Washington Invasive Species In Focus During Upcoming Awareness Week
The Washington Invasive Species Council and Washington State has officially proclaimed February 26 through March 3 as Washington Invasive Species Awareness Week, in solidarity with the National Invasive Species Awareness Week.
What are invasive species?
Invasive species are those which do not natively belong to the ecosystem they are found in. Often, these species have been introduced by humans - intentionally or accidentally. Fish, bugs, plants, wildlife, and diseases can all fall under this category, and pose threats to local ecosystems, agriculture, recreation, and natural resources.
Invasive species are a global problem that has cost the United States more than $1.2 trillion in the past 50 years. A 2017 state study estimated that some species not yet in Washington, such as invasive freshwater mussels, would cost the state more than $100 million annually in damage and loss if they were not prevented.
What's at stake in Washington?
Stephanie Helms, executive coordinator of the Washington Invasive Species Council, stated:
Invasive species threaten the survival of endangered species such as salmon and orca. Some pose a risk to agriculture, trade and food supplies, and some can change natural processes increasing wildfires and flooding and reducing water availability.
What does the awareness week include?
In an effort to educate and engage the public, a number of webinars and events will be held during the Washington State Invasive Species Week. Topics will include priority invasive species, risks to the economy and environment, and ways to help solve the problem.
More information, and tips on how to help, are on the Invasive Species Awareness Week website. Helms adds:
The role of the public can’t be understated. We have lots of examples where the public has discovered a new problem species. Many organizations work together to detect invasive species but they can’t be everywhere. Residents playing an active role in their communities to protect the resources we value is very important.
Five Of The Most Dangerous Invasive Species in Washington State
Gallery Credit: Rik Mikals
Washington Snow Forecast: February-March