Peter Nierengarten walks along the Razorback Greenway, searching the tree line for a splash of green leaves. the tell-tale sign in January of an invasive plant species.
“All of this mid story…. is honeysuckle,” Nierengarten said.
Nierengarten is the Sustainability Director for the city of Fayetteville– now the first city in Arkansas to put a ban on invasive plant species.
“The new ordinance bans 18 invasive plants. What they’ve done is displaced a lot of the native plants.”
Everything from Bradford Pears to English Ivy– now banned in the city limits for large scale development. Nieregarten says plants like these are harmful to the ecosystem.
“What that does, is the native animals and insects in our area, birds and flying insects, rely on the native plants for food and nectar. Many of the invasive plants will shade out native wildflowers and other native plants.”
He says they’ve targeted several areas in the city– for removal of the offending foliage.
“We’re going in and doing removal, of the invasive plants, through volunteer efforts. We’ve also been using goats.”
Nierengarten says he hopes the ban will set an example for other cities in Northwest Arkansas — and help native plants– make a comeback.
“These plants don’t obey jurisdictional boundaries– we’ve got the same invasive plants in Benton county, Crawford county, fort smith. We’re very hopeful that other communities will follow our lead.”
For a full list of banned plants, click here.