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Partnerships for Regional Invasive Species Management: How Pennsylvania Can Reduce Invasive Species

Proposed Partnerships for Regional Invasive Species Management

The council proposes establishment of a permanent, state budget funded Partnerships for Regional Invasive Species Management (PRISM) program that would cover the state to meet the critical need to reduce invasive species that threaten our economy, environment, and human and animal health.  

If funded, the PRISM program would establish and fund local host organizations in six regions statewide. Each host would use this funding to form a large, diverse partnership of regional stakeholders to implement invasive species prevention, education, and management. Each regional PRISM would:

    • Monitor, manage, and eradicate invasive species.
    • Develop early detection and rapid response capacity.
    • Provide education and outreach.
    • Preserve ecosystem services, native species, critical habitats, and threatened and endangered species.
    • Increase resilience of green spaces in urban and natural environments.
    • Protect and improve soil, air, and water quality.
    • Mitigate invasive species contributions to climate change.

What makes PRISM effective: Locally based solutions

Each regional PRISM would create and leverage a large pool of local resources and knowledge:

    • local, state, and federal government
    • private industry
    • conservation and environmental organizations
    • scientists and academics
    • farmers
    • gardeners
    • hunters, anglers, hikers, and other outdoor enthusiasts
    • community organizations
    • private citizens

Each regional PRISM would have the independent ability to establish their own local priorities, objectives, and strategic plan.

Stakeholder Support for PRISM

Voice your support for PRISM

Consider contacting your state legislators to voice your support for funding PRISM. For more information, contact council coordinator Kris Abell at   

Testimonies detail economic impacts of invasive species and call for PRISM program

The Center for Rural Pennsylvania, chaired by Senator Gene Yaw, held the state legislature's first ever hearing on the economic impacts of invasive species on August 24, 2021. 

Public Hearing on Invasive Species - Center for Rural PA

Key takeaways:

    • Invasive species are pervasive statewide, cause millions of dollars in damage to Pennsylvania's agricultural and forestry industries and degrade the quality of our recreational assets.
    • Many types of invasive plants, insects, and aquatic animals require immediate attention.
    • Efforts to address invasive species include eradication, management, and prevention. All efforts must include local involvement and public outreach and education.
    • Dedicated state funding is essential to control and management of invasive species.
    • Pennsylvania should consider funding and implementing a PRISM framework.

Testimonies were given by the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture, Department of Conservation and Natural Resources, and Fish and Boat Commission; Penn State Fruit Research and Extension Center; Kane Hardwood; Crawford and McKean County Conservation Districts; Shippensburg University; Pennsylvania Sea Grant; and New York State Department of Environmental Conservation.

Steps to Implementing PRISM in Pennsylvania

    1. Once a PRISM program is funded, the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture, which houses the state- and sector-wide Governor's Invasive Species Council, would administer the program.
    2. PRISM regions would correspond to existing Pennsylvania Association of Conservation Districts regions to capitalize on existing infrastructure, organization, networks, and resources.
    3. The Department of Agriculture would issue a Request for Proposals for organizations interested in serving as a host organization for each regional PRISM.
    4. The Department of Agriculture and the council would evaluate proposals and select each PRISM host organization.
    5. Each PRISM would develop a 5-year strategic plan to manage and reduce invasive species in their region. Organizations interested in aligning their strategic plans with a future PRISM program can reference the council's PRISM 5-Year Strategic Plan Guidelines
    6. Hosts would develop their regional network and establish connections with other PRISMs and the council, so they address local and regional invasive species issues rapidly and solutions are communicated easily among regions and statewide.
    7. Agriculture and the council would regularly evaluate hosts would be evaluated on their outcomes.

Other States' Success

Many states, such as New York, Michigan, and Florida, have implemented some form of permanent regional invasive species management program.

The New York PRISM program consists of eight regional PRISMs, contracted by the state Department of Environmental Conservation and funded through a real estate transfer tax. They implement invasive species prevention programs, conduct surveillance and mapping of infestations, detect new infestations early and respond rapidly, carry out control projects, implement habitat restoration and monitoring, and provide extensive education to residents on invasive species and their impacts.