For Release:
Contact: Justin Bush
Washington Recreation and Conservation Office
Cell:  360-704-0973

OLYMPIA–Gov. Jay Inslee has proclaimed Feb. 24-28 as Invasive Species Awareness Week in Washington to highlight the importance of managing and preventing invasive species, which pose a $137 billion annual cost in damages to crops, forests, fish and other wildlife nationally. 

“Our state’s natural habitat and outdoor recreation destinations are part of what make living in Washington so unique,” Inslee said. “Invasive species threaten our economy, environment, recreation and even our health. We all must do everything we can to prevent and stop these threats to our way of life and protect the state we love.” 

The Washington Invasive Species Council is asking Washingtonians to be aware of plants, insects and other wildlife in their local communities and to report changes or problems they see through its mobile app, Washington Invasives. Most recently, the reporting app helped alert state officials of the first-ever sighting in the United States of an Asian giant hornet. Asian giant hornet is an invasive species that attacks honeybees and can kill an entire hive in one day. This report was just one of more than 600 the council received last year from the public and demonstrates the critical role the public plays in the quick identification of new invasive species. 

“Whether reporting a strange fish you reel in, a plant you spot while hiking or mysterious damage in your flower bed, your reports and information are critically important,” said Justin Bush, executive coordinator of the Washington Invasive Species Council. “The possibilities for transporting invasive species are endless and new species will pop up where they weren’t before. It is key that we find the species as quickly as possible to contain and stop the problem.” 

“Invasive species threaten our vibrant agriculture industry, our parks, neighborhoods, home landscapes and even human health,” said Derek Sandison, director of the Washington State Department of Agriculture. “The Asian giant hornet is just the most recent example of the risk that invasive species pose to the state, as well as the importance of residents reporting unusual insect sightings. Doing so literally can save the environment.” 

The council invites anyone interested in joining its work in managing and preventing invasive species to tune in to Webinars or join an event happening throughout the week: 



Being alert and reporting suspected problems is just one action that anyone can take. Other simple actions to prevent and stop invasive species include the following: 

Created by the Legislature in 2006, the Washington Invasive Species Council is tasked with providing policy level direction, planning and coordination for combating harmful invasive species throughout the state and preventing the introduction of others that may be potentially harmful. For more information about invasive species, and ways to keep them from spreading, visit

More information about the Invasive Species Awareness Week is available online.