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October 15, 2020

There is a call to participate in a global survey on invasive species organizations and networks, which will close at the end of October.

The survey is a google form, available here: https://forms.gle/X2ydrDkjUYDtckbg7

The aim of this survey is to collect information about organizations working in the field of invasive alien species and to map the network of collaborations among the actors involved to support global efforts in invasive alien species management. We invite you to fill in the survey on behalf of any organization through which you are involved in studying, managing, or educating about invasive alien species.

We are interested in all organizations, from local to international in scope, based anywhere in the world. Each response should relate to a single organization or subunit of that organization, but in the case of multiple affiliations you can respond for other institutions on a separate survey by clicking the link at the end of the survey.

This survey will ask you about the following details of the organization:
- name, geographic scope, and the type of activities
- specific types of habitats and species targeted
- public outreach and communication activities
- network participation and collaborations with other organizations

The results of the survey will be published in an open access academic journal and communicated more broadly in international media and networks.

It will take you about 10 minutes to complete the survey. By completing this survey, you consent to the use of your data for the purposes outlined above. Your personal data will remain confidential and processed in accordance with data protection legislation (the General Data Protection Regulation).

If you have any questions, please contact either of the following people, who are also affiliated with the International Association for Open Knowledge on Invasive Alien Species (INVASIVESNET, https://www.invasivesnet.org):
Laura Verbrugge (University of Helsinki) – laura.verbrugge@helsinki.fi
Laura Garzoli (National Research Council of Italy, CNR-IRSA) – laura.garzoli01@gmail.com

September 28, 2020

https://www.timescolonist.com/news/local/new-dna-test-makes-it-possible-to-identify-invasive-species-in-under-two-hours-1.24197755

"A University of British Columbia professor has designed a DNA test that makes it possible for people in the field to identify harmful invasive species — such as the Asian gypsy moth — in under two hours.

With research supported by Genome Canada, Genome B.C. and Genome Quebec, biologist Dr. Richard Hamelin has developed an accurate and inexpensive DNA test that can be analyzed by a portable machine without using chemicals or even a steady power supply."

Follow the link above to read the full story.

A related journal publication that describes the framework used to create the tool, An Applied Empirical Framework for Invasion Science: Confronting Biological Invasion Through Collaborative Research Aimed at Tool Production (Annals of the Entomological Society of America, 113(4):230–245), can be found here (https://doi.org/10.1093/aesa/saz072).

September 17, 2020

To the Invasive Species Community:

There are two public listening sessions on the Department of the Interior's Draft Invasive Species Strategic Plan. The deadline to register is 9/21 for sessions on 9/24 or 9/28 from 4-6 pm Eastern. (Note: there are also two consultations planned for 9/17 and 9/22 but these are for Tribes and Alaska Native Corporations.) RSVP HERE

The purpose is to provide an overview of the plan and hear input from the public. 

For your reference again, the Federal Register Notice is here, and the plan is here.

Again, the deadline to register is September 21st.
October 7 2020

Title:  Verticillium nonalfalfae as a biological control agent for Tree of Heaven (Ailanthus altissima)

Speaker:

Dr. Matt Kasson - Assistant Professor, Plant Pathology, West Virginia University, Davis College of Agriculture, Natural Resources, and Design

Abstract:

Tree of Heaven (Ailanthus altissima) is common throughout the much of the eastern United States.  This rapidly growing tree can reach heights of 80 feet, and can quickly dominate plant communities.  The biological control of Tree of Heaven has been a topic of interest since the discovery in 2002 of a destructive, naturally occurring, Verticillium wilt disease of Tree of Heaven. The pathogen Verticillium nonalfalfae is currently being studied as a potential biological control agent of Tree of Heaven.

This webinar is presented via Cisco Webex. No pre-registration required. It will be held Wednesday, October 7th, at 1PM Eastern Time.

More information: 

http://www.forestrywebinars.net/webinars/verticillium-nonalfalfae-as-a-biological-control-agent-for-tree-of-heaven

Related publication:

https://doi.org/10.1016/j.biocontrol.2020.104298

September 14, 2020

by Rima D. Lucardi, Emily S. Bellis, Chelsea E. Cunard, Jarron K. Gravesande, Steven C. Hughes, Lauren E. Whitehurst, Samantha J. Worthy, Kevin S. Burgess, & Travis D. Marsico

Abstract

The initial processes for successful biological invasions are transport, introduction, and establishment. These can be directly influenced or completely avoided through activities that reduce the number and frequency of entering nonnative propagules. Economic and environmental benefits through preventative monitoring programs at early stages of invasion far outweigh the long-term costs associated with mitigating ecological and economic impacts once nonnative species establish and spread. In this study, we identified 30 taxa of hitchhiking plant propagules on the air-intake grilles of refrigerated shipping containers arriving into a United States seaport from a port on the Pacific coast of South America. The four monocotyledonous taxa with the highest number of seeds collected were analyzed; we estimated propagule pressure, germination, and survivorship of these taxa, and we used the estimates to determine likelihood of establishment. At the levels of propagule pressure estimated here, non-zero germination and survival rates resulted in high establishment probabilities even when escape rates from shipping containers were modelled to be exceedingly low. Our results suggest high invasion risk for nonnative taxa including Saccharum spontaneum L., a listed Federal Noxious Weed. Currently, not all shipping containers arriving at USA ports are thoroughly inspected due to limited personnel and funding for biological invasion prevention. Our results indicate that there is a significant risk from only a few propagules escaping into the environment from this source, and we propose possible solutions for reducing this risk.

The full article is freely available online, here: https://www.nature.com/articles/s41598-020-71954-3


September 15, 2020

IUCN today launched a global standard for classifying the severity and type of impacts caused by alien species, known as the Environmental Impact Classification for Alien Taxa (EICAT). This tool will alert scientists, conservation practitioners and policy makers to the potential consequences of invasive alien species, guiding the development of prevention and mitigation measures….

https://www.iucn.org/news/species/202009/iucn-standard-support-global-action-invasive-alien-species

http://www.issg.org/publications.htm#iucn_publications

September 14, 2020

The North American Invasive Species Management Association (NAISMA) announced last week an agreement with the Comisión Nacional Para el Conocimiento y Uso de la Biodiversidad (CONABIO) in México. Both groups seek to promote environmental education to prevent, control and eradicate invasive species, and therefore saw an opportunity to collaborate.

NAISMA manages the educational outreach campaign PlayCleanGo®: Stop Invasive Species in Your Tracks. PlayCleanGo aims to change outdoor enthusiasts' behavior by encouraging hikers, bikers, boaters to clean their gear before and after playing outdoors. This simple cleaning behavior helps prevent the spread of invasive species and protect our natural areas.

CONABIO has developed the Mexican National Information System on Invasive Species, to provide information regarding biological invasions to different stakeholders, and as a basis for informed decisions. Since NAISMA aims to represent invasive species management across all of North America, collaborating with CONABIO is key to achieving the group’s mission.

NAISMA and CONABIO will collaborate by sharing resources and materials to strengthen each organization’s work. CONABIO has agreed to develop an outreach campaign in Spanish. PlayCleanGo trail signs, posters, social media awareness campaigns, and other materials will be displayed in several Mexican recreational areas, through different partners. Additionally, CONABIO will assist in translating PlayCleanGo materials from English to Spanish for use in not only Mexico, but across all of North America.

NAISMA Executive Director, Belle Bergner, is excited to enter this partnership: “We are eager to expand our efforts into Mexico and further strengthen the PlayCleanGo brand for an international audience,” she says. Bergner adds, “Furthermore, we’re excited to offer bilingual materials to our partners in the U.S. and Canada. The PlayCleanGo campaign is fun and inclusive, so offering recreationists information in their native language is one of the best ways to empower them to adopt behaviors consistent with prevention.”

Ana Isabel González-Martínez is head of CONABIO’s invasive species program and commented that, “CONABIO is very pleased to partner with the PlayCleanGo initiative as a way to strengthen regional efforts for the prevention of entry and spread of invasive species. We believe that collaboration is the key to addressing such an important issue and we look forward to implementing the program in Mexico.”

Collaboration efforts between the two groups and translation of materials has already begun. For more information on NAISMA, visit naisma.org; and for more about PlayCleanGo, visit PlayCleanGo.org. For more information on CONABIO, visit gob.mx/conabio and www.invasoras.mx.

September 10, 2020

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is accepting comments on the proposed registration of two products containing Pseudomonas fluorescens strain ACK55 (P. fluorescens ACK55), a new microbial active ingredient to be used as a pre-emergent herbicide.

Specifically, EPA is proposing to register a manufacturing-use product and an end-use product containing P. fluorescens ACK55 that will suppress the growth of invasive grasses.

Since P. fluorescens ACK55 is a naturally occurring bacterium that must become established in the soil to provide optimal pre-emergent herbicidal effects, suppression of certain invasive grasses may take two to five years.

P. fluorescens ACK55 products are expected to control grasses associated with wildfires that can lead to increased air pollution, loss of property, and loss of habitat for native wildlife.

In concurrence with the proposed registration actions, EPA will be establishing a tolerance exemption for residues of P. fluorescens ACK55 in or on all food when it is used in accordance with label directions and good agricultural practices.

P. fluorescens ACK55 is not expected to be toxic, pathogenic, irritating or infective to humans. Adverse effects to non-target organisms, including honeybees, are also not expected.

The public comment period will be open for 15 days in docket EPA-HQ-OPP-2017-0336 at www.regulations.gov, starting Sept. 9, 2020.

SAVE THE DATE - May 18-20, 2021

The North American Invasive Species Forum is an international event encompassing the interests of professionals and organizations involved in invasive species management, research, and regulation across North America. 

The Forum will bring together the international invasive species community and will highlight new research, emerging issues, success stories and prevention and response initiatives from across Canada, Mexico and the U.S. The forum will also build on the previous North American Invasive Species Forum held in 2017. 

The Canadian Council on Invasive Species is hosting this Forum with the support of, and guidance from, an international steering committee representing the U.S., Canada, and Mexico.

KEYNOTE SPEAKERS-WORKSHOPS-PRESENTATIONS-NETWORKING

August 28, 2020

The job posting for the USGS Invasive Species Program Manager is available here: https://www.usajobs.gov/GetJob/ViewDetails/577160000

The closing date is September 10, 2020.

This is a non-supervisory position, at a GS 14 level, with a salary of $107,807 to $140,146 per year.

Responsibilities

As an Invasive Species Program Manger within the Office of the Associate Director for Ecosystems, some of your specific duties will include:

  • Serves as technical staff expert on invasive species in the USGS Ecosystems Mission Area.
  • Leads USGS invasive species activities across Ecosystems Mission Area in collaboration with the Department and other agencies and organizations; coordinates with other mission areas and represents USGS at intra-agency meetings.
  • Develops and evaluates national science program strategies and activities in collaboration with other agencies and organizations to address invasive species issues.
  • Prepares materials and communications to explain, support, advocate, and defend invasive species research in the USGS, the Department, the Office of Management and Budget, other agencies and organizations, and before Congressional staff and committees.
  • Manages and tracks the invasive species budget, develops budget justifications and initiatives, establishes funding priorities, and ensures consistency with Ecosystem Mission Area goals.
August 28, 2020

From the Society for Ecological Restoration, and partially funded by the Bureau of Land Management and the National Park Service.

The Society for Ecological Restoration’s International Network for Seed Based Restoration (a thematic section of SER) is pleased to announce that the First International Principles and Standards for Native Seeds in Ecological Restoration are now available as an Open Source Special Issue of Restoration Ecology. 
 



The growing demand for native seeds in ecological restoration and rehabilitation has resulted in a $1 billion global industry in the sourcing, supply, and sale of native seeds. Until now, there has been little international guidance for ensuring native seeds have the same standards of quality assurance that are already regular practice in the crop and horticultural industries.

Using the SER International Principles and Standards for the Practice of Ecological Restoration as a foundation document, INSR synthesized general practices in the native seed supply chain. They derived the Principles and Standards for Native Seeds ("Seed Standards") from this synthesis. These practices and the underpinning science provide the basis for developing quality measures and guidance statements that are adaptable at the local, biome, or national scale.

Importantly, the Seed Standards define what is considered native seed in ecological restoration and highlight the differences between native seeds versus seeds of improved genetics. The Seed Standards are not intended to be mandatory, however, the guidance statements provide the foundation upon which regulatory approaches can be developed by constituencies and jurisdictions.
 



Introductory Webinar and Panel Discussion
September 2, 2020 | 19:00 EDT | 23:00 UTC


To ensure as many of you as possible – the suppliers, end-users, industry representatives, government agencies, and NGO’s – have an opportunity to learn and speak first hand with some of the authors of the Seed Standards, we welcome you to join a launch webinar. This is your chance to find out what the Seed Standards mean for you and to discuss their application with the authors and other experts.

19.00 Opening Comments (moderator Kingsley Dixon)
19.03 Official Launch of the Standards (Peggy Olwell, Bureau of Land Management)
19.10 Response (Gil Waibel, representing ISTA)
19.20 Introduction to the Native Seed Standards (Simone Pedrini)
19.40 Panel discussion 
          Panel: Kingsley Dixon (moderator), Simone Pedrini, Peggy Olwell, Nancy Shaw, Olga Kildisheva, Stephanie Frischie, Gil Waibel, Danilo Ignacio Urzedo
20:00 Close
 


Furthers federal actions to aggressively combat invasive species from
Guam to the Everglades

WASHINGTON, August 13, 2020 – 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:

  1. promote partnerships to bolster mutual priorities,
  2. raise awareness to motivate action,
  3. strengthen prevention practices to avoid invasive species introductions and spread,
  4. improve the coordination of early detection and rapid response efforts across jurisdictions,
  5. leverage opportunities for targeted control and eradication and
  6. improve data collection and data management to facilitate more effective decision-making.

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.

Florida Everglades

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.

Guam

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.

###

Washington, D.C., August 7, 2020 – USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) has expanded the list of locations where the public can send unsolicited seed packets. They have also added options for submitting reports online to APHIS or the state departments of agriculture.

APHIS urges anyone who receives an unsolicited package of seeds to submit an online report and mail their seeds to the designated USDA or state department of agriculture location in their state. If more than one location is listed, please select the location closest to your residence.

Instructions for Mailing Seed Packets:

  • Place the unopened seed packet and any packaging, including the mailing label in a mailing envelope. If the seed packets are open, first place the seeds and their packaging into a zip-lock bag, seal it, and then place everything into a mailing envelope.
  • Please include your name, address, and phone number so that a State or Federal agriculture official can contact you for additional information, if needed.
  • If you received other unsolicited items in addition to seeds, please only send the seeds.

If you are unable to mail the package, please contact your APHIS State Plant Health Director to arrange a no-contact pick up or determine a convenient drop-off location.

Contact:
Cecilia Sequeira (301) 851-4054
K.cecilia.sequeira@usda.gov

Washington, D.C., July 28, 2020—USDA is aware that people across the country have received suspicious, unsolicited packages of seed that appear to be coming from China. USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) is working closely with the Department of Homeland Security’s Customs and Border Protection, other federal agencies, and State departments of agriculture to investigate the situation.

USDA urges anyone who receives an unsolicited package of seeds to immediately contact their State plant regulatory official or APHIS State plant health director. Please hold onto the seeds and packaging, including the mailing label, until someone from your State department of agriculture or APHIS contacts you with further instructions. Do not plant seeds from unknown origins.

At this time, we don’t have any evidence indicating this is something other than a “brushing scam” where people receive unsolicited items from a seller who then posts false customer reviews to boost sales. USDA is currently collecting seed packages from recipients and will test their contents to determine if they contain anything that could be of concern to U.S. agriculture or the environment.

USDA is committed to preventing the unlawful entry of prohibited seeds and protecting U.S. agriculture from invasive pests and noxious weeds. Visit the APHIS website to learn more about USDA’s efforts to stop agricultural smuggling and promote trade compliance. 

The USGS' Science Analytics and Synthesis Program is hiring a full time GS-15 Supervisory Research Biologist/Ecologist to be based in Denver. 

Applications close July 17th.

Major duties highlighted in the announcement include:

  • Develop new biological synthesis, new theories, concepts, principles, standards, and methods to plan and execute long-range research programs and projects of national and international significance.
  • Identify the most promising new research directions to determine lines of attack and develop plans for research projects that will move the science forward.
  • Keep the supervisor informed of progress and future plans through periodic discussions.
  • Discover complex theory or methodology to develop new theory or methodology to supplant or add new dimensions to a previous framework to deliver that markedly influence the scientific field or society.
  • Research biological data with multi-scale sensor, observations, and other collection methods in support of species characterization, threats, and habitats.

 

For more information, please see:

https://www.usajobs.gov/GetJob/ViewDetails/572237300