Webinar: WGA Chair Hawaii Gov. David Ige announces Biosecurity and Invasive Species Initiative

Hawaii Gov. David Ige, 2019 WGA Chair, announced the Western Governors’ Biosecurity and Invasive Species Initiative will be his Chairman’s Initiative during a webinar on July 12, 2018. The Initiative will focus on the impacts that nuisance species, pests and pathogens have on ecosystems, forests, rangelands, watersheds, and infrastructure in the West, and examine the role that biosecurity plays in addressing these risks. Watch the webinar on YouTube. Download the slides.

The webinar began with remarks by Gov. Ige highlighting the importance of invasive species management in the West, and the Initiative's goals and deliverables.

"The spread of invasive species continues to be one of the biggest environmental problems facing the Western Governors as well as the entire country," said Gov. Ige. “Each state has their own unique set of challenges when it comes to invasive species, but I believe that through collaboration and sharing best practices, we can all find common ground to overcome these obstacles together.”

Gov. Ige also announced the location of regional workshops to be held in Nevada (Sep. 17-18), Wyoming (Oct. 11-12), Montana (Nov. 11) and Hawaii (Dec. 10).

Leaders in invasive species data management also discussed WGA's Invasive Species Data Management Recommendations, a new effort to improve the interagency exchange of invasive species occurrence data in the West.

The webinar was moderated by WGA Policy Advisor Bill Whitacre. Panelists included: Chuck Bargeron, Associate Director for Invasive Species and Information Technology, Center for Invasive Species & Ecosystem Health, University of Georgia; Pam Fuller, Program Leader, Nonindigenous Aquatic Species Database, USGS; Stinger Guala, Director of Biodiversity Information Serving Our Nation (BISON), USGS; Jamie Reaser, Executive Director, National Invasive Species Council; and Lori Scott, Interim President & CEO, and Chief Information Officer, NatureServe.

The goal of the Initiative is to identify emerging issues in biosecurity and invasive species management in the West and develop policy recommendations, best practices and technical tools to address those issues. The initiative will pursue this goal through a series of workshops across the West and utilize webinars and other tools to engage experts, opinion leaders and stakeholders in a deeper examination of biosecurity and invasive species issues.

Highlights from the webinar:

“All invasive species management is local. When you start telling the story about these problems, you need to make sure that the data is available at a larger level in order to paint an accurate picture of what the problem is and what the next one might be.” - Chuck Bargeron

“We try to provide the national view of aquatic species: where they are, where they have been, and where they’re moving. We also keep track of pathway information. We are trying to serve land managers with this information.” - Pam Fuller 

For questions about sponsorship opportunities, please contact WGA Director of Development, Sarah Olsen at 720.897.4540 or [email protected]. To learn more about the Initiative, contact WGA Policy Advisor Bill Whitacre at 720.897.4538 or [email protected]. Get the latest news about the West and its governors by following the Western Governors' Association on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn.

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