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.
Invasive Species Resources
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USDA. Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service.
DOC. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.
New research by NOAA and partners finds that two species of invasive Asian carp -- the bighead carp and silver carp, collectively known as bigheaded carps -- could be capable of establishing populations in Saginaw Bay, Lake Huron and affecting the health of ecologically and economically important fish species such as yellow perch. The research, appearing online in the journal Biological Invasions, is based on a new model that simulates interactions between the bigheaded carps and a range of fish species, including walleye, yellow perch, and groups lower on the food web over a time period of 50 years. Over 180 non-indigenous aquatic species have already become established in the Great Lakes, with a handful of these producing substantial negative impacts. While bigheaded carps are established in watersheds near the Great Lakes, they have not yet become established in the Great Lakes.
USDA. FS. Northern Research Station.
In addition to cleaning the air and water, forests hold a tremendous amount of sequestered carbon. When trees die and then decay on the forest floor, that carbon is released into the atmosphere, a phenomenon that is one of the drivers of climate change. A first-of-its-kind study by a team that included the United States Department of Agriculture’s Forest Service and Purdue University scientists finds that non-native invasive insects and diseases are reducing the amount of carbon stored in trees across the United States. The study, “Biomass losses resulting from insect and disease invasions in USA forests,” is available at: https://www.nrs.fs.fed.us/pubs/58371.
DOD. USACE. Buffalo District.
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Buffalo District is on a mission to fight hydrilla, an aggressive plant species that has wreaked havoc from Asia to every continent except Antarctica. "Hydrilla completely chokes out our waterways and impacts all the things we enjoy,” said Michael Greer, USACE Buffalo District project manager." It affects water quality, the economy, businesses, hydropower and flood reduction - ultimately our health and our wallets." Buffalo District’s main projects to eradicate hydrilla are at the Erie Canal and Tonawanda Creek, Tonawanda, NY, as well as on Cayuga Lake near Aurora, NY and Ithaca, NY. The District provides assistance on Pymatuning Lake which borders Pennsylvania and Ohio, and at Raystown Lake in south central Pennsylvania. Buffalo District is also lending expertise to a project on the Connecticut River. Funding for the project is available through the Corps of Engineers Aquatic Plant Control Research Program and Great Lakes Restoration Initiative.
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 U.S. Department of Agriculture's Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) is announcing its plans for combatting the Asian longhorned beetle (ALB) in New York, Massachusetts, and Ohio in 2020. "Just last year we declared eradication of ALB from Brooklyn and Queens in New York City, ending the city's 23-year-long battle with the beetle," said Osama El-Lissy, APHIS' Plant Protection and Quarantine Deputy Administrator. "This year, we've mapped out a sound strategy that will further our efforts to eliminate this pest from the remaining areas of this country where it still has a foothold."
Every year, APHIS evaluates and determines the most effective options to achieve ALB eradication. In 2020, the ALB program will focus on inspecting trees in quarantined areas in New York, Massachusetts, and Ohio, and removing infested trees at no cost to property owners. The program will not apply insecticide treatments this year. In addition, program officials will monitor for the beetle’s presence inside and around each area, respond to service calls, conduct training sessions for compliance agreement holders, and perform outreach.