SOCIAL CIRCLE — A draft plan that targets more than 180 invasive species threatening Georgia’s rich variety of native wildlife is available for public comment.
The Georgia Invasive Species Strategy describes the complex scope of problems posed by non-native plants, animals and disease-causing organisms and proposes ways to lessen the impacts in a state ranked sixth in the nation in biological diversity.
Jon Ambrose, assistant chief of the Georgia Wildlife Resources Division’s Nongame Conservation Section, said the strategy provides a framework that will help coordinate invasive species management priorities.
"There are a lot of organizations that are active in this area. The Invasive Species Strategy is intended to provide a picture of where we are now and where we want to go in the future," Ambrose said.
Copies are available at www.georgiawildlife.com (click the "Conservation" tab to reach the link). A public comment meeting is set for 5:30-7:30 p.m. Feb. 12 at the Wildlife Resources Division’s Conservation Center in Social Circle. For directions, go to www.georgiawildlife.com.
The deadline to submit comments is Feb. 16. Send written comments to firstname.lastname@example.org or Jon Ambrose, Georgia Wildlife Resources Division, 2070 U.S. Highway 278 S.E., Social Circle, Ga.30025.
Invasives are plants and animals accidentally or intentionally introduced outside their natural ranges and which cause harm to the environment, economy or human health. For example, laurel wilt, a fungal disease spread by an ambrosia beetle that is not native to the U.S., is killing redbay trees and related species in the Southeastern Coastal Plain. Redbays are a food source for birds and deer, and a critical host plant for the Palamedes swallowtail butterfly.
The draft Invasive Species Strategy, compiled by an advisory committee representing about 30 agencies and non-governmental organizations, summarizes what is being done to combat invaders, identifies gaps in current programs, and recommends improvements.