Invasive species awareness is an important first step

It’s National Invasive Species Awareness Week! That means it’s time to find out how we can be part of the solution and not add to the problem, which is serious and getting worse. According to a 2017 study, Washington’s economy and natural resources are being significantly harmed by invasive species, and the damage could become even greater if the problem is left unchecked. The study found that 23 species alone could cost more than $1.3 billion a year in Washington and a loss of 8,000 jobs.

Report on invasive species in Washington commissioned by Washington State Department of Agriculture and other state agencies.

Cover of a report on invasive species in Washington commissioned by Washington State Department of Agriculture and other state agencies.

In recognition of the harm invasive species can cause to our state’s economy and environment, Governor Jay Inslee joined the national invasive species awareness campaign and declared the week of February 26 as Invasive Species Awareness Week in Washington. According to a Washington Invasive Species Council press release, Governor Inslee encourages Washington residents to watch out for invasive species and to consider how we can contribute to protecting Washington’s resources from the impacts of these introduced pests.

One simple first step is to learn which species are most threatening so we can be sure not to spread them further. Information about Washington’s invasive species and more helpful actions we can all take are listed on the Washington Invasive Species Council’s Awareness Week Web page.

Two examples of harmful invasive species that impact us here in King County are New Zeland Mudsnails and Scotch Broom.

New Zealand Mudsnails are a harmful invasive species in Washington and transport o f these animals is prohibited.

According to King County’s Invasive Species web page, New Zealand mudsnails threaten the health and stability of aquatic ecosystems because they crowd out native species – they reproduce quickly and have reached densities of over 400,000 snails per square meter in parts of the US. Natural resource agencies throughout the West are concerned that these animals could further harm threatened and endangered salmon runs.

Scotch broom is a harmful invasive species in Washington.

According to a WSDA study, Scotch broom is widespread in western Washington and has the potential to cause a total of $142.7 million in lost sales and 660 job losses in Washington per year if it were allowed to spread an additional 12% per year into susceptible land types.

Read which invasive plants some local experts picked as their “favorites” in this entertaining and informative blog post from Forterra. What is your top pick for invasive plant of the year?

Learn more by visiting these websites:

2 thoughts on “Invasive species awareness is an important first step

  1. Oh come on! That spot at Arroyos has been in restoration for 4 years now. All the Scot’s broom is gone [😉]

    Michael Yadrick | Green Seattle Partnership
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