Batrachochytrium slamandrivorans (Bsal) in Appalachia: using scenario building to proactively prepare for a wildlife disease outbreak caused by an invasive amphibian chytrid fungus
Batrachochytrium salamandrivorans (Bsal), a pathogenic chytrid fungus, is nonnative to the United States and poses a disease threat to vulnerable amphibian hosts. The Bsal fungus may lead to increases in Threatened, Endangered, and Sensitive status listings at local, state, and federal levels, resulting in financial costs associated with implementing the Endangered Species Act . The U.S. is a global biodiversity hotspot for salamanders, an order of amphibians that is particularly vulnerable to developing a disease called chytridiomycosis when exposed to Bsal. Published Bsal risk assessments for North America have suggested that salamanders within the Appalachian region of the U.S. are at a high risk. In May 2017, a workshop was facilitated by the Department of the Interior?s (DOI) Strategic Sciences Group (SSG). A discussion-based incident-response exercise focused on a hypothetical Bsal disease outbreak in Appalachia was led by U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) staff members. Participants included representatives of the Eastern Band of the Cherokee Indians, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS), National Park Service, Appalachian Landscape Conservation Cooperative, Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency, and U.S. Department of Agriculture?s U.S. Forest Service. Scenario-building was utilized to brainstorm cascading consequences (social, economic and ecological) of a Bsal disease outbreak in this region of Appalachia. This report highlights the management and science actions that should could be undertaken to ensure an effective, rapid response to a Bsal introduction to the United States.
|Outlet/Publisher:||U.S. Geological Survey Open-File Report 2018-1150|