What are Invasive Species?
Invasive species are plants, animals, insects or diseases that are not native to Colorado and have harmful negative effects on the economy and environment. They are introduced accidentally or intentionally outside of their native range. Because they are not native to Colorado habitats, they have no natural competitors or predators. Without these checks and balances, the invaders are able to reproduce rapidly and out-compete native species. Invasive species have harmful effects on natural resources and disrupt our use of land and water.
Why Do They Matter?
- Damage Colorado's lands and waters
- Hurt the economy
- Ruin recreation opportunities
- Threaten public health
- Damage or impair infrastructure
Many invasive species consume enormous amounts of water and reduce the water supply for livestock, wildlife, native vegetation, and humans. These species can change physical characteristics of land and water and alter food chains. As habitat is destroyed by invasive species, the wildlife that depends on it disappears as well. About 42 percent of the species on the Federal Threatened or Endangered Species lists are at risk primarily because of invasive species. In the United States, ecological damage and control of invasive species cost $200 billion per year and these costs are increasing. Colorado's environment draws tourists, brings business, and supports agriculture. To protect it, we must manage invasive species quickly.