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Building an Invasive Plant Watch List for the NCR

Mark Frey- Team Liaison, NPS, Exotic Plant Management Team (EPMT)

Prioritizing treatment of invasive plants improves the efficiency of an invasive plant program. One prioritization tool is a watch list; such a list contains species that are not yet known to occur in the target area but have the potential to occur. My objective was to identify priority species for a regional early detection watch  list for NCR. First, I used the EDDMapS database of plant occurrences to identify non-native plants reported within 150 miles of DC. Second, I sorted the list to include only species not reported by park staff to be invasive in park natural areas. Third, the resulting 97 candidate species were classified using NatureServe’s Invasive Species Assessment Protocol (ISAP). The ISAP includes questions about ecological impact, current distribution, trend in distribution, and management difficulty. Each category contributes to an overall ranking. Removing these populations will protect natural areas and reduce management costs in future years.

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