California officials today announced a coordinated effort to prevent and control harmful invasive species infestations throughout the state. The California Invasive Species Council will assist in minimizing the negative effects of non-native species on the state’s agriculture, lands, natural resources, and waterways in rural and urban environments.

“The Invasive Species Council will protect California’s consumers and our environment from destructive pests, plants and diseases that also threaten our food supply,” said Secretary A.G. Kawamura of the California Department of Food and Agriculture, chairman of the council.

The newly formed council will be chaired by Secretary Kawamura and vice-chaired by Mike Chrisman, Secretary for the California Natural Resources Agency. Also serving on the council will be Secretary Linda Adams of California’s Environmental Protection Agency; Secretary Dale Bonner from the Business, Transportation and Housing Agency; Secretary Kim Belshe from the California Health and Human Services Agency; and Matt Bettenhausen, Acting Secretary of the California Emergency Management Agency.

“Coordinating California’s resources will maximize our opportunities to protect against harmful non-native species that will destroy our forests, scenic wildlands and waterways,” said Secretary Chrisman.

The council will appoint a California Invasive Species Advisory Committee (CISAC) tasked with making recommendations to prioritize an invasive species rapid response plan. The committee will take input from local government, tribal governments and federal agencies, as well as environmental organizations, academic and science institutions, affected industry sectors and impacted landowners.

Two of the invasive species currently threatening California are the quagga mussel and the Asian citrus psyllid. Quagga mussels are the size of a fingernail but can colonize on hulls, engines and steering components of boats and threaten municipal water supplies, agricultural irrigation and power plant operations. An infestation of the zebra mussel in the Great Lakes cost the power industry $3.1 billion from 1993-1999.

The Asian citrus psyllid, a small, aphid-like insect, can carry citrus greening disease, which has already killed tens of thousands of acres of trees in Florida and Brazil and wiped out entire citrus industries in China, India, Saudi Arabia and Egypt. More than $11 million in state, federal and grower funds are being used to protect California’s $1.3 billion dollar industry from the psyllid.

For more information on Invasive Species please visit the CDFA Web site.