From Montana Invasive Species Council
HELENA — February 25 to March 3 is National Invasive Species Awareness Week (NISAW). The event raises awareness and identifies solutions for invasive species at the international, national, state, tribal, regional, and local level. The Montana Invasive Species Council (MISC) encourages Montanans to observe the event by learning about ways to help prevent the introduction and spread of invasive species in their everyday lives and work.
Invasive species include plants, animals, insects, and other organisms that cause economic or ecological harm to a new environment in which they have been introduced. Invasive species cause problems in their new environment because predators, competitors, parasites, and other natural controls do not exist in the new range, allowing them to multiply and spread at alarming rates.
In Montana, the newest invasive species of concern are zebra or quagga mussels that were detected in trace amounts at Tiber and Canyon Ferry reservoirs in the fall of 2016. A report commissioned by MISC estimates Montana’s economy could see more than $230 million in annual mitigation costs and lost revenue if invasive mussels become established in the state. Montana is also impacted by other invasives such as: New Zealand mudsnails, houndstongue, cheatgrass, and Eurasian watermilfoil — which are among the wide variety of invasive organisms threatening agricultural productivity, forest health, water quality, fish and wildlife habitat, and property.
“Invasive species are most often accidentally introduced and spread by humans,” said Bryce Christiaens, MISC chair. “By recognizing this fact and taking simple actions, we can all make a difference in helping to protect our water and landscapes from the threat of invasive species.”
The United States Department of Agriculture has shown that invasive species cost the U.S. more than $137 billion annually, through crop damage, fisheries reduction, forest health impacts, and management. Montanans can take simple actions to help prevent the introduction and spread of noxious weeds and invasive species. In recognition of NISAW, MISC will be hosting an education and outreach event at the State Capitol from 10-2 on March 1, 2019. For more information, contact Stephanie Hester at 406-444-0547 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Montana Invasive Species Council is a statewide partnership working to protect Montana’s economy, natural resources, and public health through a coordinated approach to combat invasive species. For more information about MISC, visit misc.mt.gov.