April 25, 2018

Stephanie A. Shwiff, Research Economist of the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service at the U.S. Department of Agriculture
Kara Frame, NPR
Stanley W. Burgiel, Assistant Director of the National Invasive Species Council at the U.S. Department of the Interior
Rachel McCormick, Counsellor and Program Manager of Energy and Environment at the Embassy of Canada
Alex Kaplan, Head of North America and Senior Vice President of Global Partnerships at Swiss Re
Moderated by Celeste Connors, Associate Practitioner in Residence at Johns Hopkins SAIS

Johns Hopkins SAIS Energy, Resources, and Environment (ERE) Practicum students, in partnership with the global reinsurance leader Swiss Re, presented research on the economic impact of invasive species in the Great Lakes.

Managing the negative impact of non-native species is a hundred-million dollar venture, and as these invasive species spread, the options for controlling their population become more limited, the student team explained. Hence, prevention measures at the early onset of the crisis is the recommended method for tackling this threat. The practicum students determined that proposed solutions include private-public partnerships, diversification of tree stock, general education, and a dedicated team to tackle this problem–essentially, a “SWAT team for invasive species.”

The panel of experts provided their own insights on the conducted research. Stephanie Shwiff emphasized the economic costs of shutting down trade and managing the spread of disease of animals affected by the changing ecosystem brought about by invasive species. Stanley Burgiel noted that the economic effect on job numbers, industries and the global supply chain are strong reasons for policy action. Rachel McCormick spoke about the cross-border policy coordination of the U.S. and Canada in the Great Lakes in order to manage these invasive species, as well as the relevance of these issues to the G7 Summit. Alex Kaplan explained the overall benefits to the community and the insurance sector on prevention and early management of invasive species. Each panelist also highlighted established public-private partnerships that have effectively managed invasive species in their areas.

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