Today marks the beginning of National Invasive Species Awareness Week (February 26 – March 2). Invasive species are non-native organisms that, often because they’re free from natural controls they had in their native lands, cause ecological, economic or human harm in the new lands they’ve been introduced into. They often have several traits in common besides freedom from their original natural controls. For example, they reproduce very quickly and out compete native fauna and flora. Though some may look harmless, such as many exotic invasive plants, they can cause great harm. The National Wildlife Federation estimates that 42% of threatened and endangered species are at risk due to invasives.
Arlington County, like all our region’s jurisdictions, recognizes these threats. In fact, page 21 of the Arlington County Board approved Natural Resources Management Plan states: “Invasive plant species represent the greatest and most immediate threat to the continued survival of Arlington’s natural lands and native plant communities.” Arlington, like so many neighboring jurisdictions, has committed many resources and efforts to manage invasives. Again like many jurisdictions, Arlington has an Invasive Plant program as part of our Natural Resources Management Unit. It has a dedicated budget and a rolling 10-year invasives plan based on ecological priorities and citizen interest to maximize our limited resources. You can find out more about it here.