The Georgia Invasive Species Task Force is comprised of the Georgia Department of Agriculture, the Georgia Forestry Commission, the Georgia Department of Natural Resources, and the University of Georgia. For more than 15 years, members of this group have worked cooperatively together in invasive species detection, education, and control. These state agencies have legislative authority and/or mandates for action for invasive species detection and response as well as long established relationships with other state and federal agencies. When exotic pests are detected, each agency has clear responsibilities within with the Incident Command System (ICS) and their actions depend upon the invasive species detected and their role within the task force.
The Georgia Department of Agriculture is given statutory authority under various statutes to oversee survey and control activities that involve pests that primarily impact Georgia's agricultural crops, commodities, and livestock. The Georgia Forestry Commission is enabled to oversee activities that involve pests that primarily impact Georgia's forests and authority to establish boundaries and zones of infestation whenever pests are found. The authority to protect state wildlife resources, state parks and management areas from invasive species rests with the Georgia Department of Natural Resources. The University of Georgia is the state's Land Grant Institution providing resident instruction, research and outreach to the citizens of the state. The Warnell School of Forestry and Natural Resources and the College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences and the Cooperative Extension Service provides a network of specialists who deal with commodity based pest issues, research, and management. These agencies have been active participants in the Cooperative Agricultural Pest Survey program (CAPS). This program is a combined effort by state and federal agricultural or forestry agencies to conduct surveillance, detection, and monitoring of exotic plant pests of agricultural and natural plant resources and biological control agents. Survey targets include plant diseases, insects, weeds, nematodes, and other invertebrate organisms. Such survey activities foster early detection and rapid response to invasive pests that are not established or have limited range in the U.S.
The effort consists of eight objectives:
Georgia has a number of programs, agencies, and organizations that address both established and potential ANS, and combine education, regulation, prevention, detection, and control actions as the needed basis for managing all invasive species. State Agency and Organization Activities
The growing challenges posed by invasive species and the role of the federal government in coordination and regulation of activities that span state or international borders have prompted Congress to authorize a number of specific actions concerning invasive species management. While no single federal agency has authority over all aspects of invasive species management, many agencies have programs and responsibilities that address aspects of the problem, such as importation, interstate transport, prevention, exclusion, control, and eradication.
Interest generated from state and federal policy also stimulates action by non-governmental organizations. This section describes actions and programs involving invasive species management activities carried out by various organizations in Georgia.