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Invasive Species Fact Sheet

The Department of the Interior is working to prevent the introduction and spread of invasive plants and aquatic species in the United States. Bureaus within the Department of the Interior, including the National Park Service, Fish and Wildlife Service, Bureau of Land Management, and U.S. Geological Survey, have been working to eradicate invasive species on federal lands and partnering with state and local organizations to restore ecosystems with native plants and species.

Invasive species cost our Nation's economy an estimated $123 billion annually and are second only to habitat destruction in threatening extinction of native species. Invasive plants and weeds are spreading on Federal lands at 4,600 acres per day. The Federal agencies are applying effective and economical strategies now to protect these lands from weed infestation but more need to be done to prevent the introduction and spread of invasive species and plants.

President Clinton's budget for fiscal year 2000, proposes an increase of $12.8 million in funding for the Department of the Interior to combat invasive species.

Below are some examples of actions being taken to prevent the entry of invasive species and control efforts by various bureaus within the Department of the Interior:

The Department of the Interior is a member of the Federal Interagency Committee for the Management of Noxious and Exotic Weeds which has been working to develop and help fund partnership projects that result in on-the ground control of invasive plants. In the first two years the initiative has funded more than 60 projects matching more than one million federal dollars on a 2:1 ratio.

The Fish and Wildlife Service in cooperation with the Army Corps of Engineers this spring will construct a barrier in the Chicago Ship Canal is to prevent the spread of invasive species between the Great Lakes and the Mississippi River basins.

Working with the states of North Dakota, South Dakota, Nebraska, Kansas, Oklahoma, and Texas, the Fish and Wildlife Service began implementing a program in 1998 to prevent the westward spread of zebra mussels on trailed boasts.

$4.5 million is devoted annually to implement a comprehensive interagency program to prevent the spread of the brown tree snake and control this pest on Guam.

The National Park Service (NPS) is developing a computer-based decision support system to help land managers determine how invasive plants should be managed.

Numerous NPS units are serving as nurseries for insect biocontrol agents. These agents are grown on NPS lands harvested and made available, free of charge to surrounding landowners interested in establishing biocontrol agents on their land.

The NPS is using a shared resources approach to manage saltcedar at Lake Mead National Recreation Area and other surrounding parks. Many parks do not have the staff or other resources to undertake these projects but through sharing of these resources with other parks the NPS is able to control saltcedar in many critical areas.

The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) is working with conservation groups and the State of California to remove saltcedar in three canyons of the Carrizo Gorge Wilderness Area. Saltcedar infestations can make water from springs unavailable to the threatened and endangered Peninsula bighorn sheep.

Executive Order

The Executive Order (EO) directs Federal agencies to use their authorities to prevent the introduction of invasive species, to control, monitor and to restore native species. The EO establishes a Federal interagency Invasive Species Council (Council), co-chaired by the Secretaries of the Interior, Agriculture, and Commerce and includes State, Treasury, Defense, Transportation and the Environmental Protection Agency. The Council will be directed to create an invasive species management plan. The Secretary of the Interior will establish an advisory committee to provide information and advice for consideration by the Council including recommended plans and actions at the local, state, regional and ecosystem-based levels to achieve the goals of the Management Plan. The Council will act in cooperation with states, tribes, scientific, agricultural organizations, conservation groups and other stakeholders.

The Council has seven duties: (1) overseeing implementation of the EO; (2) supporting field-level planning; (3) identifying international recommendations; (4) creating National Environmental Policy Act guidance; (5) establishing an impact monitoring network; (6) developing a web-based information network; (7) preparing a National Invasive Species Management Plan.

The Management Plan is due within 18 months after the EO is issued and will be prepared in consultation with various stakeholders at the state and local levels. The purpose of the EO is to ensure coordination between the Federal agencies and strengthen the ability to partner with the states and other organizations. The Management Plan will include detailed goals, objectives and measures of success and will identify needed personnel and other resources. The Management Plan will be updated every two years with an accompanying public report on success in implementation. The first edition of the Management Plan will review relevant existing programs and authorities, recommended needed measures, and identify legislative needs.


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Last updated: 7/11/00