DAVIE, Fla. (May 10, 2011) – The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, the South Florida
Water Management District, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Agricultural Research
Service, and several other partners this morning marked the start of construction of a
science facility for raising insects to help control invasive plant species.
The ceremony was held at the USDA Agricultural Research Service’s Invasive Plant
Research Laboratory at 3205 College Ave., Fort Lauderdale, FL 33314.
The insects will be used as biocontrols to manage exotic plants such as melaleuca, Lygodium and Brazilian pepper. Controlling these invasive species is critical to protect South Florida’s environment and the Everglades.
Construction of the project will begin July 22, 2011 and completion of the facility is expected to be September 9, 2012. The total cost of the annex is $16.7 million, which is funded through a 50/50 federal/non-federal agreement.
The agencies involved in this ceremony and their scientists are recognized world-wide for their expertise in pioneering this vital science, which has helped saved some native species from distinction and ecosystem degradation.
It is estimated that 25,000 non-native species have found a home in the south Florida region, and now account for more than one-third of all plants in Florida. The scientists involved in the ceremony today are considered the globe’s experts and their knowledge is constantly sought abroad.
This new annex facility will allow them to continue their work on behalf of the ecosystems in Florida, the nation and the world.