Non-Native Invasive Species

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.

What happens when a NNIS is introduced to an ecosystem? 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.




Aquatic Invasive Species



Several non-native invasive plants are known to occur on the Ottawa National Forest. Some, such as garlic mustard and Eurasian water-milfoil, are uncommon and work is underway to treat all known infestations. Others, such as Japanese barberry and glossy buckthorn, are unfortunately quite abundant. Work is underway to contain these infestations and develop long-term treatment options. There are currently no known federally-listed noxious weeds on the Ottawa National Forest. To help prevent the introduction and spread of invasive plants, the Ottawa National Forest also has an active invasive plant prevention and education program.

Click on a heading below to find out more about Non-Native Invasive Species that impact the Ottawa:

High priority: Record and map all sites, treat most sites.
New invaders/High: Record and map all sites, treat most sites.
Medium priority: Record and map all sites in natural areas (i.e. not on roadsides); map larger sites anywhere. Treat under selected circumstances.
Low priority: Map only large infestations in natural areas. Treat only under special circumstances.

The ONF invasive plant priority list was developed using the Alien Plants Ranking System (version 7.1), a computer program developed by the National Park Service, Northern Arizona Univerisity, Ripon College, University of Minnesota, and the U.S. Geological Survey. See links for more information. The list was approved by the Ottawa National Forest Management Team on April 13, 2005, and again on May 23, 2017. Comments and questions on the list are welcome. The ranking and list may be revised as new information is gathered.


Keweenaw Invasive Species Management Area


Western Peninsula Invasives Coalition (WePIC)

Formerly known as the Western Upper Peninsula Cooperative Weed and Pest Management Area. The mission of WePIC is the prevention and management of invasive species

If anyone would like to be on our steering committee, please contact Mike Zukowski at the Iron Baraga Conservation District.

Our Cooperative Weed and Management Area (CWMA) covers 2.6 million acres, and includes over 700 lakes, and 150 public boat access points.  We cover all Gogebic County, Iron County, Ontonagon County, and the Ottawa National Forest in Michigan.  Ownerships are federal townships, county, and private.

We are fortunate that our local ecosystem is still mostly free of invasive species, and our goal is to control what is already here, and to prevent further spread into our area. By cooperating together, we can share resources and expertise across ownership and political boundaries to more efficiently manage invasive species.

Almost all of our lakes are still healthy and diverse, but are under increasing threat from newly-arrived aquatic invasive species. Eurasian watermilfoil is documented in 18 lakes, and curly leaf pondweed and zebra mussels are each documented in one lake.