Multi-Partner Workshop Highlights Science Actions for a Potential Wildlife Disease Outbreak

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A new USGS Open-File Report outlines findings from a scenario building workshop on a wildlife disease, facilitated by the Department of the Interior’s Strategic Sciences Group (SSG) and led by the USGS. 

The workshop and report address hypothetical scenarios of an outbreak in Appalachia of Bsal, a non-native chytrid fungus to which North American amphibians have not yet been exposed but may be highly susceptible. The U.S. is a biodiversity hotspot for salamanders and prior published Bsal risk assessments have identified Appalachia as a high risk region. Using methods developed for the SSG response to the Deepwater Horizon oil spill, resource managers from Tribal, Federal, and State agencies developed chains of ecological, social, and economic consequences for different scenarios. Management interventions include actions that must be initiated before an outbreak and others that must occur immediately after one is suspected. The report highlights Bsal research needs and demonstrates a process for wildlife disease outbreak preparedness, balancing risk, reward, and uncertainty.  

 

Hopkins, M.C., Adams, M.J., Super, P.E., Olson, D.H., Hickman, C.R., English, P., Sprague, L., Maska, I.B., Pennaz, A.B., Ludwig, K.A., 2018, Batrachochytrium salamandrivorans (Bsal) in Appalachia- Using Scenario Building to Proactively Prepare for a Wildlife Disease Outbreak Caused by an Invasive Amphibian Chytrid Fungus: U.S. Geological Survey Open-File Report 2018-1150, p. 31, https://doi.org/10.3133/ofr20181150