The Lacey Act 1900 How it Pertains to Invasive Species The Basics Lacey Act: one provision of this act authorizes the Secretary of the Interior to adopt measures to aid in restoring game and other birds in parts of the U.S. where they have become scarce or extinct and to regulate the introduction of birds and animals in areas where they had not existed. History The Lacey Act was first introduced by Iowa Congressman John Lacey in the House of Representatives in the spring of 1900. It was signed into law by President William McKinley on May 25, 1900. The original Act was directed more at the preservation of game and wild birds by making it a federal crime to poach game in one state with the purpose of selling the bounty in another. This type of act is generally referred to as an “Interstate Commerce Act”. History Cont’d It was also concerned with the potential problems of the introduction of non- native, or exotic species of birds and animals into native ecosystems. Finally, it sought to buttress state laws already in existence for the protection of game and birds. Invasive Species Zebra Mussel Invasive Species: Cause declines in abundances of native species and undesirable changes in ecosystem function, as well as economic losses. Ex. Zebra mussels compete with other invertebrates and young fish for plankton, the primary food source for these groups. Present Form of Lacey Act Today, in it’s current form, Rainbow Trout the injurious wildlife provision of the Lacey Act regulates the importation and interstate transport of: Salmonids-A family of fishes, including salmon and trout. Alaskan Salmon Live wild animals Live wild birds or their eggs Live or dead fish of any species on the list. Present Form of Lacey Act Zebra Mussel Mollusks or their eggs. Mollusk: typically having a calcareous shell of one, two, or more pieces that wholly or partly enclose the soft, unsegmented body, including the chitons, snails, bivalves, squids, and octopuses. Present Form of Lacey Act Lobster Shrimp Crustaceans or their eggs Crustaceans: Exoskeleton, a pair of often much modified appendages on each segment, and two Crab pairs of antennae and that include the lobsters, shrimps, crabs, wood lice, water fleas, and barnacles. Present Form of Lacey Act Common Coqui Frog Amphibians and their Cane Toad eggs. Amphibian: cold- blooded vertebrates (as frogs, toads, or salamanders) intermediate in many Barred Tiger Salamander characters between fishes and reptiles and having gilled aquatic larvae and air-breathing adults Present Form of Lacey Act Reptiles and all their eggs. Brown Tree Snake Reptiles: an animal that crawls or moves on its belly (as a snake) or on small short legs (as a lizard), generally has a 3- chambered heart (except crocodilians ), body covered with scales, many species lay eggs, includes 3 major groups- snakes and lizards, turtles, crocodilians Effects of Invasive Species Once released or escaped into natural areas, many invasive species establish and spread quickly. Ex: Kudzu Vine from Japan. When left uncontrolled will eventually grow over almost any fixed object in its proximity including other vegetation. Kudzu, over a period of several years will kill trees by blocking the sunlight. Effects of Invasive Species Cont’d After establishment, most invasive species are extremely difficult and costly to eradicate, if eradication is even possible. Ex. Wild Boar Lacey Act Faults Legal tools to regulate invasive species exist at the federal, state, and local levels, but only at the federal level can species from other countries be denied entry into the U.S. Unless regulated under another federal law, any live wild animal or bird etc., which are not specifically listed in the injurious wildlife provision of the Lacey Act, may be imported. In some cases, these provisions are subject only to a declaration at customs and could lead to a permit for commercial shipments from the USFWS. Discussion of Lacey Act Faults Despite 107 years of regulatory authority to protect the countries native species and ecosystems from harmful non- indigenous animals, only 17 taxa are currently denied entry into the U.S. under the Lacey Act. The process of adding taxa to the list requires time and resources. Since the passage of the Lacey Act in 1900, only 3 taxa have been successfully added to the list by petition. Only one of the above 3, the brush tail opossum, has been added in the last decade, in a process that took 7 years. Discussion Cont’d The Lacey Act includes no emergency measures prior to official listing to prohibit the importation or interstate transport of organisms. Unless a species is listed, importation and transport across state lines is allowed Thus, a species may enter the country and legally be transported between states while it is being considered for listing. Invasion Process There are four steps to the invasion process: 1) Transport 2) Introduction 3) Establishment 4) Spread Interruption of Steps by Lacey Act The Lacey Act’s interruption of the invasion steps is not high. For the few taxa that have been prohibited entry, more than half were already present in the U.S. at the time of listing Spread occurred for most established species subsequent to listing. Because the Lacey Act does not authorize containment measures for listed and possession remains legal after listing, it probably does little to prevent the accidental release of a species Current List of Injurious Wildlife Taxa Fruit Bat Fruit Bat Red- Mongoose/Meerkat Whiskered European Rabbit Bulubul Pink Starling Indian Wild Hog Multimmate rat/mouse Dioch Java sparrow Red-whiskered bulbul Walking catfish Raccoon dog Mitten crab Brown tree snake Zebra mussel Java Sparrow Brushtail opossum Snakehead fish Current List of Injurious Plant Taxa for West Virginia Marijuana Musk Thistle Multiflora Rose Plumeless thistle Curled thistle Musk thistle Autumn olive Opium poppy Kudzu Multiflora rose Opium Poppy Johnsongrass Recently Added Injurious Species Constrictor Snakes Silver Carp Black carp Silver carp Largescale silver carp Constrictor Snake Boiga snakes, such as the Brown Tree Snake Bighead carp While well intended, the Lacey Act is a miserable failure at invasive species introductions. Please read the link to The Failure of the Lacey Act "Given the thousands of exotics moving through the trading system, that is a little like deciding to fight off a military invasion by letting in the enemy soldiers and then polling each one to determine individual levels of hostility". Life Out of Bounds by Chris Bright, page 203.