Furthers federal actions to aggressively combat invasive species from Guam to the Everglades
Date: Thursday, August 13, 2020
WASHINGTON – Today, the Trump Administration released a draft strategic plan for combating an estimated $120 billion problem—invasive species. The Administration has taken significant actions to more effectively manage invasive species, which impact water supplies, impair hunting and fishing opportunities, interfere with energy production, exacerbate wildfires, damage America’s agriculture and drive native species to extinction. This plan provides a coordinated approach to further align programs and policies across the U.S. Department of the Interior and leverage more resources in addressing this important issue. In Fiscal Year 2020, Interior alone is investing an estimated $143 million to manage invasive species.
“The Trump Administration has been focused on addressing the considerable, negative impacts of invasive species by working across jurisdictional boundaries with our partners,” said Interior’s Acting Assistant Secretary for Policy, Management and Budget Scott Cameron. “The draft plan sets out a vision for effectively managing invasive species through collaborative conservation to protect our nation’s biodiversity and economy.”
In accordance with the John D. Dingell, Jr., Conservation, Management and Recreation Act of 2019, and in consultation with states, Tribes and other stakeholders, the plan both reflects ongoing work by Interior and its partners and leverages opportunities to respond to emerging issues driven by the priorities of state governors. While many Interior bureaus have invasive species management plans, this strategic plan outlines a comprehensive, agency-wide approach that will:
The Trump Administration has made significant investments to combat the devastating effects of invasive species. This draft strategic plan represents an aggressive push to continue the progress that has been made using a science-based approach and working closely with federal, state, local and Tribal partners around the nation to prevent, contain and control invasive species that damage our landscapes.
Great Lakes Region
In the Great Lakes, where Asian carp put at risk the region’s $7 billion fishing industry, the Administration invested more than $35 million in 2020 alone toward work by the U.S. Geological Survey, Fish and Wildlife Service and National Park Service to combat the spread of invasive carps, including along the Mississippi River. In collaboration with partners, Interior has conducted control activities on 153,000 acres and removed more than 8.5 million pounds of Asian carp from the Illinois River.
In the Florida Everglades, where Burmese pythons consume native wildlife and disrupt the ecosystem, a portion of the more than $20 billion the Administration has committed to restore the South Florida ecosystem will be used to combat pythons’ spread. Using new technologies such a radio telemetry, Interior for the first time is tracking pythons in many different habitats to better understand their biology and ultimately find ways to more effectively control this invasive species.
Western United States
To protect the Western United States from quagga and zebra mussels that annually cause more than $1 billion in economic impact and management costs, Interior launched numerous initiatives in 2017 in collaboration with western governors and federal, state and Tribal agencies. Under this Administration, Interior has invested approximately $41 million since Fiscal Year 2017 to identify and implement actions such as boat inspections with states, and early detection of and rapid response to mussel invasions.
Interior has been supporting efforts to eradicate brown tree snakes in Guam, where they cause $4.5 million annually in damage to electric power, tourism, recreation and national security infrastructure. Over the past four years, the Office of Insular Affairs has provided more than $12 million for the Brown Tree Snake Control program to help islanders prevent the dispersal of the snakes from Guam to other vulnerable geographic areas in the Micronesia region including Hawaii and to ultimately eradicate existing or newly established snake populations in U.S. areas.
It is a cooperative effort involving primarily Interior’s Office of Insular Affairs, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the U.S. Geological Survey; the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, Wildlife Services; the U.S. Department of Defense; and the governments of Hawaii, Guam and the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands.
When finalized and implemented, the strategic plan will allow Interior to be a more responsive partner to state and Tribal agency requests for federal assistance to combat invasive species without adding regulations that impede business and our economy. The draft Invasive Species Strategic Plan is published in the Federal Register for a 60-day comment period. Comments may be submitted via www.regulations.gov.