The Natural Resources Commission granted preliminary adoption to a new rule designed to remove 44 invasive plants from trade inside Indiana. The decision only starts the deliberative rules process. It does not put a new rule into effect.
Invasive species in Indiana regularly move into the forest and restrict the ability of trees to regenerate because the invasive use essential nutrients and block sunlight from native species that regenerate more slowly.
Indiana land managers (private and public) currently spend an estimated $8.6 million managing invasive plants every year. The goal of removing these invasive species from trade is to reduce the number such plants escaping into the wilderness, thereby reducing the amount of state and federal funding required to control them.
The DNR has determined that 22 of the 44 plants identified can be found in trade in Indiana now, but only four are sold with any regularity. To decrease potential fiscal impact of the rule on small businesses, the DNR would make allowance for an additional year from the effective date of the rule to sell affected stock before issuing penalties. The proposal would also allow members of the public to report evidence of terrestrial invasive species to the DNR.
Lynn Burry, Indiana Wildlife Federation Policy Committee Chairperson stated, “this is a great step. When finally adopted it will go a long way to returning Indiana to its natural beauty and wonder. It must now move through the rule making process that includes public hearings. I am sure there will be amendments to add addition plants to the list. Well done NRC.”
The Indiana DNR News Release can found at this link.