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.
Based on years of experience and the latest science, APHIS developed a list of 59 pests and diseases that could pose a significant risk to U.S. food and agriculture resources. The list is not meant to be all-encompassing, but rather focus on the most impactful pests and diseases. USDA's goal remains to keep the U.S. free of these foreign pests and diseases.
Western Governors' Association.
Officials at the U.S. Department of the Interior (DOI) announced in June 2017 that DOI would coordinate with the Western Governors' Association, states, tribes, federal agencies, and other partners in a project to help strengthen existing efforts to address invasive mussels. The actions described in the 2017 report, Safeguarding the West from Invasive Species, Actions to Strengthen Federal, State, and Tribal Coordination to Address Invasive Mussels (PDF | 1.3 MB), vary from policy and program reviews to on-the-ground efforts to prevent, contain, and control invasive mussels. One recommendation in Safeguarding the West was the development of a reference manual to facilitate rapid response activities in the event of mussel introductions in the Columbia River Basin. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service recently finalized and released this manual, Dreissenid Mussel Rapid Response in the Columbia River Basin: Recommended Practices to Facilitate Endangered Species Act Section 7 Compliance (PDF | 3.63 MB).
University of Georgia. Center for Invasive Species and Ecosystem Health.
Includes invasive species by category for insects, diseases, plants, and animals.
See also: Invasive Species Status Report by Congressional District
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."
Bay of Plenty Regional Council (New Zealand).
United States Department of Agriculture.
Cattle grazing on a nearly half mile wide targeted strip of cheatgrass near Beowawe, Nevada, created a firebreak that helped limit a rangeland fire to just 54 acres this past August compared to rangeland fires that more commonly race across thousands of acres of the Great Basin. This "targeted grazing" firebreak and eight others are part of an evaluation project being managed by the Agricultural Research Service (ARS), partnering with other federal, state and local agencies and local cattle ranchers in Idaho, Nevada and Oregon. These demonstration sites are being studied so the concept's efficacy and environmental impacts can be uniformly evaluated and compared.
Cheatgrass, also known as downy brome, is an invasive annual that dominates more than 100 million acres of the Great Basin in the western U.S. Germinating each winter, cheatgrass grows furiously in spring and dies in early summer, leaving the range carpeted in golden dry tinder. The Great Basin now has the nation's highest wildfire risk, and rangeland fires are outpacing forest fires when it comes to acreage destroyed.
National Plant Diagnostic Network.
First Detector, a program of the National Plant Diagnostic Network (NPDN), equips a nationwide network of individuals to rapidly detect and report the presence of invasive, exotic plant pathogens, arthropods, nematodes, and weeds. If you suspect the presence of a high-impact plant pest or pathogen, contact a diagnostician and submit a sample for diagnosis.
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.
Delaware Department of Agriculture. Forest Service.
South Pacific Regional Environment Programme.
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.