Department of the Interior

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Office of the Secretary
Contact: Anna Cherry
For Immediate Release: Feb. 1, 2005
(202) 354-1891
Nasa Joins the National Invasive Species Council

Washington, D.C., February 2, 2005 - The National Aeronautics and Space Administration has become the 13th Cabinet agency to join the National Invasive Species Council. NASA's current work on maintaining the biological integrity of Earth and other solar system bodies along with work with remote sensing activities of Earth's biotic and abiotic environment from space will make it an invaluable addition to the council.

"Invasive species are one of the greatest threats to our environment and wildlife," said Interior Secretary Gale Norton. "NASA brings enormous technical expertise and experience to the partnership of federal agencies combating both the introduction and the spread of invasives. With NASA on board, the council will be able to attack this ecological crisis with new technologies and tools."

"We at NISC are excited to have NASA join us in our efforts to coordinate federal activities on invasive species," said Lori Williams, NISC executive director. "They bring a great deal of technological experience and some outstanding tools to help further work on mapping and monitoring invasive species, among other activities."

NISC is a cabinet level council that was established by Executive Order in 1999 to provide leadership and to ensure complementary, cost-efficient and effective federal activities regarding invasive species. Council members, in addition to NASA, include three co-chairs: the Secretaries of the Interior, Agriculture, Commerce, and the Secretaries of State, Defense, Homeland Security, Treasury, Transportation, Health and Human Services, as well as the Administrators of the Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Agency for International Development and the U.S Trade Representative. More information on NISC is online at

"NASA will add a unique voice to the Council and help further the development of a broad, comprehensive approach to invasive species issues which often present a complex array of agricultural, environmental, health and economic issues across geographical and jurisdictional lines," said Williams.

Executive Order 13112 defines an "invasive species" as both non-native (or alien) to the ecosystem under consideration and whose introduction causes or is likely to cause economic or environmental harm, or harm to human health. Invasive species can be aquatic or terrestrial; plants, insects, animals, pathogens or parasites. It is important to realize that most non-native species are not invasive. Non-native species are extremely important sources of food, fiber and recreation. Only a small fraction of non-native species that are introduced to a new environment become established and less than 10% of those species are considered invasive.
NASA has agreed to make its satellite observations of the Earth, computer modeling and engineering experience available to NISC, to improve the ability to help control and destroy invasive species that are harming the environment in the United States.

This work is part of the Applied Sciences Program in NASA's Science Mission Directorate, which partners with public, private, and academic organizations to extend the benefits of NASA research to innovative solutions for decision support for applications of national priority, including invasive species management.

NASA's Science Mission Directorate works to improve the lives of all humans through the exploration and study of the Sun-Earth system, the solar system and the Universe. For more information on NASA and its work with invasive species see or

Note to Stakeholders: Stakeholder announcements and other NISC information are available on the Internet at For additional information on this topic, contact Anna Cherry at (202) 354-1891 or



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