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Indiana county working on invasive plants ordinance

A southwestern Indiana county is continuing work on an ordinance that would combat invasive plants.

Posted: May. 7, 2018 10:40 AM

VINCENNES, Ind. (AP) — A southwestern Indiana county is continuing work on an ordinance that would combat invasive plants.

Knox County's proposed ordinance hasn't been drafted yet, but County Attorney Yvette Kirchoff said the ordinance wouldn't be retroactive so homeowners won't have to remove existing plants.

If the measure is approved, Knox County would be the first in Indiana to move forward with such an ordinance, Kirchoff told the Vincennes Sun-Commercial .

Invasive species can take over and alter environments, said Will Drews, a natural resource specialist with the Knox County Soil and Water Conservation District. They can also disrupt pasture lands and agriculture.

"We've introduced most of them, unfortunately, over time," he said. "They're mostly from other parts of the world, such as Europe or Asia, and the problem is that they have no natural predators, so they just kind of get out of control."

One major issue is that some invasive species — such as wintercreeper, Japanese honeysuckle and burning bush — can be found in local nurseries and are used by landscapers, Drews said.

"These are plants that are literally destroying our forests," Drews said. "That's frustrating to a lot of the folks that I work with and those who are aware of the problem."

The state Department of Natural Resources and state lawmakers have been working on legislation that would attempt to regulate the spread of invasive species, but the process has been slow, Drews said.

Drews and Kirchoff are drafting the ordinance and will present it to the county commissioners soon.

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Information from: Vincennes Sun-Commercial, http://www.vincennes.com

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