On almost every continent the environment is in threat of non-native invasive species. What is an invasive species you ask? A non native invasive species is anything from a fungus, plant, or animal species that is not from a specific location and can have a nasty habit of causing damage to the environment and native species in the area. Invasive species are on the top five list for habitat destruction. They are the greatest threat to native biodiversity than pollution, disease, and harvest combined.
Introducing a species that is not native to an area can completely change a habitat. Like in Washington State some of the examples of aquatic invasive species are: New Zealand mudsnails, Asian clams, and Red swamp crayfish. They can be dentrimental to native species because they out compete the local wildlife. The native species just cannot adapt fast enough to put up a fight against the invasive species.
Sometimes the new species may not affect the entire habitat, but can affect a particular species in much of the same manner. Many local animals can disappear years after the new species has been introduced. There are even accounts of cross-breeding between the native species and non-native species. You can subtly see the decline in the native species by observing the rise of the hybrids.
Although there can be some cases where it actually helps local species. Like with trees that need a specific pollinator to reproduce. If the trees lose that specific pollinator the trees can’t reproduce, but if you introduce a pollinator of the same family sometimes they can pick up where the missing pollinators left off.
There are several effective ways that reduce the introduction of invasive species. In Washington State, we have an abundance of global trade that arrive here in the form of cargo ships. If there are strict monitoring processes of the wooden crates, plants, and the ships water; you can potentially reduce the amount of invasive species that arrive in the States. However, even with the closest monitoring systems things still slip through. These species can be eradicated if discovered quickly.
We need to make sure that the United States ensures the safety of local habitats to keep our unique biodiversity here. Call your local senators find ways to help the process and enjoy your surroundings.