Feb. 26-March 2 is National Invasive Species Awareness Week. Invasive species are detrimental to our natural species and habitats. Most notably has been the Emerald Ash Borer, which has spread across most of the eastern and central United States in just a few short years. Invasive species can be animals, insects, aquatic life and plants. There are nine suggestions from the Center for Invasive Species that you can do to help prevent spreading invasives:
1. Learn about invasive species, especially those found in your region. Your county Extension office and the National Invasive Species Information Center are both trusted resources.
2. Clean hiking boots, waders, boats and trailers, off-road vehicles and other gear to stop invasive species from hitching a ride to a new location. Learn more at PlayCleanGo.org
3. Avoid dumping aquariums or live bait into waterways. Learn more at Habitattitude.org
4. Don’t move firewood – instead, buy it where you’ll burn it, or gather on site when permitted. Learn more at DontMoveFirewood.org
5. Use forage, hay, mulch and soil that are certified as “weed free.”
6. Plant only non-invasive plants in your garden, and remove any known invaders.
7. Report new or expanded invasive species outbreaks to authorities. Here is a state-by-state list of contacts: http://www.invasive.org/report.cfm. You can also download the Great Lakes Early Detection Network app at: https://apps.bugwood.org/apps/gledn/
8. Volunteer to help remove invasive species from public lands and natural areas.
9. Ask your political representatives at the state, local and national level to support invasive species control efforts.
If you are interested in learning more about controlling invasive species in your woodlands, please attend the workshop on March 22 from 6-7:30 pm in the auditorium at the Champaign County Community Center, 1512 South US Hwy 68, Urbana. Join Division of Forestry Service Forester Steve McGinnis and NRCS District Conservationist Ron Nieman to learn about forest management, controlling invasive trees and shrubs and incentive programs available to help cover the costs. The event is free to attend but RSVPs are requested to provide refreshments. RSVP to Douridas.firstname.lastname@example.org or 937-484-1526.
Amanda Douridas is the Champaign Agriculture and Natural Resources Extension Educator.