Prevention: What you can do!
1. Be on the lookout for invasive plants
Learn to identify noxious and invasive plants. Take samples of questionable plants to the local UAF Cooperative Extension Service offices. Check with a local ranger/land manager before starting a backcountry hike. Find out how to identify the problem weed species in the area. Report any infestations you may come across to the local land manager or extension office. Avoid collecting plants you do not know and don’t grow them.
2. Keep yourself and your gear clean
Clean all recreation gear, clothing and shoes before leaving an area to avoid inadvertently taking seeds along to the next campsite, river or town. Seeds and spores can hitchhike on muddy hiking boots, running shoes, backpacks, tents, recreational vehicles (OHV & snowmobiles), farm and garden equipment, boats and aircrafts. Do not camp in or hike through weed infested areas. Stay on designated trails.
Buy certified weed-free forage and mulch. Dog mushing and horseback hunts have the potential to spread invasive plant seed into remote areas via bedding and feed.
3. Don’t plant a pest!
Landscape with native plants. Gardeners may be tempted to use beautiful plants that are terrible pests once they escape into the wild. To see a list of horticultural species not to plant in Alaska, view this brochure: Don’t Plant a Problem (http://www.uaf.edu/files/ces/publications-db/catalog/anr/FGV-00146.pdf). Voluntary Codes of Conduct for the Gardening Public (http://www.uaf.edu/files/ces/aiswg/resources/FGV-00142-voluntaryCOCgarde...), provides guidelines for gardeners to follow to help reduce the introduction and spread of invasive plants in the gardening community. To find safe and suitable plants for your Alaskan landscaping needs, visit Landscape Plants for Alaska (http://alaskaplants.org/).
If you see invasive plants sold in your local greenhouse, nursery, or pet store, inform the owner that the species is invasive and suggest they not sell the species.
Volunteer with the BLM to help control invasive plants and restore native plant communities. Weed pulling events are frequent in Alaska and need your help! Contact your local Cooperative Extension Service (http://www.uaf.edu/ces/info/volunteer/) for up-to-date information on events in your area.