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.
Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation. Division of Environmental Health. State Veterinarian.
In 2019, the Alaska Office of the State Veterinarian, in collaboration with the Alaska Department of Fish and Game and the University of Alaska, began the Alaska Submit-A-Tick Program. Through this program, individuals who find ticks on themselves, their family members, pets, or wildlife (e.g. hunted or trapped animals) can submit ticks for species identification and pathogen testing. Researchers are asking Alaskans to submit ticks to help determine which tick species are currently in the state. Tick submissions will also help us learn more about how ticks are being imported into Alaska so that we can create effective strategies to limit their introduction. Ticks can transmit bacteria, parasites, and viruses that can cause diseases in humans and wildlife. Pathogen testing allows us to assess tickborne disease risk in the state.
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.
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.
Australian Government. Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment.
The exotic plant pest fall armyworm has been detected for the first time in Australia, in a network of surveillance traps on the northern Torres Strait islands of Saibai and Erub. Head of Biosecurity at the Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment, Lyn O'Connell, said the caterpillar stage of the fall armyworm, also known as Spodoptera frugiperda, damages many crops across Africa and Asia vital to human food security, such as rice, maize and sorghum. "Everyone can do their part to protect Australia from biosecurity risks like fall armyworm by being aware of what can and cannot be brought to Australia from overseas or from the Torres Strait region and reporting any unexpected pests, plant matter or soil."
Adult moths of fall armyworm were detected in surveillance traps monitored by the Northern Australia Quarantine Strategy. These traps were set up as part of preparedness activities for early detection as fall armyworm is a strong flyer and has been spreading rapidly through Southeast Asia countries in recent months. For more information, see Fall Armyworm and Other Exotic Armyworms from the Australian Department of Agriculture.
Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme.
Four new publications have been added to the 'Pacific Invasive Battler Series,' and are now available for free download from the Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme (SPREP), to help Pacific practitioners, environmental managers, government and community members in specific areas of invasive species management.
Developed through the Pacific Regional Invasive Species Management Support Service (PRISMSS), the Battler Series is an important resource for those working to restore ecosystems and manage invasive species. It provides tested best practice approaches through step by step guidance, case studies and visual aid for those battling invasive species. The series provides information and case-studies that can assist those working in the field and is written in a user-friendly way. There are now 15 publications in the Pacific Invasive Battler Series, and they are available for download on the Battler Resource Base.
World Organisation for Animal Health; UN. Food and Agriculture Organization.
The escalation of the spread of African swine fever (ASF) has placed most of the world's domestic and wild pig populations under direct threat. To support countries' efforts to protect economies and food security, the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) and the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) have launched a joint initiative for the Global Control of ASF (PDF | 5.7 MB).
International Maritime Organization.
A key international measure for environmental protection that aims to stop the spread of potentially invasive aquatic species in ships’ ballast water enters into force. The International Convention for the Control and Management of Ships' Ballast Water and Sediments (BWM Convention) addresses aquatic invasive alien species (IAS) by requiring all ships to implement a ballast water management plan, among other actions.
See also: Ballast Water Convention Enters into Force (Sep 12, 2017)
Government of Canada.
California Academy of Sciences; National Geographic Society.
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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. 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.
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.
In October 2016, the European Parliament and the Council adopted Regulation (EU) 2016/2031 on protective measures against plant pests (“Plant Health Law”). On 13 December 2016, the Regulation entered into force and will be applicable from 14 December 2019. The new rules aim to modernise the plant health regime, enhancing more effective measures for the protection of the Union's territory and its plants. The Plant Health Law increases the prevention against the introduction of new pests via imports from third countries. Commission Implementing Regulation (EU) 2018/2019 establishes the list of high risk plants the introduction of which into the EU territory will be provisionally prohibited from 14 December 2019 until a full risk assessment has been carried out. Published in the Official Journal on 11 October 2019, the Commission Delegated Regulation (EU) 2019/1702 lists 20 quarantine pests as priority pests, including Xylella fastidiosa, the Japanese beetle, the Asian long-horned beetle, Citrus greening and Citrus Black Spot, whose economic, environmental and social impact on EU territory is the most severe.
Great Lakes Commission.
Aquatic invasive species inflict millions of dollars of ecological and economic damage to the Great Lakes, with impacts on coastal industries, water quality, native fish and wildlife and human health. Recently, Blue Accounting, in partnership with state and federal agencies, launched a new suite of web-based resources and tools to support early detection of aquatic invasive species in the Great Lakes. The earlier new aquatic invasive species are detected, the easier and less expensive it is to avoid potentially devastating consequences of a large invasion. The new tools released by the Blue Accounting initiative help target efforts to focus on high-risk species and locations across the 11,000 miles of shoreline and 94,000 miles of surface area that make up the Great Lakes basin.
Michigan Department of Natural Resources.
For landscapes plagued by autumn olive or entangled in oriental bittersweet, a new website offers help identifying and managing woody invasive plants like these. WoodyInvasives.org, developed by the Woody Invasives of the Great Lakes Collaborative, contains a wealth of information about how to distinguish woody invasive species from similar beneficial plants, an interactive map showing how these species are regulated by Great Lakes jurisdictions, detailed management approaches and noninvasive woody plant ideas for gardeners and landscape designers. "We developed the WIGL Collaborative website to help people learn to identify the woody invasive plants around them and to feel empowered to start controlling them on their properties or in their favorite green places," said Clair Ryan, coordinator of the Midwest Invasive Plant Network, the organization leading the effort.
Government of British Columbia. Ministry of Agriculture.
Three Asian Hornets (Vespa mandarinia) were found in the Nanaimo area on Vancouver Island in mid-August. The identification has been confirmed by Canadian and international experts. This is the first time this insect has been found in British Columbia. Please report suspected Asian giant hornet sightings to the Invasive Species Council of British Columbia.
The European Commission has adopted a comprehensive new Biodiversity Strategy to bring nature back into our lives and a Farm to Fork Strategy for a fair, healthy and environmentally friendly food system. The two strategies are mutually reinforcing, bringing together nature, farmers, business and consumers for jointly working towards a competitively sustainable future. The new Biodiversity Strategy tackles the key drivers of biodiversity loss, such as unsustainable use of land and sea, overexploitation of natural resources, pollution, and invasive alien species. The strategy proposes to, among others, establish binding targets to restore damaged ecosystems and rivers, improve the health of EU protected habitats and species, bring back pollinators to agricultural land, reduce pollution, green our cities, enhance organic farming and other biodiversity-friendly farming practices, and improve the health of European forests. The strategy brings forward concrete steps to put Europe's biodiversity on the path to recovery by 2030, including transforming at least 30% of Europe's lands and seas into effectively managed protected areas and bringing back at least 10% of agricultural area under high-diversity landscape features.