|6/17/2017 7:25:00 AM|
June is Invasive Species Awareness Month
By Oneida County Land and Water DepartmentNot only is June a glorious month to explore the richness of Oneida County's natural resources, work in the garden, and observe wildlife, but June is also Invasive Species Awareness Month. Anyone who spends time outside is affected by invasive species. Increasing public awareness and empowering citizens to take simple steps to help prevent the introduction and spread of terrestrial, aquatic and wetland invasive species is more critical than ever before.
What is an invasive species? An invasive species is a non-native animal, plant, insect, amphibian, fish, fungus, or bacteria whose introduction is likely to cause a negative impact to the environment, economy, recreational activities, and public health. When a non-native species is introduced into an established ecosystem, it is free from natural predators, parasites, or competitors, which can allow it to reproduce and spread rampantly and aggressively. Invasive species can change food webs, cause ecological havoc in many of the most sensitive habitats, destroy crops, spread diseases, and cost billions of dollars annually to destroy.
Invasive species are primarily spread by human activity, often unintentionally. Invasive seeds and organisms can be transported on footwear, dog fur, and tires. Insects, plants and pathogens can easily hitch a ride in wood products such as garden mulch, firewood and shipping palettes. Aquatic invasive species can spread by hitching a ride in ballast water, on the hulls of boats or from the water of an angler's bait bucket and livewell. Furthermore, some ornamental plants can escape into the wild and become invasive.
There are many invasive species in the Northwoods with the potential to change, or have already changed, the biodiversity of forests, gardens, lawns, tree plantations, campgrounds, farm fields, lakes, rivers, streams, wetlands, fisheries, pollinator habitats, recreational trails and roadside habitats. Examples of invasive species in Oneida County are: Emerald ash borer, phragmites, garlic mustard, yellow flag iris, purple loosestrife, Chinese mystery snails and rusty crayfish.
Prevention and early intervention are the most efficient and cost effective approaches to address the ecological and economic impacts of invasive species. The longer the problem is ignored the harder and more expensive the battle for control will become. If left uncontrolled, it can and will limit how time outside now and in the future is enjoyed. The good news is, everyone can make a difference. Learn what to look for to help prevent the introduction and spread of terrestrial, aquatic and wetland invasive species.
Learn to identify invasive species in the area. Report any sightings to the county land and water conservation department or the Department of Natural Resources.
Plant native plants and remove/control invasive plants on your property. There are many good native plant alternatives to exotic ornamentals.
Clean hiking boots, off-road vehicles, tires, and other outdoor gear before going to a new area.
Never release aquarium fish, snails, and plants, live bait, or other exotic animals into lakes and streams.
Clean construction machines before moving to a new job site. The mud and soil stuck to the machines can harbor seeds from invasive plants.
Don't move firewood. Buy it where it will be burned or gather it on-site where permitted.
Inspect boats, trailers, and equipment and remove any attached plants, animal, mud, and sand. Drain all water from boats, motors and all equipment. Never move live fish away from a waterbody and dispose of unwanted bait in the trash.
For educational resources, visit the following websites: Oneida County Land & Water Conservation http://www.oclw.org/, Oneida County AIS Program: http://www.oneidacountyais.com/, WHIP (Wisconsin Headwaters Invasive Partnership) http://www.whipinvasives.org/, or WI Department of Natural Resources http://dnr.wi.gov/topic/invasives/. For more information, contact Oneida County Land & Water Conservation Department at 369-7835.
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