Invasive Species:

Obstacles Hinder Federal Rapid Response to Growing Threat

GAO-01-724: Published: Jul 24, 2001. Publicly Released: Jul 31, 2001.

Contact:

Lawrence J. Dyckman
(202) 512-9692
contact@gao.gov

 

Office of Public Affairs
(202) 512-4800
youngc1@gao.gov

Invasive species--harmful, nonnative plants, animals, and microorganisms--are widespread throughout the United States, causing billions of dollars of damage annually to crops, rangelands, and waterways. An important part of pest control is quick action to eradicate or contain a potentially damaging invasive species. Federal rapid response to invasive species varies: species that threaten agricultural crops or livestock are far more likely to elicit a rapid response than those primarily affecting forestry or other natural areas, including rangelands and water areas. A major obstacle to rapid response is the lack of a national system to address invasive species. Other obstacles to rapid response include the need for additional detection systems to identify new species; improved partnerships among federal, state, and local agencies; and better technologies to eradicate invasive species. The Invasive Species Council's Management Plan makes several recommendations for improving rapid response, including developing a program of coordinated rapid response and pursuing increases in discretionary spending to support the program. A concerted effort to improve the rapid response is clearly needed. If properly implemented, the Council's recommendations will go a long way toward developing a national system to address this pressing need.

Status Legend:

More Info
  • Review Pending-GAO has not yet assessed implementation status.
  • Open-Actions to satisfy the intent of the recommendation have not been taken or are being planned, or actions that partially satisfy the intent of the recommendation have been taken.
  • Closed-implemented-Actions that satisfy the intent of the recommendation have been taken.
  • Closed-not implemented-While the intent of the recommendation has not been satisfied, time or circumstances have rendered the recommendation invalid.
    • Review Pending
    • Open
    • Closed - implemented
    • Closed - not implemented

    Recommendations for Executive Action

    Recommendation: The co-chairs of the Invasive Species Council--the Secretaries of Agriculture, Commerce, and the Interior--should direct the Council members to develop criteria for what constitutes a rapid response, including examples of activities that fall into that category.

    Agency Affected: Invasive Species Council

    Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: In January 2002, the Council departmental liaisons and the Council staff finalized rapid response criteria with examples of activities that constitute rapid response. According to the Council staff, implementing this recommendation is helping them to focus their rapid response implementation efforts for the federal Invasive Species Plan.

    Recommendation: The co-chairs of the Invasive Species Council--the Secretaries of Agriculture, Commerce, and the Interior--should direct the Council members to, based on the criteria established above, develop information on their Departments' rapid response funding and the programs and activities that receive funding.

    Agency Affected: Invasive Species Council

    Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: The National Invasive Species Council, in its fiscal year 2005 budget, provided information on each Departments' funding for rapid response, according to a standard definition developed in response to GAO's prior recommendation. They also described rapid response activities and species being addressed.

    Recommendation: The co-chairs of the Invasive Species Council--the Secretaries of Agriculture, Commerce, and the Interior--should direct the Council members to, in collaboration with the Invasive Species Advisory Committee, establish rapid response priorities to help identify resource needs and guide the discretionary actions of agencies in addressing invasive species.

    Agency Affected: Invasive Species Council

    Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: In June 2003, the National Invasive Species Council, in collaboration with the Invasive Species Advisory Council, published guidelines identifying priorities for rapid response to help identify resource needs and guide the discretionary actions of agencies in addressing invasive species.

    Aug 11, 2014

    Jul 28, 2014

    Jul 16, 2014

    Jul 15, 2014

    Jul 9, 2014

    Jun 30, 2014

    Jun 16, 2014

    May 22, 2014

    May 21, 2014

    May 19, 2014

    Looking for more? Browse all our products here