Invasive Species

New laws for Invasive specieThe Congressional Research Service has released a new report on the major federal laws and roles of multiple federal Agencies responsible for preventing, controlling and regulating invasive species in the U.S.

The findings in the report, Invasive Species: Major Laws and the Role of Selected Federal Agencies, conclude, “In FY2012, the U.S. government spent an estimated $2.2 billion across a range of federal agencies and activities in an effort to prevent, control, and eradicate invasive species domestically. Despite efforts to achieve high-level interdepartmental coordination, comprehensive legislation on the treatment of invasive species has never been enacted, and no single law provides coordination among federal agencies. Instead, the current legal framework is largely governed by a patchwork of laws, regulations, policies, and programs.

According to Phytosanitary Experts

Tim Cansler

Tim Cansler

The CRS findings attest to the many discussions that Cansler Consulting has been conducting with Agency officials and others for years“, said Founder and Chief Strategist, Tim Cansler.  “There is a great need for more coordination and collaboration among academia, the scientific community, industry stakeholders and federal agencies to develop effective and targeted strategies to manage invasive species. 

“There also needs to be futuristic discussions among this group about better preparing agricultural shipments prior to shipping, better aligning budget processes with biological cycles of invasive species and who pays for keeping agriculture products flowing through supply chains amidst the growing inverse relationship of a declining federal budget and increasing phytosanitary demands from domestic and international trading partners,” said Cansler.

40% of USDA’s Phytosanitary Certificates were issued by our client

In 2012, there were 605,000 federal phytosanitary certificates issued for shipments of agricultural commodities under USDA’s Phytosanitary Certificate Issuance & Tracking System (PCIT).  More than 40% of these were issued by our client in California,” Cansler noted.  The PCIT system tracks the inspection of agricultural products and certifies compliance with plant health standards of importing countries.

The CRS report highlights that a majority of the activities to combat and regulate invasive species were at the Department of Agriculture.  CRS estimates USDA spent nearly $1.3 billion (58% of total available funds) on activities to manage invasive species.  Other department activities include the Department of Homeland Security, $0.7 billion for border protection, inspection and security activities, and the Departments of Interior, Commerce, and Defense for multiple activities costing $0.2 billion.


An “invasive species” is an unknown, exotic and oftentimes injurious animal or plant that is introduced into an environment where it is not native. The introduction of invasive species has increased in the U.S. due to increasing volumes of international trade.

Examples of harmful invasive species in the U.S. include:

  • Light brown apple moth is a native to Australia. It has been detected in California and is causing damage to a wide range of commercial fruit and vegetable crops and trade impediments.
  • European Grapevine Moth is native to southern Italy.  It has been detected in the world renown vineyards of California. It begins destruction in early stages by larvae feeding on the grape flower clusters.
  • Burmese pythons in southern Florida.  They are feeding on numerous native species including reptiles, birds, and mammals.
  • Zebra and quagga mussels are native to Eastern Europe.  They are obstructing intakes at urban water supplies and nuclear power plants in the Great Lakes and the Mississippi basin.
  • Leafy spurge is lowering the forage value of western grazing land, and reducing overall land values

Bottom Line Impact of Invasive Species

Your bottom line can be severely impacted by threats imposed by invasive species. CRS estimates “that 50,000 non-native species have been introduced to the United States. The potential economic impact of nonindigenous plant and animal species costs are estimated at $129 billion annually in the United States.”

  • If you ship agricultural products domestically and/or internationally and your shipments are not in compliance with the importers regulatory requirements, the importer can hold up your shipments for days costing you thousands of dollars each day.
  • If you are a county or municipality the introduction of invasive species can alter your urban, suburban and rural landscapes.  The use of local funds to combat invasive species can place a significant burden on your already strained budget.
  • If you are a producer the introduction of an invasive species can cause significant losses in yields.  Quarantines may also be established and result in the loss of markets.  Invasive weed species can ruin pastures for grazing animals.

How Cansler Can Help

  • We can help ensure that your procedures are in compliance with the latest regulations,
  • We can represent your interests with the USDA regarding Phytosanitary requirements, and
  • We can mediate if your shipment becomes bogged down in export or import inspections.

If you need quality representation from an entrepreneurial lobbying firm contact Cansler Consulting. We are a certified lobbying practice that is experienced in the multi-faceted and inter-related industries of Agriculture, Food and Drug Safety, Immigration, Transportation & Infrastructure, International Trade and Energy. Through our congressional and regulatory relationships established for over two decades we can help you influence the policy makers on Capitol Hill and navigate the federal budgeting process. You can contact us at or at (202) 220-3150.

Tim Cansler