International Broom Initiative

IBI Funding Request, 2002

Proposed funding for

US Department of Agriculture – Agriculture Research Service

Submitted by:

Broom Biological Control Working Group and

California Exotic Pest Plant Council

June 13, 2002


The best strategy to attack the invasive foreign broom and gorse problem is to form a core group of scientists with expertise in weed biological control and broom biology to work on this project. Scientists from the USDA-ARS Exotic and Invasive Weed Research Unit located in Albany, CA, California Department of Food and Agriculture’s (CDFA) Biological Control Program and the Commonwealth Science and Industrial Research Organization (CSIRO) in Australia are the most qualified. CSIRO has committed funding for one scientist and some technical staff to this project because of the serious broom problem in their country. They currently have a small scale broom biocontrol project based in southern France. This funding request will increase their ongoing effort ($183,000 USD annually) as well as support research on domestic broom infestations in California, in collaboration with Oregon and Washington.

Current staff at USDA-ARS and CDFA are committed to other, equally critical invasive weed research projects, so it is necessary to increase their staff by one scientist each plus support staff (approximately $450,000 annually for USDA-ARS including over head, $100,000 annually for CDFA). The USDA-ARS scientist will perform research on host specificity which is required for approval of biological control agents, provide research data and assist in writing the petition for agent introduction , perform necessary quarantine research associated with new shipments of biological control agents, conduct field release experiments on the approved biological control agents, and perform research studies on the basic biology of the agents to support the integration of the biological controls into the broom management strategies of landowners. The CDFA scientist will oversee the training of local experts and distribution of the established biological control agents statewide. This scientist will train the staff of the County Departments of Agriculture who will assist with the regional distribution of the biological control agents to local landowners. CDFA will also assist in field impact studies to determine the long-term effectiveness of the released agents.

The remaining funding ($350,000) will be directed at foreign exploration and other biological control research to be performed overseas ($250,000) and domestic research by University of California ($100,000) to provide information on the population biology of the targeted broom species and effective incorporation of biological controls into the integrated weed management and revegetation protocols now used by local landowners. The overseas work will continue to be done by CSIRO. USDA-ARS overhead to administer the project is 10% of total ($90,000 of their $450,000 total).

Proposed Appropriation

USDA-ARS Albany 450,000
Overseas Research (CSIRO) 250,000
CDFA Scientist 100,000
Domestic Research (UC) 100,000
TOTAL $900,000

As proposed, half of this funding will be retained by USDA-ARS, $100,000 will be passed to CDFA and $350,000 will be coordinated by the Broom Biological Control Working Group, an oversight group consisting of representatives from USDA-ARS, CDFA, CA Dept. of Forestry and Fire Protection, Cal-IPC, and the County Agricultural Commissioners. Initially, the Working Group will direct ARS Exotic and Invasive Weeds Research Unit to provide $250,000 to CSIRO for the overseas biological control research and to provide $100,000 to the University of California Weed Research and Information Center to support research of invasive broom biology and integrated control methods. Later, as the need for overseas research declines, the Working Group will direct a larger share to go to local implementation and research.

Suggested Wording — House and Senate Agriculture Appropriations Budget

“Broom biological control — The Committee recognizes that invasive exotic brooms and gorse are causing serious economic and environmental losses to forestry, agriculture, and rangelands in the western United States. It is further recognized that to combat these problems, a multi-agency effort is needed to develop biological controls and revegetation technologies. The Committee provides an increase of $900,000 to USDA-ARS to develop new biological control technology for management of exotic brooms and gorse that have infested areas in California and other western states. ARS is directed to implement a new CRIS Project at the Biological Control of Weeds Quarantine Facility which is managed by the ARS Exotic and Invasive Weeds Research Unit, Albany, CA ($450,000); provide technical support to the California Department of Food and Agriculture ($100,000); and to fund a local, state, and federal consortium ($350,000 managed by the Broom Biological Control Working Group) to address broom and gorse biological control research for the Pacific Western States.” USDA overhead fees are to be taken only from the resources left within ARS and not from resources passed to cooperators.

For additional information regarding the current IBI initiative contact:

Frank Wallace
Project Coordinator,
Broom Biological Control Project (IBI)
Cal Exotic Pest Plant Council
1141 34th Ave.
Sacramento, CA 95822

For details regarding CSIRO and the biological control research, please contact:

Dr. Michael Pitcairn
California Department of Food and Agriculture Biological Control Program
3288 Meadowview Road Sacramento, CA 95832
(916) 262-2049 Office
(916) 262-2059 Fax

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