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Ecosystems - Invasive Species Program

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Invasive Species Program

America is under siege by many harmful non-native species of plants, animals, and microorganisms. More than 6,500 nonindigenous species are now established in the United States, posing risks to native species, valued ecosystems, and human and wildlife health. These invaders extract a huge cost. The current annual environmental, economic, and health-related costs of invasive species exceed those of all other natural disasters combined.

USGS works closely with its partners in Department of Interior Bureau's and other resource management agencies to provide scientific information to meet management needs. For example, USGS plays an important role in Federal efforts to combat invasive species in natural and semi-natural areas through early detection and assessment of newly established invaders, monitoring of invading populations; improving understanding of the ecology of invaders and factors in the resistance of habitats to invasion; and development and testing of prevention, management, and control methods. USGS invasive species research encompasses all significant groups of invasive organisms in terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems in all regions of the United States. Working collaboratively with partner agencies and organizations, USGS provides the tools, technology, and information supporting efforts to prevent, contain, control, and manage invasive species nationwide.

The USGS Invasive Species Program provides methodologies and information to address threats to ecological systems and native species due to the introduction and spread of invasive species. The program's Five-Year Strategic Plan outlines goals, strategies, and requirements for significantly increasing efforts on the part of USGS during fiscal years 2005 - 2009, helping the Department of the Interior managers and the Nation respond more rapidly and effectively to the growing threat of invasive species in U.S. ecosystems.

Invasive Species Program's Research Topics



Recent Highlights

State of the Birds 2011 ReportPredicting Spread of Invasive Exotic Plants into Dewatered Reservoirs After Dam Removal on the Elwha River, Olympic National Park, Washington - At the beginning of 2011, The National Park Service started planning the restoration of the Elwha River ecosystem in Olympic National Park by removing two high head dams. The potential for dispersal of exotic plants into dewatered reservoirs following dam removal, which would inhibit restoration of native vegetation, is of great concern. USGS scientists Andrea Woodward and Christian Torgersen, and colleagues from the National Park Service (NPS) focused on predicting long-distance dispersal of invasive exotic plants rather than diffusive spread because local sources of invasive species have been surveyed. We included the long-distance dispersal vectors: wind, water, birds, beavers, ungulates, and users of roads and trails. Read More >>

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