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.
Click here for answers to frequently asked questions.
In 2013, 150 volunteers were trained on invasive plant species identification and monitoring. Data that the volunteers collected was used to develop a base map of where invasive plant species are located on City property and that information shapes management decisions.
City of Austin research is ongoing. Learn more about one of the studies:
- Hybombacosm Experiment – comparison of invasive hydrilla and native cabomba growth in Lake Austin and Lady Bird Lake
There are several City of Austin programs that have an invasive plant management component.
Community groups can join the Adopt-a-Creek or Adopt-a-Park programs. Both of those programs provide weed wrenches for volunteers to use once a restoration plan has been approved.
How to Help
There are many things that the public can do to slow the spread of invasive plant species.
- Become a Citizen Scientist to collect scientific data that will be used by local, state, or national agencies and organizations to make management decisions.
- Grow Green – avoid putting invasive plants in your garden that may move into parks, greenbelts, and abandoned lots.
- Do Not Spread – Most invasive species are introduced by humans accidentally. Make sure to thoroughly clean your boats, vehicles, bicycles, and hiking boots to avoid unwelcomed hitch hikers.
- Sign up to find out about invasive plant volunteer opportunities.