Invasive Species

What are invasive species?

Invasive species are living things (an animal, plant, insect, fish, fungus, seeds or eggs) that are not native to an ecosystem and causes harm to the environment, economy, or human health.

An invasive species does not have to come from another country. For example, lake trout are native to the Great Lakes, but are considered to be an invasive species in Yellowstone Lake in Wyoming because they compete with native cutthroat trout for habitat.


Why are invasive species a problem?

When a new species is introduced into an ecosystem, it may not have any natural predators or controls. Invasive species can grow and reproduce quickly, taking over entire areas.

Invasive species:

  • Prey on native species
  • Out-compete native species for food and habitat
  • Cause or spread disease
  • Prevent native species from reproducing, or kill their young
  • Change food webs by destroying native food sources
  • Decrease the diversity of species that are important to habitat for native wildlife
  • Change the conditions in an ecosystem, such as soil chemistry or intensity of wildfires


What can you do to prevent the spread of invasive species?

  • Always clean your recreation gear (examples: boats, boots, bags, and off-road vehicles) before leaving a site.
  • Do not release an unwanted pet or fish into the wild.
  • Volunteer – Get involved in a community project to remove invasive plants locally.
  • Whenever possible, only plant native plants appropriate to your region.
  • Don’t bring animals, plants, and agricultural products (fruits, vegetables, and soil) into the country illegally.
  • Don’t move firewood. It can harbor forest pests.
  • Clean construction equipment before moving to a new job site. The mud and soil stuck to the machines can harbor seeds from invasive plants.
  • Avoid disturbing natural areas whenever possible. Disturbing natural areas can increase their susceptibility to invasion by exotic species.
  • Use certified “weed free” forage, firewood, gravel, hay, mulch, and soil.
  • Learn more! Become more educated and help spread the word about invasive species.


Common Invasive Plant Species in Shiawassee County

These pictures were all taken in Shiawassee County in 2016 and 2017. Click on the picture for more information on each species.



The Shiawassee Conservation District can help you with invasive species control!

The Shiawassee Conservation District provides technical assistance to identify and control invasive species. The District is the local link to financial assistance that may be available through District programs, USDA Conservation Farm Bill Programs, or other programs as well to help cover the cost of control.

Contact the District office to request assistance in identifying and controlling invasive species on your property, or to report any invasive you have noticed in Shiawassee County.

Invasive Plants Field Guide
Available for purchase at the Shiawassee Conservation District for $12.