Texas has joined more than 25 states with organizations established specifically to protect native species from invasive plants and pests. The Texas Invasive Plant and Pest Council (TIPPC) has 96 charter members, including representatives of state and federal agencies, local governments, higher education, landowners, conservation organizations and green industry.
The Council was born at the second statewide Invasive Plant Conference held last November and approved its bylaws and appointed a steering committee earlier this year.
Invasive plant and animal species spread easily in today's modern global commerce network and are difficult and costly to control. Invasive species impede industries, threaten agriculture and, in some cases, can endanger human health. According to the United States Department of Agriculture, invasive species impact nearly half of the species currently listed as Threatened or Endangered under the U.S. Federal Endangered Species Act. One study estimates that the total costs of invasive species in the United States amounts to more than $135 billion each year.
Texas is under attack on every front by a host of plants and pests from exotic places with exotic names like Tamarisk, Giant Salvinia, Hydrilla, Emerald Ash Borer, Channeled Applesnail, and many others. These invaders threaten the health of Texas’ native ecosystems by decreasing biodiversity, threatening the survival of native plants and animals and interfering with ecosystem functions like fire, nutrient flow, and flooding.
Stakeholders had long discussed the need for one unified body to address the threat of invasive species in Texas. The objectives of TIPPC are to promote understanding and awareness of invasive plant and pest impacts in Texas, provide a forum for the exchange of scientific, educational and technical information and support research and restoration activities that reduce impacts of invasive plants and pests in Texas.
According to acting Board President, Damon Waitt, Senior Botanist at the Wildflower Center, “Over half the states in the U.S. have established invasive species councils (www.naeppc.org). Forming the Texas Council will not only help Texas pull together, it will also foster national cooperation to address a threat that knows no geopolitical boundaries.”
Information about TIPPC is available online at www.texasinvasives.org. For more information, contact any of the TIPPC Board Members listed below:
President, Damon Waitt
Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center
President-Elect, James Bergan
The Nature Conservancy
Secretary, Scott Walker
Malcolm Pirnie Inc.
Treasurer, Marilyn Good
Texas Nursery & Landscape Association