Invasive species are non-native species whose presence or abundance causes economic or environmental harm. Invasive species pose one of the greatest threats to Illinois' natural areas, natural communities, and natural resources. Rare and declining native species are often at greatest risk from invasive species because of their overall rarity or inability to adapt to changes at degraded sites. Control measures can be complex and expensive and often become long-term maintenance activities. Coordination of management efforts across a landscape is vital to effectively address invasive species, detecting new infestations, and reducing redundancy in activities. Large-scale efforts can be complicated by the need to coordinate among numerous landowners, especially if they have differing land management goals and activities.
The River to River Cooperative Weed Management Area emerged from the need to work across agencies and with a wide variety of partners to work at the scale needed to truly address the challenge. The New Invaders Watch Program focuses on early detection to reduce the impact of invasive species. A successful example of the need to remove invasive woody and non-native species in combination with other management actions is the restoration of glades and barrens in Southern Illinois.
While much of the effort and information provided is about invasive plants, invasive species run the biological gamut from diseases and microscopic organisms to plants and animals. You are invited to explore the information provided in the various links on this page. In addition, the Illinois Wildlife Action Plan (IWAP) sets goals and actions for conservation across the state, including an Invasive Species Campaign that identifies those actions determined to be most needed for statewide management of all groups of invasive species.