The United States Department of Agriculture’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) has prepared a final environmental assessment for releasing the insect Sericothrips staphylinus within the contiguous United States to control gorse. Gorse is a spiny shrub found primarily on the east and west coasts that displaces native plants, including forest tree saplings; reduces the quality of wildlife habitats; increases fire hazard; interferes with rights-of-way and recreation sites; and reduces livestock forage production.
APHIS published the environmental assessment in the Federal Register on August 20, 2019, for public review and comment. After reviewing the comments received on this assessment and other relevant data, APHIS analysts have determined that releasing this biological control agent will not have a significant impact on the human environment. Based on the finding of no significant impact, APHIS will not prepare an environmental impact statement. Supporting documentation can be reviewed here: http://www.regulations.gov/#!docketDetail;D=APHIS-2019-0048
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