Missouri Invasive Plant Task Force (MoIP) - to identify and control the invasive plant species that severely impact native biodiversity

Private and Public Property Owners Invited to Pledge to Stop the Spread of Invasive Plants

by Tina Casagrand
Private and Public Property Owners Invited to Pledge to Stop the Spread of Invasive Plants

Contact: Carol Davit, 573-356-7828, [email protected]

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE        

Private and Public Property Owners Invited to Pledge to Stop the Spread of Invasive Plants
The Missouri Invasive Plant Task Force, a resource of the Grow Native! program, invites communities, campuses, businesses and other entities to commit to controlling the spread of invasive species on their properties.

Jefferson City, MO (December 3, 2018)—Property owners in Missouri are stitching a curtain of protection against invasive species spreading across the state. By taking the Pledge to Stop the Spread of Invasive Species, administered by the Missouri Invasive Plant Task Force (MoIP), stakeholders from private land, small businesses, the University of Missouri, and other entities are promising to not plant species known to be invasive. They are also budgeting economic and human resources toward controlling against the spread of invasive plants currently growing on their properties.

Few problems are as expensive, visible, and ignored as invasive plants. Estimated to cost the United States between $1.1 to 120 billion per year in economic losses, invasive plant species can lower property values, weaken ecosystem health, and threaten many facets of economic health, from the timber industry to livestock production. Because of their ability to thrive and aggressively spread in disturbed habitats, invasive plants can cost property owners thousands of dollars in remediation if not managed in the long-term. “The longer we ignore the problem the harder and more expensive the battle for control will become,” states the website of the Center for Invasive Species and Ecosystem Health at the University of Georgia.

“We commend all pledge-takers for publicly demonstrating their dedicated effort to stopping the spread of invasive plants,” said Carol Davit, Executive Director of the Missouri Prairie Foundation, the nonprofit conservation organization and land trust that operates the Grow Native! program, and serves as Chair of the program’s Missouri Invasive Plant Task Force (MoIP), a multi-disciplinary, multi-agency group working as a united front to foster greater statewide early detection and control of invasive plants. “We invite other educational institutions, corporate campuses, municipalities, neighborhood associations, and other entities to take the pledge as well to signal their commitment to joining the fight to control invasive plants and mitigate the serious threats they pose.”

MoIP Task Force members developed the pledge with a number of benefits in mind. First, signing the pledge signals the signer will commit resources to control invasive species—action that is increasingly being demanded of campus, business, community, and other entities with invasive plants on that property. Second, the pledge helps stakeholders understand that controlling invasive plants will take time. Additionally, when a community or other entity lets its stakeholders know it has signed the pledge, it provides an opportunity for stakeholders to get involved in the effort.

“Invasive plants are serious threats to Missouri’s native ecosystems, as well as many native plants and animals, the built environment, and many facets of the state’s economy, including cattle production, the timber industry, and many aspects of outdoor recreation, including fishing and hunting industries,” said Davit. “Missouri will control invasive species only with the concerted efforts of many entities, including private citizens working together. Our state is a long-time, nationwide leader in natural resource conservation, and by committing to invasive plant control as well, we can further safeguard Missouri’s habitats, fish, wildlife, and other cherished aspects of our natural heritage.” MoIP encourages educational institutions, corporate campuses, municipalities, neighborhood associations, and other entities to take the pledge.

Entities wishing to sign the pledge may do so via a Google form available at www.moinvasives.org. The Missouri Invasive Plant Task Force (MoIP) can also provide a pledge document suitable for signing ceremonies and framing. Many resources on the identification and control of invasive plants, including native alternatives to invasive plants, are available from MoIP as well.           

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The Missouri Invasive Plant Task Force (MoIP) is a resource of Grow Native!, an 18-year-old native plant marketing and education program serving the lower Midwest. Grow Native!’s parent organization is the nonprofit Missouri Prairie Foundation. For more information about MoIP, visit www.moinvasives.org; for the Grow Native! program or the Missouri Prairie Foundation, visit www.grownative.org, www.moprairie.org, call 888-843-6739 or send a message to [email protected].