News and Upcoming Events
NEWS RELEASE: Invasive Species Could Cost Washington Businesses, Agencies $1.3 Billion
OLYMPIA – A new report released today pegs the economic impact of 23 of the most damaging invasive species in Washington at $1.3 billion a year and a loss of 8,000 jobs, if there’s no prevention, according to the Washington Invasive Species Council.
“Invasive species are plants and animals not native to Washington, and once they land here, they out-compete existing wildlife,” said Justin Bush, executive coordinator of the Washington Invasive Species Council. “They can wipe out crops, clog waterways, damage pipes and dams and completely change the landscape and the wildlife that live there. Left unchecked, invasive species can ring up huge costs for control, kill jobs and harm our economy."
While there are more than 200 known invasive species found in or near Washington state, the economic analysis highlights the damages and potential impacts that could result if 23 of these species were allowed to spread in Washington in a single year.
Following are the total potential economic impacts of 23 invasive species on Washington’s industries:
Crops Cropland has the potential to be quickly infested by invasive plants, which require resources to control, and by invasive animals, which are looking for fruits and vegetables to eat. The total economic impact of the selected 23 invasive species on crops grown in Washington is estimated to be more than $589 million a year and 4,400 jobs lost.
Timber Many invasive species have the ability to severely impact Washington’s$1.68 billion timber and logging industry. Invasive noxious weed species such as Scotch broom can outcompete new saplings, which harms future timber harvests. Insect species such as gypsy moth have a more immediate impact on forests by defoliating and stressing adult trees, resulting in their death. The total economic impact of the selected 23 invasive species on the timber industry is estimated to be $297 million and 1,300 jobs lost.
Livestock Invasive noxious weeds in pastures and rangeland displace native plants eaten by livestock. In some cases, these plants also are poisonous to livestock and horses and can cause life-threatening ailments. The total economic impact of the selected 23 invasive species on the livestock industry is estimated to be more than $282 million annually and 1,500 jobs lost.
Recreation Recreational activities such as hunting, fishing and boating can all be adversely affected by invasive species. Many of the same species that impact a rancher’s ability to range their cattle also reduce elk and deer populations. Invasive species in the water hamper fish populations and can reduce access to popular fishing areas. Other water species can clog boat motors and render public boat launches unusable. The total economic impact of the selected 23 invasive species to recreational activities is estimated to be more than $47 million a year and 500 jobs lost.
Water Facilities Water facilities such as dams and irrigation systems can be devastated by aquatic invasive species such as Eurasian watermilfoil and quagga and zebra mussels. If invasive species are introduced to a facility, costly mitigation and maintenance systems must be installed for the facility to function. The total economic impact to water facilities from quagga and zebra mussels is estimated to be more than $100 million and 500 jobs lost.
The Worst Offenders
Rush skeletonweed, Scotch broom, apple maggot and zebra and quagga mussels are the most costly of the selected invasive species in Washington with an estimated total impact of more than $927 million and more than 5,140 jobs lost, the report concluded.
“Invasive species, including noxious weeds, affect all of us in Washington,” says Alison Halpern, the executive secretary of the Washington State Noxious Weed Control Board. “Many people have probably seen Scotch broom take over a vacant lot, knapweeds crowd out rangeland plants or Eurasian milfoil plug up a lake and make it hard to swim or boat. It’s important to understand that not only are they reducing native plant diversity and degrading important habitat, but they also can really hurt businesses that rely on Washington’s natural resources.”
Invasive species rapidly colonize new areas, displacing native species. Nationally, the impacts of invasive species and control efforts cost more than $137 billion annually but information on the specific costs of these impacts to Washington has been lacking.
To address the lack of information, the Washington Department of Agriculture, Washington State Noxious Weed Control Board and the Washington Invasive Species Council partnered with five other state agencies (Departments of Ecology, Fish and Wildlife, Natural Resources and Transportation, and the Washington State Parks and Recreation Commission) to hire Seattle-based Community Attributes Inc. to quantify the impact of 23 of the most damaging invasive species in Washington. The analysis gathered information on crops, livestock, timber and recreation such as hunting, fishing and boating.
“This economic damage can be reduced or even prevented by controlling noxious weeds, reporting invasive species, choosing non-invasive plants, never releasing unwanted pets into the wild and cleaning recreational equipment before and after use,” Bush said. “We all must do our part to prevent the introduction of invasive species to Washington state. With this amount of revenue and jobs on the line, we can’t afford to ignore this important issue.”
“As this report makes clear, invasive species can devastate the economy, in addition to our state’s environment,” said Jim Marra, pest program manager for the Washington State Department of Agriculture. “This is all the more reason for our agency and our partners to continue the invaluable work of preventing the introduction of invasive species to protect the state’s agricultural, environmental and other natural resources.”
Weed Board Applicants Wanted
For Immediate Release 1/10/2017
Volunteers needed to fill two Noxious Weed Control Board positions set to expire March 31, 2017
Stevenson, WA The Board of County Commissioners is seeking two applicants to serve on the Skamania County Noxious Weed Control Board. Residents are needed to represent zones 2 and 3. Applicants to represent Zone 2 must reside in the area of Wind Mountain to Stevenson (Bridge of Gods)--including Home Valley and Carson Junction. Applicants to represent Zone 3 must reside in the area between the Bridge of Gods and the Beacon Rock area.
Residents interested in service must reside within the appropriate district and obtain ten signatures from registered voters within the district they represent. This appointed position has a four year term. More information can be downloaded here.
An application packet can be downloaded. For more information, please call 509-427-3941 or email email@example.com. Applications will be due by 4:30pm on January 31, 2017. More information about the Noxious Weed Control Board and Program can be found at: http://www.skamaniacounty.org/noxious-weeds/
NOTICE OF PUBLIC HEARING:
A public hearing will take place on February 1, 2017 at 10:00 am at the Noxious Weed Program office at 704 SW Rock Creek Drive in Stevenson. The Weed Board will hold a public hearing to hear from applicants for the board member openings and will also hold a public hearing on the adoption of the 2017 noxious weed list for Skamania County.
# # # Released By:
Emily Stevenson Program Coordinator Skamania County | Noxious Weed Control Program PO Box 369 | 704 SW Rock Creek Drive | Stevenson, WA 98648 Phone (509) 427-3941| Fax (509) 427-0139 firstname.lastname@example.org | http://www.skamaniacounty.org/noxious-weeds/
For release: August 8, 2016
Contact: Susan Zemek, 360-902-3081
State Asks You to Check Trees for Invasive Forest Pests in August
OLYMPIA – Four state agencies and a university are asking residents to check trees in their yards for harmful bugs as part of the national Tree Check Month in August.
August is the peak time of year to find invasive bugs like Asian longhorned beetle, emerald ash borer and other aggressive wood-boring insects.
“Invasive insects can destroy Washington’s forests.” said Justin Bush, executive coordinator of the Washington Invasive Species Council. “In Washington, more than 22 million acres of forests are at risk from invasive insects and disease. We need everyone’s assistance to prevent these damages in Washington State.”
The Washington Invasive Species Council, Washington State Department of Agriculture, Washington State Department of Natural Resources, and Washington State University Extension are asking residents to take ten minutes to go outside and inspect their trees. Invasive wood boring insects typically emerge from trees in August. Experts also suggests that all pool owners should check their pool skimmers and filters for the invasive bugs. Emerging adult insects often end up as debris collected in pool filters.
If residents see any invasive insects or signs, they should to take photographs and report the find immediately at www.invasivespecies.wa.gov/report.shtml, where they can get an online reporting form or download the free WA Invasives mobile app.
“Initial infestations are difficult to detect, so early detection and reporting is critical to rapidly manage new populations,” Bush said. “Our state needs help finding new outbreaks so they can be contained quickly and eliminated.”
“Early detection and rapid response is the more effective and cost-efficient approach to managing new invasive species, whether because we have the opportunity to eradicate it or because we can take steps to quickly limit their impact,” said Dr. Chris Looney of the Washington State Department of Agriculture. “Our own data show that the general public is an important source of first detections.”
First indications of invasive insect damage to trees include sudden die back or death among a group of like trees that are otherwise vigorous and healthy. If you see this, investigate further and look for sawdust, exit holes or actual beetles. You might help find one of these invasive species:
Need help recognizing suspicious beetles?
“Each county has a WSU Extension Office and Master Gardener Program that can help identify suspect beetles,” said Todd Murray, director for Washington State University Extension Agriculture and Natural Resource Unit. “And if they can’t, they know the specialist to send it to. Master Gardeners are often the first ones to recognize and report a newly introduced insect pest. Master Gardener clinics receive a large number of insect samples at this time of year.”
“When it comes to the health of your trees, a few minutes checking them for insects can make a big difference,” Bush said.
1. Asian longhorned beetle (Anoplophora glabripennis)
2. emerald ash borer (Agrilus planipennis)
National Invasive Species Awareness Week!
Invasive species cause millions of dollars of damage every year to our agricultural, cultural, and natural areas. They crowd out native species and are a huge detriment to biodiversity.
One of the best ways to combat invasive species is to prevent their establishment in the first place. So when you are out enjoying all Skamania County has to offer, take a few steps to do your part in preventing weeds from invading your favorite trail or park:
1) Brush your boots, bike, or gear before and after you recreate
2) Keep pets leashed and stay on the trail
3) Volunteer to help remove invasive plants in your favorite natural area
4) Report any invaders to your local Noxious Weed Program
5) Tell your friends about how to prevent invasive species!
The Washington State Noxious Weed Control Board and the Skamania County Noxious Weed Control Program are offering free seed packets containing a non-invasive, pollinator-friendly flower mix! For more information and a complete list of the species included in the mix, click here. Also, contact the Skamania County Noxious Weed Program to get your free packet today!