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How communities are dealing with invasive species across the U.S.

  • Texas: Invaders of Texas Program

    The Invaders of Texas Program is a citizen science program initiated by Texas Invasives that offers training and events for the management of invasive species throughout the state. The program utilizes the aid of industry members, education sectors, various organizations, and even federal agencies to battle threats to native flora and fauna throughout the state by asking teams of area volunteers—coordinated by the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center—to record sightings of invasive species, each of which is logged on the Texas Invasives website to create a statewide mapping of non-native species.

    To learn more about the Invaders of Texas Program, click here.

  • Baton Rouge, LA: Silverfin Fish Cakes

    Chef Philippe Parola is a seasoned preparer of invasive species. The professional chef has brought everything from nutria to alligator to dinner plates across the country, most recently settling on normalizing the consumption of Asian carp with his business, Silverfin Fish Cakes.

    Parola’s company packages and sells wholesale fish cakes comprising invasive Asian carp, representing the “first-ever, value-added products made from an invasive species for human consumption.” His website features cooking tutorials and varied encouragements for hunting the invasive fish, which compete with other species for food.

  • Prairie du Sac, WI: Ash tree removal

    In a preemptive move to eradicate the invasive emerald ash borer throughout Prairie du Sac, Wis., the town is systematically removing the ash trees the bugs burrow in, prioritizing trees that are dead or sick. The hope is to remove trees—and, by extension, the bug—before damage spreads to other trees and canopy.

    Cutting the trees down is a more eco-friendly alternative to chemical treatment, which could harm other organic matter in the trees or on the ground.

  • Hawai’i Volcanoes National Park: Youth Ranger Program

    The Hawaiʻi Volcanoes National Park in 2019 marked a decade of its Youth Ranger Program on the Big Island, where 435 students to date from almost a dozen high schools have gathered to learn about the environment. One of the chief projects of this group is to clear invasive species, mainly plants, that threaten biodiversity within the park and across the Hawai’ian islands.

    The biggest threats to the park include the Argentine ant, kahili ginger (pictured), miconia, coqui frog, Christmas berry, and fountain grass.

  • North Carolina: Red fire ant quarantine zone

    Red fire ants were first recorded in North Carolina in the late 1950s, slowly spreading throughout the state with venomous stings and housing in the form of large mounds that can easily disrupt lawns. To combat their unchecked spread, the USDA in 1958 launched a quarantine on goods from ant-infested regions to non-infested to ensure no ants get inadvertently relocated.

    That ant quarantine zone in May 2019 was expanded to match a spread of inhabited area by the ants, and now includes Orange, Davidson, and Vance counties.

  • Colorado Parks and Wildlife: $20 per northern pike

    From Stedman Mesa to the Utah border, Colorado Parks and Wildlife is offering $20 for each northern pike caught by licensed fishermen. The price-per-head helps manage northern pike populations throughout the state, which were first illegally introduced to the state in 1950. These fish destroy other aquatic species populations with their voracious appetites.

  • Round Lake State Park, ID: Free ice cream project

    Bonne County, Idaho, is using free ice cream to fight invasive Chinese mystery snails. The snails, which consume algae relied on by other, native species, are the product of illegal releases into Round Lake—most likely from home aquariums.

    Visitors to Round Lake State Park are offered free ice cream bars or sandwiches for every dozen snails turned in.

  • Helena, MT: Biocontrol weevils

    After successfully using insects to eradicate invasive weeds for over 10 years, Helena, Mont., is now sharing its bugs to help do the same throughout the state.

    The target of the bugs—in this case, the weevil—is toadflax, which comes in two invasive varieties throughout Montana. Helena’s successful biocontrol program began at the start of the 21st century and has expanded to include roughly 180 releases of half a dozen insects to eat invasive weeds, including toadflax, leafy spurge, and spotted knapweed.

  • Phoenix, AZ: Free boat decontamination

    The Arizona Game and Fish Department (AZGFD) during the 2018-2019 fiscal year made a 49% increase in the number of free boat decontaminations offered as a way of preventing the spread of aquatic invasive species (AIS).

    Decontaminations consist of hot water washes available for free that kill off invasive species like the quagga mussel that could be stuck on a boat.

  • St. Paul, AK: Rat snap traps

    By some counts, more than half of all bird and reptile extinctions of the last 400 years have been due to rats. Besides carrying diseases like the plague, rats are blamed for destroying biodiversity in regions around the globe. Since their first Alaskan appearance in the late 18th century, a variety of methods have been employed to eradicate them.

    Most recently, that method in St. Paul, Alaska, is rat snap traps, traditional bait traps secured in large yellow pails around the island to do battle against the rats and mice before they destroy native aquatic bird species and other wildlife. The program was initiated in 1995, and it persists today with rat patrollers checking traps across the island regularly and tracking numbers to ensure the rat population is kept at a minimum.

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