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Non-native plants threatening area ecosystem

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."

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