US Army Corps of Engineers
Jacksonville District

A Community of Practice is born

Published Nov. 6, 2013
Lygodium microphyllum, or Old world climbing fern, pictured here in Loxahatchee, Fla.  Native to Africa, Asia, Australia and the Pacific Islands, the plant invades open forest and wetland areas in Florida and Alabama.

Lygodium microphyllum, or Old world climbing fern, pictured here in Loxahatchee, Fla. Native to Africa, Asia, Australia and the Pacific Islands, the plant invades open forest and wetland areas in Florida and Alabama.

Evaluating Hydrilla on Lake Seminole.  With origins in Florida, Hydrilla is also now established in Canada and much of the United States; control and management cost millions of dollars annually.

Evaluating Hydrilla on Lake Seminole. With origins in Florida, Hydrilla is also now established in Canada and much of the United States; control and management cost millions of dollars annually.

Harvesting water hyacinth on the St. Johns River.

Harvesting water hyacinth on the St. Johns River.

Seeds and plants germinating on mowing equipment on a Dredged Material Management Area (DMMA). The mowing equipment moves from DMMA to DMMA, potentially spreading invasives if not removed.

Seeds and plants germinating on mowing equipment on a Dredged Material Management Area (DMMA). The mowing equipment moves from DMMA to DMMA, potentially spreading invasives if not removed.

Water lettuce and hyacinth blocking the Okeechobee Waterway.

Water lettuce and hyacinth blocking the Okeechobee Waterway.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is responsible for the environmental stewardship of 456 water resources development projects located in 43 states and occupying 5.5 million surface acres, 237 navigation locks, 926 harbors, 75 hydropower projects, and 25,000 miles of inland and coastal waterways.
 
Invasive species occur at most of these projects and include terrestrial and aquatic plants, animals and insects. Invasive species pose a serious threat, impacting wildlife and fisheries habitat as well as human health and resulting in enormous cost for eradication and management efforts.

The Invasive Species Leadership Team was established to provide direction to the ongoing research program, represent the Corps on regional invasive species councils and assist Corps headquarters in the development of national invasive species policy and program management.

The Invasive Species Leadership Team (ISLT) is an 18-member team that consists of one representative from each division office and a representative from one of the district offices within each division. Headquarters proponents include representatives from within the natural resource management and navigation programs, along with a technical proponent from the U.S. Army Engineer Research and Development Center (ERDC).

Jon Lane, chief of the Invasive Species Management Branch, represents Jacksonville District and South Atlantic Division as a standing member of the ISLT.

“We [the team] create invasive species policy for the Corps, develop program management plans and are now in the process of implementing those plans,” said Lane.

The new Invasive Species Community of Practice (CoP) website serves as a central repository of information and expertise on invasive species issues, from contract specifications and equipment decontamination to the latest in outreach education, policy and guidance.

The Corps adapts its management plan and policy from the National Invasive Species Council, which creates the National Invasive Species Management Plan.

“It is important that policy is implemented consistently throughout the Corps,” said Lane.