National Wildlife Refuge System
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Hunters and Anglers Take Aim at Invasive Species

In response to the growing concern over the toll invasive species are taking on National Wildlife Refuges: A recently released educational DVD, “Defending Favorite Places,” asks hunters and fishermen to help protect the places they frequent by changing their habits to stop the spread of noxious non-native plants and animals. How? By washing seeds, spores and marine hitchhikers off boat hulls, car undercarriages, boots and waders before setting out for and leaving a refuge. By learning to recognize invasive species that pose a threat to favorite hunting or fishing spots. And by reporting to weed control experts, any such species they see in refuges, together with GPS coordinates and a photo, if possible.

Thousands of invasive plants, such as common reed, or Phragmites australis, and animals, such as zebra mussels have infested refuge lands, crowding out native species, reducing biodiversity and upsetting the ecosystem. Hunters, anglers and other refuge visitors can unwittingly further the spread of such pests when they move brush to use as a shooting blind, dump unused bait or forget to inspect the fur of their dogs or pets.

You can view the DVD, or a short trailer from the movie online by visiting:
http://www.fs.fed.us/invasivespecies/prevention/defending.shtml

The DVD was produced by Wildlife Forever and several other environmental groups and funded by the USDA Forest Service and other federal agencies, including the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. It follows an earlier documentary, “Dangerous Travelers,” which urged road maintenance workers to help control invasive plants along roadways. The next DVD in the series, being filmed at Occoquan National Wildlife Refuge in Virginia and elsewhere, will aim its message at birdwatchers and photographers. That DVD is expected out next year.

Contact: Michael Lusk, Invasive Species Coordinator, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, at 703–358–2110 or email michael_lusk@fws.gov.

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