Invasive plants and animals are stressing Oregon’s native species and have the potential to cost millions in economic damage to the state’s water infrastructure systems, agriculture and forestry.
Oregonians and regional partners now have a new coordinated approach to protecting Oregon from these devastating effects: The Oregon Statewide Strategic Plan for Invasive Species 2017-2027 and the accompanying working document, The Oregon Statewide Action Plan for Invasive Species 2017-2019.
The Oregon Invasive Species Council (OISC) released the plan after a year of stakeholder engagement and a 2016 Oregon Invasive Species Summit devoted to its development.
Co-chairing the effort and penning a letter to Oregonians at the beginning of the plan, Jeffrey (Jas) Adams and Rian vanden Hooff noted “increasingly, invasive species—whether introduced by deliberate or unintended actions—present one of the most serious current threats to our economy, ecosystems, infrastructure, and natural heritage.”
State wildlife officials are so concerned about invasive species they list them as a Key Conservation Issue in the Oregon Conservation Strategy.
“The second largest factor causing native species to become at-risk of extinction in the United States is invasive species,” said Rick Boater, Invasive Species Coordinator for the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife and current OISC chair. “Invasives are a real threat to Oregon’s fish and wildlife and their habitats.”
Boatner pointed out a few examples of invasive species already affecting some of Oregon’s native fish and wildlife. American bullfrogs and red-eared slider turtles harm Oregon’s two native turtles by competing for nesting sites and food. Bullfrogs also prey on native turtles, frogs, fish and snakes. Ringed crayfish compete with native Signal crayfish for food and habitat, and New Zealand Mud Snails can impact native invertebrates and the food chain of native trout.
“All Oregonians have a role in keeping these invasives out of state, and the new plan encourages that,” Boatner said.
The new strategic plan sets a long-term vision for a collaborative pathways management approach for invasive species, while the two-year action plan describes detailed actions agencies and organizations can take to achieve the strategic objectives.
“Pathways management is a collaborative approach to invasive species management that leverages limited funding, works across jurisdictional boundaries and supports science-based decision making to protect Oregon,” said Jalene Littlejohn,OISC Lead Coordinator.
About the Oregon Invasive Species Council
The OISC is a group of representatives from state and public agencies, scientists, educators and members of the public who lead Oregon’s fight against the threat of invasive plants and animals. They collaborate with a wide group of people to spearhead initiatives to increase citizen understanding and involvement in protecting the state against the harms of invasive species.
The council was created by the Oregon Legislature in 2001 and receives funding through a variety of state, federal and private donations. Those interested in joining the council or learning more about how to get involved are encouraged to contact the coordinator at firstname.lastname@example.org
Information provided by ODFW