What is the Invasive Plant Program up to?

2023 Youth Environmental Summit in Gakona June 6-8, 2023

Chris Iannazzone, our Watershed Stewardship Program Manager will attend this summit to facilitate some invasive plant learning with the youth!

Stay up-to-date on where invasive plants are in the Copper River watershed and help track new infestations with our Invasive Plant Reporter Form.

Check out our Invasive Plant Dashboard. It includes data from 2014-present. Explore the full map here.

Invasive species are non-native plants or animals that harm the environment where they are introduced. They ride on boats, ATVs, cars and trucks. You can find them clinging to your clothes or boots, hitchhiking on your produce, and hidden in your seed mixes and dirt! Invasive plants are likely located in a yard or along a stream or trail near you.

As defined in Executive Order 13112 signed by President Clinton in 1999, an invasive species is “an alien species whose introduction does or is likely to cause economic or environmental harm or harm to human health.”

Invasive plants outcompete native plants and change the browse available for our wild and domestic animals. They alter the landscape by creating a monoculture, with one dominant plant growing in a large area rather than a diverse range of grasses, wildflowers and shrubs important for birds, bugs, and other wildlife. Invasive plants can even establish in areas where other plants have not yet taken root, such as stream channels and gravel bars.  They can affect the flow of water through the ecosystem and can send migrating fish off course and reduce available spawning habitat.

Invasive Plant Management

Management of invasive plants can vary depending on species, location, and resources available. Management goals, however, are usually similar across all areas.

1. Prevent introduction – the easiest way to control invasive plants is to keep them from infesting your land in the first place! Learning how invasive plants are commonly transported and knowing which species are invasive can help avoid unintentional introductions.

2. Promote awareness of invasive plants – many landowners and managers and unaware of the harmful impacts of invasive plants, or which species should be on their watch list. Using a variety of educational tools, we aim to spread the word and raise awareness about invasive plants.

3. Contain, control, or eradicate high priority species – these efforts are usually species specific, but can include methods such as removing seed heads, tarping, mowing and cutting, hand pulling, or herbicide application.

4. Facilitate cooperation of invasive plant control efforts – successful control or eradication of invasive plants involves the efforts and cooperation of many stakeholders. Coordinating these efforts allows resources to be effectively and efficiently managed to reach a common goal.

Cordova Tarps 2014

Tarping of invasive reed canarygrass at 2 mile of the Copper River Highway in Cordova. This tarp was installed with the help of volunteers in October 2014 and remained in place for several growing seasons before being removed. The area was then seeded with native vegetation.