Just because snow is piling up and temperatures are dropping below freezing doesn’t mean our flora and fauna are safe from invasive plants and microorganisms this winter.

The Wyoming Weed and Pest Council is asking everyone who plays outdoors in the winter to take care not to spread invasive species that can harm the environment. Nonnative plants and critters can proliferate rapidly, crowd out native species and harm wildlife habitat.

Though the weather is cold and plants aren’t growing, it’s still possible for viable seeds from noxious weeds to spread. And certain invasive species like zebra mussels can survive underwater during the winter.

“Invasive species never take a day off,” Weed and Pest Council President Larry Smith said in a press release. “We have to remain diligent during the winter season to slow the spread of invasive species that threaten our ecosystem.”

Here are some steps you can take to protect the environment:

• Hiking/winter boots: Stay on marked trails and remove mud, leaves and other debris using a boot brush.

• Ice fishing: Check and clean anything that comes in contact with lake or river water, including bait, hooks, lines and augers. Buy native bait at a local shop. Properly discard any aquatic species you catch; don’t put them back in the water.

• Cross-country skiing: Stay on groomed trails and away from mud, plants, leaves and other debris. Clean equipment when done.

• Snowmobiles: Before taking your equipment out, check to make sure there are no plant parts or seeds stuck to it. If your trailer and snowmobile were parked over the summer somewhere with invasive plants, then seeds and plant parts could be hitching a ride.

• Dogs: It’s easy for invasive plants and seeds to stick to fur. Check your pups thoroughly after a hike, hunting trip or other excursion.

Jennifer Dorsey is chief copy editor for the News&Guide and one of the editors for local articles printed in the Jackson Hole Daily.

Recommended for you

(0) comments

Welcome to the discussion.

Please note: Online comments may also run in our print publications.
Keep it clean. Please avoid obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually-oriented language.
Please turn off your CAPS LOCK.
No personal attacks. Discuss issues & opinions rather than denigrating someone with an opposing view.
No political attacks. Refrain from using negative slang when identifying political parties.
Be truthful. Don’t knowingly lie about anyone or anything.
Be proactive. Use the “Report” link on each comment to let us know of abusive posts.
Share with us. We’d love to hear eyewitness accounts or history behind an article.
Use your real name: Anonymous commenting is not allowed.
The News&Guide welcomes comments from our paid subscribers. Tell us what you think. Thanks for engaging in the conversation!

Thank you for reading!

Please log in, or sign up for a new account and purchase a subscription to read or post comments.