Invasive Species News and Research, September 2021

Programs in the U.S. and Canada prevent spread and expand operations. Aquatic and wetland invasive plants in the spotlight.

Above, an invasive red lionfish has been captured by a scuba diver who wants to remove the harmful creature from the reef to prevent further damage to the complex ecosystem on the Caribbean reefs. Adobe Stock.

The staff and board of the North American Invasive Species Management Association review invasive species headlines each month. This helps us stay on top of trends and further our mission to support, promote, and empower invasive species prevention and management in North America. We then share invasive species news most relevant for people who manage terrestrial and aquatic invasive species across the the United States, Canada, Mexico and the world.

Prevention, Outreach and Education

Tool Predicts which Native Fish Species are Most at Risk from Lionfish Predators

Global/Alberta — Read on

Coastal countries have between two and five years to act to protect native fish species once voracious lionfish arrive in their waters, according to a University of Alberta ecology professor who helped create a tool to predict which fish are in danger.

A Kansas boy entered a unique insect at the state fair. It triggered a federal investigation.

Kansas – Read on Washington Post

The boy told government officials he found the dead lanternfly on his patio in May, according to Erin Otto, national policy manager for the USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service. Because adult lanternflies usually start emerging in July and the specimen was “worn and desiccated,” officials said the boy’s insect may have died last year, Otto wrote in a statement to The Post.

leaves of a woody plant show about 30% cover of orange rust
Crown rust on glossy buckthorn. Photo by Nick Greatens.

An Enemy Reunion

Minnesota — Read on Minnesota Invasive Terrestrial Plants and Pests Center

Could bringing two enemy species together help keep invasives in check? Nick Greatens has a hunch the approach might just work…

New Research

Multiple Co-occurrent Alien Invaders Constrain Aquatic Biodiversity in Rivers

Global— Read in Ecological Applications

Based on the most common aquatic invaders, results indicated that their richness, rather than abundance, was the most important factor negatively affecting aquatic macroinvertebrate biodiversity.

Diversity Challenge Confronts Ecology

Global — Read in Ecological Applications

“The Diversity Challenge Confronts Ecology” Forum published in this issue of Ecological Applications presents perspectives on structural and cultural problems within institutions, mentorship practices, professional development programs, and research experiences which have caused and perpetuated low representation of African Americans, Hispanic Americans, Native Americans, and Pacific Islanders in the environmental workforce and in academia. 

The moth Lymantria dispar asiatica (adult female shown here) has been unintentionally introduced to North America several times in the last few decades. Through a complex monitoring and management program, officials have been able to prevent this pest from establishing in North American forests. A new report in the open-access Journal of Integrated Pest Management gives an inside look at this success. Photo by John Ghent,

Not So Fast! International Biosecurity Program Succeeds in Preventing Spread of Invasive Moth

North America — Read on Entomology Today

This JIPM paper is filled with details about how this program all came together, as well as how monitoring is conducted in ports and forests.

The Delta Region Areawide Aquatic Weed Project

California — Read in the Journal of Aquatic Plant Management

This Special Issue of the Journal of Aquatic Plant Management is the capstone of a five-year Areawide Pest Management Program funded by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Agricultural Research Service (ARS). Approved by ARS in 2014, five years of funding was provided for USDA ARS to work collaboratively with federal, state, university, and local agencies to improve the management of aquatic weeds in the Sacramento–San Joaquin River Delta (Delta)


Detection, Management and Control

UF Scientist who Battles Florida’s Invasive Species Recognized with International Award

Florida — Read on UFIFAS

Casey Killian Minteer portrait
Casey Killian Minteer. UF file photo.

For five years, Minteer has led research at the Norman C. Hayslip Biological Control Research and Containment Laboratory as an assistant professor of entomology for the University of Florida’s Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (UF/IFAS) Indian River Research and Education Center (IRREC) in Fort Pierce, Florida. The Hayslip Laboratory is one of three facilities in the state where scientists work with new biological control agents, or organisms that control the growth of pests in their native region.

NAISMA’s biocontrol committee has resources on classical biological control.

Invasive crayfish are dying in the Midwest. Could a fungus be the cause?

Midwest — Read on National Geographic

A parasitic fungus discovered in a Wisconsin lake could be a natural weapon for stopping non-native crustaceans.

Conservation Groups Push to Manage Invasive Phragmites Across Ontario

The Green Shovels Collaborative, a group of like-minded conservation organizations, has launched the Invasive Phragmites Control Fund, and a call for funding proposals to help control the spread of phragmites in the province. 
person wearing orange t-shirt stands in front of boat full of phragmites plant
Phragmites are a significant threat to biodiversity, according to the Invasive Species Centre in Sault Ste. Marie. Photo from Karen Alexander


Legislation Combating Invasive Species

United States — Read on Society of American Foresters

NAISMA, the Society of American Foresters, and others support Rep. Peter Welch’s (D-VT) Invasive Species Prevention and Forest Restoration Act (HR 1389), which provides new resources to prevent and mitigate threats from invasive species.

Luján Introduces Legislation to Protect Tribal Wildlife Corridors and Support Wildlife Management Efforts

New Mexico — Read on the Native American Fish and Wildlife Society

U.S. Senator Ben Ray Luján (D-N.M.), a member of the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs, announced the introduction of the Tribal Wildlife Corridors Act to fund wildlife migration corridors and provide Tribal Nations with resources to carry out on-the-ground work to develop and maintain wildlife corridors. 

United States – Read on Department of the Interior
The acquisitions will expand public opportunities for hunting, fishing, wildlife observation, wildlife photography, and environmental education, and interpretation, as well as increase public outdoor recreational access in urban communities.
NISAW ad with cheatgrass in background
National Invasive Species Awareness Week offers grab-and-go images for social media, such as the cheatgrass image for the 2021 NISAW. Learn more at
Colorado — Read on Scientific American
Murphy and her co-authors write that human-made aspects of the urban environment need to be considered in managing cheatgrass and other invasive species.

Canada Expands Ballast Water Restrictions to Reduce Invasive Species Spread

Canada — Read on Great Lakes Now
Canadian officials concede it’s a cost to the shipping companies, but note the total cost to upgrade ships is estimated to be about $227 million (U.S) and will save about $800 million in invasive species damage to fishing, infrastructure, and the environment in Canada.

China and U.S. Aquaculture Open Doors to Invaders

Global — Read on New Security Beat
Within the United States, the Lacey Act authorizes the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to regulate and ban the import and transportation of animals and plants. By contrast, concern about invasive species is new to China with little to no regulation.


Ecological Sustainability Should Be our Goal

United States — Read on Irrigation Leader and Federal News Network

NAISMA member Scott Cameron recently wrote op eds on the topic of ecological sustainability that include a discussion of invasive species.

Opinion: The Outdoor Industry Still Can’t Get DEI Right

United States — Read on Outside Business Journal

Organizations need to strategically plan for and invest financially in workplace diversity, hiring consultants that are well versed in what it takes to dismantle embedded systems of bias. 

North America — Read on CrossCut

“Everybody freaked out and was suddenly afraid of insects and that’s the last thing we want … as insects are disappearing around the world,” Akito Kawahara says. 

Texas A&M Project to Create a More Inclusive Scientific Community

Texas — Read on AgriLife Today

By focusing on the individual and helping them develop goals and a vision for their future, Bernal, Medina and Ramos believe the project will have a cascading effect within the scientific community.

Do Species Awareness Days Work?

Global – Read on The Revelator

These awareness days have obviously become a popular way to honor endangered species and fundraise for their conservation, but one big question looms over the concept: Do they work?


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