Media Contact: Jennifer Martin, (202) 720-8188
WASHINGTON, Feb. 3, 2009 – USDA's Cooperative State Research, Education, and Extension Service (CSREES) today announced $4.4 million in grants to 14 universities to conduct research aimed at developing ecologically and economically rational strategies for management, control or elimination of weedy or invasive species.
“Developing research-based information on controlling and managing weedy and invasive species is critical for America's farmers and ranchers,” said Katherine Smith, USDA Acting Deputy Under Secretary for Research, Education and Economics. “Exotic, invasive species are a particularly prevalent feature of agroecosystems and a major threat to food and fiber production.”
Approximately 50,000 species of plants and animals have been introduced into the United States resulting in more than $100 billion in losses and damage each year. Invasive species threaten biodiversity, habitat quality and ecosystems. Exotic, invasive species are a major threat to food and fiber production. Increased globalization and climate change will likely increase the introduction, spread and impact of invasive species.
The awards are administered through the CSREES National Research Initiative (NRI) Biology of Weedy and Invasive Species in Agroecosystems competitive grant program.
The grant program has awarded more than $20 million in grants over the past five years. Funded projects include work at Colorado State University to develop ecological and economic risk assessment decision tools for management of cheatgrass invasions. Scientists at the University of Central Florida will study the biological and economic impacts of two invasive mussels on oyster populations. University of Washington researchers will study the indirect impacts of the invasive brown tree snake on forests and agriculture in Guam.
The fiscal year 2008 grants are being awarded to:
- University of Arkansas, $399,963
- University of California - Berkeley, $350,514
- Colorado State University, $497,496
- University of Colorado, $499,851
- University of Central Florida, $370,239
- Boise State University, $99,929
- University of Idaho, $499,997
- Montana State University, $490,987
- University of Nevada $99,988
- North Carolina State University, $10,000
- Clemson University, $318,476
- South Dakota State University, $158,303
- Trinity University, $205,000
- University of Washington, $399,294
CSREES' NRI program is the largest peer reviewed, competitive grants program at USDA. Its purpose is to support research, extension and education grants that address key problems of national, regional and multi-state importance in sustaining all components of agriculture. The 2008 Farm Bill did not renew the NRI, but did authorize the creation of the Agriculture and Food Research Initiative (AFRI). More information about AFRI can be found online at www.csrees.usda.gov/funding/afri/pdfs/
Through federal funding and leadership for research, education and extension programs, CSREES focuses on investing in science and solving critical issues impacting people's daily lives and the nation's future. For more information, visit www.csrees.usda.gov.