DEP ANNOUNCES NEW INVASIVE SPECIES POLICY DIRECTIVE
Will Prohibit Planting of Non-native Species on State
(04/120) TRENTON -- New Jersey Department
of Environmental Protection (DEP) Commissioner Bradley
M. Campbell today announced a new policy directive prohibiting
the planting of non-native species on state lands. The
initiative will help to reduce the spread of invasive species
that choke out New Jersey's natural flora and threaten
wetlands and waterways.
"State agencies need to lead by example and stop
planting invasive species on lands that we manage," said
Commissioner Campbell. "This is a small, but important
step in our long-term struggle to address this significant
threat to New Jersey's rich natural heritage."
Under the policy directive, Commissioner Campbell is ordering
DEP employees and DEP consultants and contractors not to
use invasive, nonindigenous plant species in planning and
implementing plantings, landscaping and land management
activities such as habitat restoration and reforestation
on state lands and waters.
Included in the policy directive is an advisory list that
will be periodically updated, which enumerates invasive
plant species that have already been identified by the
DEP as unsuitable for planting. The list to date includes
20 tree species, 40 shrub species, 15 vine species, 66
herb species, and 16 grass and sedge species.
The McGreevey Administration has been aware of and confronting
the problem of invasive species for some time. In July
2003, the Final Report of the New Jersey Comparative Risk
Project identified invasive species, including plants,
insects and other organisms, as one of the top four environmental
problems facing New Jersey. In 2004, Governor James E.
McGreevey signed an executive order forming an Invasive
Species Council charged with submitting an Invasive Species
Management Plan for the state next year.
There are more than 1,200 nonindigenous plants in New
Jersey that have been introduced accidentally or intentionally
mostly from Europe and Asia. Because these tend to have
few if any natural predators or parasites on this continent,
they are aggressive competitors for space and nutrients
in New Jersey's natural areas. Invasive species also threaten
New Jersey's agricultural resources through lost production
and marketability for agricultural products. Nationally,
damage from invasive species costs is estimated at $123
Invasive species often form dense stands or thickets that
crowd out native vegetation. Harmful invasive species not
only threaten plant biodiversity but also affect wildlife
that depend on the displaced native species for food. Invasive
species alter and potentially harm the structure, composition
and function of natural ecosystems.
A report entitled An Overview of Nonindigenous Plant Species
in New Jersey is available on the DEP's Web site at http://www.nj.gov/dep/parksandforests/natural/heritage/InvasiveReport.pdf.
A copy of the Commissioner's policy directive is available