Invasive Species

What are Invasive Plants?

Invasive plants are non-native species that have been introduced to Bainbridge Island and have the potential to cause harm to local ecosystems, the economy, and human activities. These plants possess aggressive spreading capabilities, out-competing native vegetation and disrupting the natural balance and biodiversity of the island.

Examples of invasive plant species found on Bainbridge Island include Scotch broom, Himalayan blackberry, English ivy, English holly, and others. These species often exhibit characteristics that enable them to thrive in the island’s environment, such as rapid growth, high reproductive rates, efficient seed dispersal mechanisms, and adaptability to various soil and light conditions.

Impacts of Invasive Plants on Bainbridge Island

Invasive species pose a significant threat to the lands and waters of Bainbridge Island. They can outcompete native plants, reducing food sources and habitat availability for local wildlife, including birds, insects, and other animals. This disruption to natural ecosystems can result in the decline or potential extinction of native species.

Beyond ecological impacts, invasive plants also affect human activities and island infrastructure. Some invasive species can hinder access to recreational areas, degrade the aesthetic value of natural landscapes, or cause waterway blockages, leading to drainage issues. In agricultural areas, invasive plants can interfere with crop production and reduce overall yields.

Managing Invasive Species: Bainbridge Island Land Trust’s Approach

At the Bainbridge Island Land Trust, we have a plan to handle invasive species. Our approach has three important steps: prevention, early detection and rapid response, and control.

Prevention is the first line of defense against invasive species. It involves taking proactive measures to stop their introduction and spread, including promoting responsible gardening practices, and promoting guidelines to prevent unintentional introduction. For more details on identifying and removing invasive plant species read our Invasive Species Guide.

Early detection and rapid response is critical for effective management. By monitoring vulnerable areas, we can quickly identify new infestations and take immediate action to contain and eradicate newly discovered invasive species populations. This prevents their establishment and minimizes the potential harm they can cause.

Control measures are necessary to manage established invasive species populations. Our approach prioritizes non-chemical control methods to minimize harm to the environment. We employ manual techniques, such as hand-pulling or cutting, to physically remove invasive plants. Mechanical methods, such as using machines or tools, are also utilized for larger infestations. Additionally, cultural practices, such as promoting native plant communities, can help suppress invasive species growth. When necessary, we may use targeted chemical treatments, following strict guidelines, to effectively manage invasive species.

Learn more about our approach to managing invasive species here.

What are Native Species?

Native Species occur naturally in a particular region or ecosystem. They have evolved and adapted to the local environmental conditions over a long period of time. In Western Washington, native plants include Douglas fir, western red cedar, or salmonberry. Native species play important roles in maintaining the ecological balance of an area and providing habitat for local wildlife. For more information about local native species, visit our Native Plant Sale.

What are Non-Native Species?

Non-native species have intentionally or unintentionally been introduced to an area outside of their native range. These species are not naturally found in the region but have been brought in by human activities like trade, horticulture, or agriculture. Non-native plants in Western Washington include English ivy or Japanese knotweed, which were introduced from other parts of the world. While some non-native species may coexist harmlessly with native species, others can become invasive.

What are Noxious Weeds?

Noxious weeds are a subset of invasive species that are designated by local or regional authorities as being particularly harmful and posing a significant threat to ecosystems, agriculture, or human activities. Noxious weeds often have legal requirements for their control or eradication. In Western Washington, noxious weeds can include plants like purple loosestrife, giant hogweed, or tansy ragwort. Efforts are made to prevent their spread and manage their populations to mitigate their detrimental impacts.