WASHINGTON — APHIS has prepared an environmental assessment for permitting the release of the insect Ganaspis brasiliensis for the biological control of spotted-wing Drosophila (Drosophila suzukii) in the continental United States. Based on the environmental assessment (EA) and other relevant data, the agency has reached a preliminary determination that the release of this control agent within the continental United States will not have a significant impact on the environment.
The proposed action is intended to reduce the severity of damage to small fruit crops from infestations of spotted-wing Drosophila (SWD) in the continental United States. SWD is native to East Asia and was first detected in the United States in California in 2008. It has since established in most fruit-growing regions in North America.
Permitting the release of Ganaspis brasiliensis is necessary to reduce SWD populations in non-crop habitats. This would reduce the number of SWD that migrate into susceptible crops and would thereby improve the effectiveness of other SWD control tools. Classical biological control is a useful management strategy for an invasive pest species whenever effective resident natural enemies are lacking in the new distribution range.
APHIS is making the environmental assessment available to the public for review and comment. All comments received on or before August 16, 2021 will be considered. To review the environmental assessment and make comments: Go to www.regulations.gov. Enter APHIS-2021-0021 in the Search field.
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