Invasive Species that Impact Infrastructure

Because non-native species typically enter the United States through ports of entry in urban environments, some of the first observable impacts may be to infrastructure. In many cases, species that initially impacted infrastructure have had devastating impacts on ecological systems, agriculture, and/or fisheries when they spread into less modified landscapes and waterways. The United States currently lacks the comprehensive authority, or clarity of authority, necessary to effectively prevent, eradicate, and control invasive species that impact the human-built environment (“infrastructure”). This prevents rapid response to some of the most damaging invasive species. It also limits the ability of agencies to prioritize and allocate the resources necessary to control invasive species that threaten public security (e.g., zebra mussels [Dreissena polymorpha] incapacitating power plants and irrigation systems), undermine costly Federal programs (e.g., the Raspberry/tawny crazy ant [Nylanderia fulva], which has impacted electrical systems at the Port of Houston and NASA Johnson Space Center in Houston), and cause homeowners to incur substantial repair and maintenance costs (e.g., Formosan termite [Coptotermes formosanu]).
MP Action 4.2.1: Compile case studies of the invasive species impacts on infrastructure in the United States and make them available through the NISC website or other public domain. The case studies should address: (a) biology of the organism in native and introduced ranges; (b) locality, date, and pathway of introduction; (c) documented impacts to infrastructure (including a timeline and economic costs); (d) documented non-infrastructure impacts (including a timeline and economic costs); (e) measures taken to eradicate/control the species and associated Federal costs; and (f) projected needs (including technologies and funding) to eradicate the species.

MP Action 4.2.2: Taking into consideration the output of Action 4.2.1, develop guidance that enables Federal agencies to take the necessary action to prevent, eradicate, and control non-native species that harm or have the potential to harm infrastructure within the United States and its overseas territories.  

Progress report: On December 6, 2016, the Invasive Species Advisory Committee adopted a White Paper entitled, Invasive Species Impacts on Infrastructure. The recommendations contained therein have been provided to NISC senior officials for consideration.