A recent campaign by the Missouri Invasive Plant Task Force (MoIP) serves as a reminder about the problems imposed by invasive species throughout the state. As of December 3rd, MOIP is inviting private and public property owners to pledge to stop the spread of invasive plants. By taking the MoIP Pledge to Stop the Spread of Invasive Species, citizens, communities, campuses, businesses, and other organizations are promising to not plant invasive species and act to control the spread of invasive plants on their properties.
Invasive species include any species whose introduction to Missouri’s ecosystems causes economic or environmental harm. Plants such as hydrilla, Johnson grass, wintercreeper, bush honeysuckle, and many others cause a tremendous amount of ecological and economic harm throughout Missouri. The Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC) provides excellent resources on identifying and controlling invasive plants.
It is important to remember that the term invasive applies to not just plants. Invasive animals can present many ecological and economic problems as well. Animals such as the zebra mussel, emerald ash borer, Asian carp, and feral hogs are just a few examples. The MDC also provides resources on the identification and control of invasive animals.
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has a program titled Play Clean Go with the mission to stop the spread of invasive species. You will find a wealth of information here about invasive species. Resources include identification materials, how to control invasive species, educational materials, activities, programs, videos, and online training for volunteers working to fight invasive species.
Controlling invasive species throughout Missouri will take the concerted effort of all of us. We hope you take the time to sign the pledge and join the fight to eliminate invasive species.
Jeff Birchler, Watershed Center Coordinator