The Wildlife Society pushes for invasives work funding

By Laura Bies

This Burmese python (Python bivittatus), an invasive species in the U.S. was captured in Everglades National Park. ©Susan Jewell/USFWS

The Wildlife Society joined with partners from the National Environmental Coalition on Invasive Species to request that leaders of the Senate Interior Appropriations Subcommittee secure funding to address invasive species.

The letter requests that Senate appropriators reject the administration’s proposal to dramatically reduce funding for the National Invasive Species Council. That proposal would have cut appropriations for the program from $1.2 million in Fiscal Year 2019 to $600,000 in FY 2020.

Instead, the organizations urged the Senators to adopt the funding levels included in the House Interior appropriations bill, which has been approved by the full House Appropriations Committee and awaits a vote on the House floor. In the House bill, appropriators directed the Department of the Interior to provide at least $1.2 million to the National Invasive Species Council again in FY 2020.

The National Invasive Species Council is housed by the Department of the Interior, but its membership includes representatives from 12 federal Departments and four Executive Offices. Its role is to coordinate the nation’s responses to invasive species threats. Recently, this has included pilot projects exploring the benefits of Early Detection and Rapid Response at the regional scale, evaluating the cost of invasive species on the nation’s infrastructure and guarding against the threat of invasive species in the Arctic.

The letter notes that a 50 percent cut in funding for the council would have long-lasting impacts on implementation of the nation’s invasive species research priorities as laid out in the council’s recent National Invasive Species Management Plan.

Both the House and Senate are in the process of formulating their appropriations bills for next year. While the House Appropriations Committee has already drafted and voted on many of their spending bills, including the one to provide funding for the Department of the Interior, the Senate is still considering testimony and drafting its bills. The House expects to vote on its appropriations bill this month.

Read The Wildlife Society’s Position Statement on Invasive and Feral Species.

Laura BiesLaura Bies is a government relations contractor and freelance writer for The Wildlife Society. She has a B.S. in Environmental Science and a law degree from George Washington University. Laura has worked with The Wildlife Society since 2005. Read more of Laura's articles.

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