National Management Plan: An Action Plan for the Nation - Early Detection and Rapid Response

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[Executive Summary] | [Introduction] | [Survey of Federal Roles & Responsibilities] | [An Action Plan for the Nation] | [Conclusion] | [Appendices]

Action Plan:
Leadership | Prevention | Detection | Control | Restoration |
International | Research | Info Management | Education

Even the best prevention efforts cannot stop all introductions. Early detection of incipient invasions and quick coordinated responses are needed to eradicate or contain invasive species before they become to widespread and control becomes technically and/or financially impossible. Populations that are not addressed early may require costly ongoing control efforts. Spotted knapweed was introduced to Montana in the 1920s, and by 1988, had infested more than 4.7 million acres. The economic impact is approximately $42 million annually (Westbrooks 1998).

Although early detection and rapid response are important elements of invasive species management, currently there is no comprehensive national system for detecting, responding to, and monitoring incipient invasions. The approach used by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) may offer a useful model of a decentralized system that could be applied to incipient invasions. However, inadequate planning and technologies, jurisdictional issues, insufficient resources and information currently hamper early detection and rapid response efforts in many locations. Key elements needed in an early detection and rapid response system include: 1) access to up-to-date reliable scientific and management information; 2) facilitate rapid and accurate species identification; 3) establish a standard procedure for rapid risk assessment; 4) provide new and enhanced mechanisms for coordinating the efforts of Federal, State and local agencies, tribal governments, and private entities; and 5) provide adequate technical assistance (e.g., quarantine, monitoring, information sharing, research and development, and technology transfer) and rapid access to stable funding for emergency response efforts, including funding for accelerated research of invasive species biology, survey methods, and eradication options. The system's success will depend in part on public participation in efforts to report and respond to invasions.

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Early Detection

Actions Planned

  1. The Council will improve detection and identification of introduced invasive species, recognizing the need for jurisdictional coordination, by taking the following steps:

a. By January 2002, USDA, Commerce, and Interior, and the Smithsonian Institution (SI), and the National Science Foundation (NSF), in consultation with other contributors to the Integrated Taxonomic Information System (ITIS) and utilizing existing inventories and directories (e.g., Taxonomic Resources and Expertise Directory), will compile a list of existing taxonomic experts in the United States and other countries. Contact information for sources of taxonomic expertise will concentrate on taxa where the need for identification is greatest, be distributed widely, and posted on the Council's Web site. The list will also identify current gaps in taxonomic expertise.

b. By January 2003, USDA, in consultation with the USGS National Wildlife Health Center, NOAA, CDC, the U.S. Public Health Service, appropriate scientific societies, and others will initiate a program for the development of new methods of detection for specific pathogens and parasites that may affect human, animal, or plant health. An enhancement of current competitive grants programs will be considered as a component of this program.

c. By January 2003,USDA, Interior, Commerce, and EPA will institute systematic monitoring surveys of locations where introductions of invasive species are most likely to occur (e.g., ports, airports, railroads, highway rights-of-way, trails, utility rights-of-way, logging and construction sites). In addition, by January 2002, highly vulnerable sites that may warrant more intensive and frequent monitoring than other sites will be identified. The surveys will be developed in cooperation with Federal, State, local, and tribal agencies, taking advantage of the existing network of plant and animal diagnostic clinics, reporting networks such as the National Agricultural Pest Information System (NAPIS) and the Cooperative Agricultural Pest Survey (CAPS), the extension service within the Cooperative State Research Education and Extension Service (CSREES), FICMNEW, ANSTF, and other working groups.

d. By January 2004, United States Geological Survey (USGS) and USDA will develop a more "user-friendly" means to help identify species and report the occurrence of invasive species and provide information about species and invasions to Federal, State, tribal, and local agencies. This initiative will be developed in consultation with the Council staff, SI, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, NOAA, USDA and State agencies, and will be made available at the Council's Web site and through publications. Mapping of a limited number of high-priority invasive species will be considered as a component of public-private partnerships for local involvement, including affected industries.

e. By December 2001, USDA will develop an early detection module available on the World Wide Web within the PLANTS database which provides information on invasive and noxious plants. The module will allow users to check the national, state and county distribution maps and submit new records. This information will be validated and included as appropriate as part of the PLANTS database. Future development will continue to be done in consultation with Federal and State agencies, Council staff, and public users.

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Rapid Response

Actions Planned

  1. Starting in January 2001, Interior (especially USGS/Biological Resources Division) and USDA, in cooperation with the NSF and SI, will expand regional networks of invasive species databases [e.g., the Inter-American Biodiversity Information Network, (IABIN)] and produce associated database products, to cooperate with the Global Invasive Species Programme (GISP) and other partners to establish a global invasive species surveillance and rapid response system.

  2. By July 2003, the Council in coordination with other Federal, State, local, and tribal agencies, will develop a program for coordinated rapid response to incipient invasions of both natural and agricultural areas and pursue increases in discretionary spending to support this program. Actions include:

a. Establishment of interagency invasive species "rapid response" teams, that include management and scientific expertise. Teams will focus on taxonomic, ecosystem, and regional priorities, and coordinate with local and State governmental and non-governmental efforts, including standing and ad-hoc State invasive species councils.

b. Developing and testing methods to determine which rapid response measures are most appropriate for a situation.

c. The Council will review and propose revisions of policies and procedures (i.e., advance approval for quarantine actions, pesticide applications, and other specific control techniques, and interagency agreements that address jurisdictional and budget issues) concerning compliance with Federal (e.g., Clean Water Act, National Environmental Policy Act, Endangered Species Act) and non-federal regulations that apply to invasive species response actions. The proposed revisions will be made available for public comment and will take into account local and State requirements.

d. Preparing a guide to assist rapid response teams and others that will incorporate the methodology developed for response measures and guidance on regulatory compliance and jurisdictional and budget issues.

  1. Within FY 2003 budget development, the Council, in consultation with the States, will develop and recommend to the President draft legislation for rapid responses to incipient invasions, including the possibility of permanent funding for rapid response efforts as well as matching grants to States in order to encourage partnerships. The recommended legislation will augment existing rapid response mechanisms.

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