PUBLISHED: 4:52 PM on Wednesday, June 20, 2007
Invasive weeds hurt economy, environment
The beautiful woods and water in Southeast Alaska are being invaded by non-native plants and weeds.

A survey completed last year by the U.S. Forest Service identified 92 invasive plant species in the region. Some of these noxious weeds pose a grave threat to our wildlife, fish habitat and subsistence resources.

  Ornamental Jewelweed
Southeast Alaskans depend upon a nature-based economy. Invasive plants can have a negative impact on the healthy forests and natural waterways that contribute to our high quality of life. These weeds spread rapidly, crowding out native plants and altering ecosystems by consuming large amounts of water and nutrients. Invasives also spread seeds that can survive in the soil for many years, requiring long-term efforts to eradicate them.

Once invasive plants move into an area, they can become very costly to manage. Idaho spends an estimated $300 million per year on invasive species control.

Montana pays over $14 million annually just to manage the growth of spotted knapweed, an invasive plant that has also spread into Southeast Alaska.

  Common Tansy
Prevention is much cheaper than weed control. Identifying invasive outbreaks early and acting quickly to control or eradicate them is key to reducing future management costs.

You can help in the battle against invasive weeds in Juneau. In observance of Alaska Weed Awareness Week, June 24-29, Juneau Invasive Plants Action (JIPA) invites you to roll up your sleeves and join our members and other volunteers as we "pull together" at two invasive weed pulls on Friday, June 29.

Our primary targets will be Common Tansy and Ornamental Jewelweed. Both JIPA weed pulls begin at 9 a.m.:

Tips for fighting invasive weeds

• Learn to identify non-native plants

• Do not plant flowers, trees or shrubs which are known to be invasive

• Do not plant wildflower seed mixes that contain invasive species or weeds

• Stop new infestations. Pull weeds if the patch is small, put weeds in plastic bags and dispose of properly • Leave native plants intact, only pull weeds that you can identify

• Have visitors from the lower 48 clean their hiking boots and other outdoor gear before visiting

• Brush pets before and after backcountry trips to remove hitchhiking seeds

• Alert appropriate land management agency to any infestations you find

• Downtown Juneau Weed Pull--Meet at the dirt parking lot next to the A&P Market

• Ornamental Jewelweed Weed Pull-Meet at Lena Park baseball diamonds past Auke Rec on the downhill side.

Be sure to wear gloves and boots, and bring weather appropriate gear. Locations and times are subject to change, please contact the Juneau Watershed Partnership at 586-6853 for more information before the day of the event.

Publications on invasive plant impacts and identification are available at the Juneau Watershed Partnership, located in the Senate Mall Building in downtown Juneau. Give the Partnership a call at 586-6853, or email us at for additional information on invasive plants in Southeast Alaska.

Beverly Anderson is the Executive Director of the Juneau Watershed Partnership, with thanks to Alaska Committee for Noxious and Invasive Plants Management, the U.S. Forest Service, the University of Alaska Cooperative Extension Service, Juneau Invasive Plants Action and the Central Council of Tlingit and Haida.