in Wisconsin as quarantine areas. Effective immediately, all interstate movement of GM-regulated articles from Eau Claire and Richland Counties must be handled in accordance with the attached Federal Order. Wisconsin has established a parallel state quarantine.
Invasive Species Resources
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USDA. Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service.
Invasive Carp Regional Coordinating Committee.
The Asian Carp Regional Coordinating Committee announced the release of its 2021 Asian Carp Action Plan, a comprehensive portfolio of projects focused on Great Lakes protection.
Washington State Department of Agriculture.
The Asian Giant Hornet Public Dashboard shares detection and trapping data. Citizen scientists were able to view detections in real time, including the number of reported sightings and number of hornets confirmed by type. Coordinating this information provided input on future trapping and demonstrated the benefit of collaboration with citizen scientists. WSDA has indicated that citizen data sharing and bottle trapping efforts are crucial to protect Washington from this invasive species.
DOI. Bureau of Land Management.
The Bureau of Land Management has released the final programmatic environmental impact statement for fuels reduction and rangeland restoration in the Great Basin. This programmatic environmental impact statement (PEIS) is intended to further efforts to conserve and restore sagebrush communities within a 223 million-acre area that includes portions of Idaho, Oregon, Washington, California, Nevada and Utah.
Sagebrush communities in the Great Basin are a vital part of Western working landscapes and are home to over 350 species of plants and wildlife. Intact sagebrush communities are disappearing within the Great Basin due to increased large and severe wildfires, the spread of invasive annual grasses, and the encroachment of pinyon-juniper. The Great Basin region is losing sagebrush communities faster than they can reestablish naturally. Fuels reduction and rangeland restoration treatments can reduce fire severity, increase sagebrush communities' resistance to invasive annual grasses and improve their ability to recover after wildfires.
USDA. FS. Southern Research Station. CompassLive.
Chinese privet (Ligustrum sinense) is one of the worst invasive plants in the South. It dominates the shrub layer and often becomes the only shrub underneath trees, especially in streamside areas. But insects and spiders living in fallen leaves and leaf litter were not affected by a privet invasion in Georgia, as a recent study shows.
Western Governors' Association.
Officials at the U.S. Department of the Interior (DOI) announced in June 2017 that DOI would coordinate with the Western Governors' Association, states, tribes, federal agencies, and other partners in a project to help strengthen existing efforts to address invasive mussels. The actions described in the 2017 report, Safeguarding the West from Invasive Species, Actions to Strengthen Federal, State, and Tribal Coordination to Address Invasive Mussels (PDF | 1.3 MB), vary from policy and program reviews to on-the-ground efforts to prevent, contain, and control invasive mussels. One recommendation in Safeguarding the West was the development of a reference manual to facilitate rapid response activities in the event of mussel introductions in the Columbia River Basin. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service recently finalized and released this manual, Dreissenid Mussel Rapid Response in the Columbia River Basin: Recommended Practices to Facilitate Endangered Species Act Section 7 Compliance (PDF | 3.63 MB).
National Conference of State Legislatures.
Colorado Parks and Wildlife.
All known feral swine have been eliminated from Colorado thanks to a near 15-year state and federal partnership comprised of the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) Wildlife Services (WS), the USDA Forest Service (FS), Colorado Parks and Wildlife (CPW) and the Colorado Department of Agriculture (CDA). The partnership formed in the early 2000s as a task force to manage invasive feral swine, which root up crops and pastures causing billions in damage nationwide each year. Feral swine also spread disease to livestock, wildlife and humans. Ground-nesting birds and other wildlife are easy prey for feral swine. And the swine put native wildlife at risk by competing for resources and destroying habitats and ecosystems.
You can help keep Colorado free of feral swine:
- Spread the word that in Colorado it’s illegal to possess, transport or release feral swine, wild swine species or hybrids.
- Report sightings of feral swine or transportation activities to USDA Wildlife Services at 1-866-4-USDA-WS (1-866-487-3297) or Colorado Parks and Wildlife at 303-297-1192.
- Get more information at the National Feral Swine Damage Management Program.
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.
Great Lakes Commission.
The Great Lakes AIS "Landing Blitz" events take place over a two-week period (Jun 26 - Jul 4, 2021), emphasizing the need to Clean, Drain, Dry boats whenever they come out of the water, and Dispose of any unwanted bait in the trash. Local volunteers partner with state and provincial agencies to deliver consistent messaging about preventing the introduction and spread of AIS from the movement of watercraft and equipment between water bodies. Information on these events, including educational materials, locations and volunteer opportunities are posted on this page as they become available.
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.
The U.S. Department of the Interior’s Office of Insular Affairs (OIA) has announced $2,772,443 in Coral Reef and Natural Resources Initiative (CRNR) grant funds to protect coral reef resources in the U.S. territories and the freely associated states. The funding includes $1,541,421 that will support efforts to control and eradicate invasive species in the insular areas. Grants for fiscal year 2021 to combat invasive species have been awarded as follows:
- University of Guam for research and related efforts to counter the Coconut Rhinoceros Beetle - $866,423
- Micronesia Conservation Trust, a regional non-governmental organization, for the eradication, control, and management of invasive species in Kosrae, Chuuk, and Yap - $300,000
- Island Conservation, a non-profit organization, for the removal of invasive rats in Mili Atoll, Marshall Islands - $299,838
- Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands Government for Sabana Pandanus Forest control and native trees restoration project - $75,160
DOI. United States Geological Survey.
For the first time, an invasive brown treesnake population has been found on Cocos Island, an 83.1 acre atoll located 1.5 miles off the southwest coast of Guam. The brown treesnake was a major contributor to the loss of nine of 11 native forest birds and significant population declines of several native lizards, bats and other bird species on Guam. They now pose a threat to the wildlife of Cocos Island. Guam Department of Agriculture Division of Aquatic and Wildlife Resources is working with partners to better understand how many brown treesnakes are on the island and the best way to remove them.
National Science Foundation.
The green crab, Carcinus maenas, is a widely distributed invasive species that eventually alters its new environment. It's assumed that such species have high genetic diversity, or a variety of characteristics allowing them to adapt and thrive. But the green crab has low genetic diversity, while still spreading rapidly in a new part of the world. A U.S. National Science Foundation-funded study led by Carolyn Tepolot of the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution is investigating the adaptive mechanisms of the green crab along the west coast of North America, where it has shown extensive dispersal in the last decade despite minimal genetic diversity. The results are published in Molecular Ecology. The project is a collaboration among scientists at WHOI, Portland State University, the Smithsonian Environmental Research Center and the University of California, Davis.
Montana Invasive Species Council.
Montana’s economy could see more than $230 million in annual mitigation costs and lost revenue if invasive mussels become established in the state, according to a report released by the Montana Invasive Species Council (MISC). Commissioned by MISC and completed by the University of Montana Flathead Biological Station, the economic impact study provides “a snapshot of projected direct costs to affected stakeholders dependent on water resources,” said Bryce Christiaens, MISC chair. “It does not reflect the total economic impact to the state, which would be considerably higher.” View a one-page fact sheet (PDF | 484 KB) or the full report (PDF | 4.0 MB).
Massachusetts Division of Fisheries and Wildlife.
On August 27, an angler caught a northern snakehead from Reservoir Pond in Canton, Massachusetts. After obtaining and analyzing the specimen, MassWildlife confirmed this fish was a snakehead, an invasive species in Massachusetts. This fish was most likely released by a pet owner when it grew too large for its aquarium. Possession and liberation of snakeheads are both illegal in Massachusetts. Transferring exotic fish into local waterways can cause a host of problems, including competition with native species and spread of disease. This recent catch is the fifth confirmed snakehead documented in Massachusetts since 2002. All snakeheads found in Massachusetts were adults, and MassWildlife has found no evidence of reproduction at any of the locations where the snakeheads were caught.
Anglers may confuse snakeheads with other native species like bowfin. Anyone who captures a fish that can be confidently identified as a snakehead should keep the fish, kill it, and report it to MassWildlife by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or calling (508) 389-6300. MassWildlife encourages anglers who are less certain about the species of fish they have caught to send photos showing various angles of the fish. Under no circumstance should a suspected snakehead be transported to another location until identification is confirmed.
Western Governor's Association.
This article highlights the role of data in responding to the Asian giant hornet and describes how officials at the Washington State Department of Agriculture employed 'citizen scientists' and ‘cooperators’ to locate and eradicate a nest of deadly Asian giant hornets in their state.
See also: Western Governors' Association Launches Invasive Species Data Mobilization Campaign (Dec 18, 2020)
Massachusetts Department of Agricultural Resources.
The Massachusetts Department of Agricultural Resources (MDAR) today announced that it has identified two dead specimens of the spotted lanternfly (SLF) in Massachusetts communities, and is urging residents to report any sign of the invasive pest. The specimens were recovered in the towns of Milford and Norwood, and were brought into Massachusetts on materials shipped from Pennsylvania counties currently under a spotted lanternfly quarantine. Additionally, MDAR was recently notified that nursery stock with spotted lanternfly egg masses and adults may have been unintentionally imported and planted in several parts of Massachusetts.
MDAR is urging anyone who has received goods or materials, such as plants, landscaping materials, or outdoor furniture, from a state with a known SLF infestation to carefully check the materials, including any packaging, for signs of spotted lanternfly. Currently, there are known introductions of SLF in Connecticut, Delaware, Maryland, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Virginia, and West Virginia. If any indication of SLF is found, residents should take a photo or collect the specimen, and report any potential sightings of the pest using MDAR’s online reporting form. Residents should look for large, gray insects, about one inch long, with black spots and red underwings, or inch-long, rectangular yellowish-brown egg masses covered with a gray waxy coating.
Michigan Department of Natural Resources.
The governors of Illinois and Michigan today agreed to work jointly to protect the Great Lakes from invasive Asian carp species. Gov. Gretchen Whitmer and Gov. JB Pritzker today announced an intergovernmental agreement between the Illinois Department of Natural Resources (IDNR) and the Michigan Department of Natural Resources (MDNR) which allows Illinois to use up to $8 million in funds appropriated in 2018 by the Michigan Legislature to support the pre-construction engineering and design (PED) phase of the Brandon Road Ecosystem Project. Further strengthening the path forward, the State of Illinois also signed a separate PED agreement with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers for the initial Brandon Road design. The state will serve as the non-federal sponsor, agreeing to help fund design of a portion of the project and to further advance full project design efforts to approximately 30 percent completion.
The Brandon Road Lock and Dam in the Chicago Area Waterway System near Joliet, Illinois, is a critical pinch point for keeping bighead, silver and black carp – the invasive Asian carp species of greatest concern – out of the Great Lakes. The Brandon Road project would install layered technologies including an electric barrier, underwater sound, an air bubble curtain and a flushing lock in a newly engineered channel designed to prevent invasive carp movement while allowing barge passage.