Barrasso welcomes Mr. Franklin to the committee. Click here to watch Mr. Franklin’s testimony.  

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Today, U.S. Senator John Barrasso (R-WY), chairman of the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works (EPW), welcomed Slade Franklin, weed and pest coordinator of the Wyoming Department of Agriculture to the committee. Franklin was testifying before the committee at a hearing titled “The Invasive Species Threat: Protecting Wildlife, Public Health, and Infrastructure.”

Barrasso introduced Franklin to the committee prior to his testimony. “It is time to introduce Mr. Slade Franklin, he has served as the weed and pest state coordinator at the Wyoming Department of Agriculture since 2004.

“In this role, Mr. Franklin has developed statewide invasive species management programs that have been integral to protecting the health of Wyoming’s ecosystems.

“He organizes, chairs, and facilitates groups concerned about invasive species, like the Wyoming Annual Grasses Task Force and the Wyoming Inter-Agency Weed and Pest Working Group.

“He has chaired the Western Weed Coordinating Committee and the State Weed Coordinators Alliance.

“In 2015, I was pleased that the Secretary of the Interior agreed with my recommendation to appoint Mr. Franklin to serve as a member of the Invasive Species Advisory Committee.

“As a member of that committee, Mr. Franklin provides information and advice on invasive-species related issues to the National Invasive Species Council, which coordinates efforts to address invasive species issues at the national level.

“Mr. Franklin has represented Wyoming well as a member of Invasive Species Advisory Committee.

“I know we will all benefit from hearing about his extensive experience in fighting invasive species in Wyoming – and the challenges they pose to our state’s wildlife, our infrastructure, and our public health,” said Barrasso.

In his written testimony, Franklin outlined several ways to combat invasive species in Wyoming. “Partnerships involving federal, state, and county agencies as well as private landowners have proven to achieve landscape scale management that is beneficial to agriculture and wildlife. In Wyoming we have been successful by ensuring all parties are actively engaged in the issue from a landscape scale to a broader state scale,” said Franklin.

Franklin also detailed how federal, state, and local collaboration directly impacts Wyoming. “Just under 50 percent of Wyoming is managed by federal agencies, and some of the more concerning infestations of terrestrial weeds occur on these public lands. When cross-jurisdictional programs are developed, local experts should be empowered by their respective federal agencies to make critical, time-sensitive decisions utilizing the best available information without tying their hands with excessive regulation or process-based bureaucracy.”

Franklin concluded that “if federal agencies need help; the state and county programs are willing and able. The issue is too important for Western states like Wyoming to ignore.”

During the hearing, Barrasso questioned Franklin on the threat of invasives like West Nile Virus pose to Wyoming.

For more information on Franklin’s testimony and the hearing, click here.