WASHINGTON D.C.-The Department of the Interior's Assistant Secretary for Insular Areas, Tony Babauta, approved a $1,213,000 reimbursable support agreement between the Office of Insular Affairs and the U.S. Geological Survey. Funds will be used by USGS to continue developing and testing tools aimed at further increasing efforts to capture and control the invasive brown tree snake in Guam.
In addition, funding will go toward the continued provision of Rapid Response Team training to partners in the Pacific to ensure swift action can be taken in the event of a non-Guam brown tree snake sighting.
“I am pleased to be able to continue the successful partnership between OIA and USGS to combat the brown tree snake infestation on Guam and to prevent the establishment of a self-sustaining population elsewhere,” said Babauta. “This invasive species has decimated Guam's biological environment but great strides have been made with the ongoing investments and partnerships with federal, local, and environmental stakeholders. I am confident that our continued support will serve us to better understand, control, capture, and manage this invasive species.”
The brown tree snake is believed to have been unintentionally introduced to the island of Guam following World War II. The brown tree snake is directly responsible for the extinction or local extirpation of nine of 13 native forest birds and three of 12 native lizards.
The BTS Control Program is an interagency operational and research program designed to prevent the dispersal of this non-indigenous invasive species to other areas and to eradicate existing brown tree snake populations in non-native areas. The potential economic impacts of a brown tree snake population being established on Hawaii alone have been estimated between $593 million to $2.14 billion annually. (OIA)