Invasives 101

What is an invasive species?

Invasive Yellow Flag Iris is taking over this wetland in Fort Ann.

Invasive species are plants, animals, and other organisms either accidentally or intentionally introduced from other places. In recent years, the rate and risks of invasive species introductions have increased due to human population growth, movement of people and materials, and environmental alteration.

Once established, invasive species negatively impact agriculture, industry, recreation, forestry, fisheries, human health, and the environment. As a threat to our biodiversity, they have been judged second only to habitat loss. Due to the lack of natural controls and high reproductive ability, invasives can quickly become widespread.

Damages and losses in the United States from invasive species have been estimated at $120 billion annually, $100 million of which were expenses for aquatic invasive plant control. Aquatic invasive species (AIS) threaten native plants, wildlife, and their habitat.  They also affect humans by degrading boating and fishing areas and reducing lake shore property values and tourism.

Education & Spread Prevention are Key

Once an invasive species gets into a body of water, it is very hard to eradicate.  If detected early and response is rapid, it can be possible, but very costly.