Thursday, August 27, 2015

Stop Invasives in Your Tracks

From Friends NewsWire:

Everybody has a role to play in stopping the advance of invasive species – those plants, animals and microorganisms that are not native to a particular area and wreak havoc outside their normal range.

NOTE: Not all nonnative species are harmful.  Many agricultural crops are non-native. An example is corn - a nonnative whose introduction has been very beneficial. The term "invasive" is reserved for the most aggressive nonnative species capable of changing site or living conditions for the worse where they establish.

According to the PlayCleanGo website,

"Invasive species are found in water and on land. In fact, invasive species can occur in just about every habitat type you can imagine: lakes and streams, cities, fields and farms, all of the native areas of the state. A few of the common species found on land include Canadian thistle, common buckthorn, wild parsnip, and the two fungal species that cause Dutch elm disease and oak wilt. Another one that folks are becoming aware of is the emerald ash borer."

Locally, invasive species such as zebra mussels, feral hogs and Johnson grass come to mind!

The site goes on to say that each species has evolved to have several means of expanding a short distance in its home territory, where plants and animals have come to coexist more or less peaceably.

A problem occurs when humans knowingly or unknowingly assist increase the distance a species is or can spread:

"Long distance spread is almost always human assisted. Because long distance spread takes the species a long way from home, the resident plants and animals are not often prepared to cope with their new neighbor. Natural enemies are missing and host species often lack the natural defenses necessary to survive an attack by the introduced species. Once introduced, aggressive species are free to expand their range using their short distance dispersal mechanisms with a competitive advantage over native plant and animals due to the lack of natural enemies."

A new campaign called PlayCleanGo: Stop Invasive Species in Your Tracks is a clear call to action to people who are regularly outdoors, whether working or recreating. PlayCleanGo complements the ongoing Stop Aquatic Hitchhikers campaign.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is a partner in PlayCleanGo, along with more than 160 conservation groups nationwide. Together they are calling on the public to:
Be informed, attentive and accountable for preventing the spread of terrestrial and aquatic invasive species.
Arrive to recreational sites with clean gear.
Burn and use local or certified firewood, mulch, decorative rocks and soil.
Use local or weed-free hay.
Stay on the trails.
Clean gear before leaving, including removing mud and seeds.

Homeowners are encouraged to learn about and use native plants in their yards. Workers are advised to burn wood waste that may harbor plant pests from another part of the country or world. Together, we can do it!

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