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invasive pests

Calling All Outdoor Enthusiasts! Help Protect Your Favorite Forests and Parks from Invasive Species

Summer is nature’s way of telling us to get outside and have some fun! With warmer temperatures and sweet breezes sweeping across the nation, many of us will try to spend more time outside than inside during the coming weeks and months. Since I started working at USDA Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, I’ve learned that some of my favorite recreation sites are threatened by invasive species. I’ve learned how to leave Hungry Pests behind while hitting the trails.

State-of-the-Art USDA Facilities Keep Invasive Pests Out of the Country

Safeguarding our Nation’s agriculture and natural resources against harmful plant pests is an awesome responsibility, one my agency—USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service—takes very seriously. Thanks to our employees, cooperators, and partners, the United States has one of the most robust plant health safeguarding systems in the world. That is because we continuously take steps to enhance our ability to exclude, control, and eradicate pests and increase the safety of agricultural trade.

USDA and Partners Work to Eliminate Invasive Nutria From Maryland’s Eastern Shore

Word has it that legendary actress Greta Garbo could be seen wearing nutria fur coats back in the day, and nutria fur coats can still be found in vintage clothing stores around the world. Nutria, sometimes called swamp rats, were first introduced into the United States in the 1800s to be used in the fur trade. However, when the fur trade collapsed in the mid 1900’s thousands of nutria were released by ranchers who could no longer afford to feed and care for them. This invasive rodent, about half the size of a beaver, damages wetland ecosystems by eating away at their delicate vegetation. Nutria have since been found in at least 20 states.

The U.S. Seed Trade Industry Thanks USDA for Helping It Thrive

Seeds for planting represent tremendous value to the U.S. agricultural economy. In 2016, the United States exported $1.67 billion worth of these seeds and imported $997 million worth of them. This month, the American Seed Trade Association (ASTA) recognized USDA’s efforts to make the international movement of seeds safer and more efficient. The association presented its 2018 Distinguished Service Award to Osama El-Lissy, Deputy Administrator of USDA’s Plant Protection and Quarantine program.

Tree Breeding: Creating Tomorrow’s Healthy Forests Today

Immobile and long-lived, trees endure extreme weather, fires, and pests for tens, hundreds, and even thousands of years. In , there is a quaking aspen colony spanning 106 acres that is roughly 80,000 years old. To give you a sense of scale, if the average human lives 79 years, this aspen colony has already lived over a thousand times longer!

Know the Lei of the Land: APHIS Plant Health Safeguarding Specialists’ Work in Hawaii

Aloha! I am a Plant Health Safeguarding Specialist based in Hawaii, where my colleagues and I help protect agricultural crops and natural resources on the U.S. mainland from plant pests like exotic fruit flies, Asian citrus psyllid and the coconut rhinoceros beetle. The Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service’s multi-faceted predeparture inspection program supports the movement of travelers, baggage, cargo and mail leaving the Hawaiian Islands, while working to stop the movement of invasive pests.

Protecting Agriculture on the Internet – One Click, One Post, One Sale at a Time

While we are raising awareness about invasive pests during Invasive Plant Pest and Disease Awareness Month, I wanted to share a bit about what I do every day to protect agriculture. When you picture someone on the front lines of stopping invasive pests, you probably picture someone outside – in a field or a tree. But I fight invasive pests from a completely different location – my computer.

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