Original Post by Elli Caldwell, Updated Feb. 15, 2023
The U.S. Forest Service estimates that 50,000 animal and plant species in the United States are not naturally found here. Nearly 5,000 of those are considered invasive because of the ecological and economic damages they cause.
While the SCA’s Native Plant Corps is working to combat this threat on our nation’s public lands, they can’t do it alone.
Follow these tips for ways you can combat the spread of invasive species starting in your own backyard.
- If you don’t know it, don’t grow it. Avoid buying or growing plants that are known to be invasive.
- Avoid buying and planting mixtures of seeds, especially ones labeled “wildflowers.” Many contain invasive species, and are not clearly labeled.
- Landscape and garden with plants native to your area. Contact your local library or your state’s Native Plant Society for information and ideas on gardening with native species.
Boating and Fishing
- Never transport water, animals or plants from one body of water to another.
- Remove all aquatic plants and animals from hulls, propellers, intakes, trailers, and gear before leaving a launch area. Wash your boat and other equipment land-side before travelling to a new waterway.
- Wash all fishing tackle, downriggers and lines to remove and prevent the spread of small, larval forms of aquatic invaders.
- Buy from reputable dealers whose non-native pets are properly labeled, legally imported, and not harboring foreign pests and diseases that can spread to indigenous wildlife.
- Don’t release aquarium fish of any kind into a natural body of water. If you no longer want your pet fish, return it to a pet shop, or donate to a local school, hospital or nursing home.
- Brush animals before and after back country trips to remove weed seeds.
- Don’t smuggle or carry fruit, seeds, live plants, berries, soil, insects, snails, lizards, snakes or other animals into or out of the United States.
- Abide by local and international quarantines to prevent the spread of pests, weeds and diseases.
- Check your clothing, boots, and equipment for weed seeds before and after hiking.
- Stay on established roads and trails.
- Clean vehicles before and after each trip.
- Share your knowledge and educate others about the harm caused by invasive species.
- Join a local invasive plant eradication effort. Many parks and nature preserves, including Audubon sanctuaries, remove invasive plants with the help of local volunteers.
- Learn to recognize common local invaders and those found in adjacent counties and states.