There are an estimated 5,000 invasive, non-native plant and animal species in North America that cause ecological or economic damage to the areas they inhabit. February 21-27, 2016 has been declared National Invasive Species Awareness Week in an effort to educate the public about the threats posed by invasive species and the measures underway to limit their spread. Organizers offers nine ways you can help:
- Learn about invasive species, especially those found in your region. Your county extension office and the National Invasive Species Information Center are both trusted resources.
- Clean hiking boots, waders, boats and trailers, off-road vehicles and other gear to stop invasive species from hitching a ride to a new location. Learn more at PlayCleanGo.org
- Avoid dumping aquariums or live bait into waterways. Learn more at Habitattitude.org
- Don’t move firewood – instead, buy it where you’ll burn it, or gather on site when permitted. Learn more at DontMoveFirewood.org
- Use forage, hay, mulch and soil that are certified as “weed free.”
- Plant only non-invasive plants in your garden, and remove any known invaders.
- Report new or expanded invasive species outbreaks to authorities. Here is a state-by-state list of contacts
- Volunteer to help remove invasive species from public lands and natural areas.
- Ask your political representatives at the state, local and national level to support invasive species control efforts.
Plant scientists from the National Association of Invasive Plant Councils are offering a week of free webinars on topics ranging from how to treat firewood to prevent pests from hitching a ride, to the success of citizen science programs that track invasive species, to preparing for the impact of climate change.
Learn more here.