EDRR Definition and a EDRR Cautionary Tale
Early Detection – is a system of active and/or passive surveillance to find and verify the identity of new invasive species as early after entry as possible, when eradication and control are still feasible and less costly. Surveillance can be targeted at: a) areas where introductions are likely, such as near pathways of introduction, and; b) sensitive ecosystems where impacts are likely to be great or invasion is likely to be rapid.
Rapid response is the effort to eradicate, contain or control invasive species while the infestation is still localized. It may be implemented in response to new introductions or to isolated infestations of a previously established invasive plant.
See the National Invasive Species Council's report for generalized model and guidlines for EDRR systems and the PNW IPC's EDRR National/Regional Resource page.
“Extinction by habitat destruction is like death in an automobile accident: easy to see and assess. Extinction by the invasion of exotic species is like death by disease: gradual, insidious, requiring scientific methods to diagnose” – Professor Edward O. Wilson
Invasive species is one of the biggest threats to biodiversity. Eradication efforts are most successful for infestations not much larger than one hectare. Those infestations larger than 100 hectares are generally unsuccessful, unsustainable and certainly more costly, both monetarily and via the environmental impacts. The Office of Technology Assessment stated that “the environmental and economic benefits of supporting prevention and early detection initiatives significantly outweigh any incurred costs, with the median benefit-to-cost ratio of 17:1 in favor of being proactive."
A CAUTIONARY TALE FROM THE PACIFIC NORTHWEST (from a report by: Westbrooks, R.G, Hayes, D.C. and Gregg, W.P. 2000. III. National Early Warning and Rapid Response System for Invasive Plants)
Common crupina (Crupina vulgaris Cassini), a perennial composite from southern Europe, was first noticed in the northwestern U.S. in 1968 in Idaho County, Idaho, about six miles east of Grangeville along Highway 13 on the Sammy von Bargen Ranch. The plant was first collected at the site on July 26, 1969. In 1970, a cursory survey of the area revealed that a vigorous stand of the plant dominated an area of about 40 acres. By 1981, when common crupina was listed as a Federal Noxious Weed and the University of Idaho undertook an eradication feasibility study, the infestation had increased to 23,000 acres in west central Idaho. The study, which was completed in 1988, concluded that common crupina could indeed be eradicated from the United States. By September, 1991, when a federal/state task force finally met in Lewiston, Idaho, to discuss the funding of a cooperative eradication project, common crupina had spread to 55,000 acres in Idaho, 8,000 acres in Oregon, 400 acres in Washington state, and 20 acres in California. At that meeting, due to environmental concerns about the impact of pesticides on sockeye salmon in the Salmon River, no consensus was reached by involved agencies, and the crupina eradication effort was abandoned. Since that time, crupina has continued to spread, and efforts to find a suitable/effective biological control agent have been unsuccessful (to date). Needless to say, if the original 40 acre infestation of crupina had been reported and summarily eradicated in 1968, the long term impacts of this introduced invasive plant on biodiversity and rangeland productivity in the Northwest could have been avoided.......... The moral of the story is that invasive species need to be detected early, reported, assessed, contained, and eliminated whenever possible...... Weeds Won't Wait!