projects > an integrated plan for invasive reptile research and management in everglades national park, big cypress national preserve, and biscayne national park
An integrated plan for invasive reptile research and management in Everglades National Park, Big Cypress National Preserve, and Biscayne National Park
The Department of Interior (DOI) lands of southern Florida are threatened by a number of exotic herpetofaunal species present on DOI lands, on adjacent lands, and in adjacent waters. Invasive reptiles have proven to be a burgeoning problem for south Florida National Park units, and can have serious impacts on native species. The Burmese python is implicated in declines (via direct predation) of native species in Everglades National Park, and recently USGS and cooperators have documented the presence and spread of invasive Argentine tegu lizards. In their native range these lizards known predators of crocodilian nests and in Florida they are documented to have depredated nests of the American Alligator. It is highly likely that additional species of exotic reptiles, currently established outside park boundaries, will invade south Florida National Parks in coming years (e.g., Nile monitors; chameleons; additional constrictor snake species).
Overall, the National Park Service units in south Florida need an integrated approach to additional research and management of different reptile species present in and around the Parks, including those species which are not yet found in the wild but are present in the pet trade in the urban areas of south Florida. This approach should use existing networks for invasive species detection and reporting (for example the Everglades Cooperative Invasive Species Management Area - ECISMA), and should build on the numerous interagency efforts and projects that have been developed in south Florida over the last decade.
Our overall objectives are threefold. 1) To maintain and improve upon the current invasive reptile science and management program that is based out of Everglades National Park, by bringing the expertise of the USGS Invasive Species Branch to the south Florida National Park units. We expect that the expertise of the USGS, particularly with invasive snakes, will improve NPS potential to reach the overarching goals of prevention, containment and control of invasive reptile species in and around south Florida National Park Service units. 2) To work closely with the agencies and individuals affiliated with the Everglades Cooperative Invasive Species Management area, building on existing ECISMA frameworks for communications, training, early detection and rapid response. 3) To develop and refine scientifically based methods to control invasive species and assess the impacts of these invasive species on native flora and fauna within South Florida parks.
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