For Release:
Contact: Justin Bush
Washington Recreation and Conservation Office

OLYMPIA–Gov. Jay Inslee, in partnership with the Washington Invasive Species Council, has proclaimed the week of February 20 as Invasive Species Awareness Week in Washington in solidarity with National Invasive Species Awareness Week.

“Invasive species threaten wildlife as we know it in Washington state,” said Inslee. “We can all help to kick out unwelcome invaders. I invite you to learn how to spot them and learn who to call when you find them–you would do a great service to our state and environment.”

Whether on land or in water, some human-introduced organisms such as fish, bugs, plants and other wildlife can damage agriculture, recreation, forests and other resources. They can threaten the survival of endangered species such as salmon and orca and change natural processes such as fire, water availability and flooding. Invasive species are a global problem that has cost the United States more than $1.2 trillion in the past 50 years. A 2017 state study estimates that some species in other states, such as invasive freshwater mussels, would cost Washington more than $100 million annually in damage and loss if they become established here.

The awareness week includes webinars and events aimed at sharing information on priority invasive species, risks to the economy and environment and ways to become part of the solution. Visit the Invasive Species Awareness Week webpage for more information.

“The role of the public can’t be understated,” said Justin Bush, executive coordinator of the Washington Invasive Species Council. “We have lots of examples where the public was first to discover a new problem species. Many organizations work together to perform surveillance and trapping to detect invasive species, but they can’t be everywhere. People playing active roles in their communities to protect the resources we value is very important.”

The council hosts the Washington Invasives mobile app and website where people can report sightings of suspected invasive species.

Beyond awareness and reporting, everyone can help by taking simple actions such as the following:

“Washington is a wonderful place to call home due to clean water and productive land, abundant natural resources, diverse agricultural commodities, booming domestic and international trade and ample opportunities to recreate on the land and water,” Bush said. “Invasive species threaten much of what Washington embodies and values. Please take a few minutes to learn about this important topic and integrate simple preventative actions into your daily activities. By working together, we can solve this shared problem.”

Webinars and Events

Register for the webinars because spots are limited. All times shown are in Pacific Standard Time.

The Legislature created the Washington Invasive Species Council in 2006 and tasked it 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.