With today's opening of the new quarantine
facility, scientists at the USDA-ARS Invasive Plant Research Facility that will
be get a much needed resource in their research to stop melaleuca and other
invasive weeds that threaten the Everglades and other sensitive areas. Click
the image for more information about it.
New Quarantine Facility Opens for Invasive Plant
April 8, 2005
DAVIE, Fla., April 8 A
quarantine research facility that opened here today will allow
U.S. Department of Agriculture scientists
and cooperators to safely work on solutions to some of south Florida's most
devastating invasive weed and insect problems.
"This new quarantine facility will provide scientists with an
invaluable resource to aid them in cooperative efforts to contain invasive
species that threaten the Everglades and other environmentally sensitive areas
in south Florida," said Edward B. Knipling, administrator of the
Agricultural Research Service, USDA's
chief in-house scientific research agency.
A dedication ceremony for the Invasive Plant Research Laboratory (IPRL)
was attended by representatives of USDA, the U.S. Department of the Interior
U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, the
South Florida Water Management
District, the Florida Department of
Environmental Protection, the University of
Florida's Institute of Food and
Agricultural Sciences, state and local governments. Rep. E. Clay Shaw Jr.
(Fla.) spoke, along with other invited guests.
In 2001, DOI provided $6.2 million to the Army Corps of Engineers for
construction of the new facility, which is located at the University of
Florida's Fort Lauderdale Research and
Education Center. The IPRL will continue to be operated by ARS.
One invasive plant that scientists have targeted is Melaleuca
quinquenervia. This non-native tree species from Australia was originally
introduced in Florida in the mid-1880s. Since then it has quickly spread
throughout south Florida, displacing native plant and animal communities,
drying up wetlands, creating fire hazards and threatening the stability of the
Everglades ecosystem. A cooperative endeavor called
TAME Melaleuca, established by ARS in
2001, takes an areawide approach to managing this persistent pest on public and
Currently, IPRL scientists are directing studies of the melaleuca psyllid
(Boreioglycaspis melaleucae), melaleuca weevil (Oxyops vitiosa),
and the melaleuca gall fly (Fergusonina turneri). These three promising
biological control agents may help curb or eradicate melaleuca.
Other potential biological control agents at various stages of development
at the IPRL are aimed at battling Old World climbing fern, peppertree, giant
salvinia, skunk vine and water hyacinth. The IPRL is also working on a
biological control project to combat an invasive insect called lobate lac
An open house was held at the new quarantine facility following today's