Weed pull event organized at Eagle Beach

Orange hawkweed is choking out the wild strawberries at Eagle Beach, according to Dana White, invasive plant coordinator for the Juneau area.

Invasive weeds are known as being, well, invasive and choking the life out of plants that actually belong in an area. This is a problem in many places, including Eagle Beach where a weed pull has been organized from 10 a.m. to noon on Saturday.

Gov. Sean Parnell recently announced through executive proclamation that June 19-25 would be Invasive Weeds Awareness Week. Dana White, invasive plant coordinator for the Juneau area, has since organized a weed pull at Eagle Beach where she said orange hawkweed is choking out the wild strawberries. She has also heard that it is the only place in Juneau where yellow hawkweed grows.

Part of the reason that location was chosen, she said, is because so many locals recreate in the area.

“(Eagle Beach) is a public space that a lot of people are connected to,” she said.

White said, spreading invasive weed awareness is important here in Alaska, where the wilderness is a large part of our life.

“It’s about bringing awareness to this very important conservation need,” White said.

Invasive weeds do not only affect wilderness and through it recreation and tourism, but they also affect agriculture, she said. Plants are ranked on a scale of 1-100, with 100 being the most aggressive, and orange and yellow hawkweed are ranked at 79. According to White, this means that they are “highly (to) extremely invasive”. There is the potential for orange hawkweed to become the dominant species of the understory vegetation, given several decades.

Those participating in the weed pull are asked to bring tools, particularly pruners. A few tools will be provided for those that don’t have any. Participants should also bring food and drink, as White is confident there will be good weather and is planning a barbeque potluck lunch afterwards.

White can be contacted for more information at 586-6878.

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