The NABTSCT: Working to Keep America BTS Free




BTS Laws

The following are laws are helping to frame the control and erradication of the Brown Tree Snake.

Lacey Act of 1900

The Lacey Act started the proverbial ball rolling for protection of native species. This Act "prohibited the import, export, transportation, sale, receipt, acquisition, or purchase of fish, wildlife, or plants taken, possessed, transported, or sold in violation of any Federal, State, tribal, or foreign law." Amendments were made in 1981 to strengthen Federal laws and improve assistance to States and foreign governments for enforcement of fish and wildlife laws.  The Act has since become a vital tool in the battle to control smuggling and trade in illegally taken fish and wildlife.  This Act further regulated the transportation of live wildlife, requiring that animals be transported into the United States under humane and healthful conditions, gave the Interior Secretary the power to designate wildlife species considered injurious to humans and prohibit their importation into the country, and outlined penalties for those found illegally harvesting, capturing, or transporting protected or prohibited species. 
(Quoted from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service web page: (Click here to view)

Endangered Species Act of 1973

The Endangered Species Act recognized the dire position of many of the species in our world and mandated protection of these species and conservation of the ecosystems needed for these species to survive.  Specifically, the act authorized identification and listing of species found to be endangered and threatened, prohibited possession and sale of endangered species, established funding for States to implement programs for preservation of their endangered species, and established penalties and fines for those who violated these regulations.  As added incentive, it also authorized rewards for information leading to the arrest of violators.   

Federal Noxious Weed Act of 1975

The Federal Noxious Weed Act established a Federal program to control the spread of noxious weeds and signified a growing awareness of the dangers of non-native species.  The authority for this program was identified as the Secretary of Agriculture who would designate plants as noxious weeds, and coordinate programs to eliminate these weeds and prevent their spread to other areas.  Additionally, this Act prohibited the transport of any plants identified as noxious weeds, except when special permits were granted.

Nonindigenous Aquatic Nuisance Prevention and Control Act of 1990

The Nonindigenous Aquatic Nuisance Prevention and Control Act expanded the earlier control on introduced plants to include aquatic nuisance species and the brown Treesnake.  This Act also involved more branches of the government including: the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the U.S. Coast Guard, the Environmental Protection Agency, the Army Corps of Engineers, and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.  These agencies were put in charge of coordinating programs for study and control, and a new organization, the Aquatic Nuisance Species Task Force, was created to oversee specific details.  These included monitoring compliance in such areas as discharge of ballast water by ships in U.S. waters (with emphasis on the Great Lakes), developing a nuisance species control program and a separate brown Treesnake control program, and providing recommendations for international situations affecting these areas.  This legislation was subsequently amended as the National Invasive Species Act of 1996.

Environmental Education Act of 1990

The Environmental Education Act formed a new office within the Environmental Protection Agency called the Office of Environmental Education to create and direct an environmental education program at the Federal level. Responsibilities of the Office include developing and supporting programs to improve understanding of the natural and developed environment, and the relationships between humans and their environment; supporting the dissemination of educational materials; developing and supporting training programs and environmental education seminars; managing a Federal grant program; and administering an environmental internship and fellowship program. "The Office is required to develop and support environmental programs in consultation with other Federal natural resource management agencies, including the Fish and Wildlife Service."  (Quoted from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service web page: (Click here to view)

Animal Damage Control Act (last amended) 1991

The Animal Damage Control Act gave the Secretary of Agriculture the authority to investigate and control certain predatory or wild animals and nuisance mammal and bird species.  While many pest species were identified, such as rodents and large carnivores, special attention was devoted to the brown Treesnake.  Section 1013 specifically addressed the potential for the brown Treesnake to colonize Hawaii, and required the creation and implementation of a control program to prevent the snake's introduction to Hawaii and other areas of the U.S. from Guam.

Alien Species Prevention Enforcement Act of 1992

The Alien Species Prevention Enforcement Act concentrated on the State of Hawaii and mandated that the Secretary of Agriculture implement a program to prohibit plant and animal species from entering Hawaii particularly through the U.S. mail.  This Act requires that four government entities (including the Department of Agriculture, the Department of Interior, the Postal Service, and the State of Hawaii) work together to protect Hawaii from introduced and potentially injurious species.

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