Blog from June, 2018

2018-06-28: The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) is considering amending its biotechnology regulations to address advances in biotechnology and various issues previously raised by stakeholders, and is seeking comment on a notice of intent to prepare an environmental impact statement.

Public input is an important first step in this process, and APHIS is seeking comments on potential environmental impacts and issues that should be considered as the Agency drafts the programmatic environmental impact statement (pEIS). The goal of the pEIS will be to address potential changes to the Agency’s biotechnology regulations regarding the importation, interstate movement, and environmental release of certain genetically engineered (GE) organisms (7 CFR part 340)   

APHIS’ intent in revising its biotechnology regulations is to more effectively protect plant health by focusing on potential risks posed by certain GE organisms rather than the method used to produce the product. As required under the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), APHIS must evaluate the potential impacts to the environment that may result from its actions.

 APHIS will thoroughly review and consider all public input submitted during the 30-day comment period on the notice of intent and use the information as it works to complete, and then publish, the draft pEIS and a draft proposed rule. The public and stakeholders will also have ample opportunity to review and comment on each of these proposed documents in support of APHIS’ goal of updating its biotechnology regulations.

This notice may be viewed in the Federal Register. Beginning tomorrow, the public will be able to submit comments on the NOI for 30 days through July 30, 2018, at:  https://www.regulations.gov/docket?D=APHIS-2018-0034.  This notice can be accessed now on the News and Information page of the BRS website.

2018-06-29 (from Wildlife Forever): In partnership with the University of Georgia - Center for Invasive Species and Ecosystem Health, USDA Forest Service, and other organizations across the United States, Wildlife Forever has launched a nationwide citizen science volunteer capacity-building program called Wild Spotter.  Designed to help locate and map aquatic and terrestrial invasive species in Wilderness Areas, Wild & Scenic Rivers, and other wild places across the 193 million-acre National Forest System, this new program engages and empowers the public, local communities, states, tribes, and many other groups to help the Forest Service confront the threats from harmful exotic plants, animals, and pathogens that invade America’s beautiful and economically important wild places.  The Wild Spotter program provides the tools these volunteers need to help locate, quantify, map, and report invasive species infestations in a simple and effective manner, while raising public awareness about invasive species and promoting collaborations across the landscape.


See: https://wildspotter.org/index.cfm

06/27/2018: Importation of Triticum aestivum L. and Triticum durum L. seed for planting from Italy into the United States

The government of Italy has requested USDA's Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) to authorize the importation of wheat (Triticum aestivum L. and Triticum durum L.) seed for propagation into the United States and its territories. APHIS has drafted a pest risk assessment that lists potential pests likely to remain on the commodity upon importation if no mitigations are applied.

APHIS shares draft pest risk assessments to determine whether stakeholders have information that might lead us to revise the draft assessment before we identify pest mitigations and proceed with the notice-based process to change import restrictions.

The draft pest risk assessment for Triticum aestivum L. and Triticum durum L. seed for propagation from Italy will be available for review and comment for 30 days. To view the assessment or submit comments, go to https://www.aphis.usda.gov/plant-health/risk-assessment-consultation.

This post thanks to Marc Imlay

https://www.cbsnews.com/news/giant-hogweed-plant-causes-blindness-third-degree-burns-discovered-in-virginia-other-states/  The dangerous plant also grows in New York, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Maryland, Oregon, Washington, Michigan, Vermont, New Hampshire and Maine.

How successful have our programs been in reducing the amount of giant hogweed? How well are we using our success data to help obtain support for our invasive species control programs?

At the April retreat, FICMNEW Federal members decided to shift to an every other month public meeting schedule.

The presentation scheduled for Wed., June 27th is cancelled and may be rescheduled.

The next public meeting will be held on Wednesday, July 25th, 2:30 pm ET/1:30 pm CT/12:30 pm MT/11:30 pm PT. The presentation announcement will be sent out before the July call and will also be posted at the FICMNEW web site.

Come take part in the annual Colorado Weed Network field tour, a day full of cutting-edge research where we will evaluate new long-term management tools for invasive winter annual grasses (cheatgrass/downy brome, Japanese brome, feral rye) throughout the Colorado Front Range. We will tour bareground trials at Denver International Airport, as well as several rangeland and natural area sites across Boulder County. The 2017 field tour included county weed managers, private applicators, ranchers, and federal agencies as we attempt to provide solutions for invasive species management and provide the opportunity to foster further collaboration across boundaries.

Please reserve your ticket at the link below by May 25th to allow CSU to accurately account for the number of buses needed for all attendees.

https://www.eventbrite.com/e/csucolorado-weed-network-field-day-tickets-45499329720

The Southern Rockies Fire Science Network and Bayer will be hosting an invasive annual grass symposium entitled “Targeting the Triple Threat” on May 30th, followed by a field tour on the 31st.  There is the option to attend in person (CSU Morgan Library) or else the symposium will also be broadcast online for those who cannot attend in person or are out of state.  There is also 5 approved SRM and 8 Society of American Foresters continuing education credits.    

This link (https://mailchi.mp/colostate.edu/online-symposium-field-trip-annual-grasses-management) can be used to reach the Eventbrite registration page and the detailed symposium agenda and field day flyer.