TPWD announces National Invasive Species Awareness Week
AUSTIN, Texas (KAUZ) - The Texas Parks and Wildlife Department announces National Invasive Species Awareness Week, slated for Feb. 20–26, as an initiative to raise awareness of the threats and provide solutions on how to prevent the spread of invasive species.
“During National Invasive Species Awareness Week, and throughout the year, we want to encourage all Texans to take time to prevent new introductions and spread of invasive species and help to protect our natural resources for the enjoyment of future generations,” TPWS Senior Scientist for Aquatic Invasive Species Monica McGarrity said.
Invasive species are non-native to an ecosystem and can cause environmental or economic damage and harm to human health and quality of life.
According to the TPWD, invasive species are expensive to control and can be impossible to eradicate once established, and can inflict costly damage to crops, fisheries, forests and more.
A variety of non-native plants, animals, insects and even diseases can become invasive when they enter a new environment, growing or reproducing rapidly and potentially outcompeting native species.
The TPWD said invasive species can be introduced by humans in a variety of ways, including intentional introduction through aquarium dumping, live bait releases or outdoor plantings, or accidentally as “Hitchhikers” carried through recreational activities.
TPWD offers easy actions anyone can take to help prevent or slow the spread of invasive species in Texas.
Never dump anything, whether it’s fish, animals or plants out of an aquarium into any of Texas’ waterbodies. The same is true for flushing them down the toilet. Whether saltwater or freshwater, there’s a good chance your aquarium fish, animals and plants are not native to Texas. If dumped into the wild, they can quickly introduce diseases and establish themselves at the expense of native aquatic life, vegetation and reef systems.
Never dump your bait, because the potential impact that releasing live bait is one of the most common ways we spread aquatic invasive species.
Choose plants that are native to your region when landscaping near your home or planting a garden. It’s important that you choose plants that are native to your region. Non-native plants can escape cultivation and become invasive and have an impact on water quality, biodiversity, fish and wildlife habitats and more.
Clean, drain and dry your boat and gear. Boaters can help keep zebra mussels, giant salvinia and other invasive species from being moved and harming more lakes. The TPWD asks all boaters to take a few minutes to properly clean, drain and dry their boats and equipment before they leave a lake every time they go boating. Remove plants, mud and debris from the boat and trailer and drain all the water from the boat and gear. Once you get home, open up compartments and allow everything to dry completely.
TPWD also encourages the public to use the Texas Invaders website to report sightings of invasive species, whether in your backyard or in wild spaces.
More information on aquatic invasive species can be found here.
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