With rich Blackland prairie in the east to the rolling hills of the Edward’s plateau in the west, Austin’s diverse geography is home to thousands of plant and animal species. Unfortunately, not all of these organisms are beneficial; Austin’s natural resources and economy are being degraded by exotic invasive species.
These unwanted invaders are often unintentionally introduced through the everyday activities of citizens. Sometimes they are deliberately introduced as ornamental or agricultural species. However they arrive, once invasive species are established, they have the potential to change Austin forever. These undesirable species have significant negative impacts including but not limited to:
Reduction of native biodiversity;
Interference with ecosystem functions like fire, nutrient flow and flooding;
Reduction of the value of streams, lakes and reservoirs, for recreation, wildlife and public water supply;
Reduction of the recreational value of natural areas, parks and other areas.
In 2013, 150 volunteers were trained on invasive plant species identification and monitoring. These volunteers will work with city staff to develop a base map of where invasive plant species are located on City property and that information will shape management decisions.
There are several active programs that have an invasive plant management component.