Recently, the health of coconut palms has come under severe threat. The Pacific Community (SPC), working with Pacific Island countries and territories, and development partners, is looking for ways to meet this threat before it devastates the hopes of economic progress in the region. In August of 2017 an alert was issued identifying a new danger to the Pacific, which is causing devastation to coconut palms and expanding rapidly across the region. The new threat comes from a longstanding adversary in the region: the rhinoceros beetle.
Invasive Species Resources
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Secretariat of the Pacific Community.
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. Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service.
Today, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) and Clemson University’s Department of Plant Industry (DPI) announced their plans for combatting the Asian longhorned beetle (ALB) in Charleston County, South Carolina. In June, APHIS and DPI confirmed the beetle is infesting trees in the county. The eradication strategy in South Carolina will be like those used for other ALB infestations in the United States. It includes establishing a quarantine, removing infested trees, and potentially using, with the landowner’s permission, a combination of tree removal and chemical treatment for trees that are within a half-mile radius of an infested tree.
If you live in the regulated area (PDF | 576 KB), please help by allowing officials access to your property to inspect and remove trees. If you live in Charleston County or nearby counties, please look for ALB and examine your trees for any damage that may be caused by the beetle, such as dime-sized exit holes in tree trunks and branches. Please take pictures and, if possible, capture suspicious insects in a durable container and freeze them, which helps to preserve the insect for identification. ALB is not harmful to people or pets. Report the insect or tree damage by calling the ALB hotline at 1-866-702-9938 or online at www.AsianLonghornedBeetle.com.
North American Invasive Species Management Association.
A new invasive species coalition is celebrating significant milestones in preventing expansion of invasive species after the first anniversary of an important agreement. The North American Invasive Species Management Association, Wildlife Forever, the National Park Service, and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service are working to implement on-the-ground strategies to engage the American public and help prevent the spread of invasive species under the new agreement.
Cornell University. College of Agriculture and Life Sciences. Cornell Alliance for Science.
Farmers who grow cereal crops in most African countries are all too familiar with the challenges presented by striga, a parasitic plant also known as witchweed that infests farmers’ fields and causes lower yields, or even no harvest at all. Now African scientists are breeding maize that can resist this pest plant as extension agents are offering farmers various solutions for improving yields in areas where the invasive weed is especially prevalent.
Maryland Department of Natural Resources.
The Maryland Department of Agriculture has confirmed the first spotted lanternfly hatch of 2020. The first instar nymph of the season was reported by a department employee while surveying for the pest in the upper northeast corner of Cecil County near the Pennsylvania border.
See additional resources on the Maryland Department of Agriculture's site for Spotted Lanternfly for up-to-date information. For questions related to the quarantine, permitting, treatment, or to report a sighting of the spotted lanternfly, especially outside of the quarantine zone, call 410-841-5920 or email DontBug.MD@maryland.gov. If you report a spotted lanternfly via email, please provide the location of the sighting and your contact information.
University of Guam.
The University of Guam received another round of funding in September under the U.S. Department of Agriculture Plant Protection Act for the surveying and monitoring of invasive pests of solanaceous crops that are on USDA’s Priority Pest List for 2021. Solanaceae, or nightshades, are a family of flowering plants that include tomato, eggplant, and chili pepper. As part of the national effort this year, UOG was awarded $38,000 to survey and monitor for two pests: Tuta absoluta, which is a moth and type of leafminer capable of destroying an entire crop, and Ralstonia solanacearum race 3 biovar 2, which is a bacterium, known as a bacterial wilt, that infects through the roots and is deadly to plants.
The work through UOG better prepares the island to manage these invasive species if or when they arrive. "There are certain pathogens and insects that have a reputation of being really bad. These are two of them," said project lead Robert L. Schlub, a researcher and faculty member of UOG Cooperative Extension and Outreach with a doctorate in plant pathology. "They aren’t on Guam, but if they show up, we want to know so we can help get them under control."
The future is looking a little brighter for seabirds in French Polynesia following the first successful removal of invasive rats in the Marquesas Archipelago. The project, implemented by the Societe d’Ornithologie de Polynesie (Manu), Island Conservation, BirdLife International and Association Vaiku’a i te manu o Ua, will protect a nationally significant population of 90,000 Sooty Terns. Invasive rats present on the island devoured seabird eggs and chicks and native plants. Free from invasive rats, seabirds can once again safely nest and native plants can grow tall and thrive.
Fisheries and Oceans Canada.
The Government of Canada is investing up to $20 million over five years, and ongoing, to Canada's Asian Carp Program to continue prevention efforts through early warning surveillance, partnering and outreach activities. This funding will allow Fisheries and Oceans Canada to expand the Asian Carp Program to increase protection of our Great Lakes and preserve our fisheries.
New York State. Governor Andew Cuomo.
Funding Supports Invasive Species Rapid Response and Control, Research, Lake Management Planning, and Aquatic Invasive Species Spread Prevention Programs. Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced more than $2.8 million in grants have been awarded to 42 projects that will reduce the negative impacts of invasive species through control or removal activities, research, and spread prevention. These grants are part of the State Department of Environmental Conservation's Invasive Species Grant Program and are funded by the State's Environmental Protection Fund.
DOI. United States Geological Survey.
The Asian tiger mosquito can carry dread diseases like Zika, and yellow and dengue fever. After it vanished from Palmyra Atoll, an island in the tropical Pacific, USGS researchers and partners set out to find out why.
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."
Great Lakes Commission; Invasive Mussel Collaborative.
The Invasive Mussel Collaborative announced today that it has released a new strategy to reduce invasive mussels and their negative impacts. The Strategy to Advance Management of Invasive Zebra and Quagga Mussels is intended to drive investments, policy, and research around invasive mussels across the Great Lakes region and beyond. Since their initial discovery in 1989, zebra and quagga mussels have had dramatic impacts on the Great Lakes ecosystem and economy, including changes to the food web, degrading fish habitat, interfering with drinking water systems and damaging tourism and recreation economies. Today, these mussels continue to spread to new water bodies across the U.S. and Canada.
JRS Biodiversity Foundation.
The Centre for Agriculture and Biosciences International (CABI) has published one of the most complete and current datasets on Invasive Alien Plants (IAP) in East and Southern Africa. This extraordinary dataset is already being translated into new research findings and conservation action on the ground.
Montana Department of Natural Resources and Conservation. Montana Invasive Species Council.
The Montana and Washington invasive species councils have joined forces to stop wild pigs from crossing borders. The two councils issued a report with recommendations and best management practices aimed at helping federal, state, provincial and local landowners manage wild pigs in the western United States and Canada. "Wild pig populations are expanding in the western provinces of Canada and in the United States." said Stephanie Criswell, coordinator of the Montana Invasive Species Council. "We are at a unique point in time where we can work together to prevent Canadian wild pigs from spreading across borders into unaffected states like Montana."
In early 2020, the two invasive species councils convened a working group of more than 40 federal, state and Canadian feral swine experts to discuss challenges and opportunities to prevent feral swine along interstate and international borders. Finalized this month, the report includes 22 recommendations that address five strategic areas of feral swine management. Recommendations include standardizing communications to the public, expanding monitoring networks by partnering with non-traditional organizations such as hunting groups, and formalizing notification protocols for reports that will be shared between state and provincial authorities along the international border. The complete report can be found at misc.mt.gov.
New Zealand Ministry for Primary Industries. Biosecurity New Zealand.
Biosecurity officials are promising to take tough action against cargo vessels believed to be infested with brown marmorated stink bug during the upcoming risk season. The risk season runs from September to April, when stink bugs from the northern hemisphere are most likely to crawl into cargo heading to New Zealand. Last season, biosecurity officers intercepted more than 2,500 individual stink bugs at the border, mainly on vessels and cargo.
European Alien Species Information Network.
A newly developed index identifies areas of the Mediterranean Sea which are most affected by non-native, invasive alien species introduced through the Suez Canal, by aquaculture or through shipping. The top invaders appear to be algae, according to the JRC study. The Cumulative Impact of Invasive Alien species (CIMPAL) index calculation brings together datasets on IAS distribution with literature information on the impacts of IAS on biodiversity.
Cornell University. College of Agriculture and Life Sciences.
For the last seven decades, Cornell University’s College of Agriculture and Life Sciences (CALS) has been leading the fight against nematodes—invasive, microscopic worms that can destroy seasons' worth of crops. However, researchers had been working in a facility that lacked the infrastructure to keep pace with their innovative work. On August 1, 2019, thanks to a $1.2 million grant from New York State and another $400,000 in federal funding, CALS cut the ribbon on the new Golden Nematode Quarantine Facility, located on the Cornell campus in Ithaca, NY. The facility is the only research program in North America with expertise in biology, resistance breeding and management of potato-cyst nematodes. At the lab, Cornell scientists work in tandem with the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Agriculture Research Service (ARS).