An invasive species is defined as a species that is:
- Non-native to the ecosystem under consideration and whose introduction causes or may cause economic or environmental harm or harm to human health.
- Invasive species can be plants, animals, and other organisms including microbes.
- Human actions are the primary means of invasive species introductions.
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On August 13, 2009, Governor Mitch Daniels signed into law legislation creating the state Invasive Species Council. This action was based on the recommendation of a task force established by a joint House and Senate committee.
Purple loosestrife (Lythrum salicaria), known for its beautiful purple flowers and landscape value, was brought to the United States from Europe in the 1800's. It has become a serious pest to native wetland communities where it out-competes native plants. Native plants are vital to wetland wildlife for food and shelter. Each year, more than a million acres of wetlands in the U.S. are taken over by this plant. (Source: Indiana DNR)
Deceptively delicate and fragile in appearance, the Eurasian watermilfoil (Myriophyllum spicatum) forms thick mats in shallow areas of a lake, quickly growing and spreading to block sunlight, killing off native aquatic plants that fish and other underwater species rely on for food and shelter. In North America, the plant threatens the diversity and abundance of native plants as well as the ecological balance of lakes and ponds, which in turn adversely affects recreational opportunities. If left unchecked, invasive watermilfoil will spread through a lake, or even to other lakes by transmission. An expert team of USDA Forest Service divers with invasive species and aquatics expertise is focused on rooting out the plant. (Source:USDA Blog)
Mute swans (Cygnus olor) are an invasive species originally brought to the United States in the late 19th and early 20th centuries from Europe for ornamental ponds and lakes, zoos, and aviculture collections. Original populations were located in northeastern states along the Hudson Valley but have since expanded to several Midwestern states and portions of the western U.S. and Canada. (Source: USDA)