Federal efforts to curtail the influx of invasive species into the United States are hobbled by a lack of "clear long-term outcomes and quantifiable measures of performance," according to the General Accounting Office (GAO). The congressional investigative agency's October 23 report, "Invasive Species: Clearer Focus and Greater Commitment Needed to Manage the Problem," also faulted the agency tasked with fighting invading organisms, the National Invasive Species Council, for having achieved only 20% of the goals it had set for September 2002.

"The management plan is an ambitious one," said Chris Dionigi, the Council's assistant director for science and policy, in response to the GAO criticisms. "A number of the action items in the plan have no completion date because they are ongoing efforts — for example, identifying important pathways by which invasive species can come into the country. That's going to change. That's something that almost never gets done,"...

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