Invasive Species

Emerald Ash Borer


NNIS have significantly impacted United States ecosystems and cost millions of dollars to prevent.  Whether it is an insect, plant, weed, aquatic or terrestrial - NNIS can have a huge impact on the ecosystem they invade. When most people think of a Non-native Invasive Species (NNIS) they think of plants - garlic mustard, purple loosestrife, giant hogweed.  More recently Asian Carp has been making the news.  Zebra Mussels are another well known aquatic hitchhiker.  Both are wildlife that have invaded and are invasive. 


What happens when a NNIS is introduced to an ecosystem? 

Non-native invasive species seriously alter the landscape and disrupt critical ecosystem functions. The result can be loss and destruction of forage and/or habitat for wildlife/fish/plants, loss of available grazing land, diminished land values, lost forest productivity, reduced groundwater levels, soil degradation, increased risk of devastating wildfires, and diminished recreational enjoyment. Entire ecosystems and communities are experiencing the detrimental impact of NNIS.  

Pests such as emerald ash borer, hemlock wooley adelgid and gypsey moth have long reaching consequences for plant and tree species across the country, killing off ash, hemlock and other tree species.  Infestations of non-native invasive insects can cause millions of trees to die.  Non-native invasive wildlife can take over or destroy habitat for native wildlife species.  Impacts to native wildlife species can then impact the forest ecosystem as natural balances are destroyed.   Aquatic invaders can outcompete native and local fish populations or destroy their food source.  

There are numerous research studies attempting to understand and control these pests. At present, though, it is a race against time. Will controls be found before the landscape is irreparably altered? We don't know. What we all can do, however, is to heed the warnings against moving wood. The natural progression of insects is relatively slow as long as we don't give them a ride. This is the reason for the ban on moving firewood.



How to Prevent Spreading Invasive Species Autumn Olive

Stopping the spread of an invasive species depends on if it is plant, terrestrial animal, aquatic or weed. 


  • Clean your boats, waders and any other equipment before leaving an area where you've been fishing/recreating. 
  • Eliminate any water before you transport your boat, canoe, kayak or tube.
  • Clean and dry anything that came in contact with the water before you leave - including equipment, pets and even yourself. 
  • Don't put plants or wildlife into the water unless they came from that water. 

For more information on prevention visit Protect Your Waters

Examples of Aquatic NNIS that have been found on the HMNF - zebra mussel, New Zealand mud snail



  • Make sure your belongings and pets are free of mud and plant debris before you leave.
  • Use local firewood for campfires - firewood can be collected from National Forests System lands near where you are camping free of charge.
  • Use certified weed free hay when traveling with livestock.
  • Identify a cleaning station near your destination, visit it before you leave.
  • Use the boot cleaner located at most trail heads when entering and leaving a hiking trail. 

For more information on prevention visit

Examples of Terrestrial/Insect/Plant NNIS that have been found on the HMNF - Emerald Ash borer, hemlock woolly adelgid, purple loosestrife, garlic mustard, giant hogweed, mute swans


Emerald Ash BorerFor More Information: 

Federal Resources:

  • USDA Forest Service Region 9 Non-Native Invasive Species (NNIS) (HTML
  • Invasive Species Information from the USDA ( HTML
  • Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS)(HTML
  • State and Private Forestry (USDA - FS) - Forest Health Protection HTML
  • Northeastern Area Forest Health Protection HTML
  • US Forest Service - Research and Devleopment HTML
  • US Fish and Wildlife ServiceHTML


  • NatureServe HTML
  • Protect Your Waters HTML
  • National Wildlife Federation HTML
  • The Nature Conservancy HTML
  • North American Invasive Species Network HTML

For a more complete list of organizations and federal agencies who are working to protect native species visit Invasive Species Info


Invasive plants:

  • Federal Interagency Committee for the Management of Noxious and Exotic Weeds HTML
  • Plant Conservation Alliances Alien Plant Working Group HTML
  • USDA Agricultural Research Service Database HTML
  • Forest Service Rangeland Ecology- Invasives HTML
  • Michigan Department of Agriculture Prohibited and Restricted Weeds HTML
  • Midwest Invasive Plant Network HTML