August 20, 2020

Online Sellers Could Make It Harder To Control Invasive Plants In Indiana

Original story from   IPBS-RJC

Article origination IPBS-RJC
Invasive Japanese barberry available for sale on Amazon Plants.  - Screenshot Amazon Plants

Invasive Japanese barberry available for sale on Amazon Plants.

Screenshot Amazon Plants

Online plant sellers could make it harder for Indiana to enforce its new invasive plants rule. Well-known companies allow Hoosiers to purchase plants from all over the world without knowing they’re invasive. 

As of this spring, it’s illegal to sell or trade more than 40 invasive land plants in Indiana.

Megan Abraham is with the Indiana Department of Natural Resources’ division of entomology and plant pathology. She said the National Plant Board is working with companies like Amazon, Etsy, and Craigslist to let them know that there are restrictions about moving plants across state lines.

“Making sure that they’re aware that their vendors are breaking those rules if it does happen," Abraham said.

READ MORE: State Moves To Ban Invasive Plants Trade

The DNR is also working to keep Indiana nurseries and other businesses from selling invasive plants. Abraham said the agency is allowed to fine retailers $500 per day for every illegal plant.

“Most of the time when we talk to people about that —and that being the stick that we can carry — we can use the carrot and usually get them to dispose of them instead," she said.

The number of groups to help Indiana combat invasive species is also growing. Indiana now has about 30 CISMAs — or Cooperative Invasive Species Management Areas — working in 70 counties.

You can download a field guide to help you identify invasive plants in Indiana or order them in bulk from the Indiana Native Plants Society.

If you see someone selling an invasive plant, contact the DNR at 866-NO-EXOTIC or email depp@dnr.in.gov.

Contact reporter Rebecca at rthiele@iu.edu or follow her on Twitter at @beckythiele.

Indiana Environmental reporting is supported by the Environmental Resilience Institute, an Indiana University Grand Challenge project developing Indiana-specific projections and informed responses to problems of environmental change.

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