Governor Jay Inslee, in partnership with the Washington Invasive Species Council, has proclaimed February 28 to March 4 Invasive Species Awareness Week in Washington.
“We all need to be aware of invasive species and take simple steps to prevent and stop them,” Inslee said. “We must work together to protect our state from invasive plants and animals that can damage habitat, outcompete native species for food, and destroy what makes Washington such a great place to live.”
Whether on land or in water, certain organisms such as fish, insects, plants and other wildlife can damage agriculture, recreation, forests and other resources when introduced to Washington. from other regions. One study estimates that just 22 species would cost Washington more than $100 million a year in damage and loss if not prevented or controlled.
Awareness Week includes a series of webinars and events aimed at sharing information about particular species. Visit the Invading Species Awareness Week webpage for more information.
“One of the greatest threats to the natural and cultural resources of the Kalispel Tribe today are invasive species,” said Glen Nenema, president of the Kalispel Tribe of Indians, which is a council member organization. “Non-native plants and animals that harm our native ecosystems are a growing problem on the lands of Kalispel and are only getting worse with climate change. These invasive species are a concern shared by tribal, federal, state and local governments. of county.
In Inslee’s proclamation, he notes that everyone has a role to play in stopping invasive species by doing simple actions such as looking for plants and animals not native to Washington when they spend time outside. outdoors and reporting sightings. Residents should report any potential invasive species they spot using the Washington Invasives mobile app or by visiting the website, InvasiveSpecies.wa.gov.
The City of Bellingham’s focus on stopping invasive species includes a boat inspection program which in 2021 carried out 14,415 inspections and decontaminated 10 boats that had recently come from mussel-infested waters. City leaders are encouraging the public to join efforts to stop invasive species.
“To stop new invasive species, we need the public’s help in finding the very first insect, plant or animal,” said Seth Fleetwood, Mayor of Bellingham. “We are proud of our work at the grassroots level and badly need members of the public to join in our efforts. If we can find them before they settle, we can save a lot of money, time and resources. Vigilant residents recently helped us detect Asian giant hornets and European green crab, and our watercraft inspectors helped prevent the introduction of zebra and quagga mussels. We are grateful that the public joins us in stopping invasive species on land and in water. Working together is the key to successfully eliminating future problems.
Being vigilant and reporting suspicious issues is just one action anyone can take. Here are other simple actions to prevent and stop invasive species:
• Clean your hiking boots, bikes, waders, boats, trailers, all-terrain vehicles and other gear before venturing outdoors to prevent invasive species from hitching a ride somewhere new. Learn more about how invasive species spread.
• On your next walk, watch out for noxious weeds. Visit the Washington State Noxious Weed Control Board website to learn more about noxious weeds and if you spot any in your yard or walking around your neighborhood, let your county’s Noxious Weed Control Board know. .
• Dispose of pets, plants and aquarium water, science kits and live bait in the proper way and NOT by dumping them into waterways. Released pets often suffer a slow death in winter or can become invasive and damage wildlife and crops. Visit the council’s “Don’t Let It Loose” webpage to learn the right ways to get rid of unwanted pets and plants.
• Buy firewood where you will burn it or pick it up where permitted. Remember not to move firewood from the local area where it was harvested. Learn more about the potential dangers of moving firewood.
• Protect salmon and rainbow trout by not moving any fish from one body of water to another. This will prevent the spread of fish disease and protect salmon and rainbow trout fisheries from non-native predatory fish. Visit the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife website to learn more about moving fish.
• Use certified weed-free forage, hay or mulch. Visit the Washington Department of Agriculture website to see details of its certification program.
• Plant only non-invasive plants in your garden and remove all known invasive plants.
• Volunteer to survey public lands and trails as a Citizen Science Invasive Plant Monitor with the Pacific Northwest Invasive Plant Council. More information on the Facebook page of the factory council.
• Become a Washington State University Master Gardener and help your community identify, report, and properly manage exotic and invasive pests.
• Volunteer to help remove invasive species from public lands and natural areas. Contact your state, county, or city department of parks and recreation, land trust, conservation district, or Washington State University extension office for more information.
• Do not bring pests. When traveling internationally, consult travel guidelines on items that should not be brought back to the United States. Learn more about Don’t pack a pest.
“We know how to prevent and stop invasive species,” said Justin Bush, executive coordinator of the Washington Invasive Species Council. “No action is very complicated and each one only takes a few minutes. If we incorporate all of these activities into our daily life and work, we will be protecting what we know and love about this place we call home.
Webinars and virtual events
Register for the webinars as places are limited.
• February 28: Noxious Weeds Affecting Riparian Habitat: Integrated Pest Management and Best Practices
• March 1: Washington Conservation Corps: Creating future leaders through community engagement and mentorship
• March 2: Partners in Prevention – Protecting our waters from aquatic invasive species
• March 3: Managing the European Pacific Green Crab/March 3: Virtual Workshop on Invasive Species and Alien Pests
• March 4: The Giant Hornet 2 Years Later: What We Learned and What We Still Don’t Know
The Legislature created the Washington Invasive Species Council in 2006 and tasked it with providing policy-level direction, planning, and coordination to combat harmful invasive species statewide and prevent the introduction of pests. other potentially harmful species.