Invasive Plants

Invasive plants are plants that did not evolve in the foothills that threaten ecological values and cause economic damage. These plants are also called weeds or exotics.

 

Attack of Invasive Plants

Cheatgrass was introduced to the Great Basin in the late 1800's and now dominates large areas due in large part to wildfires. Once cheatgrass and the other invasive plants become established, native plants are at high risk of disappearing after a wildfire or other surface disturbing activities.Once the native plants are lost, wildlife havitat is reduced and our foothills are more susceptible to erosion. Many invasives species also increase the chance of a future fire setting up a vicious cycle of repeat wildfires in our foothills. Invasive grasses can devastate an entire ecosystem.

Cheatgrass

 

Fighting Back

The goal of the Healthy Hills Initiative is to maintain or restore the foothills with native plants such as sagebrush, bitterbrush, bunch grasses, and wildflowers. Replanting desirable vegetation is the best way to keep invasive grasses from moving in and to help reduce future wildfires. Native plants grow in patchy patterns, the odds of another fast-moving wildfire are reduced. Planting native vegetation also provides wildlife with the habitat they need and reduces soil erosion, both vital steps in rebuilding the natural ecosystem.

 

What Can You Do?

You can fight invasive weeds by taking a few simple actions:
-Stay on trails.

-When leaving the area, check your shoes, socks and pets for seeds and remove them. These seeds love to plant themselves in socks and shoes and then spread to other areas where you may walk, even in your yard!

-Be aware of what you sow in your yard and gardens and avoid inadvertently planting invasive plants. (Purple loosestrife, an invasive plant that is altering riparian habitat throughout the West, is still sold as an ornamental at many nurseries.)

-Do not pick flowers or plants. Many noxious weeds have been introduced to new areas because someone thought they were attractive and accidentally spread them.

Learn more about Idaho’s noxious weeds and how to control them at  http://www.idahoweedawareness.org/