Feasibility of Establishing a RDLES Quarantine Lab Facility for Invasive Species Research

Project ID: 19010
Principal Investigator: Scott OMeara
Research Topic: Invasive Species
Funded Fiscal Years: 2019
Keywords: None

Research Question

What are the steps and potentiality to obtain permits for, create, and maintain a quarantine facility to conduct lab based research on invasive species at Reclamation's Denver office?

Need and Benefit

Reclamation is substantially involved in multiple research aspects of invasive species that adversely affect facilities and water/power delivery capabilities. Developing state-of-the-art methods for assessment and mitigation of invasive species impacts, as well as enhancing the scientific body of knowledge regarding invasive species and their interactions with the environment are core functions of the Hydraulic Investigations group and the services they
Currently, the vast majority of Reclamation's invasive species research is conducted in he field, generally at BOR facilities where invasive species populations are established. Field research is highly valuable for providing real world context and can represent a more accurate environment for applied studies. However, the inability to control certain variables, as well as the impossibility of exactly characterizing the environment in which the study is conducted may limit the extrapolation of some field research, and/or provide inconsistent results.
Laboratory-based studies allow greater control over influencing variables, can better represent a true experimental design, and provide for more accurate and reproducible observations, but may suffer somewhat from the effects of an artificial environment.
The most fruitful overall approach to research is typically a combination of both field and laboratory settings, where controlled laboratory experiments may be further investigated in field environments, and conversely field observations may produce ideas that benefit from testing in controlled experiments.
Reclamation currently lacks the ability to research live organisms in the laboratory. Various State and Federal regulations prohibit the transport of live invasive species, although permits may be applied for specific purposes such as scientific research. Culturing live exotic organisms is also regulated, but may be permitted in facilities where measures are taken to prevent potential escapes, or "quarantine" facilities.
This proposal recommends a preliminary investigation into the potential to obtain permits and develop a quarantine facility to keep live invasive species at Reclamation's Denver office for laboratory-based studies. The ability to conduct lab research on live organisms would greatly enhance the capability to develop an understanding of various aspects of invasive species and effectively mitigate their impacts.

Contributing Partners

Contact the Principal Investigator for information about partners.

Research Products

Bureau of Reclamation Review

The following documents were reviewed by experts in fields relating to this project's study and findings. The results were determined to be achieved using valid means.

Feasibility of Establishing a RDLES Quarantine Lab Facility for Invasive Species Research (final, PDF, 470KB)
By Scott O’Meara
Research Product completed on September 30, 2019

This research product summarizes the research results and potential application to Reclamation's mission.

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Last Updated: 6/22/20