Amendments to an international treaty aimed at preventing the spread of potentially invasive species in ships' ballast water entered into force on 13 October 2019. The International Convention for the Control and Management of Ships' Ballast Water and Sediments, 2004 (the BWM Convention) was adopted by the International Maritime Organization (IMO), a specialized agency of the United Nations, to address this problem. The BWM Convention entered into force in 2017. The amendments formalise an implementation schedule to ensure ships manage their ballast water to meet a specified standard ("D-2 standard") aimed at ensuring that viable organisms are not released into new sea areas, and make mandatory the Code for Approval of Ballast Water Management Systems, which sets out how ballast water management systems used to achieve the D-2 standard have to be assessed and approved. This will help ensure that aquatic organisms and pathogens are removed or rendered harmless before the ballast water is released into a new location – and avoid the spread of invasive species as well as potentially harmful pathogens.
Invasive Species Resources
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International Maritime Organization.
Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission.
The Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission (PFBC) is urging anglers to report and dispose of any invasive Northern Snakehead fish that may be caught in the lower Susquehanna River. This advisory follows the documented movement of 21 Northern Snakeheads past the Conowingo Dam into the Conowingo Pool, a 14-mile-long section of the Susquehanna River located between the Conowingo Dam in Maryland and the Holtwood Dam in Pennsylvania. Anglers are reminded that possession, transport, and importation of a live snakehead is unlawful in both Pennsylvania and Maryland. Any of these invasive fish that are caught should be killed and disposed of properly or consumed. Anglers who suspect they have caught a snakehead are encouraged to NOT release it, and report it to the PFBC at (610) 847-2442 or by sending an email to firstname.lastname@example.org. For more information on Northern Snakeheads in Pennsylvania, including an identification guide, visit the PFBC snakehead resource page.
USDA. Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service.
Effective May 11, 2021, the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) and the New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets (NYS AGM) expanded the European cherry fruit fly (ECFF) quarantine to include all of Monroe County and Wayne County and a small portion of northwestern Ontario County, New York. With this expansion, the ECFF quarantine now includes all of Erie, Monroe, Niagara, Orleans, and Wayne Counties. This action is necessary to prevent the spread of ECFF to non-infested areas of the United States, while maintaining commercial cherry production and marketing within the state. The APHIS website reflects the expansion of this quarantine and contains a description of all the current federal fruit fly quarantine areas.
USDA. Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service.
Effective immediately, the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) is removing a portion of Harris County within the Braeswood area of Houston, Texas, from citrus canker regulations. The successful partnership between APHIS and the Texas Department of Agriculture (TDA) has resulted in a citrus canker-free status in this area since 2016.
On May 20, 2016, APHIS confirmed the positive identification of citrus canker in two adjacent sour orange trees in a city park in the Braeswood area of Houston, in Harris County, Texas. TDA removed and destroyed both positive citrus canker trees. TDA established an intrastate quarantine area for citrus canker that paralleled the federal citrus canker regulatory requirements specified in 7 Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) 301.75. APHIS completed a comprehensive delimiting survey around the area and found no additional citrus trees positive for citrus canker within the survey area. The removal of this quarantine area is reflected on the APHIS website, which also contains a description of all the current federal citrus canker quarantine areas.
USDA. Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service.
Effective immediately, the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) is removing 45,562.067 acres from the golden nematode (GN) regulated area in Suffolk County, New York and refining the global positioning system (GPS) points for the descriptions of the regulated area in the town of Oyster Bay in Nassau County, New York. APHIS is removing these areas based on survey results and other criteria in the "Canada and United States Guidelines on Surveillance and Phytosanitary Actions for the Potato Cyst Nematodes, Globodera rostochiensis and Globodera pallida”.
Since 2010, APHIS, working closely with the New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets (NYS AGM), has removed 1,186,693.79 acres from the GN-regulated area in New York. APHIS and NYS AGM have an active control and mitigation program in place to prevent GN from spreading from the remaining 101,955.27 acres, including 5,945 GN-infested acres in eight New York counties. The specific GN-regulated areas are on the APHIS website.
UN. FAO. Regional Office for Asia and the Pacific.
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.
Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (Australia).
A new report, Fighting Plagues and Predators: Australia’s Path to a Pest and Weed-Free Future (PDF | 12 MB), reveals the environment is facing a "sliding doors" moment, with two possible futures for Australia, depending on the decisions made today. It highlights a looming wave of new extinctions and outlines two futures for Australia, one based on an unsustainable ‘business as usual’ approach and the other based on implementing targeted actions that will help save our unique biodiversity. The report pegs the conservative cost of damage caused by invasive species in Australia – predominantly weeds, feral cats, rabbits and fire ants – at $390 billion over the past six decades and around $25 billion each year and growing.
National Environmental Science Programme (Australia). Threatened Species Recovery Hub.
New research by the Threatened Species Recovery Hub has shown that invasive or pest species are a problem for 1,257 threatened species in Australia, or about four out of five species. The research which has been published in the scientific journal Pacific Conservation Biology also identified the top ten invasive species based on how many threatened species they impact. Lead researcher Stephen Kearney from the University of Queensland said many people may be surprised at which species top the list. “Rabbits, a plant root disease and feral pigs are the top three pest species impacting Australia’s threatened species,” Mr Kearney said.
Maine Department of Agriculture, Conservation & Foresty.
The Maine Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry has announced an addition to the state's invasive species list. Beech leaf disease, leading to the decline and mortality of beech trees from Ohio to southern New England, has arrived in Maine's forests. The disease was confirmed in leaf samples from a forest in Lincolnville (Waldo County) by Dr. Robert Marra of the Connecticut Agricultural Experiment Station. The Maine Forest Service is asking the public's help in identifying additional areas impacted by beech leaf disease. If you suspect you have found affected leaves submit photos using the MFS tree ailment form, email email@example.com, or call (207) 287-2431. Photos should include a clear shot of the underside of an affected leaf or leaves. However, please report concerns even if photos cannot be provided.
CABI has highlighted the top 20 crop pests and diseases for possible prioritization in the Eastern Caribbean as part of a special presentation given to the Caribbean Plant Health Directors Forum (CPHD) aimed at strengthening food security in the region and further afield. Dr Yelitza Colmenarez, CABI’s Centre Director, Brazil, told the conference of CPHD – with the participation of key partners including the FAO, IICA, OIRSA, USDA-APHIS, CIRAD, CARDI, CAHFSA and CABI Member Countries from the Caribbean – that the introduction of new pest and pathogen species are a serious threat to food security within the Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS) and globally. With the help of a range of CABI tools and platforms, including the Crop Protection Compendium, Invasive Species Compendium, Horizon Scanning Tool and Pest Risk Analysis Tool, Dr. Colmenarez says 20 key insects, bacteria, fungus and viruses pose a particular threat that needs to be identified, monitored and mitigated.
Canada's coasts and waterways are vital to our environment, livelihoods, and economy, and must be protected. Ballast water, which helps keep vessels stable in the water, can accidentally introduce and spread aquatic invasive species, like the zebra mussel, if released in the water untreated. To further protect Canadian waters, the Government of Canada is taking action to limit the introduction and spread of aquatic invasive species in ballast water. Today, the Canadian Minister of Transport announced the coming into force of the new Ballast Water Regulations to strengthen existing rules for vessels on international voyages and the introduction of new rules for vessels which remain in Canada and on the Great Lakes. These regulations, which replace the Ballast Water Control and Management Regulations, apply to vessels in Canadian waters and to Canadian vessels anywhere in the world. Vessels are now required to:
- plan their ballast water management and reduce the number of organisms in their ballast water, typically by installing a ballast water management system; and
- carry a valid certificate, keep records, and be regularly surveyed and inspected. Smaller vessels may follow an equivalent approach tailored to their operations and size.
Smithsonian Institution. Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute.
Urban legends about the origins of canal grass in Panama abound, but the Smithsonian has new evidence that puts the question to rest. Canal grass is an invasive weed, native to Asia. Because its tiny seeds blow in the wind, it readily invades clearings and spreads to form impenetrable stands by budding from tillers and rhizomes. Once established, canal grass is challenging to eliminate.
Texas Parks and Wildlife Department.
The Texas Parks and Wildlife Department is proposing changes to regulations regarding harmful or potentially harmful fish, shellfish and aquatic plants. The proposed changes significantly reorganize the existing rules to enhance accessibility, meet the changing needs of the regulated community, and address current and potential future threats posed by these exotic species. The proposed rules will be published in the Texas Register no later than Friday, Oct. 2. At that time, comments on the changes can be provided on the TPWD public comment page until Monday, Nov. 9. The TPW Commission will take public comment on the proposed changes at their meeting on Tuesday, Nov. 10 in Austin. Comments on the proposed changes also can be submitted to Ken Kurzawski at (512) 389-4591, email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
UN. Food and Agriculture Organization.
Due to the impact of climate change, plant pests that ravage economically important crops are becoming more destructive and posing an increasing threat to food security and the environment, finds a scientific review released this week. The Scientific Review on the Impact of Climate Change on Plant Pests - A global challenge to prevent and mitigate plant pest risks in agriculture, forestry and ecosystems was prepared under the auspices of the Secretariat of the International Plant Protection Convention and is one of the key initiatives of the International Year of Plant Health, which is coming to an end this month. "The key findings of this review should alert all of us on how climate change may affect how infectious, distributed and severe pests can become around the world," said the Director-General of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), Qu Dongyu. "The review clearly shows that the impact of climate change is one of the greatest challenges the plant health community is facing," added Qu.
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.
Climate change is having an important influence on invasive species. The increase in temperatures, rainfall, humidity and drought can facilitate their spread and establishment, creating new opportunities for them to become invasive. For additional information, see the following CABI resources:
New York State Department of Environmental Conservation.
The New York State Departments of Environmental Conservation (DEC) and Agriculture and Markets (DAM) today announced that although freezing temperatures will kill off adult spotted lanternflies (SLF), the public is urged to stay vigilant and report overwintering egg masses. In the fall, SLF will lay their eggs on any flat surface such as vehicles, firewood, outdoor furniture, stone or other items which can be inadvertently transported to new areas. If this insect becomes established in New York, it could impact New York's forests, agricultural and tourism industries. "To date, there has not been a documented spotted lanternfly infestation in New York, but I encourage the public to stay aware and be ready to report egg masses or other signs of this insect to help prevent infestations," said DEC Commissioner Basil Seggos.
Assistance from the public is crucial in limiting the movement of SLF and protecting New York's natural resources. DEC and DAM are urging the public to inspect outdoor items such as vehicles, outdoor furniture and camping equipment for egg masses or insects, and report any sightings by sending photos and location information to email@example.com. Anyone that visits locations of SLF quarantines in other states should look for and remove insects and egg masses on items before leaving those areas. For more information, please visit DEC's spotted lanternfly webpage.
NeoBiota 67: 485-510.
Invasive species can have severe impacts on ecosystems, economies, and human health. Though the economic impacts of invasions provide important foundations for management and policy, up-to-date syntheses of these impacts are lacking. To produce the most comprehensive estimate of invasive species costs within North America (including the Greater Antilles) to date, we synthesized economic impact data from the recently published InvaCost database (see related research article: InvaCost, a public database of the economic costs of biological invasions worldwide (Sep 8, 2020).
See also: This article is part of NeoBiota 67: The economic costs of biological invasions around the world.
USDA. Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service.
Effective immediately, the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) is issuing a Federal Order (Oct 14, 2021; PDF | 171 KB) that expands the existing imported fire ant (IFA) quarantine areas in North Carolina and Tennessee. APHIS is taking this action to prevent the interstate spread of IFA. APHIS is taking these actions based upon verification from the North Carolina Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services and the Tennessee Department of Agriculture’s Division of Consumer and Industry Services that IFA is present and established in the areas listed. For additional information on the Federal IFA regulatory program, please contact the IFA National Policy Manager, Herbert Bolton, at (301) 851-3594 or firstname.lastname@example.org.