The last week of February is National Invasive Species Awareness Week (NISAW). Each year we post several articles about invasive species that are established in the panhandle, and those that are potential threats.
As most of you know, invasive species can be quite problematic. By definition, they are non-native creatures that arrived in Florida via human transportation. Whether intentional or non-intentional, their arrival has caused either an environmental problem, an economic one, or both. Research shows that the most effective method (both with eradication and cost) is detect and treat them early – what we call EDRR species (Early Detection Rapid Response). However, many of these invasives that “hover” just outside of our area do not make our radar until they have become established. It is at this time we begin to recognize their harmful impacts and demand action to battle them. In many cases, it is too late, and you find yourself in a management mode trying to keep the current population under control.
Though south Florida is ground zero for many invasive species problems, the panhandle is not without its issues. The articles will begin posting Feb 25 and run the rest of the week. For those in the Santa Rosa and Escambia County, we will end the week with an invasive species workday – the Weed Wrangle. For this years’ Weed Wrangle, we will be assisting the Florida state park service by removing the invasive Chinese Privet from the Blackwater Heritage Trail in Milton. The Weed Wrangle will be Mar 2 from 9:00 AM until 1:00 PM. We will meet at the Heritage Trail Visitors Center for a brief orientation and then begin to remove privet. The address is 5533 Alabama Street in Milton FL. You can park next to the library or the playground. Please wear closed toed shoes, bring gloves, loppers, and a water bottle.
Remember if you ever have questions concerning local invasive species, you can contact your county extension office for more information.