2004 Invasive Species Summit

In 2003, the Council sponsored an assessment of invasive species within the state and the existing efforts to prevent and control them. In 2004, nearly 200 people gathered at the Council's "Invasive Species Summit" to review assessment findings and suggest actions.

Here is what the Assessment and Summit found:

  • Invasive species management in Idaho is fragmented. Responsibilities and authorities for invasive species management are not clearly defined for most agencies. There is no clear relationship among budgets, needs, and results. There is a need to set priorities and measure results.
  • The levels of education and awareness among landowners, policy-makers, and the general public are not commensurate with the degree of the problem. Landowners need to better understand their obligations to control weeds and the costs associated with failure to manage them. Political leaders need to ensure adequate funding, appropriate legal authorities, and accountability from the agencies. The general public needs to understand invasive species so they become mindful of actions they can take, and help build broad public and political support for adequate programs.
  • Idaho has expended significant efforts on managing noxious weeds, agricultural pests, forest insects, and invasives that threaten human or animal health. Other invasive species, such as aquatic invaders, receive little attention.
  • Resources are scarce, so we must ensure that we expend them wisely. Science can help us set priorities and develop cost effective methods for managing invasive species.
  • There is a need for adequate resources to do the job, including funding. This was perceived as the greatest barrier to effective invasive species management. Counties have widely different levels of resources and capacity to fight a problem that affects everyone.
  • It is better to prevent than to control, because of our limited ability to eradicate or control invasive species once they become established. Idaho managers place a high premium on prevention (i.e., actions to keep an invasive species from ever arriving here) and on early detection and rapid response once a species arrives.