The 1999 Federal Executive Order on Invasive Species defines an invasive species as a species that is not native to a particular ecosystem and whose introduction does or is likely to cause economic or environmental harm or harm to human health (Invasive Species Code of Virginia PDF). Invasive plants dominate new areas because they are without the natural controls that would keep down population in their native settings. Several qualities that are found among many invasive plant species include:
Invasive plant species can disturb the landscape in several ways. Impacts include disturbing ecosystem health, green infrastructure and canopy coverage. Perhaps most dramatically, invasive plants negatively impact the balance of our native ecosystems. Due to their ability to outcompete native plants, invasive plants have displaced many rare and endangered native species that provide habitat and forage for wildlife. Additionally, invasive plants can disrupt the functioning of ecosystems, disturbing normal forest succession and inhibiting regeneration of native tree species. Please look at the Arlington County Invasive Plant List (PDF) to see which plants are impacting Arlington parks.
What Are We Doing About It?
In 2002, the Invasive Plant Program was created in response to the growing support of invasive plant management from Arlington citizens. The Invasive Plant Program combines the work of staff, volunteers, and contractors to manage invasive plants in Arlington. The goal of the program is to protect Arlington’s remaining natural resources through management of invasive plants. In order to address the County’s long-term invasive plant management goal, DPR has identified four objectives that will guide Arlington’s programs and planning; (1) Assess the threat and impacts of invasive plants, (2) Adapt County programs and policies to Manage and prevent invasive plant infestations, (3) Engage community and cross-sector, multi-jurisdictional stakeholders, and (4) Coordinate invasive plant removal activities for volunteers, staff and contractors.
If you would like more information about the Invasive Plant Program, please contact Sarah Archer at 703-228-1862 or by email.
How Can You Help?
Join the Remove Invasive Plants (RiP) volunteer group in Arlington County. This group supports the Arlington County Invasive Plant Program. RiP volunteers help control invasive plants in Arlington by taking part in hands-on removal of invasive plants from County property, assisting with education efforts, helping with surveys, mapping of target areas and/or program development. All ages and abilities welcome. To learn more about RiP and follow them in their quest to remove invasive plants in Arlington's parks, you can follow them on Facebook. Join RiP!
Primary goals for the RiP Program are to
If you would like a listing of sites in Arlington Parks that RiP volunteers are working in, please go to our Upcoming Events page.
Invasive Plant Coordinator