Shippensburg University Political Science professors, Dr. Sara Grove and Dr. Michael Moltz, have been working behind the scenes as Pennsylvania works to combat a serious threat: invasive species.

Invasive species are those not native to an ecosystem that cause or are likely to cause harm to the environment, economy or humans. This includes the spotted lanternfly, a major reason for a $4 million Pennsylvania Rapid Response Disaster Readiness Account that was part of the Pennsylvania Farm Bill signed into law by Gov. Tom Wolf in July.

Through a project funded by a grant of nearly $15,000 from The Center for Rural Pennsylvania, Grove and Moltz conducted research to provide a better understanding about legislative and regulatory efforts to control invasive species. The two Ship professors not only took a closer look at how the commonwealth has historically sought to control invasive species, but they also researched national and international efforts such as those of Canada and the United Kingdom.

“Our report highlights several successful efforts implemented in other states, which may be useful for Pennsylvania. One such example is from my home state of Nevada, which has successfully managed the spread of invasive quagga mussels in Lake Tahoe, via mandatory boat inspections,” Moltz said.

The work included several case studies related to the identification, suppression and eradication of invasive species. Gypsy moths and invasive weeds were points of emphasis.

“One of the key takeaways from our research is the importance of working with partners such as The Center for Rural Pennsylvania and encouraging communication among all interested stakeholders in an effort to find creative policy solutions to challenges facing Pennsylvania,” Moltz said. “Moreover, this research would not have been possible without the center’s support and the invaluable help from Chris Wonders and the Institute for Public Service and Sponsored Programs in securing the grant.”

Grove and Moltz identified several policy considerations following their work, including the development of a funding mechanism that supports early detection and rapid response.

The Center for Rural Pennsylvania’s website has the full report, Legislative and Regulatory Efforts to Control Invasive Species.