OLYMPIA – In partnership with the Washington Invasive Species Council, Washington Governor Jay Inslee 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.
Invasive Species Awareness Week will feature a series of webinars and events aimed at sharing information about particular species.
Calendar of webinars and virtual events
“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 his proclamation, Inslee 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 spending time outdoors and reporting observations.
Residents should report any potential invasive species they spot using the Washington Invasives mobile app or by visiting the website, InvasiveSpecies.wa.gov.
Being vigilant and reporting suspicious issues is just one action anyone can take. Eleven (11) simple actions to prevent and stop invasive species suggested by the Washington Invasive Species Council include the following:
- 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 to a new location.
- On your next walk, watch out for noxious weeds.
- Dispose of unwanted pets, aquarium plants and water, science kits and live bait in the proper manner 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.
- Buy firewood where you will burn it or collect it on site when permitted. Remember not to move firewood from the local area where it was harvested.
- 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.
- Use certified weed-free forage, hay or mulch.
- Plant only non-invasive plants in your garden and eliminate 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.
- 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.
- Don’t pack a pest. When traveling internationally, check the travel guidelines on items that should not be brought back to the United States.
“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.