Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Week of March 2, 2008

Conserving Florida's wildlife: Non-native fish, plants are problems for ecosystem


Thirty-four non-native freshwater species, introduced from other countries, currently reproduce in Florida. So, what is the significance?

Non-native freshwater fish and aquatic plants present such environmental challenges to Florida's native species, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) works with the public and scientists to manage and conserve the state's native freshwater wildlife and ecosystems.

Nuisance aquatic species include plants, fish, snails, crawfish or plankton that can cause economic, human health or ecological damage.

Almost all of the non-native introductions resulted from individuals releasing unwanted aquarium or food fishes, and/or the flooding of aquaculture ponds. Most of these introductions were done accidentally, but, nonetheless, illegally.

Foreign plants, too, such as water hyacinth, and invertebrates, such as island apple snails, also can create environmental problems. Full Article


New Study Examines System for Reducing Import of Invasive Plants into the U.S.: Implementing Australian Weed Risk Assessment Program in the U.S. Would Save Billions and Reduce Process Time

Arlington, VA (Vocus/PRWEB ) February 29, 2008 -- The invasive plant screening approach used by the U.S. government pales in comparison to other more effective and readily-available systems used by countries such as Australia and New Zealand, according to a new Nature Conservancy and University of Florida study published today.

The research published today in the journal Diversity and Distributions tested the regulatory weed risk assessment system (WRA) in Australia and New Zealand, and concluded that WRA is effectively and efficiently reducing the economic and environmental threats of importing invasive weeds. Nature Conservancy scientists are also calling on the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) to implement the WRA in the U.S., and to do so now as the agency is updating its plant quarantine law, known as “Q-37.”

“The WRA system can be used to test all new plants proposed for import and determine whether or not a plant should be allowed entry into a country in under 24 hours,” said Doria Gordon, Associate Director of Science for The Nature Conservancy’s Florida Chapter and lead author of the paper. “Under the current U.S. law, few species are tested and the process can take up to eight weeks.” Full Article


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