X

Montana Invasive Species Council Issues Recommendations from Science Advisory Panel on Eastern Heath Snail

Montana Invasive Species Council Issues Recommendations from Science Advisory Panel on Eastern Heath Snail

MISC issued recommendations to guide necessary research and management efforts for the Eastern heath snail

The Montana Invasive Species Council (MISC) today issued recommendations to guide necessary research and management efforts for the Eastern heath snail (EHS), a terrestrial invasive snail with established populations in Montana. The Montana Department of Agriculture (MDA) first discovered a population of the Eastern heath snail in July 2012 near Belt, MT. Since that time, MDA has worked with landowners and stakeholders in and around Belt to monitor and suppress the population and to detect and respond to new populations. Since their initial introduction, satellite populations have been discovered in Monarch, Great Falls, and in the Highwood areas.

Invasive terrestrial snails have invaded a variety of habitats around the world and have the ability to damage native plants, agricultural crops, contaminate agricultural exports and potentially transmit parasites to livestock, wildlife, and people. MISC partnered with MDA as well as the United States Department of Agriculture Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (USDA APHIS), and the Montana State University (MSU) to enlist assistance from the scientific community by forming a science advisory panel.

In December 2020, MISC convened panelists comprised of gastropod managers, scientists, and researchers to review the state of science about the basic biology of the EHS and identify gaps in knowledge. The panel identified key challenges associated with containing and managing the EHS and approaches to address those challenges; they provided next steps to be taken by researchers, regulators, and managers regarding the containment and management of the EHS.

“The panel was a successful step in gathering information and gaps about the potential risks of the species and its basic biology,” said MISC Chair Bryce Christiaens. “We are at the early stages of the invasion curve for this species, and the panel recommendations will support efforts to contain and manage the snail before it becomes a problem .”

Science Advisory Panelists included the following individuals:

Helena Brodie, Agricultural Entomologist, South Australian Research and Development Institute

Jeni Cena, Pest Biologist 2, Washington Department of Agriculture

Jennifer Birdsall, Research Associate, Montana State University

Jeffrey Littlefield, Ph.D.,  Research Scientist, Montana State University

Nathan Luke, Surveillance Coordinator, Australia Department of Agriculture

Rory McDonnell, Ph.D. Assistant Professor, Oregon State University, College of Agricultural Science

David G. Robinson, Ph.D., National Malacologist, USDA APHIS National Malacology Laboratory

Amy Roda, Ph. D., Entomologist, USDA APHIS-PPQ Center for Plant Health Science and Technology

Brian Sullivan, Plant Safeguarding Specialist, USDA APHIS PPQ

Key findings and recommendations from the panel address biology, impacts, education and outreach,  prevention and management. These include:

  • Increase research efforts on both the biology of this pest and possible novel control strategies
  • Update the 2012 Environmental Review of the EHS with findings from research efforts over the past eight years
  • Develop an economic analysis of the spread of the EHS and related species in Montana
  • Work with existing outreach networks and resources to build awareness of the threats and potential impacts posed by this species.

Key challenges and recommendations can be found at misc.mt.gov, as well as a video that provides an overview of the history, current status, and research underway for the Eastern heath snail in Belt, MT.

  • 2 February 2021
  • Author: Bay, Chelsi
  • Number of views: 337
  • Comments: 0
Print