Saturday, June 8, is World Oceans Day, our planet’s biggest celebration of the ocean. Events are taking place around the world to raise awareness of the need to protect our oceans. Here in Washington State, the health of many of our most treasured waterways and wildlife species are intricately tied to the health of the ocean.
As an example, the Willapa Bay estuary — one of the most bountiful shellfish areas on the planet — has been infested with Spartina alterniflora. This invasive, fast-growing grass will cover up the mudflats on which native species of oysters and other species that salmon and fish feed. Each year, a crew of seasonal and full-time DNR staff comb the beaches in the Willapa Bay estuary to remove Spartina. By 2012, the seasonal eradication efforts had reduced an area of Spartina infestation to less than 2 acres — it previously covered some 9,000 acres.
So how do we stop, or help stop, aquatic invasive species? The DNR noxious weeds and invasive species program has a few recommendations:
- Visit the Washington Invasive Species Council website for information on native plants and species to the Pacific Northwest Region.
- Report an invasive species to the Washington Invasive Species Council hotline 1-877-9-Infest, or fill out their online reporting form.
- Don’t dump out aquarium water or debris into our region’s lakes, rivers, oceans, etc. Aquariums may contain species from all over the world and introducing them — even in small amounts — into our waters can change our aquatic environment.
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