Simple Ways to Reduce the Spread of Invasive Species
By Dylan Moesker
Invasive species are a growing topic of concern as the importance of native species is becoming better understood. Experts in the field have been actively trying to combat the problem with physical, chemical, and biological methods, but these methods can be costly and often time consuming. This being said, there are ways that you and I can help prevent invasive species from spreading and help manage areas where invasive species currently occur. The overall goal is to stop the spread of invasive species and eradicate existing problems species.
First off, what exactly are invasive species? They are an introduced species that will negatively affect surrounding habitats and other species. They are able to quickly adapt to their environment and will often outcompete native species. Some habitat loss has been attributed to invasive species, which can reduce biodiversity.
A good place to start in the fight is purchasing native or non-invasive plants from your local greenhouse or nursery. Many invasive plants can be aesthetically pleasing, which sometimes causes us to think with our eyes rather than our brain. This is a common accident, and even I am guilty of buying plants without properly educating myself. Greenhouses and nurseries are knowledgeable of the plants they stock, so try asking an employee about the species you looking to buy.
Another way to reduce the spread is to not move species from one area to another without full knowledge of how it interacts with other species. As you may know, invasive species often out-compete native species, which allow them to rapidly spread. Although a species may be beautiful, it could have devastating results if introduced to another environment.
Also, ensure that ATVs, boats, and other equipment that may have come into contact with invasive species are properly washed and have dried for at least six hours before moving to another location.
In the recently published Muskoka Watershed Report Card, a majority of the watersheds within Muskoka were stressed by invasive species. Listed above are just a few easy steps that we can all take to protect the amazing biodiversity within Muskoka and prevent the spread of new invasive species. A little bit of research to properly educate ourselves will go a long way, and will help in the fight against invasive species.