Thursday, June 30, 2016

Stop Invasive Species in Your Tracks

On Sunday, July 24, Invasive Species will be the topic for a special presentation by Pathways Summer Intern at Hagerman National Wildlife Refuge, Daniel Jackson.  The program will begin at 3 pm in the Meeting Room of the Refuge Visitor Center and will be open to the public, free of charge. Jackson says, 

"Invasive species have been trying to get a foothold in many areas of Texas as well as across the U.S., some have been very successful in transforming the landscape, others have wiped out native species. Learn what we have near/on the refuge, native vs. non-native species, what FWS is currently fighting against and what can be done to help at the individual level."

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.

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.

Whether walking, hiking, running, biking, or riding your horse or OHV, it's important to make sure you don't accidently move invasive species from place to place. Here are a few steps you can take to help prevent the spread of invasive species.

1. Come clean

Before leaving home, take a little time to inspect and remove dirt, plants, and bugs from clothing, boots, gear, pets, and vehicles.

2. Use only local or certified firewood when camping

Whether you use a tent, RV, or nothing but the clear blue sky, it's important to not accidently move invasive species from place to place, particularly in firewood. Before camping, check for any firewood restrictions at your intended campsite. Shop ahead of time to locate a source of firewood near your campsite. Burn all of the wood you bring or leave it with the campsite host.

3. Use weed-free or certified hay

When horseback riding, use weed-free or certified hay. When using hay for other purposes and weed-free hay is not available, use straw because it is less likely to carry weed seeds.

4. Stay on designated trails

Stay on the designated trail when walking, hiking, running, biking, or riding your horse or OHV.

5. Leave clean

Before leaving, inspect your belongings and remove any dirt, plants, or bugs. Invasive plant seeds can be stuck on you, your pets, or equipment. Likewise, pests that attack trees can hide in firewood that you bring home. Weed seeds in infested hay can be blown offsite as you move down the road or left behind in animal waste.

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