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Home / Invasive Species Resources

Invasive Species Resources

Provides access to all site resources (alphabetically), with the option to search by species common and scientific names. Resources can be filtered by Subject, Resource Type, Location, or Source.

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National Invasive Species Awareness Week.

National Invasive Species Awareness Week (NISAW) is an international event to raise awareness about invasive species, the threat that they pose, and what can be done to prevent their spread. Representatives from local, state, federal, and regional organizations discuss legislation, policies, and improvements that can be made to prevent and manage invasive species via webinars. Across the country, partners hold public events to educate the public and elected officials about how they can help to stop the spread of invasive species.

SAVE THE DATE: NISAW 2022 -- Feb 28-Mar 4, 2022

Note: Archived 2021 webinars are available for viewing, as well as information from past NISAW meetings.

  • Part I -- Information and Advocacy (Feb 22-26, 2021)
  • Part II— Outreach and Education (May 15-22, 2021)

International Maritime Organization.

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.

UNFAO. Regional Office for Asia and the Pacific.

An insect that can infest and damage hundreds of hectares of maize fields, literally overnight, is sweeping across Asia – alarming smallholder farmers and threatening livelihoods – but the damage can be limited, the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) reported today. Fall Armyworm is native to the Americas. However, since 2016 it has been aggressively moving ever eastwards, sweeping across Africa, and making landfall for the first time in Asia last summer. Fall Armyworm (FAW) was first detected in India in July 2018 and by January of this year, it had spread to Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Myanmar, Thailand and China’s Yunnan Province.

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 foresthealth@maine.gov, 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.

Michigan Department of Natural Resources.

The Michigan departments of Natural Resources and Agriculture and Rural Development today announced the addition of beech leaf disease to the state's invasive species watch list. Invasive species on the watch list have been identified as posing an immediate or potential threat to Michigan's economy, environment or human health. These species either have never been confirmed in the wild in Michigan or have a limited known distribution. Beech leaf disease is associated with the microscopic worm Litylenchus crenatae, a nematode that enters and spends the winter in leaf buds, causing damage to leaf tissue on American beech and European and Asian beech species. Infestations result in darkened, thick tissue bands between leaf veins, creating a striped effect on the leaves, leaf distortion and bud mortality. Trees weakened by leaf damage become susceptible to other diseases and can die within six years. Beech leaf disease has not been found in Michigan. The disease was first discovered in Ohio in 2012. Since then, it has been identified in seven eastern states and Ontario.

CAB International. Invasives Blog.

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.

Transport Canada.

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.

For more information, see Managing Ballast Water and Backgrounder: Ballast Water Regulations.

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.

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.

CAB International. Invasives Blog.

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:

CAB International. Invasives Blog.

Invasive species are notoriously challenging to track due to their ability to rapidly spread from one habitat to another, whilst their impacts on endangered species can be even more difficult to detect. Two new studies published in the journal Current Biology have now shown that it is possible to accurately identify a variety of animal species over distances of hundreds of metres by sampling environmental DNA (eDNA), or DNA traces shed by animals into the surrounding air.

Michigan Department of Natural Resources.

The Michigan departments of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy and Natural Resources confirmed a report of didymo, a nuisance freshwater alga, in a stretch of the Upper Manistee River in Kalkaska County. Also known as rock snot despite its coarse, woolly texture, didymo can grow into thick mats that cover the river bottom. The Manistee River finding marks the first detection of didymo blooms in the Lower Peninsula. In 2015, extensive mats of didymo were found on the Michigan side of the St. Marys River near Sault Ste. Marie in the Upper Peninsula.

If you observe didymo in the water, either as small, cotton ball-sized patches or thick blankets with rope-like strings that flow in currents, take photos, note the location and report it by using the Midwest Invasive Species Information Network, available online at MISIN.MSU.edu or as a downloadable smartphone app. The MISIN smartphone app will take a GPS location point if a report is made at the site; it also will allow you to upload photos with a report. Find more information on didymo and how to identify it at Michigan.gov/Invasives.

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.

National Conference of State Legislatures.

National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL) tracks environment and natural resources legislation to bring you up-to-date, real-time information on bills (from 2015) that have been introduced in the 50 states and the District of Columbia, and U.S. territories. Database provides search options by state (or territory), topic, keyword, year, status or primary sponsor. Topics include: Wildlife-Invasive Species and Wildlife-Pollinators.

European Commission.

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.

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.