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News

Comment NOW on Indiana Terrestrial Invasive Plant Rule!

Emily Finch

PUBLIC COMMENT PERIOD NOW OPEN ON PROPOSED INDIANA TERRESTRIAL INVASIVE PLANT RULE!

This rule would ban the sale, distribution and transport of 44 invasive plants in Indiana.  NOW the full public comment period is open, allowing individuals from across the state to participate in the rulemaking process and voice their opinions. SICIM supports this proposed rule and asks that everyone battling invasive plants in Indiana speak up and help push this rule through until it becomes law.  

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Vigo County Invasives Community Call Out

Emily Finch

TREES Inc.  leads charge in the formation of Vigo County CISMA to tackle invasive species

TREES Inc., along with the nonprofit group Southern Indiana Cooperative Invasives Management (SICIM), are leading the formation of local partnerships to address invasive species and they need your help.

Join us for our “Community Call Out”, August 23rd, 6:00 p.m. - 7:30 p.m. at the Indiana State University Office of Sustainability to form our Cooperative Invasive Species Management Area (CISMA).  

Invasive species can include plants such as the infamous Kudzu, known as the vine that “ate the south.” They can also refer to animals/insects, think of the Emerald Ash Borer, a small insect from Asia that has spread across much of the Midwest, killing millions of native ash trees. In fact, there are many different invasives in Indiana that spread and cause serious economic, environmental, and health impacts. Poison Hemlock, an invasive noxious weed commonly seen along roadsides and fencerows, is highly toxic to humans and livestock. Many invasive shrubs, such as Burning Bush and Autumn Olive, were and sometimes still are planted as landscaping or for wildlife.  Unfortunately, they create a dense shrub layer in woodlands and interfere with the growth of native plants, including new tree seedlings. 

While private and public landowners have managed invasives for years, according to SICIM, one of the best ways to address the threat of invasive species is through local Cooperative Invasive Species Management Areas or CISMAs. Among other things, these grassroots partnerships help to raise awareness of local invasive concerns, bridge the gap between management of invasives on public/private lands, and help address emerging invasive threats. 

To support CISMAs, SICIM has partnered with NRCS to hire regional specialists around the state as part of the “Indiana Invasives Initiative” (more info at http://www.sicim.info/cisma-project/).

“In Vigo County, we are seeking community input and participation to combat invasive species at the grassroots level. I hope to see every Vigo County resident participate in the formation of our CISMA,” says Regional Specialist, Amber Slaughterbeck.   

For more information, contact Amber Slaughterbeck at Amber@SICIM.info or 812-229-3539.

Greene County Community Call Out & Invasive ID Hike

Emily Finch

Greene County SWCD forms CISMA to tackle invasive species

Greene County Soil and Water Conservation District, along with the nonprofit group Southern Indiana Cooperative Invasives Management (SICIM), are leading the formation of local partnerships to address invasive species, and they need your help.

Join us for our “Community Call Out”, July 24th from 6:30 p.m. - 8:00 p.m. at Shakamak State Park’s West Shelter House and bring your ideas and questions about invasive species in your county.

Invasive species can include plants such as the infamous Kudzu, known as the vine that “ate the south.” They can also refer to animals/insects, think of the Emerald Ash Borer, a small insect from Asia that has spread across much of the Midwest, killing millions of native ash trees. In fact, there are many different invasives in Indiana that spread and cause serious economic, environmental, and health impacts. Poison Hemlock, an invasive noxious weed commonly seen along roadsides and fencerows, is highly toxic to humans and livestock. Many invasive shrubs, such as Autumn Olive, were and sometimes still are planted as landscaping for wildlife.  Unfortunately, they create a dense shrub layer in woodlands and interfere with the growth of native plants, including new tree seedlings. 

While private and public landowners have managed invasives for years, according to SICIM, one of the best ways to address the threat of invasive species is through local Cooperative Invasive Species Management Areas or CISMAs.  Among other things, these grassroots partnerships help to raise awareness of local invasive concerns, bridge the gap between management of invasives on public/private lands, and help address emerging invasive threats. 

To support CISMAs, SICIM has partnered with NRCS to hire regional specialists around the state as part of an Indiana Invasives Initiative (more info at http://www.sicim.info/cisma-project/). In Greene County the SWCD worked with Brown, Owen and Monroe Counties to receive a Clean Water Indiana grant which allows each county to offer funding for invasive removal and native replanting for residents.  

For more information, contact Amber Slaughterbeck at Amber@SICIM.info or Casey Kennett at Casey-kennett@iaswcd.org.

NRC Meeting on Terrestrial Invasive Plant Rule

Emily Finch

Banning Highly Invasive Plants in Indiana  

NRC Deliberates Whether to Preliminarily Adopt the Proposed Indiana Terrestrial Plant Rule - Coming up on July 17th

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Purple Wintercreeper

 

 

This is the next step in the process to keep invasives like Wintercreeper from being sold & planted in Indiana (Photo by Emily Finch in Knox County).


SICIM supports the proposed rule being put forth to regulate several highly invasive plant species in Indiana.  In an effort to educate our Partners and members of the public, we have compiled this update on the next step in the regulation process.  Thanks to Ellen Jacquart (MC-IRIS) and Dawn Slack (TNC) for the information below: 


Ellen Jacquart:

"After many years of waiting, the Natural Resource Commission (NRC, the rule-making body of the Department of Natural Resources) will be considering a rule making it illegal to sell, offer or grow for sale, gift, barter, exchange or distribute, transport, transfer or introduce 44 highly invasive plant species in Indiana at their July 17 meeting. THIS IS YOUR MOMENT TO SUPPORT THE PROPOSED RULE. "

"Are you frustrated that Asian bush honeysuckle is still for sale in Indiana while you are ripping it out of your woods? Are you wishing invasive plants were not available for purchase so you could avoid the confusion of what plants are safe to buy for your landscape? Are you tired of seeing purple wintercreeper smothering our forests? Come and tell the NRC why you think they should preliminarily adopt this rule. Please consider joining advocates from INPAWS and other organizations at this important meeting." 


At this meeting, the NRC will review the proposed rule and determine whether or not to preliminarily adopt it. If the NRC decides to preliminarily adopt it, the proposed terrestrial plant rule will begin the rule making process, which can take 9 months or longer. If the rule is preliminarily adopted, a public comment period will be available for you to voice your opinion of the proposed rule. In the meantime, the NRC meetings are open to the public and citizens may attend the meetings and show support for proposed rules.

The meeting will begin at 10:00AM at Fort Harrison State Park, Garrison, Indianapolis. The agenda will be posted on the NRC website one to two weeks prior to the meeting: https://www.in.gov/nrc/2350.htm.

Click below to view the draft rule to be considered, including the list of prohibited species: 
 

If you would like to receive invasive species information, which includes information about the proposed terrestrial plant rule, please email Dawn Slack at dawn.slack@tnc.org to join the email listserv for IPAC, the Invasive Plant Advisory Commitee.

Browse the gallery below to see some of the species proposed for regulation.  

New Partnerships in SW Indiana Seek Community Feedback

Emily Finch

SWCDs form local cooperatives to tackle invasive species

Five Soil & Water Conservation Districts (SWCDs) in southwest Indiana, along with the nonprofit group Southern Indiana Cooperative Invasives Management (SICIM), are leading the formation of local partnerships to address invasive species, but they need your help.

The SWCDs in Vanderburgh, Posey, Pike, Gibson, and Warrick counties are asking for community members to complete a short survey, so they can learn how best to serve the area in invasive species education and management.  

Invasive species can include plants such as the infamous Kudzu, known as the vine that ate the south.  They can also refer to animals/insects, think of the Emerald Ash Borer, a small insect from Asia that has spread across much of the Midwest, killing millions of native ash trees.  In fact, there are many different invasives in Indiana that spread and cause serious economic, environmental, and health impacts.  Poison Hemlock, an invasive noxious weed commonly seen along roadsides and fencerows, is highly toxic to humans and livestock.  Many invasive shrubs, such as Autumn Olive, were and sometimes still are planted as landscaping or for wildlife.  Unfortunately, they create a dense shrub layer in woodlands and interfere with the growth of native plants, including new tree seedlings. 

An invasive plant and noxious weed, Poison Hemlock spreads along a roadside in Posey County.  Photo by Emily Finch (SICIM). 

 Invasive English Ivy vines carpet the ground and cover trees in Warrick County.  Photo by Heather Zengler.

While private and public landowners have managed invasives for years, according to SICIM, one of the best ways to address the threat of invasive species is through local Cooperative Invasive Species Management Areas, or CISMAs.  Among other things, these grassroots partnerships help to raise awareness of local invasive concerns, bridge the gap between management of invasives on public/private lands, and help address emerging invasive threats. 

To support CISMAs, SICIM has partnered with NRCS to hire regional specialists around the state as part of an Indiana Invasives Initiative (more info at http://www.sicim.info/cisma-project/).  In the five southwest counties, the SWCDs also worked together receive a Clean Water Indiana grant which allowed them to hire Invasive Technician Heather Zengler to help coordinate new CISMAs in area.    

Invasive Technician Heather Zengler talks to Gibson and Pike county residents about local invasive plants. Photo by Emily Finch (SICIM).

“I am really looking forward to educating people about the impacts invasive species have on the environment.” says Zengler.  “A CISMA is a great way for people to get involved in their communities while learning and educating others about invasive species.”

Several of the counties have already held public CISMA call-out meetings, with Pike and Vanderbugh holding theirs this week on June 12th and 13th.  The meetings are design to give attendees more information about CISMAs, and discuss existing invasive species concerns in each county.  Eventually, working groups will be formed for each county to structure and direct the new groups, but right now the SWCDs are looking for community input.  Specifically, they are looking for local citizens to take short surveys.  The surveys will help determine the community’s general awareness of invasive species, who is currently managing problem invasives, and what types of invasives are a concern in the county. 

According to SICIM Regional Specialist Emily Finch: “These surveys will help the new CISMAs plan their activities and goals.  Their whole purpose is to address local concerns, and to do that we need community feedback.”

Anyone who lives or works in the area is encouraged to take the survey, even if they don’t know anything about invasive species.  There is one survey for each county, and they can be found online at www.sicim.info/cismas. Or, visit your local SWCD website, or office for a hard copy.  For more information, contact Heather Zengler at 812-423-4426 x3 or heather.zengler@in.nacdnet.net.

SWCD ADDRESSES & WEBSITES:

Take the survey online now, just click the link below for your county! 

Vanderburgh Survey

Pike Survey

Posey Survey

Gibson Survey

Warrick Survey

Orange SWCD Seeks Community Feedback on Invasive Species

Emily Finch

Working to form local partnership to tackle invasives in County

The Orange County Soil & Water Conservation District (SWCD), along with the nonprofit group Southern Indiana Cooperative Invasives Management (SICIM), are leading the formation of a local partnership to address invasive species in Orange County, but they need your help.

The SWCD and its partners are asking for community members to complete an online or paper survey, posted at OrangeSWCD.org, so they can learn how best to serve Orange County in invasive species education and management. 

Invasive species can include plants such as the infamous Kudzu, known as the vine that ate the south.  They can also refer to animals/insects, think of the Emerald Ash Borer, a small insect from Asia that has spread across much of the Midwest and killed millions of native ash trees.  In fact, there are many different invasives in Indiana that spread and cause serious economic, environmental, and health impacts.  Poison Hemlock, an invasive noxious weed commonly seen along roadsides and fencerows, is highly toxic to humans and livestock.  Many invasive plants, such as the shrub Autumn Olive, were or still are planted as ornamental landscape plants or for wildlife.  Unfortunately, they create a dense shrub layer in woodlands and interfere with the growth of native plants, including new tree seedlings. 

While private and public landowners have managed invasives for years, according to SICIM, one of the best ways to address the threat of invasive species is through local Cooperative Invasive Species Management Areas, or CISMAs.  Among other things, these grassroots partnerships help to raise awareness of local invasive concerns, bridge the gap between management of invasives on public/private lands, and help address emerging invasive threats. 

To support CISMAs, SICIM has partnered with NRCS to hire regional specialists around the state as part of an Indiana Invasives Initiative (more info at http://www.sicim.info/cisma-project/).  In Orange County, the SWCD has begun this partnership along with the USDA Forest Service, NRCS, and the Lost River Market & Deli. 

“We’re excited to be partnering with these great organizations,” says Michael Wilhite, SWCD Coordinator. “We think having a local CISMA in our county will be a positive force to help stop the invasion of invasive species here and help us further our mission of educating landowners on good conservation practices that can have a real impact on our environment.”

Pioneer Mothers Weed Wrangle, April 2018. At the end of the day, bags of garlic mustard pulled by volunteers filled the entire bed of a pick-up truck.  Photo by Emily Finch (SICIM).

Invasive Garlic Mustard Plant; Photo by Orange Co SWCD.

In April the group organized a Weed Wrangle workday with the Forest Service to pull invasive garlic mustard at the Pioneer Mothers trail south of Paoli.  On May 17th they held their first public CISMA call-out meeting at the Lost River Market, where attendees learned more about CISMAs and discussed existing invasive species concerns in the county.  A working group will be formed to structure and direct the new CISMA, but right now the SWCD is looking for community input.  They have a short survey available to help determine the community’s general awareness of invasive species, who is currently managing problem invasives, and what types of invasives are a concern in the county. 

According to SICIM Regional Specialist Emily Finch: “This survey will help the new CISMA plan its activities and goals.  Its whole purpose is to address local concerns, and to do that we need community feedback.”

Anyone who lives or works in Orange County is encouraged to take the survey, even if they don’t know anything about invasive species.  The survey is online at OrangeSWCD.org or for a hard copy stop by the Orange SWCD office at 573 SE Main St. Paoli, IN.  For more information, contact Michael Wilhite at Michael.Wilhite@in.nacdnet.net or 812-203-3033.

TAKE THE SURVEY NOW, JUST CLICK ON THE LINK BELOW!

New CISMA Call-Out Meetings for Southwest Indiana!

Emily Finch

SICIM is working with 5 counties in southwest Indiana to hold CISMA Call-Out meetings in May and June!  These meetings will help each county determine who is willing/able to partner with their new cooperatives, and also gather community input on what activities the groups should focus on.  Click on the fliers below for more information, or contact the shared SWCD Invasive Technician/CISMA Coordinator Heather Zengler at heather.zengler@in.nacdnet.net

Orange County CISMA Call-Out Meeting - May 17th

Emily Finch

Join SICIM Regional Specialist Emily Finch and local partners as we begin forming a CISMA in Orange County.  See the flier below for details.  Want to help but not able to attend?  Contact Emily Finch at emily@sicim.info, or the Orange County SWCD at 812-203-3033, OrangeSWCD@gmail.com. 

Warrick County CISMA Call-Out Meeting

Emily Finch

Warrick County is planning a CISMA and they want you to join them!  If you live or work in Warrick County and are concerned about invasive species, please attend this meeting.  Want to be involved but can't make the meeting?  Contact the SWCD or Invasive Technician Heather Zengler (heather.zengler@in.nacdnet.net) to stay in the loop.  See flier for details.  

What is a CISMA Presentations

Emily Finch

Did you know that Posey, Vanderburgh, Gibson, Pike, and Warrick counties all have plans to start CISMAs, Cooperative Invasive Species Management Areas?  As part of this process, SICIM is partnering with local SWCDs to present "What is a CISMA?"  Our first presentation is set for April 12th at 6:30 central at the Armstrong Recreational Center in Evansville (see flier for details).  The second presentation is set for April 24th at 6:00pm eastern at the Pike County 4-H building in Hornaday Park, Petersburg, IN (see flier below). A call-out meeting will take place for Warrick County on May 14th at 1pm central in the County Commmissioners meeting room.  For more information, contact Emily Finch at emily@sicim.info or Heather Zengler at heather.zengler@in.nacdnet.net.

CISMAEventFlier-PikeGibson.JPG

Weed Wrangle - Paoli

Emily Finch

Volunteer workday at the Pioneer Mother's Memorial Forest in the Hoosier National Forest south of Paoli (1437 SE Main Street Paoli, IN 47454). Join us for an afternoon with friends, as we clear garlic mustard from the forest floor. Help remove this invasive species and restore native spring wildflowers! All ages welcome. Drop by anytime between 2-6pm. Interested in helping control invasive species in Orange County? Come out to learn about the new Cooperative Invasive Species Management Area we are forming for Orange County! Steering committee volunteers are needed. You can make a difference! Call 812-203-3033 for more info.

Terrestrial Plant Rule Update

Emily Anderson

Following the Indiana Invasive Species Council's recent conference, SICIM wanted to share an update on Indiana's draft Terrestrial Plant Rule.  

Special thanks to Ellen Jacquart who compiled the list of suggestions to include when contacting the Governor  Holcomb's office on this issue.  

If you don't know already terrestrial invasive plants are still for sale in Indiana.  We’re spending millions of dollars to control invasive plants in Indiana every year, but most of those invasive plants are still for sale at your local garden shop. Good news – the DNR has drafted a rule that would make it illegal to sell all the highly invasive plants in Indiana.  This rule is currently at the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) and still has a ways to go before it is approved.  The image below shows how far we have come so far in the process:

 
  Images by Dawn Slack, IN Invasive Species Council

Images by Dawn Slack, IN Invasive Species Council

 

If the proposed rule moves forward through the rule process, the OMB will solicit public comments in evaluating the rule.  At that time, citizens will have an opportunity to comment online, as well as in person during public meetings.  Any comments submitted during that time will follow and be part of the proposed rule through the adoption process.  (See image below.) 

 
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After the public comment period, the rule will still have a few more steps to go through before it can be adopted.  (See below)

 
Capture3.JPG
 

In summary, keep an eye out for the rule's public comment period.  If you don't like the idea of waiting, below are suggestions by Ellen Jacquart on how to voice your opinion now:

-Go to http://www.in.gov/gov/2752.htm
-Select the topic ‘Natural Resources, Department of’
-Enter your contact information
-Add the message that you would like to see the draft Terrestrial Plant Rule that makes it illegal to sell highly invasive plants in Indiana move forward. Add your reasons why. Suggestions-

• Invasive plants cost money. A 2012 survey of 120 agencies and landowners in Indiana found we spent $5.7 million to manage these species and protect our natural areas. Nationally, agricultural and control costs due to invasive plants are estimated at $15 billion per year. Each year the cost grows. And yet we continue to allow the sale of these damaging species.
• Invasive plants hurt wildlife by crowding out the plants our native animals need for food and cover.
• Most invasive shrubs and trees are little used by native insects. This reduces habitat for beneficial pollinators and predatory insects, as well as reducing the amount of food available for birds to feed their nestlings.
• Invasive plants destroy habitat for rare wildflowers and animals, threatening two-thirds of all endangered species.
• Invasive plants can become weedy in a home garden, crowding out other landscaping.
• Invasive plants can also decrease your ability to enjoy hunting, fishing, mushroom collecting, bird-watching, and many other recreational pursuits by crowding forest floors and choking waterways.
• Tell your story of the invasive plants you are fighting to control, and why it is important to you that invasive plants not be sold in Indiana.
-Hit Submit. You’re done!
Thank you for your help.

SICIM Welcomes New Regional Specialists

Emily Anderson

SICIM is proud to introduce our two new employees Emily Finch and Amber Slaughterbeck.  Emily and Amber will be working on SICIM's new Indiana Invasives Initiative with funding from an agreement with NRCS.  They are first of 4 regional specialists that will work around the state to promote the formation of local Cooperative Invasive Species Management Areas (CISMAs) and conduct invasive species education, outreach, and training.  

For more information on on the Initiative, or to contact the regional specialists, visit our Invasives Initiative page.  

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