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News Release

Release No. 0401.06
Contact:
Kristin Scuderi (202) 720-4623
Mary Reardon (202) 694-5136

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USDA AWARDS $1.1 MILLION FOR RESEARCHING THE ECONOMIC EFFECTS OF STRATEGIES TO COMBAT INVASIVE PESTS

WASHINGTON, Oct. 6, 2006-Agriculture Secretary Mike Johanns today announced that universities in seven states will receive $1.1 million to study the economic implications of preventing, controlling, or eradicating invasive pests and diseases.

"The control of invasive plant pests and foreign animal diseases is a major priority in protecting our environment and agricultural sector," said Johanns. "This research will help identify effective strategies for preventing the introduction of invasive species and managing their presence."

The agreements announced today will provide funding to universities in Arizona, Michigan, Minnesota, Montana, Ohio, Texas, and Washington. Among the subjects these projects will examine are:

  • development of decision support systems to help public and private land managers identify priorities, and select efficient prevention, detection, and control strategies;
  • benefits and costs of strategies to slow the spread of the Emerald Ash Borer in Michigan and Ohio;
  • benefits and costs of policy options to manage animal diseases that spread between livestock and wildlife, accounting for ecological and economic factors;
  • economic effectiveness of mitigation strategies against avian influenza in the poultry industry, including prevention and response;
  • economic and trade effects on U.S. and global livestock markets of animal disease outbreaks and of individual and multi-country responses.

The complete list of awards is attached. These research projects are competitively awarded by the Program of Research on the Economics of Invasive Species Management (PREISM), administered by USDA's Economic Research Service (ERS). PREISM studies will provide analytically based principles, guidelines, and criteria for invasive species policy and program decision making, as well as the economic information, modeling systems, or other tools that support the decision making. More information about these projects is on the web at: www.ers.usda.gov/briefing/invasivespecies.

FY 2006 PREISM Competitive Cooperative Agreements

University of Toledo, Toledo, Ohio, $250,000 - This project will investigate the ecological and economic effects of the Emerald Ash Borer, a high-priority pest for USDA agencies, on ash forestry and amenities in Ohio and Michigan, and will examine the costs and benefits of strategies to slow the spread of this pest.

University of Montana, Missoula, Mont., $209,000 - This project will build a user-friendly decision tool to help weed managers in the U.S. Forest Service and other land management agencies to identify efficient strategies for a wide variety of weed species. The system will solve complex temporal and spatial problems incorporating Forest Service priorities; budget, personnel, and equipment constraints; and the dynamics of weed species growth and spread.

Texas A&M University, College Station, Texas, $150,000 - This study will examine the economic effectiveness of available mitigation strategies against avian influenza, focusing on the Texas poultry industry. It will investigate the trade-offs among preparedness, prevention, response, and recovery activities, and provide guidance on the efficient allocation of resources to those activities.

University of Arizona, Tucson, Ariz., $119,000 - This project will develop a web-based decision support system that enables government agencies and private land managers to provide pest information and identify cost-effective strategies for managing buffelgrass in Arizona, focusing on the desert-urban interface. Buffelgrass is a non-native perennial grass introduced for livestock forage, but has become invasive and contributes to fire hazards. The methods employed in this study can be applied to other invasive species.

Washington State University, Pullman, Wash., $119,000 - The researchers will model and examine the economic and trade effects of animal disease outbreaks in U.S. and global markets and of individual and multi-country responses to those outbreaks. The study will focus on foot-and-mouth disease, and the market model will include the U.S., Canada, Mexico, and Australia.

Michigan State University, East Lansing, Mich., $117,000 - This study will examine economic effects of policies to manage diseases transmitted between livestock and wildlife. It will construct a bioeconomic framework that incorporates producer incentives, recent ecological developments on multi-host species-pathogen dynamics, and pathogen co-evolutionary processes.

University of Minnesota, St. Paul, Minn., $106,000 - This project will develop a spatially explicit decision support system that considers ecological and economic factors, time, and uncertainty to efficiently allocate resources to prevention, detection, and control for a variety of invasive species. The system will be applied to invasive species in Minnesota and the results compared with current practices.