Florida has more nonnative reptiles and amphibians than anywhere else in the world with 180 introduced species and more than 60 that are established (i.e., actively reproducing) (Krysko et al.
South Florida is particularly predisposed to non-native invasions as a result of its subtropical
climate, peninsular geography, thriving exotic pet trade, and sporadic destructive hurricanes that increase risk of escapes.
Burmese pythons (Python bivittatus) and tegu lizards (Salvator spp.) are already established in many CERP project areas and spectacled caiman (Caiman crocodilus) have been found in isolated canals in Biscayne Bay project area.
Impacts from these species are preventing the Corps from efficiently reaching the restoration goals of CERP.Currently the Corps has no consistent or systematic way to collect, visualize or analyze invasive reptile data, and methods to intercept, monitor and control them have not kept pace with increasing risk.
Green iguana (Iguana iguana) and red agama (Agama agama) control has begun on certain Corps managed lands, but no efforts to control some of the most threatening invaders have been undertaken as of yet, nor is there a strategy in place for the Corps to react quickly to new species of invaders before they become established.
Preventing introduction and establishment of invasive species is the first line of defense against new invasions and is a must for ensuring survival of native species in Florida.
Early detection and rapid response (EDRR) efforts increase the likelihood that invasions will be successfully contained or eradicated while populations are still localized (ECISMA 2009).Responses to this request for statements of interest will be used to identify potential investigators for a project to be funded by the U. S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) to implement an EDRR, removal and monitoring program for invasive wildlife and their impacts within USACE-authorized areas of the Comprehensive Everglades Restoration Plan (CERP) to include the Central Everglades Planning Project (CEPP).Successful applicants should have extensive knowledge of Southern Florida ecosystems, reptile trapping methods, safe handling procedures for large reptiles, and maintain all relevant permits to do so.
Candidates should have prior experience with invasive species management concepts, to include:
early detection, monitoring and alert systems.
The candidates will be required to monitor, track, and control the spread of invasive reptiles across applicable CERP lands.
The candidates will need to coordinate closely with USACE staff and provide biannual progress updates.