Gov. Ralph DLG Torres announced Monday that $507,383 has been awarded to the CNMI Brown Treesnake Interdiction Program through the Department of Interior Office of Insular Affairs’ Brown Treesnake Program.
“Invasive species significantly damage our local habitat and can have detrimental effects on our economy. Preventing the spread of BTS is a continual effort and I recognize and commend the efforts of our BTS team who have maintained and exceeded their program’s performance measures. Again, we’ve been so fortunate to say that our Commonwealth is snake-free and that our bird population is thriving. DLNR’s perseverance has helped preserve our current bird habitat and ecosystem. As we continue work in containing and eradicating invasive species such as the coconut rhino beetles on Rota, I maintain our commitment to providing the necessary resources to combat all invasive species as much as possible,” Torres said.
“The CNMI Brown Treesnake Interdiction team did amazing work over the past year and prevented the entry of BTS to the islands. I commend our team and K9 inspectors for their ongoing diligence to ensure that all vessels and cargo arriving at ports of entry on Saipan, Tinian, or Rota are clear and snake-free. Our program performance standards for inspections are to maintain a 90 percent canine inspection rate of Guam-based cargo arrivals, and maintain approximately 450 snake traps at all CNMI ports of entry and I am very pleased that the team has exceeded this and no brown treesnakes have entered the CNMI,” Secretary of Lands and Natural Resources Anthony T. Benavente said.
“The Office of the Governor and the Office of Grants Management & State Clearinghouse commend Brown Treesnake Program Coordinator Kevin Donmoyer and his BTS team for their untiring efforts and continued success in the deterrence of the BTS into the CNMI. This year, the program saw an increase in annual grant funding. The increase is a positive sign that our federal partners have noticed the need for more funding to accommodate the increased traffic of imported goods, especially as the economy continues to strengthen. Praise should also be extended to Secretary Anthony T. Benavente and the DLNR Invasive Species team for their resolute actions to assure the continued progress of the deterrence, detection, containment and eventual eradication of invasive species in the CNMI, specifically the Coconut Rhinoceros Beetle on Rota,” CNMI Grants administrator Epiphanio E. Cabrera Jr. said. (PR)