West Virginia Invasive Species Strategic Plan out for public commentSOUTH CHARLESTON, West Virginia – The draft "West Virginia Invasive Species Strategic Plan" is now available for public comment.
"Non-native invasive species cost West Virginia millions of dollars every year," said Curtis I. Taylor, Chief of the Division of Natural Resources Wildlife Resources Section. "These plants, animals and pathogens reproduce rapidly and have no native predators, so they have become a leading cause of biodiversity loss worldwide. They reduce timber regeneration, lower mast production, degrade wildlife habitat and decrease stream quality."
Annual losses and control costs for invasive species in the U.S. are estimated to exceed $127 billion.
The strategic plan is intended to enable West Virginia and all entities operating within its borders to address the threats posed by terrestrial and aquatic invasive species, including pathogens, which occur or may occur, in the state. Modeled after similar plans nationwide, the plan describes the status of invasive species in West Virginia and proposes a comprehensive set of goals and strategies to address their impacts. This voluntary plan is designed to maximize the effectiveness and efficiency of all stages of invasive species management efforts that occur wholly or partially within the state of West Virginia.
Recommended management goals include:
- Early Detection
- Rapid Response
- Control and Management
- Research and Risk Assessment, and
- Education and Outreach
The West Virginia Invasive Species Working Group first proposed the plan several years ago. It has been developed with the expertise of dozens of professionals from various agencies and organizations across the state.
Major contributors include The Nature Conservancy, West Virginia Division of Natural Resources, The West Virginia Division of Forestry, U.S. Forest Service, U.S. Department of Agriculture, West Virginia Department of Agriculture, and the Potomac Highlands Cooperative Weed and Pest Management Area. Development of the plan was funded in part by the West Virginia Division of Natural Resources and the Aquatic Nuisance Species Task Force through the Maryland Sea Grant.