Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Speak Your Mind on Invasives!

By Mandy Vellia, OCISMA Coordinator

In 2002, the Noxious Weed Quarantine was passed by the Vermont Agency of Agriculture to regulate the sale and movement of invasive plants. These non-native plants have proven to be harmful to Vermont’s working lands, natural areas, and waterways. While not all exotic plants are bad, species classified as “invasive” do present a threat to native ecosystems. They have a longer growing season and can out-compete our native plants for sunlight and nutrients, decreasing the overall biodiversity of an area. They can be difficult to manage and cost land owners thousands of dollars each year. The Noxious Weed Quarantine helps to mitigate the spread of invasives by limiting their sale and distribution. (In the photo, bittersweet berries.)

A Watch List of potentially harmful species has been created by the Vermont Invasive Exotic Plant Committee for the state of Vermont. Although there has been no regulatory enforcement to limit the spread of the plants on the watchlist, a Voluntary Code of Conduct has been available for horticultural professionals. By signing this voluntary document, they have agreed to stop selling and using certain species that were not yet included under the Quarantine rule.

On Friday, a public hearing will be held on the proposed amendment to the Quarantine Rule to include Amur Maple (Acer ginnala), Norway Maple (Acer platanoides), Burning Bush (Euonymus alatus), Japanese Barberry (Berberis thunbergii), Common Barberry (Berberis vulgaris), Yellow Flag Iris (Iris pseudacorus), and Brittle Waternymph (Najas minor). If adopted, the sale of these plants will be prohibited once retail inventories are diminished.

The hearing is scheduled for noon on Friday, December 23 at the Agency of Agriculture, Food and Markets, 116 State Street, Montpelier, in the second floor conference room.

For more information, please visit Vermont Invasives or email ocisma@vinsweb.org. OCISMA is a volunteer organization dedicated to educating.

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