Invasive species are non-native plants, animals, pathogens, and microorganisms. They can be found on land or in water. Once they become established in areas outside their normal habitat range, they are capable of causing severe damage, including harming the economy, the environment, or human health.
Invasive species have many ways of spreading, including human activity. For instance, weed seeds move easily in soil on muddy boots or vehicles. Aquatic invaders, such as the zebra and quagga mussel, can hitchhike and travel overland long distances on recreational watercraft and gear. Some invasive plants are quite attractive and are sold in nurseries as ornamental plants. They can also hide in nursery stock, potting mixes, or home décor made from raw wood products. Many invasive forest pests can move in or on cut firewood, pallets, or solid wood packing material.
Being aware of these pathways of human-assisted spread can help us reduce the risk of accidentally moving harmful invasive species. By learning how to inspect and clean our belongings, and knowing the source of what we buy, we can begin to reduce the chance of accidentally spreading something that could harm the lands and waters we cherish.
Click on the national campaign buttons below to learn more about invasive species, their impacts, and how you can help to stop the spread!