Invasive Species:

Federal and Selected State Funding to Address Harmful, Nonnative Species

RCED-00-219: Published: Aug 24, 2000. Publicly Released: Aug 24, 2000.

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Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO provided information on federal and selected state funding of invasive species activities, focusing on: (1) federal and selected state funding in fiscal years (FY) 1999 and 2000 and the departments' views on the effectiveness of coordination efforts with other entities; (2) funding by selected states for invasive species activities in fiscal years 1999 and 2000 and the states' views on the effectiveness of coordination with federal departments and other entities; and (3) actions taken by the Invasive Species Council to implement Executive Order 13112.

GAO noted that: (1) the federal departments responding to GAO's survey reported obligating over half a billion dollars--$513.9 million and $631.5 million in FY 1999 and FY 2000, respectively--for activities related to invasive species; (2) the Department of Agriculture provided far and away the largest percentage of these funds, 89 percent ($459 million) in FY 1999 and 88 percent ($556.4 million) in FY 2000; (3) the eight other federal departments that reported funding information provided between 0.2 percent and about 5 percent of the federal funding directed toward invasive species over the 2 years; (4) activities to prevent the introduction of invasive species received the greatest percentage of federal funding--about 51 percent and 49 percent in FY 1999 and FY 2000, respectively; (5) most federal departments rated coordination with state governments as either "good" or "fair"; (6) the seven states GAO surveyed reported spending between $1.6 million and $94.5 million in FY 1999 (for a total of $195.3 million) and between $1.8 million and $127.6 million in FY 2000 (for a total of $232.6 million) on invasive species activities; (7) in both years, Florida spent the greatest amount of funds, $94.5 million and $127.6 million, followed by California, $82.6 million and $87.2 million; (8) most of the seven states directed the largest percentage of their funding in both years toward activities to control invasive species; (9) most of the seven states rated coordination with federal departments as "good"; (10) the Invasive Species Council has been slow in getting off the ground, although it has initiated several actions to implement Executive Order 13112; (11) as of August 18, 2000, 18 months after the executive order was issued, the Council had filled two of its four permanent staff positions and had nearly completed filling the remaining two positions--when it does, it will have an organizational infrastructure to oversee implementation; (12) the Council has also drafted and is receiving comments on its National Invasive Species Management Plan, which is expected to be issued later in the year--several months after the date stipulated in the executive order; (13) in addition, it has established an advisory committee and six working groups that have provided information and advice to the Council; and (14) further, it is in the process of developing a Web site to provide a broad range of information on invasive species and is sponsoring workshops to promote information sharing.

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