On Wednesday, Gov. Terry Branstad proclaimed April as Invasive Species Awareness Month. With more counties in Iowa seeing the spread of invasive species, such as the emerald ash borer and oriental bittersweet, the state’s ecosystem is threatened. “This proclamation is a big milestone,” said Paul Tauke, Forestry Bureau Chief and State Forester. “Today, emerald ash borer and oriental bittersweet are wreaking havoc in our woodlands, and these two forest enemies are just the beginning. EAB alone is projected to cost Iowa more than $2.5 billion in removal costs and lost benefits.” The Iowa Department of Natural Resources (DNR) reports that millions of public and private dollars are spent every year to control the spread of invasive plants, insects, diseases and animal species in Iowa’s woodlands and urban areas. Earlier this month, an emerald ash borer infestation was confirmed in Greene County, east of Grand Junction. This brings the total number of Iowa counties confirmed to have infestations to 43. Concerns are also rising about the unintentional spreading of Palmer amaranth, a seed that was brought in for conservation areas, but is now posing a tremendous threat to crops and other natural resources.
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