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The Conservation District is concerned about the effects invasive species have on the ecosystem.
An invasive species is a species which is alien and not native to an area and can quickly establish, spread, and threaten native ecosystems. These can be plants or animals-including aquatic species.
Invasives typically grow fast, spread aggressively, reproduce quickly and out-compete native species for resources. Usually, native predators will not consume invasives because they have not adapted to utilize the plant or animal. Invasives upset the natural balance of ecosystems because they take over native plant or animal communities and do not provide food or shelter for wildlife. They are not adapted to be part of the food chain.
Many plants have been brought into the country or area for horticulture or landscaping, or in the case of aquatic plants-for aquarium or decorative pond use. They are often decorative and attractive plants and therefore popular for planting. Invasive plants near streams push out native riparian species and often do not control erosion. Invasive plants in forests do not allow regeneration of valuable and desirable native trees.
Aquatic invasives include plants and animals. Creatures like the spiny water flea and zebra mussel can have devastating effects on aquatic habitats. Zebra mussels have impacted all of the Great Lakes. Asian carp are another problematic species which are spreading through many rivers throughout the Midwest. It is very important to clean your boat and bilge, and fishing equipment, including waders when moving to a different fishing location.
Get to know natives and non-natives. Avoid planting any invasive plants in your garden or landscaping. Remove any invasive plants from your property to prevent their spreading. Research the best way to remove the plant; many spread by roots and need to be treated with herbicide to completely kill all roots. Do not move plants in the wild. Even moving a desirable plant can carry invasive seeds in the soil or roots. Seeds and plant parts can be unintentionally spread on construction, agricultural, or recreational equipment used in infested areas.
The Conservation District can provide information about invasive species identification and control to landowners and residents. The links below have detailed fact sheets and treatment options for invasive plants.
For more information visit:
PA Department of Conservation and Natural Resources Invasive Species
PA Fish & Boat Commission Aquatic Invasives
PA Natural Heritage Program
which includes iMAP Invasives, a statewide mapping tool for invasive population reporting
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