News & Updates

Budgeting More for Invasive Species Management

A state group dedicated to dealing with invasive species in Virginia is recommending that the General Assembly include an extra $2.45 million in its next budget to limit the spread of invasive plant and animal species in the commonwealth. The recommendations will now head to the chairs of the House and Senate money and natural resources committees for their consideration.

The $2.45 million in funding is meant to support the full rollout of Virginia’s Invasive Species Management Plan, a document crafted in 2018 that outlines how state agencies can minimize the economic, environmental and human harms of invasive species.

Species of special concern include wavy leaf grass, which invades forest floors; spotted lanternflies and two-horned trapa plants, the latter of which are invading ponds in Northern Virginia; black fountain grass, which leaves pastureland unusable by cattle; and zebra and quagga mussels, which attack native mussel species and damage infrastructure.

While DCR biologist Kevin Heffernan said the proposed funding is only a “drop in the bucket” when it comes to dealing with the destruction caused by invasive species, he called it a much-needed start.