oversight

Invasive Species: State and Other Nonfederal Perspectives on Challenges to Managing the Problem

Published by the Government Accountability Office on 2003-09-05.

Below is a raw (and likely hideous) rendition of the original report. (PDF)

United States General Accounting Office
Washington, DC 20548



      September 5, 2003

      The Honorable James Inhofe
      Chairman
      The Honorable James Jeffords
      Ranking Member
      Committee on Environment and Public Works
      United States Senate

      The Honorable Michael D. Crapo
      Chairman
      The Honorable Bob Graham
      Ranking Member
      Subcommittee on Fisheries, Wildlife, and Water
      Committee on Environment and Public Works
      United States Senate

      Subject:       Invasive Species: State and Other Nonfederal Perspectives on
                     Challenges to Managing the Problem

      Invasive species—harmful, nonnative plants, animals, and microorganisms—are
      found throughout the United States and cause damage to crops, rangelands,
      waterways, and other ecosystems that is estimated to cost in the billions of
      dollars annually. In addition to their economic costs, invasive species can have a
      devastating effect on natural areas, where they have strangled native plants, taken
      over wetland habitats, crowded out native species, and deprived waterfowl and
      other species of food sources. Scientists, academicians, and industry leaders have
      all recognized invasive species as one of the most serious environmental threats
      of the twenty-first century. More specifically, conservation biologists ranked
      invasive species as the second most serious threat to endangered species after
      habitat destruction. In June 2003, we testified before the Senate Subcommittee on
      Fisheries, Wildlife, and Water concerning invasive species issues reported in our
      October 2002 report.1 We also provided testimony on the partial results of our




      1
      U.S. General Accounting Office, Invasive Species: Federal Efforts and State Perspectives on
      Challenges and National Leadership, GAO-03-916T (Washington, D.C.: June 17, 2003). U.S.
      General Accounting Office, Invasive Species: Clearer Focus and Greater Commitment Needed to
      Effectively Manage the Problem, GAO-03-1 (Washington, D.C.: October 22, 2002).



                                                         GAO-03-1089R Perspectives on Invasive Species
spring 2003 survey of state agencies involved in efforts to address invasive species
                                                                    2
and members of the Invasive Species Advisory Committee (ISAC).

This report provides the final results of our survey and focuses on state
perspectives on (1) gaps in, or problems with, federal legislation addressing
invasive species, (2) barriers to managing invasive species, (3) effective
leadership structures for addressing invasive species, and (4) integrating federal
aquatic and terrestrial invasive species legislation and the potential gains and
drawbacks of such legislation. We also obtained ISAC members’ views on these
issues. To obtain these perspectives for our report, we surveyed the state
agencies typically involved with invasive species—agencies responsible for
agriculture and fish and wildlife—and members of the ISAC. We sent one survey
to at least two agencies in each of the 50 states and the District of Columbia and
another survey to each of 24 ISAC members. We received 70 responses from state
officials representing a total of 45 states and 16 responses from ISAC members.
See enclosures I and II for state and ISAC surveys with aggregate responses by
question. We also interviewed officials in four states—California, Florida, Hawaii,
and Michigan—chosen because of their geographic location, active invasive
species efforts concerning both aquatic and terrestrial invasive species, or the
number of invasive species management challenges they face. We conducted our
work from April 2003 through September 2003 in accordance with generally
accepted government auditing standards. Because we did not conduct work at
federal agencies, we did not obtain comments on this report. See enclosure III for
details on our scope and methodology.

Results in Brief

State officials identified several legislative gaps or problems with existing
legislation intended to address invasive species. A key gap noted in legislation
addressing both aquatic and terrestrial invasive species is the lack of requirements
for controlling invasive species that are already established or widespread. State
officials said that if there is no federal requirement, there is often little money
available to combat a species and that such a requirement would raise the priority
for responding to it. For example, one state official complained about the lack of
a requirement to control Eurasian ruffe, an invasive fish that has spread
throughout several of the Great Lakes and caused great harm to native fisheries.
Also, over one-half of the state officials responding to our survey said that
international trade agreements make it difficult to regulate products that may
introduce invasive species because, for example, the trade agreements do not
consider invasive species. In addition, over one-half of the state officials who
responded to questions about legislation on aquatic invasive species identified

2
 Executive Order 13112 created the National Invasive Species Council, which is composed of 11
federal departments and agencies, to provide national leadership on addressing invasive species
and to develop a plan for managing them. It also established the ISAC, a federal advisory
committee established to help the federal government develop and implement a national
management plan.



Page 2                                                 GAO-03-1089R Perspectives on Invasive Species
gaps with ballast water requirements. For example, many officials cited as
inadequate the current federal standards for ballast water, which impose
requirements on ships entering the Great Lakes but not other U.S. waters.

State officials also identified several barriers that make managing invasive species
difficult. The barrier that state officials identified most frequently was the lack of
federal funding for state invasive species efforts. For example, states were
concerned about not having sufficient funds to create management plans for
addressing invasive species and for conducting monitoring, detection, inspection,
enforcement, and research activities. In addition, state officials were concerned
about insufficient public education and outreach efforts as well as the lack of
control measures and cost-effective controls for invasive species.

State officials’ opinions on effective federal leadership structures for managing
invasive species varied. State officials most frequently identified the National
Invasive Species Council (Council) specifically authorized in legislation as an
effective leadership structure for managing invasive species, although many state
officials thought that continuing with the Council as currently established by
executive order would also be effective. While the Executive Director of the
Council told us that they have had adequate authority to carry out the
responsibilities set forth in the executive order, she noted that clear legislative
authority would strengthen their efforts. Similarly, officials from the Department
of Agriculture, Department of Defense, and Environmental Protection Agency
who are departmental liaisons to the Council, noted that legislative authority,
depending on how it was structured, could be useful in carrying out the
responsibilities of the Council. Fewer state officials identified having a single
federal agency responsible for all invasive species or separate federal agencies
responsible for aquatic and terrestrial species as effective structures.

State officials’ views also varied on whether to integrate federal legislation on
aquatic invasive species with legislation on terrestrial invasive species. The
greatest number of state officials responding to our survey were in favor of
integrating legislation, but the margin compared with those who did not favor
integration was relatively small. Many state officials indicated that the possible
gains of integrated legislative authority would be an increased focus on invasive
species pathways, as opposed to specific species, and increased coordination
between federal agencies and states. The possible drawbacks most often
identified by state officials included concerns that a single piece of legislation
would not be able to address all possible situations dealing with invasive species,
and that aquatic and terrestrial invasive species programs would have to compete
for scarce resources.

Background

As we have reported in the past, the impact of invasive species in the United
States is widespread, and their consequences for the economy and the



Page 3                                          GAO-03-1089R Perspectives on Invasive Species
environment are profound.3 Invasive species affect people’s livelihoods and pose
a significant risk to industries such as agriculture, ranching, and fisheries. The
cost to control invasive species and the cost of damages they inflict, or could
inflict, on property and natural resources are estimated in the billions of dollars
annually. For example, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA),
each year invasives such as the Formosan termite causes at least $1 billion in
damages and control costs in 11 states; if not managed, fruit flies could cause
more than $1.8 billion in damage each year.4 Invasive species continue to be
introduced in new locations, with recent examples including the northern
snakehead fish in Maryland, the emerald ash borer in Michigan, and the
monkeypox virus in the Midwest.

Invasive species may arrive unintentionally as contaminants of bulk commodities,
such as food, and in packing materials, shipping containers, and ships’ ballast
water. Ballast water is considered a major pathway for the transfer of aquatic
invasive species. Ballast is essential to the safe operation of ships because it
enables them to maintain their stability and control how high or low they ride in
the water. Ships take on or discharge ballast water over the course of a voyage to
counteract the effects of loading or unloading cargo and in response to sea
conditions. The ballast that ships pump aboard in ports and harbors may be fresh,
brackish, or salt water. These waters could potentially contain organisms that
could then be carried to other ports around the world where they might be
discharged, survive, and become invasive. Other invasive species may be
introduced intentionally; kudzu—a rapidly growing invasive vine that thrives in
the southeastern United States—for example, was intentionally introduced from
Japan as an ornamental plant and was used by USDA in the 1930s to control soil
erosion.

Federal agencies implement a variety of invasive species-related programs and
activities pursuant to their specific missions and responsibilities. USDA, for
example, spends significant resources on prevention and control activities for
invasive species that harm agricultural and forest products. USDA is also
responsible for preventing infectious diseases, some of which are considered
invasive, from spreading among livestock. States also play a major role in
addressing invasive species, either through their own programs or through
collaboration with or funding from federal programs. State programs and the
amount of resources expended on them vary considerably. Typically, state
agencies that address agriculture and fish and wildlife are involved with managing
invasive species.

In response to concerns that the United States was losing the battle against
invasive species, President Clinton signed Executive Order 13112 in February
1999 to prevent the introduction of invasive species; provide for their control; and
3
U.S. General Accounting Office, Invasive Species: Federal and Selected State Funding to Address
Harmful Nonnative Species, GAO/RCED-00-219 (Washington, D. C.: August 2000).
4
    Estimates are in 2001 dollars.



Page 4                                               GAO-03-1089R Perspectives on Invasive Species
minimize their economic, environmental, and human health impacts. This
executive order established the Council, which is now composed of the heads of
11 federal departments and agencies, to provide national leadership on invasive
species and to ensure, among other things, that federal efforts are coordinated
and effective. The executive order also required the Secretary of the Interior to
establish a federal advisory committee (the Invasive Species Advisory Committee
or ISAC) to provide information and advice to the Council. To achieve the goals
of the executive order, the Council was to develop a national management plan
that would serve as the blueprint for federal action on invasive species.

State Officials Identified Several Gaps in Federal Invasive Species
Legislation

State officials most often identified the lack of a legal requirement for controlling
already-established or widespread invasive species as a gap or problem with
legislation on terrestrial invasive species and frequently identified it as a gap or
problem with legislation on aquatic invasive species (see fig. 1).

Figure 1: Percentage of State Officials Who Identified Various Issues As “Great” or “Very
Great” Gaps in Federal Legislation on Aquatic and Terrestrial Invasive Species




a
  Forty-eight officials responded to this question.
b
  Fifty-seven officials responded to this question.
c
  Issue did not apply to this type of invasive species.


Specifically, state officials said lack of a legal requirement for control is a problem
for species that do not affect a specific commodity or when a species is not on a
federal list of recognized invasive species. Officials noted that if there is no


Page 5                                                    GAO-03-1089R Perspectives on Invasive Species
federal requirement, there is often little money available to combat a species and
that such a requirement would raise the priority for responding to it. For
example, one state official complained about the lack of a requirement to control
Eurasian ruffe, an invasive fish that has spread throughout several of the Great
Lakes and caused great harm to native fisheries. The official compared this with
the mandated control program for the sea lamprey that is funded by the United
States and Canada. In addition, some state officials said that, in the absence of
federal requirements, differences among state laws and priorities also pose
problems for addressing established species. For example, problems may arise if
one state regulates or takes actions to control a species and an adjacent state
does not. Some state officials noted that they believe they have little authority to
control or monitor some species and that adopting laws or regulations for specific
species, such as those for the sea lamprey, takes time.

Many state officials also noted that there are difficulties regulating products that
may contribute to the introduction of invasive species because of provisions in
international trade agreements. For example, one state official told us that trucks
carrying commercial goods from Canada and Mexico into the United States could
bring invasive species into the country because sometimes invasive species issues
were not considered when trade agreements governing such international
commerce were negotiated. An official from another state provided a good
illustration of this with roses from Europe that came into the United States
through Canada. The roses were not detained in order to observe them for
potentially harmful species, but would have been detained had they been shipped
directly from the originating country in Europe. As one state official pointed out,
there is an inherent conflict in promoting international trade and trying to prevent
invasive species from coming into the United States from foreign countries. This
official believes that all trade agreements should address invasive species.

Many state officials that answered questions about aquatic invasive species
identified problems with ballast water. Specifically, some state officials
complained that treatment technologies, standards, regulations, compliance with
reporting requirements, and penalties for noncompliance are lacking, and said
that research and legislation are needed to address the problem. As we reported
in October 2002, federal regulations for ballast water are not effective at
preventing invasive species from entering our waters. Ballast water exchange is
only required for ships entering the Great Lakes and does not apply to ships with
little or no pumpable ballast water in their tanks.5 Officials in several states
expressed frustration with the vulnerability to potential invasives created by a
lack of effective standards. In addition, one state in the southwestern United
States said that with no mandatory ballast water exchange and poor monitoring,
invasive species could come into the state not only from South America and other
foreign areas, but also from other states with less strict invasive species

5
Vessels may also retain their ballast on board or use alternative ballast water management
methods that must be approved by the U.S. Coast Guard and be as effective as ballast water
exchange in preventing and controlling the influx of aquatic organisms. 33 C.F.R. § 151.1510



Page 6                                                 GAO-03-1089R Perspectives on Invasive Species
standards. Some state officials said that federal leadership is essential to provide
coordination among states and fund efforts to address ballast water. Although
some state officials believe solving the ballast water problem is possible, some
pointed to potential difficulties in doing so. Specifically, they noted that some
environmental groups are opposed to chemical treatments, while industry groups
have objected to the cost of some technologies.

We also analyzed state officials’ opinions based on whether they were from a
coastal or noncoastal state. Officials from coastal states identified the same gaps
discussed above. However, noncoastal state officials identified the inadequacy of
biocontrol requirements most often as a barrier for managing aquatic and
terrestrial invasive species. Also, noncoastal states did not identify issues related
to ballast water as a problem to managing aquatic invasive species.

The lack of a legal requirement for a national rapid response system was
identified most often by members of the ISAC. The discovery of giant salvinia in
the Lower Colorado River in 1999 illustrates some of the difficulties associated
with rapid response.6 According to one federal official, achieving a “rapid
response” to the problem evaporated in the face of funding obstacles among the
various entities involved and disagreements over appropriate control strategies
and who should be the lead agency. Had immediate action been taken,
eradication of this infestation would have been possible. Members of the ISAC
also frequently identified the lack of statutory recognition of the Council as a gap
in existing legislation. We discuss this issue in a later section.


State Officials Identified Several Barriers to Managing Invasive Species

Inadequate federal funding for state efforts was the barrier identified most often
by state officials responding to our survey (see fig. 2).




6
U.S. General Accounting Office, Invasive Species: Obstacles Hinder Federal Rapid Response to
Growing Threat, GAO-01-724 (Washington, D.C.: July 2001).



Page 7                                               GAO-03-1089R Perspectives on Invasive Species
Figure 2: Percentage of State Officials Who Identified Various Factors That Make
Managing Aquatic and Terrestrial Invasive Species Difficult as “Great” or “Very Great”
Problems




a
Forty-nine officials responded to this question.
b
Fifty-six officials responded to this question.


State officials were concerned about having sufficient funds for inspection and
enforcement activities and to create management plans for addressing invasive
species, particularly as more states begin to develop plans. State officials also
identified the need for additional funds to conduct monitoring and detection
programs. Some state officials noted that uncertainty in obtaining grant funds
from year to year makes it difficult to manage programs, especially when they rely
on grants to fund staff positions. Officials in several states noted that the need for
federal funds is more important today because their budgets have been tightened,
noting that the lack of funds—federal and state—has contributed to the spread of
such invasive plant species as kudzu, autumn olive, purple loosestrife, and
saltcedar. For example, an official from one state said that federal funds are
needed to address invasive species that cross state boundaries, such as the
saltcedar—a riparian plant that spreads as seeds float via rivers across state
borders. Another state official said that without adequate federal or state funds,
the state has been unable to adequately deal with an invasive weed (rush
skeleton) that was identified on about six acres in the 1960s. Partly because the
state had limited funds, it only addressed the species one time. The weed now has
spread to about six million acres and controlling it will be very expensive.
Officials said they would use additional federal funds to hire additional staff to
control invasive species, conduct additional research, and increase coordination
and public education.

Many state officials identified a lack of public education and outreach as another
barrier to effectively managing aquatic and terrestrial invasive species. Public
education and outreach activities are important components of the battle against


Page 8                                             GAO-03-1089R Perspectives on Invasive Species
invasive species, as many invasives have been introduced through the activities of
individuals, such as recreational boating, and commercially through the pet, live
seafood, and plant and horticultural trades. For example, the outbreak of the
monkeypox virus that sickened at least 80 people in the Midwest spread from a
Gambian rat imported from Africa to be sold as a pet. In addition, invasive plants
that grow fast and kill other natural vegetation are often sold in nurseries before
their harmful effects are realized. For example, one state official said that plant
nurseries in his state sold purple loosestrife for years until its harmful effects
were recognized. It is now illegal to buy the plant in the state, but the state does
not have funds to educate the public about the harmful effects of the species or
the need to control it. An official from another state said that because of limited
public awareness of the problem of invasive species, the issue is not on the radar
screen of enough elected representatives to ensure adequate funding. Some state
officials identified how effective public education programs to increase public
awareness of invasive species issues can be. For example, an official from Idaho
told us that the state’s weed awareness campaign, which was started about 2
years ago, has dramatically increased public awareness of invasive species
through television, radio, and newspaper publicity. In addition, the state uses
other public outreach efforts, such as setting up information booths at county
fairs, and has an active effort to educate its legislature. A state official in Texas
told us that the Pecos River Ecosystem Project in the southwestern United States
has been successful in educating landowners about saltcedar. As a result, many
landowners have stopped using the plant for landscaping and erosion control, and
some are beginning to remove it.

State officials also frequently identified the lack of control measures and cost-
effective controls as barriers to addressing invasive species. Officials in several
states told us that new herbicidal and biological control measures are needed to
control invasive species and more species-specific research is needed to identify
effective measures, although they recognized that it can be difficult to adopt the
new measures. One successful control effort—the sea lamprey control program—
costs about $15 million per year. However, similar control programs for all
invasive species would be problematic given the potential cost. Officials in some
states noted that it takes a long time to obtain approval to use some herbicides
and biological measures, and delays can be costly. In the meantime, officials said
invasive species spread—sometimes dramatically. For example, one state official
said that in 1999 the state identified hydrilla covering about 23 acres of a lake and
control costs for the aquatic invasive plant were estimated to be about $17,000 at
the time. Local groups protested and threatened to sue the city if the herbicide
proposed to control the hydrilla was used; the local environmental board did not
approve use of the herbicide. Today, the plant has spread to over 300 acres and
control costs are estimated to have increased tenfold. Another state official said
that because a federal court ruling restricts the use of herbicides near water
without an Environmental Protection Agency permit and such permits are very
difficult to obtain, the state cannot use herbicides to control Eurasian watermilfoil
(an aquatic plant). As a result, control has been slow and costly because the plant
must be pulled by hand by divers at a cost of about $400 per day, per diver.


Page 9                                          GAO-03-1089R Perspectives on Invasive Species
Another state official said that because existing chemicals are ineffective in
controlling kudzu, mechanical control measures, such as mowing, are currently
the best available option. However, because the plant spreads so rapidly,
mechanical measures are very expensive; the official said that it could cost
millions of dollars to remove kudzu in the state. Officials from several states said
that more research is needed to identify cheaper control measures.

Coastal and noncoastal states identified similar key barriers for managing
invasives. These included inadequate federal funding for state efforts, a lack of
public education and outreach, a lack of control measures, and a lack of cost-
effective control measures.

In contrast, ISAC members identified different factors as key barriers. For
example, members most often identified less funding for invasive species in
natural areas than for agricultural land as a barrier to managing invasive species.
As previously reported in August 2000, almost 90 percent of the federal funds
spent to manage invasive species were expended by the U.S. Department of
Agriculture.7 We also found that species that threaten agricultural crops or
livestock are far more likely to elicit a rapid response than those primarily
affecting natural areas.8

State Officials’ Opinions on Effective Leadership Structures for
Addressing Invasive Species Varied

Currently, no single agency oversees the federal invasive species effort. Instead,
the National Invasive Species Council coordinates federal actions to address the
problem. State officials most often identified specifically authorizing the Council
in legislation as an effective leadership structure for managing invasive species,
although almost as many officials thought that continuing under the current
executive order would also be effective. Some state officials identified the
designation of a single federal agency with responsibility for both aquatic and
terrestrial issues, or the designation of one federal agency for aquatic and one for
terrestrial invasive species issues, as effective leadership structures (see fig. 3).




7
    GAO/RCED-00-219.
8
    GAO-01-724.



Page 10                                         GAO-03-1089R Perspectives on Invasive Species
Figure 3: Number of State Officials’ Who Responded as “Great” or “Very Great” with
Regard to the Perceived Effectiveness of Potential Leadership Structures




During the work for our October 2002 report, the executive director of the
Council noted that legislative authority for the Council, depending on how it was
structured, could be useful in implementing the national management plan, which
called for the Council to conduct an evaluation by January 2002 of the current
                                               9
legal authorities relevant to invasive species. Officials from the Department of
Agriculture, the Department of Defense, and the Environmental Protection
Agency also told us that legislative authority, if properly written, would make it
easier for Council to implement the management plan.

When we analyzed the results of our survey regarding leadership structure by the
respondents’ type of agency or whether they represented a coastal or noncoastal
state, we found some variation with these responses compared with the overall
state responses. Specifically, more state officials representing fish and wildlife
agencies identified legislative recognition of the Council as an effective leadership
structure, while officials from agriculture agencies were equally split on legislative
recognition versus continuing the Council under the current executive order.
More agriculture officials identified designation of a single agency responsible for
all invasive species issues as an effective leadership structure, while more fish and
wildlife officials identified the need for separate agencies—one for aquatic
invasive species and one for terrestrial invasive species—as an effective structure.
Further, more coastal and noncoastal respondents identified legislative
recognition of the Council rather than continuing under the current executive
order. In addition, more coastal and noncoastal respondents identified
designation of a single agency responsible for all invasive species rather than
separate agencies as an effective leadership structure.

Almost all of the ISAC members that responded to our survey identified
specifically authorizing the Council in legislation as an effective leadership

9
U.S. General Accounting Office, Invasive Species: Clearer Focus and Greater Commitment
Needed to Effectively Manage the Problem, GAO-03-1 (Washington, D.C.: October 2002).



Page 11                                            GAO-03-1089R Perspectives on Invasive Species
structure for managing invasive species, with half as many identifying authorizing
the Council by continuing with the current executive order as an effective
structure. A smaller number of ISAC members identified the designation of one
federal agency for aquatic issues and another federal agency for terrestrial
invasive species issues as effective structures, and the designation of a single
federal agency with responsibility for both aquatic and terrestrial issues (see fig.
4).

Figure 4: Number of ISAC Members’ Who Responded “Great” or “Very Great” with Regard
to the Perceived Effectiveness of Potential Leadership Structures




State Officials’ Opinions Varied on Whether to Integrate Legislation on
Aquatic Invasive Species with Legislation on Terrestrial Invasive Species

Federal officials responsible for addressing invasive species operate under a
patchwork of laws where aquatic and terrestrial species are treated separately.
Questions have been raised about whether this is the most efficient and effective
approach and whether the federal government’s ability to manage invasive species
would be strengthened if integrated legal authority addressed both types of
invasives. Some believe such an approach would create more flexibility for
addressing invasive species; others are concerned that such an approach would
disrupt existing programs that are working well.

No clear consensus exists among state officials on whether legislative authority
for addressing aquatic and terrestrial invasive species should be integrated.
Overall, more state officials were in favor of integrating legislative authority, but
the margin over those who did not favor integration was relatively small.
Specifically, 32 of the 70 (46 percent) state officials we surveyed said they favored
integrated legislation, whereas 26 of the 70 (37 percent) state officials said they
did not (see fig. 5).




Page 12                                         GAO-03-1089R Perspectives on Invasive Species
Figure 5: State Officials’ Opinions on the Potential Integration of Aquatic and Terrestrial
Invasive Species Legislation




About twice as many of the ISAC members who responded to our survey favored
integrating legislation on aquatic and terrestrial invasive species compared with
those who did not (see fig. 6).

Figure 6: ISAC Members’ Opinions on the Potential Integration of Aquatic and Terrestrial
Invasive Species Legislation




We also analyzed state officials’ opinions on integrating legislative authority on
aquatic and terrestrial invasive species by the type of agency the state officials


Page 13                                             GAO-03-1089R Perspectives on Invasive Species
represented—agriculture, fish and wildlife, or other—and the respondents stated
area of expertise or knowledge—aquatics only, terrestrial only, or aquatics and
terrestrials. When considering a respondent’s agency affiliation, differences in
opinion varied slightly. State officials representing agriculture agencies were
evenly split on whether they favored or did not favor integrated legislation while
more state officials from fish and wildlife agencies favored integration than those
who did not (see fig. 7).

Figure 7: State Officials’ Opinions on the Potential Integration of Aquatic and Terrestrial
Invasive Species Legislation, by State Agency Typea




 Thirty-four of the state officials that responded were from agriculture agencies, thirty-three were from fish and wildlife
a


agencies, and three were from other agencies that manage invasive species.


Differences in opinion became more distinct when we considered a respondents’
area of expertise. A large majority of the state officials who identified themselves
as having expertise solely in aquatic invasive species were against integrating
aquatic and terrestrial authority. Conversely, officials with expertise in terrestrial
invasives slightly favored integrated authority, but only by a small margin. State
officials who identified themselves as experts or knowledgeable in both aquatic
and terrestrial invasives favored integrated authority by a large majority (see fig.
8).




Page 14                                                                 GAO-03-1089R Perspectives on Invasive Species
Figure 8: State Officials’ Opinions on the Potential Integration of Aquatic and Terrestrial
Invasive Species Legislation, by Area of Expertisea




a
Twenty-one of the state officials that responded had aquatic only expertise, sixteen had terrestrial only, and thirty-three
had both aquatic and terrestrial expertise.


State officials’ responses were also analyzed based on whether the respondent
was from a coastal or noncoastal state. More coastal state officials favored
integration than those who did not, while officials in noncoastal states were split
on whether they favored integrating legislative authority for aquatic and terrestrial
invasive species (see fig. 9).




Page 15                                                                GAO-03-1089R Perspectives on Invasive Species
Figure 9: State Officials’ Opinions on the Potential Integration of Aquatic and Terrestrial
Invasive Species Legislation, by State Locationa




a
 Thirty of the state officials that responded to the questions were from noncoastal states, and forty were from coastal
states. States bordering the Great Lakes were considered as coastal states.


We also asked state officials about potential gains and drawbacks of integrating
federal legislation on aquatic invasive species with legislation on terrestrial
invasive species (see table 1).

Table 1: Potential Gains and Drawbacks of Integrating Legislation on Aquatic Invasive
Species with Legislation on Terrestrial Invasive Species Identified by At Least 50 Percent
of State Officials Responding to the Survey

    Potential gains                                                  Potential drawbacks
    Better ability to prioritize control actions                     Competition for scarce resources
    Greater sense of purpose guiding invasives
    control                                                          Complexity of implementation
    Increased federal agency coordination                            Difficulty addressing all situations
    Increased federal/state agency coordination                      Reduction in state authority
    Increased focus on pathways of transportation                    Reduction in state agency flexibility
    Increased funding flexibility
Source: GAO.



As shown, state officials identified a number of different potential gains and
drawbacks. For example, many state officials believed that integrating legislative
authority could result in increased coordination between federal agencies and
states. Some state officials described the efforts needed to address invasives as
requiring broad, interdisciplinary coordination and characterized the current



Page 16                                                               GAO-03-1089R Perspectives on Invasive Species
federal effort as fragmented and ineffective. For example, one state official told
us that dealing with multiple federal agencies and multiple levels within an agency
makes coordination on invasive species issues difficult, especially when the
species cross state boundaries. The official cited, as an example, delays in
controlling saltcedar due to local federal officials who opposed control because it
might threaten endangered species that were using the plant; regional federal
officials subsequently approved the control measures. Another state official said
that because the state must deal with numerous federal agencies in managing its
invasive species program, communications are sometimes difficult. An official
from another state said that because there is no clear federal authority for
invasive species, the state does not know with whom it should deal because there
are many different agencies and programs involved. Also, many state officials
saw an increased focus on pathways for invasive species—as opposed to focusing
on specific species—as a possible gain of integrating authority for aquatic and
terrestrial invasive species. Such an approach could facilitate more effective and
efficient efforts to address invasive species.

Regarding the perceived drawbacks of integrating authority for aquatic and
terrestrial invasive species, many state officials said that it could be difficult to
address all possible situations for both types of invasive species. Some state
officials said the two types of invasives should be handled separately, given the
different ecological complexities, pathways of entry and spread, and control
methods and expertise needed. In addition, some officials stated that combining
legislative authority would result in competition for resources among various
invasive species programs. In particular, one official referred to the “issue of the
moment” phenomenon, where a specific invasive species becomes the focus of
great public attention and receives a large share of resources, while many other
species may get very few resources. Many state officials also identified reduction
in state authority and flexibility and complexity in implementation as a potential
drawback to integrated legislation.

                                       -----------

We are sending copies of this report to the Co-Chairs of the National Invasive
Species Council. We will also make copies available to others upon request. In
addition, the report will be available at no charge on the GAO Web site at
http://www.gao.gov.




Page 17                                              GAO-03-1089R Perspectives on Invasive Species
If you or your staffs have any questions, please call me at (202) 512-3841. Kevin
Bailey, John Delicath, Jill Ann Roth Edelson, Byron S. Galloway, Curtis Groves,
Trish McClure, Judy Pagano, and Amy Webbink were key contributors to this
report.




Barry T. Hill
Director, Natural Resources
and Environment


Enclosures




Page 18                                        GAO-03-1089R Perspectives on Invasive Species
Enclosure I

                                      United States General Accounting Office


                                      Survey of State Agencies – Invasive Species
                                      Legislative Authority


Introduction                                                  Instructions

The National Invasive Species Act of 1996 (NISA) is           Please complete the survey and return it to GAO
due for reauthorization by the Congress. The U.S.             within 10 days of receipt. We need your responses as
General Accounting Office (GAO), an agency of                 soon as possible so we can report our results to
Congress, has been asked to study how states view             Congress in June 2003.
federal legislative authority for addressing invasive
species. As Congress considers this reauthorization,          If you complete the electronic survey using MS Word,
questions have been raised concerning whether                 please do not change any of the questions. Please email
providing overarching, integrated legislation for both        the completed survey to GAOInvasives@gao.gov.
aquatics and terrestrial invasive species would be more
effective in addressing the problem, rather than the          If you print out a hard copy of the survey and fill it out
existing separate laws. As part of this study, we are         manually, please fax your completed questionnaire to
querying officials of the relevant state agencies of all 50   Ilga Semeiks at 202-512-4852.
states and the District of Columbia for their opinions
regarding federal legislative authority for invasive          If you have any questions about this survey, please
species. This survey is designed to be completed by the       send an email to GAOInvasives@gao.gov or call
agencies in each state that are responsible for taking the    Ilga Semeiks at 202-512-6013 or Trish McClure at
lead in invasive species work.                                202-512-6318.

Your participation is very important and we urge you to Thank you for your time and assistance.
complete this questionnaire. We cannot provide
meaningful information to the Congress for it to use
during its deliberations on the reauthorization of NISA
without your responses.
___________________________________________________________________________________________


Please provide the following information in the event we need to clarify a response.

 State:
 Agency:
 Name:
 Title:
 Phone Number:
 E-mail Address:




Page 19                                                                            GAO-03-1089R Perspectives on Invasive Species
Enclosure I


Please provide the following information in the event we need to clarify a response.

 State:
 Agency:
 Name:
 Title:
 Phone Number:
 E-mail Address:




SECTION I: This section focuses on your responsibilities in invasive species control and management.

    1.    For what types of invasive species are you responsible or do you have expertise?
          (Check all that apply.)

          1. [ 46 ] Terrestrial - plant
          2. [ 27 ] Terrestrial - animal
          3. [ 54 ] Aquatic




    2.    Please briefly explain your role in invasive species management.




Page 20                                                                         GAO-03-1089R Perspectives on Invasive Species
Enclosure I
SECTION II: This section focuses on the effects of federal legislative authority on invasive species management.

3.   In your opinion, to what extent is each of the following a gap in or a problem with federal legislative authority
     for managing terrestrial invasive species? Check one box for each row.
     [ 20 ] Check here if you are not familiar with terrestrial invasive species issues and skip to Question 4.
     [Two additional respondents did not answer these questions. Total responses equal 48, but answers for each question
     may not total 48 because some respondents did not answer all questions or provided unclear answers.]
                                                                 Not a   Little   Some      Moderate    Great     Very       No basis
                                                                  gap    extent   extent     extent     extent    great      to judge
                    Gap or problem                                                                                extent
                                                                  (1)     (2)      (3)         (4)        (5)       (6)         (7)
a.   List of federally prohibited terrestrial invasive species    1        2       10          15          8         6          6
     is not as comprehensive as it should be
b.   Often no legal requirements for control if a terrestrial     3        3        3          10         15        14          0
     invasive species is already established or widespread
c.   No single federal agency has overall responsibility for      7        6        5          11         13         6          0
     invasive species
d.   Lack of statutory recognition of the National Invasive       6        3        7          10         14         6          2
     Species Council
e.   No legal requirement for a national rapid response           1        3        5          18         14         6          1
     system
f.   No exemptions in environmental laws, such as ESA,            2        2        4          15         11        13          1
     NEPA, and CWA, to allow for rapid response
g.   No legal requirement for early detection                     5        2        6          12         14         7          1
h.   Federal law provides limited access to private property      4        6        9          13          9         5          2
     when control measures are needed
i.   No requirement that NEPA statements discuss the              4        5        7          10         13         6          3
     potential for introduction or spread of invasive species
j.   Inadequate legal requirements for the possibility that       11      10        8          11          2         3          2
     species introduced for biocontrol may become invasive
k.   Inadequate legal requirements regarding movement of          5        5        8          12         11         7          0
     invasive species across different US ecosystems (i.e., a
     species native to one area and invasive to another)
l.   International trade agreements make it difficult to          2        6        5           7         11        11          5
     regulate products that may introduce invasive species
m. Lack of a single binding international treaty devoted to       2        3        5           8         17         5          7
   invasive species
n.   Inadequate regional coordination                             1        4       11          12         11         7          2
o.   Inadequate coordination between federal and state            0        5       14           7         15         6          1
     agencies
p.   Lack of a federal research mandate for invasive species      0        2        7          13         16        10          0
q.   Existing authority focuses mostly on invasive species        3        4       10           6         18         7          0
     affecting agriculture
r.   Other—please describe and check appropriate box:             0        0        1           0          2         3          0

s. Other-                                                         0        0        0           0          3         8          0
t. Other-                                                         1        0        0           0          2         2          0




Page 21                                                                                  GAO-03-1089R Perspectives on Invasive Species
Enclosure I
4.   In your opinion, to what extent is each of the following a gap in or a problem with federal legislative authority
     for managing aquatic invasive species? Check one box for each row.

     [ 13 ] Check here if you are not familiar with aquatic invasive species issues and skip to Question 5.
     [Total responses equal 57, but answers for each question may not total 57 because some respondents did not answer
     all questions or provided unclear answers.]
                                                                Not a   Little   Some      Moderate    Great     Very       No basis
                                                                 gap    extent   extent     extent     extent    great      to judge
                   Gap or problem                                                                                extent
                                                                 (1)     (2)      (3)         (4)        (5)       (6)         (7)
a.   List of federally prohibited aquatic invasive species is    2        4        7          16         13        11          4
     not as comprehensive as it should be
b.   Often no legal requirements for control if an aquatic       3        8        6           7         22        11          0
     invasive species is already established or widespread
c.   No single federal agency has overall responsibility for     5        4       15          13         15         4          2
     invasive species
d.   Lack of statutory recognition of the National Invasive      11       4        9          11         14         3          5
     Species Council
e.   No legal requirement for a national rapid response          2        1        7          22         19         5          1
     system
f.   No exemptions in environmental laws, such as ESA,           0        2        7          17         13        12          6
     NEPA, and CWA, to allow for rapid response
g.   No legal requirement for early detection                    4        2       12          12         20         6          1
h.   Federal law provides limited access to private property     6       11        5          14         12         5          4
     when control measures are needed
i.   No requirement that NEPA statements discuss the             3        6        7          19          9         7          6
     potential for introduction or spread of invasive species
j. Inadequate legal requirements for the possibility that        15       8        9           7          7         5          5
   species introduced for biocontrol may become invasive
k. Inadequate legal requirements regarding movement of           8        4        7          12         16         8          2
   invasive species across different US ecosystems (i.e., a
   species native to one area and invasive to another)
l. International trade agreements make it difficult to           2        3        3           8         16        14         11
   regulate products that may introduce invasive species
m. No single binding international treaty devoted to             2        4        6          12         18         8          7
   invasive species
n. Inadequate regional coordination                              4        9       14          13         11         5          1
o.   Inadequate coordination between federal and state           2       11       15          12         12         4          0
     agencies
p.   Lack of a federal research mandate for invasive species     1        4       10          17         17         6          2
q.   No regulation of aquatic invasive species brought in on     0        4        4          11         18        11          9
     vessels through means other than ballast water
r.   Exemption of ballast water from the Clean Water Act         2        2        5           7         14        15         12
s.   Ineffective federal standards for ballast water             0        2        2           8         15        19         11
t.   Insufficient federal oversight of the aquaculture           7        7        7          11          7        14          4
     industry
u.   Other—please describe and check appropriate box:            0        0        1           1          1         3          0

v. Other-                                                        0        0        1           1          2         7          0
w. Other-                                                        0        0        0           0          1         2          0


Page 22                                                                                 GAO-03-1089R Perspectives on Invasive Species
Enclosure I
5.   Would you favor federal legislation that would integrate the authority to manage both terrestrial and aquatic
     invasive species rather than the current collection of separate laws?

     1.   [ 32 ] Yes        2.   [ 26 ] No       3.   [ 12 ] No opinion

     Please explain your answer:




6.   What would you like to see gained if there was an overarching federal legislative authority that integrated
     both terrestrial and aquatic invasive species? (Check all that apply.)

            1. [ 53 ] Increased coordination among federal agencies responsible for invasive species response
            2. [ 61 ] Increased coordination between federal and state agencies
            3. [ 29 ] Clearer division of responsibility among federal agencies
            4. [ 47 ] Better ability to prioritize control actions amongst invasive species risks
            5. [ 49 ] Greater sense of purpose or overall objective guiding control of invasive species
            6. [ 53 ] Increased focus on pathways or modes of transport of invasive species
                     (rather than distinction of terrestrial vs. aquatic or plant vs. animal approach)
            7. [ 40 ] Increased flexibility in using funding for highest priority
            8. [ 13 ] Other—please describe:
            9. [ 5 ] Other—please describe:
           10. [ 3 ] Other—please describe:
           11. [ 1 ] No opinion


           Using the numbers from 1-10 above, what in your opinion are the 3 most important gains?
           (Enter numbers from above categories in the three boxes below.)

                   66                         64                          63


     1           15                              4                         3
     2           11                              15                        10
     3           2                               2                         3
     4           10                              13                        7
     5           5                               11                        7
     6           13                              9                         20
     7           3                               7                         9
     8           7                               0                         1
     9           0                               1                         2
     10          0                               2                         1




Page 23                                                                                GAO-03-1089R Perspectives on Invasive Species
Enclosure I
    7.     What could be the drawbacks of an overarching federal legislative authority that integrated both
          terrestrial and aquatic invasive species? Please check all that apply.

           1. [ 57 ]    Difficulty creating integrated legislation that addresses all situations and all responsible agencies
           2. [ 36 ]    Reduction in state authority for controlling invasive species
           3. [ 38 ]    Reduction of state agency flexibility in controlling invasive species
           4. [ 19 ]    Reduction of federal agency flexibility in controlling invasive species
           5. [ 49 ]    Complexity in implementation
           6. [ 47 ]    Could result in terrestrial and aquatic programs competing for scarce funds
           7. [ 33 ]    Could result in less funding for management of less well-known invasive species
           8. [ 34 ]    Could result in loss of specific expertise of the individual agencies that now have authority over specific
                       types of invasive species
           9. [   3]   Other—please describe:
          10. [   0]   Other—please describe:
          11. [   0]   Other—please describe:
          12. [   2]   No major drawbacks

          Using the numbers from 1-11 above, what in your opinion are the 3 most important drawbacks?
          (Enter numbers from above categories in the three boxes below.)

                   65                          63                         57

     1            22                              6                        5
     2            16                              11                       1
     3            8                               12                       7
     4            2                               2                        2
     5            7                               12                       8
     6            7                               8                        14
     7            1                               7                        6
     8            1                               5                        13
     9            1                               0                        1




Page 24                                                                                GAO-03-1089R Perspectives on Invasive Species
Enclosure I


SECTION III: We now want your views on different options for organizational authority for managing and
controlling invasive species.

8.   Regardless of whether or not federal legislative authority for terrestrial and aquatic invasive species was integrated,
     to what extent do you think the following would be effective in managing and controlling invasive species?
     (Check one box for each row.)
                                                           Not       Little   Some      Moderate    Great     Very         No
                                                         Effective   extent   extent     extent     extent    great      basis to
                 Options                                                                                      extent      judge
                                                            (1)       (2)      (3)         (4)        (5)       (6)        (7)
a.   Continuation of the current National Invasive          7         10        8          17         15         8          4
     Species Council as established by Executive Order
b.   Legislative recognition of the National Invasive       7          5       10          15         17        10          5
     Species Council
c.   Designation of one federal agency that is              18        11        8          17          9         7          0
     responsible for all invasive species issues
d.   Designation of one federal agency responsible for      18        13       11          10         12         4          1
     terrestrial invasive species and another federal
     agency responsible for aquatic invasive species
e.   Other— please describe and check appropriate box:      0          0        0           0          1         6          0

f. Other-                                                   0          0        0           0          1         6          0
g. Other-                                                   0          0        0           0          0         3          0




Page 25                                                                              GAO-03-1089R Perspectives on Invasive Species
Enclosure I

SECTION IV: We would like your views on invasive species management and implementation problems.

9.   In your opinion, to what extent does each of the following factors make it difficult to manage terrestrial invasive
     species? (Check one box for each row.)

      [ 19 ] Check here if you are not familiar with terrestrial invasive species issues and skip to Question 10.
     [Two additional respondents did not answer these questions. Total responses equal 49, but answers for each question
     may not total 49 because some respondents did not answer all questions or provided unclear answers.]
                                                           Not a    Little    Some       Moderate    Great     Very         No
                                                           factor   extent    extent      extent     extent    great      basis to
                   Factors                                                                                     extent      judge
                                                            (1)      (2)       (3)          (4)        (5)       (6)        (7)
a.   Federal agencies do not do enough under their           0        2         9           14         13        7           4
     current legislative authorities
b.   Federal agencies do not do enough to address
     terrestrial invasive species on federal lands that      2            3         6        9           11          10       7
     affect neighboring areas
c.   Inadequate information and technical assistance
     from federal government for preventing, detecting,      1            5         14       12          9           5        3
     assessing, monitoring, and controlling invasive
     species
d.   Inadequate information and research on terrestrial      1            2         14       10          15          6        0
     invasive species in general
e.   Lack of control measures for specific terrestrial       1            5         8        17          13          4        0
     invasive species
f.   Lack of cost-effective control measures                 1            2         11       7           18          8        1
g.   Inadequate coordination among federal agencies          1            2         14       13          7           7        4
h. Inadequate coordination between federal and state         0            4         17       14          8           5        1
   governments
i. Inadequate regional coordination                          1            4         12       11          9           5        7
j. Inability of federal agencies to share funds with one     0            3         7        13          9           3        13
   another to address invasive species
k. Response efforts delayed by conflicts over legal          2            3         9        14          9           4        8
   authority
l. Less funding for invasive species in natural areas        2            4         8        10          10          11       4
   than for agricultural land
m. Federal grant program funds available only for            0            5         5        11          14          7        7
   specific types of state invasive species efforts
n. Inadequate federal funding for state invasive             0            0         8        6           10          23       2
   species efforts
o. List approach ineffective in dealing with newly-          0            5         12       12          10          7        3
   introduced terrestrial invasive species
p. Lack of flexibility in NEPA requirements to allow         1            1         6        10          10          13       8
   for invasive species rapid response and control
   efforts
q. Lack of public awareness outreach and education           0            1         5        9           14          19       0
r.    Other barriers— please describe and check              0            0         0        1           1           5        0
     appropriate box:

s. Other-                                                    0            0         0        1           3           2        0
t. Other-                                                    0            0         0        0           1           2        0


Page 26                                                                              GAO-03-1089R Perspectives on Invasive Species
Enclosure I
10. In your opinion, to what extent does each of the following factors make it difficult to manage aquatic invasive
    species? (Check one box for each row.)

      [ 13 ] Check here if you are not familiar with aquatic invasive species issues and skip to Question 11.
     [One additional respondent did not answer these questions. Total responses equal 56, but answers for each question
     may not total 56 because some respondents did not answer all questions or provided unclear answers, and one
     respondent that checked the above box answered these questions instead of skipping to Question 11. While this
     respondent’s answers are presented below, they were excluded for purposes of our analyses.]
                                                             Not a      Little     Some       Moderate     Great      Very         No
                                                             factor     extent     extent      extent      extent     great      basis to
                   Factors                                                                                            extent      judge
                                                              (1)        (2)        (3)          (4)        (5)        (6)         (7)
a.   Federal agencies do not do enough under their             2          7          8           16         13          8           3
     current legislative authorities
b.   Federal agencies do not do enough to address
     aquatic invasive species on federal lands that affect          3     5         13            7           10             6       13
     neighboring areas
c.   Inadequate information and technical assistance
     from federal government for preventing, detecting,             4          5    16                15          8          5       4
     assessing, monitoring, and controlling invasive
     species
d.   Inadequate information and research on aquatic                 0          5    11                19      15             6       1
     invasive species in general
e.   Lack of control measures for specific aquatic                  0          3          4           13      25       12            0
     invasive species
f.   Lack of cost-effective control measures                        0          1          8            8      29        9            1
g.   Inadequate coordination among federal agencies                 1          3         12       18              9          4       8
h.   Inadequate coordination between federal and state              1          5         24       9           12             5       1
     governments
i.   Inadequate regional coordination                               3          7    19            9           12             3       4
j. Inability of federal agencies to share funds with one            1          5          8           15          8     5            14
   another to address invasive species
k. Response efforts delayed by conflicts over legal            4          5               7           12          9          5       15
   authority
l. Less funding for invasive species in natural areas               5          5          6            9      14             7      8
   than for agricultural land
m. Federal grant program funds available only for                   2          7          5           13    12               7       9
   specific types of state invasive species efforts
n.   Inadequate federal funding for state invasive                  0          0          6            9      14       27            1
     species efforts
o.   List approach ineffective in dealing with newly-               3          5         10           16      10        6            6
     introduced aquatic invasive species
p.   Lack of flexibility in NEPA requirements to allow              0          4     7                13      11             9       12
     for invasive species rapid response and control
     efforts
q.   Lack of public awareness outreach and education                0          3          5           14      14       21            0
s.   Other barriers— please describe and check                      0          0          0            0          0          3       0
     appropriate box:

t. Other-                                                           0          0          0            0          2          9       0

u. Other-                                                      0              0          0        0           4             0        0



Page 27                                                                                   GAO-03-1089R Perspectives on Invasive Species
Enclosure I
11. Overall, what are the top three barriers in implementing programs to manage invasive species?

 68 responses


 67 responses


 66 responses


SECTION V: General information

12. Does your state have a comprehensive invasive species council addressing all types of invasive species?

     [ 19 ] Yes     [ 47 ] No      If yes, please identify the following information about it:

    Name of council:

    President/Chairperson:

    Phone number:                                           E-mail address:



13. Does your state have comprehensive, statewide councils on specific types of invasive species, such as terrestrials,
    aquatics, plants, or animals?

     [ 36 ] Yes    [ 30 ] No       If yes, please identify the following information about these councils:

    Name of council:

    President/Chairperson:

    Phone number:                                           E-mail address:


    Name of council:

    President/Chairperson:

    Phone number:                                           E-mail address:


    Name of council:

    President/Chairperson:

    Phone number:                                           E-mail address:




Page 28                                                                          GAO-03-1089R Perspectives on Invasive Species
Enclosure I
If you have more than three such councils, please add the same information about them here:


14. Do you have any other comments that you would like to make about these questions, legislative authorities
    needed to address invasive species, or efforts to address invasive species?




          Thank you for your participation in this survey. Your comments, along with those from
          agencies responsible for controlling and managing invasive species in other states, will help
          to inform the Congress in its decision-making on invasive species legislation.




Page 29                                                                       GAO-03-1089R Perspectives on Invasive Species
Enclosure II


                                     United States General Accounting Office


                                     Survey of the Invasive Species Advisory Committee
                                     on Invasive Species Legislative Authority


Introduction                                                 Instructions

The National Invasive Species Act of 1996 (NISA) is          Please complete the survey and return it to GAO
due for reauthorization by the Congress. The U.S.            within 5 days of receipt. We need your responses as
General Accounting Office (GAO), an agency of                soon as possible so we can report our results to
Congress, has been asked to study how states and             Congress in June 2003.
stakeholders view federal legislative authority for
addressing invasive species. As Congress considers this      If you complete the electronic survey using MS Word,
reauthorization, questions have been raised concerning       please do not change any of the questions. Please email
whether providing overarching, integrated legislation for    the completed survey to GAOInvasives@gao.gov.
both aquatics and terrestrial invasive species would be
more effective in addressing the problem, rather than the    If you print out a hard copy of the survey and fill it out
existing separate laws. As part of this study, we are        manually, please fax your completed questionnaire to
querying members of the Invasive Species Advisory            Ilga Semeiks at 202-512-4852.
Committee (ISAC) and officials of the relevant state
agencies of all 50 states and the District of Columbia for   If you have any questions about this survey, please
their opinions regarding federal legislative authority for   send an email to GAOInvasives@gao.gov or call
invasive species. This survey is designed to be              Ilga Semeiks at 202-512-6013 or Trish McClure at
completed by members of the Invasive Species                 202-512-6318.
Advisory Committee.
                                                           Thank you for your time and assistance.
Your participation is very important and we urge you to
complete this questionnaire. Your responses to this
survey will help us to provide meaningful information to
the Congress for it to use during its deliberations on the
reauthorization of NISA.
___________________________________________________________________________________________


Please provide the following information in the event we need to clarify a response.

 Name:
 Affiliation:
 Title:
 State:
 Phone Number:
 E-mail Address:



Page 30                                                                           GAO-03-1089R Perspectives on Invasive Species
Enclosure II

SECTION I: This section focuses on your role within the Invasive Species Advisory Committee (ISAC).

    1.    For what types of invasive species do you have knowledge or expertise?
          (Check all that apply.)

          1. [ 8 ] Terrestrial - plant
          2. [ 5 ] Terrestrial - animal
          3. [10 ] Aquatic




    2.    Please briefly explain your role in invasive species management and on ISAC.




Page 31                                                                        GAO-03-1089R Perspectives on Invasive Species
Enclosure II
SECTION II: This section focuses on the effects of federal legislative authority on invasive species management.

3.   In your opinion, to what extent is each of the following a gap in or a problem with federal legislative authority
     for managing terrestrial invasive species? Check one box for each row.

      [ 5 ] Check here if you are not familiar with terrestrial invasive species issues and skip to Question 4.
      [Total responses equal 11, but answers for each question may not total 11 because one respondent provided unclear
     answers.]
                                                                 Not a   Little   Some      Moderate    Great     Very       No basis
                                                                  gap    extent   extent     extent     extent    great      to judge
                    Gap or problem                                                                                extent
                                                                  (1)     (2)      (3)         (4)        (5)       (6)         (7)
a.   List of federally prohibited terrestrial invasive species    0        0        0           2          3         6          0
     is not as comprehensive as it should be
b.   Often no legal requirements for control if a terrestrial     0        0        1           1          1         7          0
     invasive species is already established or widespread
c.   No single federal agency has overall responsibility for      0        0        2           1          3         5          0
     invasive species
d.   Lack of statutory recognition of the National Invasive       0        0        0           1          5         5          0
     Species Council
e.   No legal requirement for a national rapid response           0        0        0           0          3         8          0
     system
f.   No exemptions in environmental laws, such as ESA,            0        1        1           1          4         3          1
     NEPA, and CWA, to allow for rapid response
g.   No legal requirement for early detection                     0        0        0           2          4         5          0
h.   Federal law provides limited access to private property      1        1        0           2          3         2          2
     when control measures are needed
i.   No requirement that NEPA statements discuss the              0        0        1           3          1         5          1
     potential for introduction or spread of invasive species
j.   Inadequate legal requirements for the possibility that       0        0        0           3          6         1          1
     species introduced for biocontrol may become invasive
k.   Inadequate legal requirements regarding movement of          0        0        0           1          3         7          0
     invasive species across different US ecosystems (i.e., a
     species native to one area and invasive to another)
l.   International trade agreements make it difficult to          0        0        0           1          3         6          0
     regulate products that may introduce invasive species
m. Lack of a single binding international treaty devoted to       0        0        1           1          2         5          1
   invasive species
n.   Inadequate regional coordination                             0        0        0           1          5         4          1
o.   Inadequate coordination between federal and state            0        0        0           1          7         3          0
     agencies
p.   Lack of a federal research mandate for invasive species      0        0        0           3          5         3          0
q.   Existing authority focuses mostly on invasive species        0        0        1           0          6         3          0
     affecting agriculture
r.   Other—please describe and check appropriate box:             0        0        0           0          0         3          0

s.                                                                0        0        0           0          2         4          0
t.                                                                0        0        0           0          0         1          0



Page 32                                                                                  GAO-03-1089R Perspectives on Invasive Species
Enclosure II
4.   In your opinion, to what extent is each of the following a gap in or a problem with federal legislative authority for
     managing aquatic invasive species? Check one box for each row.

     [ 5 ] Check here if you are not familiar with aquatic invasive species issues and skip to Question 5.
     [Total responses equal 11, but answers for each question may not total 11 because one respondent provided unclear
     answers.]
                                                                Not a   Little   Some      Moderate    Great     Very       No basis
                                                                 gap    extent   extent     extent     extent    great      to judge
                   Gap or problem                                                                                extent
                                                                 (1)     (2)      (3)         (4)        (5)       (6)         (7)
a.   List of federally prohibited aquatic invasive species is    1        0        1           1          3         5          0
     not as comprehensive as it should be
b.   Often no legal requirements for control if an aquatic       1        0        0           1          5         4          0
     invasive species is already established or widespread
c.   No single federal agency has overall responsibility for     1        0        0           1          4         5          0
     invasive species
d.   Lack of statutory recognition of the National Invasive      0        0        1           1          2         7          0
     Species Council
e.   No legal requirement for a national rapid response          0        0        0           2          2         7          0
     system
f.   No exemptions in environmental laws, such as ESA,           0        1        3           2          1         4          0
     NEPA, and CWA, to allow for rapid response
g.   No legal requirement for early detection                    0        0        0           3          3         5          0
h.   Federal law provides limited access to private property     2        1        0           2          4         1          1
     when control measures are needed
i.   No requirement that NEPA statements discuss the             1        0        2           1          1         5          1
     potential for introduction or spread of invasive species
j. Inadequate legal requirements for the possibility that        1        0        1           3          3         2          1
   species introduced for biocontrol may become invasive
k. Inadequate legal requirements regarding movement of           1        0        1           3          1         5          0
   invasive species across different US ecosystems (i.e., a
   species native to one area and invasive to another)
l. International trade agreements make it difficult to           1        1        0           1          4         4          0
   regulate products that may introduce invasive species
m. No single binding international treaty devoted to             0        1        0           4          3         3          0
   invasive species
n. Inadequate regional coordination                              1        1        1           1          3         3          1
o.   Inadequate coordination between federal and state           0        1        0           2          6         1          0
     agencies
p.   Lack of a federal research mandate for invasive species     0        1        1           2          3         4          0
q.   No regulation of aquatic invasive species brought in on     0        0        1           1          4         4          1
     vessels through means other than ballast water
r.   Exemption of ballast water from the Clean Water Act         2        0        1           0          2         3          3
s.   Ineffective federal standards for ballast water             0        1        0           0          6         4          0
t.   Insufficient federal oversight of the aquaculture           1        0        0           1          4         4          1
     industry
u.   Other—please describe and check appropriate box:            0        0        0           0          0         2          0

v.                                                               0        0        0           0          1         3          0
w.                                                               0        0        0           0          0         0          0


Page 33                                                                                 GAO-03-1089R Perspectives on Invasive Species
Enclosure II
5.   Would you favor federal legislation that would integrate the authority to manage both terrestrial and aquatic
     invasive species rather than the current collection of separate laws?

     1.   [ 9 ] Yes         2.   [ 4 ] No          3.   [ 3 ] No opinion

     Please explain your answer:




6.   What would you like to see gained if there was an overarching federal legislative authority that integrated
     both terrestrial and aquatic invasive species? (Check all that apply.)

            1. [ 15 ] Increased coordination among federal agencies responsible for invasive species response
            2. [ 15 ] Increased coordination between federal and state agencies
            3. [ 13 ] Clearer division of responsibility among federal agencies
            4. [ 13 ] Better ability to prioritize control actions amongst invasive species risks
            5. [ 14 ] Greater sense of purpose or overall objective guiding control of invasive species
            6. [ 12 ] Increased focus on pathways or modes of transport of invasive species
                     (rather than distinction of terrestrial vs. aquatic or plant vs. animal approach)
            7. [ 11 ] Increased flexibility in using funding for highest priority
            8. [ 4 ] Other—please describe:
            9. [ 2 ] Other—please describe:
           10. [ 0 ] Other—please describe:
           11. [ 0 ] No opinion


           Using the numbers from 1-10 above, what in your opinion are the 3 most important gains?
           (Enter numbers from above categories in the three boxes below.)

                   15                         15                           14

     1                5                        2                            0
     2                2                        4                            2
     3                0                        3                            1
     4                3                        0                            1
     5                1                        2                            2
     6                2                        1                            4
     7                0                        2                            3
     8                2                        0                            1
     9                0                        1                            0




Page 34                                                                                GAO-03-1089R Perspectives on Invasive Species
Enclosure II
     7.   What could be the drawbacks of an overarching federal legislative authority that integrated both
           terrestrial and aquatic invasive species? Please check all that apply.
            1. [ 12 ] Difficulty creating integrated legislation that addresses all situations and all responsible agencies
            2. [ 2 ] Reduction in state authority for controlling invasive species
            3. [ 2 ] Reduction of state agency flexibility in controlling invasive species
            4. [ 3 ] Reduction of federal agency flexibility in controlling invasive species
            5. [ 11 ] Complexity in implementation
            6. [ 10 ] Could result in terrestrial and aquatic programs competing for scarce funds
            7. [ 6 ] Could result in less funding for management of less well-known invasive species
            8. [ 8 ] Could result in loss of specific expertise of the individual agencies that now have authority over specific
                     types of invasive species
            9. [ 3 ] Other—please describe:
          10. [ 0 ] Other—please describe:
          11. [ 0 ] Other—please describe:
          12. [ 0 ] No major drawbacks
          Using the numbers from 1-11 above, what in your opinion are the 3 most important drawbacks?
          (Enter numbers from above categories in the three boxes below.)
                  15                        14                        12
    1           5                         2                          3
    2           1                         0                          0
    3           0                         1                          0
    4           1                         0                          0
    5           3                         4                          3
    6           3                         3                          2
    7           0                         2                          1
    8           0                         2                          3
    9           2                         0                          0
SECTION III: We now want your views on different options for organizational authority for managing and
controlling invasive species.
8. Regardless of whether or not federal legislative authority for terrestrial and aquatic invasive species was integrated,
    to what extent do you think the following would be effective in managing and controlling invasive species?
    (Check one box for each row.)
                                                           Not       Little   Some       Moderate    Great     Very         No
                                                         Effective   extent   extent      extent     extent    great      basis to
                  Options                                                                                      extent      judge
                                                             (1)       (2)      (3)         (4)        (5)       (6)        (7)
a.   Continuation of the current National Invasive           0          2        4           3          3         4          0
     Species Council as established by Executive Order
b.   Legislative recognition of the National Invasive        0          0        1           1          5         9          0
     Species Council
c.   Designation of one federal agency that is               2          3        4           3          2         2          0
     responsible for all invasive species issues
d.   Designation of one federal agency responsible for       1          3        4           3          5         0          0
     terrestrial invasive species and another federal
     agency responsible for aquatic invasive species
e.   Other— please describe and check appropriate box:       0          0        0           0          0         1          0

f.                                                           0          0        0           0          0         1          0
g.                                                           0          0        0           0          0         0          0
SECTION IV: We would like your views on invasive species management and implementation problems.

Page 35                                                                               GAO-03-1089R Perspectives on Invasive Species
Enclosure II

9.   In your opinion, to what extent does each of the following factors make it difficult to manage terrestrial invasive
     species? (Check one box for each row.)

      [ 5 ] Check here if you are not familiar with terrestrial invasive species issues and skip to Question 10.
      [Total responses equal 11, but answers for each question may not total 11 because some respondents did not answer
     all questions.]
                                                           Not a    Little    Some       Moderate    Great      Very        No
                                                           factor   extent    extent      extent     extent     great     basis to
                    Factors                                                                                     extent     judge
[Note: Some respondents left some factors blank.]           (1)      (2)       (3)          (4)        (5)       (6)        (7)
a. Federal agencies do not do enough under their             0        0         1            1          5         4          0
    current legislative authorities
b. Federal agencies do not do enough to address
    terrestrial invasive species on federal lands that       0            0         1        2              3         5       0
    affect neighboring areas
c. Inadequate information and technical assistance
    from federal government for preventing, detecting,       0            0         1        3              5         2       0
    assessing, monitoring, and controlling invasive
    species
d. Inadequate information and research on terrestrial        0            1         2        2              4         2       0
    invasive species in general
e. Lack of control measures for specific terrestrial         0            1         3        0              6         0       0
    invasive species
f. Lack of cost-effective control measures                   0            1         2        2              5         1       0
g.   Inadequate coordination among federal agencies          0            0         0        2              4         4       0
h. Inadequate coordination between federal and state         0            0         1        2              5         3       0
   governments
i. Inadequate regional coordination                          0            0         1        2              4         3       0
j. Inability of federal agencies to share funds with one     0            0         1        3              5         2       0
   another to address invasive species
k. Response efforts delayed by conflicts over legal          0            0         1        1              6         2       1
   authority
l. Less funding for invasive species in natural areas        0            0         1        1              3         6       0
   than for agricultural land
m. Federal grant program funds available only for            0            0         2        2              2         4       1
   specific types of state invasive species efforts
n. Inadequate federal funding for state invasive             0            0         0        1              3         6       1
   species efforts
o. List approach ineffective in dealing with newly-          0            0         0        1              3         5       1
   introduced terrestrial invasive species
p. Lack of flexibility in NEPA requirements to allow         0            1         0        2              4         2       2
   for invasive species rapid response and control
   efforts
q. Lack of public awareness outreach and education           0            0         0        0              6         5       0
r.    Other barriers— please describe and check              0            0         0        0              0         1       0
     appropriate box:

s.                                                           0            0         0        0              1         0       0
t.                                                           0            0         0        0              0         0       0




Page 36                                                                              GAO-03-1089R Perspectives on Invasive Species
Enclosure II
10. In your opinion, to what extent does each of the following factors make it difficult to manage aquatic invasive
    species? (Check one box for each row.)

      [ 5 ] Check here if you are not familiar with aquatic invasive species issues and skip to Question 11.
      [Total responses equal 11, but answers for each question may not total 11 because one respondent provided unclear
     answers.]
                                                             Not a    Little    Some       Moderate    Great      Very        No
                                                             factor   extent    extent      extent     extent     great     basis to
                   Factors                                                                                        extent     judge
                                                              (1)      (2)       (3)          (4)        (5)       (6)        (7)
a.   Federal agencies do not do enough under their             0        0         2            0          5         4          0
     current legislative authorities
b.   Federal agencies do not do enough to address
     aquatic invasive species on federal lands that affect     0        0         0            2              5         2       1
     neighboring areas
c.   Inadequate information and technical assistance
     from federal government for preventing, detecting,        0            0         2        3              3         2       1
     assessing, monitoring, and controlling invasive
     species
d.   Inadequate information and research on aquatic            0            0         0        1              5         5       0
     invasive species in general
e.   Lack of control measures for specific aquatic             0            0         2        1              3         5       0
     invasive species
f.   Lack of cost-effective control measures                   0            0         1        1              5         4       0
g.   Inadequate coordination among federal agencies            0            0         0        4              3         4       0
h.   Inadequate coordination between federal and state         0            0         0        3              5         3       0
     governments
i.   Inadequate regional coordination                          0            1         1        3              4         2       0
j. Inability of federal agencies to share funds with one       0            0         2        2              6         1       0
   another to address invasive species
k. Response efforts delayed by conflicts over legal            0            0         0        0              6         4       1
   authority
l. Less funding for invasive species in natural areas          0            1         0        0              5         5       0
   than for agricultural land
m. Federal grant program funds available only for              0            1         0        3              3         3       1
   specific types of state invasive species efforts
n. Inadequate federal funding for state invasive               0            1         0        2              3         5       0
   species efforts
o. List approach ineffective in dealing with newly-            0            0         1        1              4         5       0
   introduced aquatic invasive species
p. Lack of flexibility in NEPA requirements to allow           0            1         2        3              2         3       0
   for invasive species rapid response and control
   efforts
q. Lack of public awareness outreach and education             0            0         2        2              3         4       0
s.   Other barriers— please describe and check                 0            0         0        0              0         0       0
     appropriate box:

t.                                                             0            0         0        0              0         0       0

u.                                                             0            0         0        0              0         1       0




Page 37                                                                                GAO-03-1089R Perspectives on Invasive Species
Enclosure II
11. Overall, what are the top three barriers in implementing programs to manage invasive species?

 16 responses


 16 responses


 16 responses



[Note: No questions 12 and 13.]

SECTION V: General Information

14. Do you have any other comments that you would like to make about these questions, legislative authorities
    needed to address invasive species, or efforts to address invasive species?




          Thank you for your participation in this survey. Your comments, along with those from
          other ISAC members and state agencies responsible for controlling and managing invasive
          species in other states, will help to inform the Congress in its decision-making on invasive
          species legislation.




Page 38                                                                      GAO-03-1089R Perspectives on Invasive Species
Enclosure III

                              Scope and Methodology

At the request of the Chairmen and Ranking Members of the Committee on
Environment and Public Works and its Subcommittee on Fisheries, Wildlife, and
Water, U.S. Senate, we obtained the perspectives of state officials responsible for
managing terrestrial and aquatic invasive species and Invasive Species Advisory
Committee (ISAC) members on the (1) gaps in, or problems with, federal
legislation addressing invasive species, (2) barriers to managing invasive species,
(3) effective federal leadership structures for addressing invasive species, and (4)
integrating federal aquatic and terrestrial invasive species legislation, and the
potential benefits and drawbacks of such legislation.

To obtain the perspectives of state officials and ISAC members, we distributed
two surveys: one was sent to agencies that manage and control invasive species in
the 50 states and the District of Columbia, and the other was sent to 24 ISAC
members. An E-mail was sent to each participant describing the survey and
asking them to identify any other agencies that might manage invasive species.
Through information from this introductory E-mail, prior GAO reports, and ISAC’s
Web site, a survey was sent to one agriculture agency and one wildlife agency
and/or additional agencies that manage invasive species for each state. Because
surveys were sent to all states and ISAC members, there are no sampling errors.
However, the practical difficulties of conducting any survey may introduce errors.
Measurement errors are introduced if difficulties exist in how a particular
question is interpreted or in the sources of information available to respondents in
answering a question. In addition, coding errors may occur if mistakes are entered
into a database.

We took extensive steps in the development of the surveys, the collection of data,
and the editing and analysis of data to minimize total survey error. To reduce
measurement error, we conducted pretests with four states (California, Florida,
Hawaii, and Michigan) and a member of the ISAC to make sure questions and
response categories were interpreted in a consistent manner. The four states
were chosen based on their active invasive species program consisting of both
aquatic and terrestrial invasive species and their geographic locations. Based on
the pretests and comments received from the states and the ISAC member, we
made relevant changes to the questions. Copies of the state and the ISAC surveys,
along with the results to each question, are in enclosures I and II, respectively. In
addition, we edited all completed surveys for consistency and, if necessary,
contacted respondents to clarify responses. All questionnaire responses were
double-key entered into our database (that is, the entries were 100 percent
verified), and a random sample of the questionnaires was further verified for
completeness and accuracy. In addition, all computer syntax was peer reviewed
and verified by separate programmers to ensure that the syntax was written and
executed correctly.



Page 39                                         GAO-03-1089R Perspectives on Invasive Species
We made extensive efforts to encourage respondents to complete and return the
questionnaires, including sending up to four electronic reminder E-mail messages
to non-respondents, and calling state agency officials directly. Our efforts yielded
responses from 45 states and 16 of 24 ISAC members.1 These groups were
analyzed and their results presented separately. We did not receive a response
from any of the agencies that manage or control invasive species from
Connecticut, Maine, Montana, New Jersey, North Carolina, and the District of
          2
Columbia.

In addition to data on state programs obtained through our survey, we obtained
information through interviews with officials from state agencies that manage and
control invasive species. We selected a nonprobability sample of states to obtain
information on programs and perspectives. We selected these states because of
their geographic location, active invasive species efforts concerning both aquatic
and terrestrial invasive species, or the number of invasive species management
challenges they face. In some cases, we also called survey respondents to obtain
specific examples or explanations for certain responses. We also discussed the
results of our survey with the Executive Director of the National Invasive Species
Council.

We performed our review from April 2003 through September 2003 in accordance
with generally accepted government auditing standards.




(360379)

1
There were actually 25 members of ISAC, however, one ISAC member was also a state official.
We only sent this person a state survey, not an ISAC survey. Therefore, we reduced the total
number of possible ISAC responses from 25 to 24.
2
After the delivery of the testimony on June 17, 2003, we received responses from Montana and
New Jersey. However, we excluded these because of the possibility that the responses might have
been influenced by the testimony.



Page 40                                               GAO-03-1089R Perspectives on Invasive Species
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