Non-native plants threatening area ecosystem

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Submitted: Mon, 01/28/2013 - 12:15am
Updated: Tue, 03/12/2013 - 3:28pm

WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) – From the backyards of Wilmington to the waters of Lake Waccamaw environmentalists are spreading the message of invasive species faster than kudzu.
"It a plant is green and growing it doesn't necessarily mean it's a good plant and doesn't necessarily mean it is in the right spot," Airlie Gardens environmental education manager Matt Collogan said.
From Kudzu and Privet, to Betony and Honey Suckle, invasive species of plants are all around us.  Experts say that if we don’t start stopping the spread of these non-native plants soon it could be too late.
"These invasive plants are very prolific they out compete some of our native varieties of plants and that's a big deal because the non-native plants cannot be eaten by our insects, and if those bugs don't have anything to eat then there's nothing for the birds to eat and nothing for the reptiles to eat," Collogan said. "None of them can really adapt and to these things that are coming from halfway across the world."
While kudzu and privet are taking over on land, experts say that our lakes and waterways are being taken over by another type of invasive species.
"Hydrilla is an incredibly aggressive aquatic weed and it has been found in Lake Waccamaw and it was not known to be in those lakes and because they are shallow lakes and this is a very aggressive growing plant it has the capability of completely taking over that lake and severely altering that aquatic ecosystem," said conservation horticulturalist Melanie Doyle. "A real focus right now is early detection of an invasive species and rapid response so that we can get a hold of a problem before it's a problem. That's very important and we're seeing that happen more and more all of the time now which is wonderful."


  • Date: Feb. 4, 2013

    From: Center for Plant Conservation

    To: WWAY NewsChannel 3

    Subject: Commendation for coverage of invasive species

    I’m writing to commend Holden Kurwicki and the WWAY NewsChannel 3 for your article (Non-native plants threatening area ecosystem) published Jan. 27, 2013, highlighting the threat of invasive plants.

    Your coverage educating and informing people of the dangers of exotic invasive plants is welcome in the battle to control and eradicate these non-native threats. Not all non-native plants become invasive, but the rapid proliferation of invasive non-native plants in our wildlands can have a devastating effect. Even though some invasives may look beautiful to the eye, if unchecked they present a real threat to wild species diversity and degrade many natural areas. Invasive species are the No. 2 cause of plant endangerment in the U.S., forcing native species to the edge of extinction, and they also cost millions of dollars in damage to agriculture and infrastructure.

    The Center for Plant Conservation has developed information about invasive species, including resources, contacts, and proactive measures that will help prevent the introduction of new invasive plants. We invite your readers to visit our website for additional helpful information.

    Best regards,

    Kathryn Kennedy, Ph.D.

    President and Executive Director

    Center for Plant Conservation

  • Guest Harriett Council says:

    Thank you for the publicity re the invasive plants of the area. As one who was born in Lake Waccamaw I am VERY concerned about the hydrilla invasion and to area waters. A way to take care of the hydrilla must be implemented so these area waters aren’t totally destroyed.

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