Invasive Species Conference
July 8, 2009
The First Annual Meeting of the Oklahoma Invasive Plant Council was held July 8, 2009 at the OSU Student Union. After being welcomed by Karen Hickman, then President Elect of OkIPC, and Dean Robert Whitson, Bruce Hoagland, OkIPC President discussed the invasive plant list constructed for Oklahoma by OkIPC. Bruce pointed out that the list is a “work-in-progress” both as to species listed and their invasive ranking. Jeanetta Cooper, Agricultural Services Administrator at ODA, the person responsible for regulatory enforcement in Oklahoma for all species, detailed the immense number of responsibilities to be covered by her small staff. Jay Pruett, Director of Conservation for OK Chapter of The Nature Conservancy reviewed the audit of the chapter with respect to invasive pest control run by the national office. The audit was broader, covering the state in general and emphasized the good effort in dealing with invasive aquatic species and the lack of comparable work with terrestrial species. The audit will serve as a guide for action. Curtis Tackett, Aquatic Nuisance Biologist, ODWC, outlined the Master Plan for Aquatic Nuisance Species that indicates the state can be active in combating invasive species with proper leadership.
Jeff Vogel, State Weed Specialist, Kansas State Plant Protection and Weed Control, provided an overview of Kansas’ regulatory arrangement. Land owners, public and private are responsible for control of noxious weeds that the legislators specify. KDA oversees the control through each county weed control agent, hired by county commissioners, who works with the land owners. Kansas has 12 noxious weeds listed but others may be controlled by being quarantined or placed on a watch list. Although the level of control varies primarily with the wealth of the counties, the overall control by the state is much better for terrestrial invasive plants than in Oklahoma. Damon Waitt, Chair of Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center, covered both National Association of Exotic Pest Plant Councils and TIPPC, the Texas council. His presentation of NAEPPC indicated that 35 states are currently members.The association has no resources but could be valuable for a host of reasons he enumerated. His report for TIPPC was directed to the Invaders of Texas, a program pattern after that of Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum. Volunteers are trained to recognize and report invasive plants and the program is a booming success. Obviously, a program we need to adopt here. Jim Harris, Environmental Biologist, and Tanya Dunn, Tulsa District, USACE, reported on current work by the corps at lakes in Oklahoma, Kansas and Texas.