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Lawmakers greenlight new warning signage to halt growing threat in local communities: 'Making it aware to individuals who are purchasing is a step forward'

"Sooner is better than later."

"Sooner is better than later."

Photo Credit: iStock

The state of Virginia has passed legislation to better educate consumers on invasive plant species, which cost the state up to $1 billion each year. 

After decades of seeing invasive plants spread all over the region, The Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation identified a list of 90 invasive species that can negatively impact the area's ecosystems, such as English ivy, golden bamboo, kudzu, and periwinkle. 

As reported by Virginia Mercury, House Bill No. 47 (HB47) requires any retailer selling invasive plant species to display a nearby sign that warns consumers and suggests safer alternatives. 

Retailers that do not put up proper signage could face penalties of up to $500 and a stop sale order until the signs are in place.

The signage is expected to be an attention-grabbing combination of black and yellow and will likely feature a QR code that links to the Department of Conservation and Recreation's regularly updated invasive species list, according to Virginia Mercury. 

"We can't stop invasive plants all 100% but making it aware to individuals who are purchasing is a step forward," Virginia Senator Saddam Salim stated

From overtaking pastures to clogging waterways to spreading diseases, the damages caused by invasive species cost the United States billions of dollars per year.  

Invasive species can also wreak havoc by outcompeting our native species for resources. Without natural predators, they can grow rapidly and disrupt local biomes.

In fact, the Virginia Invasive Species website calls these organisms "the greatest threat to natural systems, agriculture and aquaculture." 

This new legislature emphasizes that the first step in halting the spread of invasive species is to educate ourselves about what they are and the negative impact they have on our environment. 

We can be vigilant and take action by choosing to plant native plants in our yards and removing any known invasive species. 

State representatives and residents alike were thrilled by the news of the earth-friendly bill being passed. 

"Excited HB47 passed through the House today! This bill will educate consumers and curtail the sales of invasive species in Virginia!" Delegate Holly Seibold wrote on Facebook. 

"It is time to protect our lands from non-native and invasive plant species. Just this one step will provide protection to many other species of plants and animals. Sooner is better than later," one Virginia Native Plant Society reader commented.

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