LETTER TO THE EDITOR: Next week is National Invasive Species Awareness Week
The following is a letter to the editor submitted to the Bemidji Pioneer by a reader. It does not necessarily reflect the views of the Bemidji Pioneer. To submit a letter, email firstname.lastname@example.org or mail it to Bemidji Pioneer, P.O. Box 455, Bemidji, MN 56601.
Hello from Beltrami County’s Aquatic Invasive Species Lake Technician, the week of Feb. 28 through March 4 is designated as National Invasive Species Awareness Week and I would like to bring each person’s attention to the problems with invasive species.
Invasive species are nonnative species that cause harm to the environment, economic or human health. These species can affect all or just one aspect of people’s lives.
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The most effective way to manage invasive species is to prevent their spread. Invasive species have many ways of spreading, including human activity. For instance, weed seeds move easily in soil on muddy boots or vehicles.
Aquatic invaders, such as the zebra and quagga mussel, can hitchhike and travel overland long distances on recreational watercraft and gear. Some invasive plants are quite attractive and are sold in nurseries as ornamental plants. They can also hide in nursery stock, potting mixes or home decor made from raw wood products. Many invasive forest pests can move in or on cut firewood, pallets or solid wood packing material.
Being aware of these pathways of human-assisted spread can help us reduce the risk of accidentally moving harmful invasive species. By learning how to inspect and clean our belongings and knowing the source of what we buy, we can begin to reduce the chance of accidentally spreading something that could harm the lands and waters we cherish.
I invite everyone to take the Invasive Species Challenge.
Here are some easy everyday things you can do to meet the Invasive Species Challenge:
- Boaters: Clean, drain and dry your boat trailer and gear every time you leave a body of water. Do not release live bait into the wild.
- Pet owners: If you have acquired an undesirable pet or fish species for your aquarium or water garden, it is important not to release these plants or animals into the environment. Follow these tips from Habitattitude for aquarium hobbyists and backyard pond owners.
- Travelers, hikers, bikers, birders and campers: If you engage in terrestrial recreational activities like camping, hiking, biking or birding, take care not to be an unwitting vehicle of dispersion.
- Gardeners: Not all non-native species are bad, but some plants that look lovely in your garden might be harmful invaders that will make their way into natural areas. The Be Plant Wise website has easy tips on how to manage your garden to preserve the unique qualities of neighboring wildlands.
Bruce Anspach is an aquatic invasive species lakes technician with Beltrami County Environmental Services. He can be reached at email@example.com or (218) 333-8281.