Invasive Species in the Watershed

 In News

Cordova, Alaska is a beautiful place to live and recreate. We enjoy an abundance of natural wonders and animals, plants, and waterways that team with life. As with other remote locations in Alaska, we also have our share of invasive plants that cause a threat to the surrounding ecosystem.

There is a plethora of aggressive invaders in our temperate rainforest environment and throughout Alaska and in our backyard: Elodea, Bohemian knotweed, Canadian waterweed, Orange Hawkweed, Reed canary grass, and Purple Loosestrife. These invasive plants are unique and detrimental in their own ways. For instance, Elodea is reported to be spread by boats, water sports (such as jet skis), and floatplanes. The impacts are vast and include harm to fish habitats and displacing of native plants. Reed canary grass is considered highly invasive and creates havoc by promoting silt deposition in rivers and displacing native species. Orange Hawkweed, although pretty and was a very popular ornamental, is deceiving in nature, as it’s another highly invasive plant here in Cordova. It can grow up to almost two feet and spread via the wind and form very dense “colonies” that minimize native plant diversity. Interesting fact: Ancient Greeks believed that the sap of hawkweed was responsible for the eyesight of hawks.

But don’t be dismayed, there are ways to help prevent the spread of these invasive invaders, and arm yourself with helpful tips and tricks. Summer is the prime time to be invasive plant species aware.

For example, you can help stop of the spread of Orange Hawkweed by removing and properly disposing of seed heads (keep them separate for other discarded items and tie them up tight in a bag) or use this recommended herbicide spray:

-You can also help us track invasive species by becoming an invasive plant detective! Keep a keen eye out for those invasive plants and report your findings on our Invasive Plant Project page on Anecdata. Simply use the “add observation” button on the “Invasive Plant Datasheet.” These observations help us focus our efforts to particular areas in our neighborhood:

Learn more about the invasive species of the watershed here. 

Written by Amanda Williams, CRWP Vetworks Intern.