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.
Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services.
Arkansas Department of Agriculture.
The Arkansas Department of Agriculture is pleased to announce the release of the newly created Arkansas Feral Hog Handbook, a guide to resources available in Arkansas to assist with feral hog control and eradication. The handbook includes contact information, websites, and brief explanations of the resources offered by state and federal agencies and other entities. "The Arkansas Feral Hog Handbook was made possible through a grant funded by the United States Department of Agriculture's Natural Resources Conservation Service. We appreciate their partnership and the information provided by other Feral Hog Eradication Task Force members to make the handbook a comprehensive educational resource for Arkansans," said Arkansas Secretary of Agriculture Wes Ward.
The handbooks are being distributed to the public at locations throughout the state with assistance from partner organizations, including the Arkansas Association of Conservation Districts, University of Arkansas Cooperative Extension Service, Arkansas Game and Fish, and Arkansas Farm Bureau. Copies of the handbook can be requested at email@example.com. An online version (2020; PDF | 4.48 MB) is also available.
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.
University of Florida. Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences.
See also: Publications for more resources
DHS. Customs and Border Protection.
U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) agriculture specialists have already intercepted a dozen significant and potentially destructive pests this year at various ports of entry in Florida as part of the agency's all-encompassing efforts to safeguard American agriculture.
Unknown pests pose a significant risk in agriculture due to a lack of knowledge in controlling the pests and the extent of damage they can cause to crops. U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) entomologists recently classified eight pests discovered by CBP agriculture specialists in Florida as first-in-the-nation interceptions and another pest as a new species.
Kansas State University. Agricultural Experiment Station and Cooperative Extension Service.
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."
University of Florida. Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences Extension.
Electronic Data Information Source Publication #VM65
Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services.
This week, Florida Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried and the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (FDACS) Division of Plant Industry (DPI), along with the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), announced the eradication of the giant African land snail (GALS) from Broward and Miami-Dade counties. This eradication announcement marks only the second time this pest has been eradicated in the world, both in South Florida. For the past 11 years, the FDACS Division of Plant Industry has worked toward eradication through multiple rounds of visual surveys and inspections, K-9 detector dog surveys and inspections, manual collection and treatment programs. In total, 168,538 snails were collected from 32 core population areas comprised of thousands of properties.
The giant African land snail is a highly invasive agricultural pest, known to feed on over 500 varieties of plants. They also pose a risk to humans and animals by carrying rat lung worm, a parasite that can cause meningitis in humans. Giant African land snail is a federally regulated pest and both the USDA and DPI will continue to remain vigilant in their commitments to safeguard American agriculture through surveys, early detection, and rapid response. The public should continue to watch for the snails and report suspects to the FDACS-DPI hotline at 1-888-397-1517.
University of Central Florida.
Researchers have published a first- of-its-kind study that shows that near-infrared (NIR) spectrum cameras can help python hunters more effectively track down these invasive snakes, especially at night.
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.”
Idaho watercraft inspectors have identified zebra mussels on a commercially hauled sailboat destined for Lake Coeur d’Alene in the state’s northern panhandle, marking the first time the invasive species has been found live this year.
Georgia Forestry Commission.
Maine Department of Agriculture, Conservation, and Forestry.
The Maine Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry has announced a formal quarantine on emerald ash borer (EAB) and material that may harbor it. Quarantine Area: The quarantine area includes all of York County, all of Cumberland County, parts of Oxford County, and the northeastern corner of Aroostook County. The quarantine boundaries were drawn to include a buffer on those towns where EAB had been detected. EAB was found in northern Aroostook County in May 2018, western York County in September 2018, and Cumberland County in September 2019. If you suspect emerald ash borer, please report it online, or call: 207-287-3891.
Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission.
The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) is excited to announce the 7th annual Lionfish Removal and Awareness Festival May 15 and 16 at AJ’s Seafood and Oyster Bar and HarborWalk Village in Destin. Come out and celebrate the fight against invasive lionfish with the FWC and Destin–Fort Walton Beach. Activities will include fillet demonstrations; family-friendly games and activities; art, diving and conservation booths; and the world’s largest lionfish spearfishing tournament, the Emerald Coast Open. Learn more by visiting FWCReefRangers.com. The 2021 Lionfish Challenge removal incentive program will begin May 21 and continue through Labor Day, Sept. 6. More details on how to get rewarded for your harvest coming soon to FWCReefRangers.com.