Mr. HOYER. Mr. Speaker, I rise in recognition of National Invasive Species Awareness Week, which will be observed this year from March 3 through March 8.
Invasive plant and animal species are dangerous to regional ecosystems and carry with them serious negative effects on our economy. Already, they are a threat to 50% of federally endangered or threatened native species. From reduced crop yields to declines in fish populations, the consequences of invasive species are significant. In the agriculture sector alone, they have led to an annual loss in productivity worth $7.4 billion. Researchers estimate that invasive species cost the United States more than $130 billion in damages every year.
National Invasive Species Awareness Week, which is sponsored by the Weed Sciences Society of America, Dow AgroSciences, the National Network of Invasive Plant Centers, the Entomological Society of America, APS, and the Wildlife Habitat Council, helps raise public consciousness about this important issue. It features workshops and panel discussions at the Capitol and around Washington with experts in invasive species containment and prevention methods--as well as educational programs for students and families.
National Invasive Species Awareness Week also highlights the work of local, state, federal, and tribal agencies as well as efforts by private organizations and individuals to combat invasive species and preserve local and regional ecosystems.
In the State of Maryland, we have forged strong partnerships to try to address the problems posed by invasive species in our state. The Maryland Invasive Species Council is comprised of concerned scientists, land managers, business people and citizens. It works closely with our state agencies and the United States Department of Agriculture, particularly the Beltsville Agricultural Research Center, the United States Department of the Interior, and the University of Maryland. Committed partnerships such as these are an important part of focusing attention and sharing limited resources in an effort to reduce the spread of invasive plants, animals, and diseases.
I am proud to support the goals of National Invasive Species Awareness Week, and I join with many of my colleagues in Congress in wishing its sponsors and participants a successful program.