MEDFORD, Ore. — From the National Forests to Oregon’s only National Park, agencies want you to know it is National Invasive Species Awareness Week. “Invasive species if left unchecked and not addressed, threaten native species,” said Botanist Stacy Johnson with the Rogue River Siskiyou National Forest. She explained invasive species can grow quickly in gardens, landscapes and the forest.
“They also threatened biodiversity, ecosystem services, recreation, water quality, and also agricultural systems,” said Johnson. That’s why several government agencies are trying to spread the word about National Invasive Species Awareness Week, which runs February 28th through March 4th this year. “They can be a widescale problem,” she said.
For example, Crater Lake National Park says before the late 1800’s, there were no fish. Fish were introduced in the lake for tourists until 1941. Now, there are over 50,000 fish in the lake. “It’s not just invasive plants. That’s obviously my specialty,” said Johnson. “But they all pose a really big threat to our healthy functioning native plant communities.”
Since the fish are invasive, Crater Lake allows fishing with no license and no size, catch or possession restrictions. However, in order to limit other invasive species only non-organic artificial lures are allowed. “Everyone can prevent the spread of invasive species and prevent impacts from invasive species,” said Johnson.
Oregonians can help by not planting these plants in their gardens, instead opting for native plants. Johnson also urges people to clean their equipment, hiking boots, and car when you go from landscape to landscape. This prevents any invasive seeds from being carried from one place to another.
“It’s much easier to prevent an invasive species than it is to treat the invasive species,” said Johnson.