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NASA research to aid federal invasive species council efforts

NASA recently accepted an invitation to join the National Invasive Species Council (NISC). NASA, in a research capacity, will assist 12 other federal agencies' efforts to combat invasive species across the country.

An invasive species is an organism, such as a microbe, plant or animal, which entered America through natural processes or with human assistance and whose presence poses a threat to public health or the economy. One example, Salt Cedar, is an invasive plant widespread in the western United States. It replaced native species and may have significant negative effects on water resources.

"NASA is pleased with this invitation from NISC. The agency is eager to continue our active engagement in applied research projects whose results advance management of invasive species," said Edwin Sheffner, manager of the invasive species program element in the Applied Sciences Program at NASA Headquarters. "Efforts to manage invasive species annually cost the country tens of billions of dollars," he said.

NASA will enhance partner's abilities to respond effectively and efficiently to invasive species' challenges. NASA provides Earth observations and predictive models resulting from space research and systems engineering expertise. NASA's track record of achievement in invasive species monitoring led to the invitation to join the Council.

An example of NASA's impact is work completed by the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) on invasive species in Utah's Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument. The USGS improved the accuracy and timeliness of predictive maps of invasive species in the Monument with enhancements to decision support tools from NASA data, predictive models and systems engineering.

Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) data from NASA's Terra satellite provides daily information about vegetation conditions. Statistical models applied by USGS, with NASA's assistance, convert MODIS and other data sources into
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Contact: Rob Gutro
rgutro@pop900.gsfc.nasa.gov
301-286-4044
NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center
2-Feb-2005


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