Invasive Species

Courtesy of Homer Soil and Water Conservation District

Residents in Homer will soon be able to receive help combating invasive weeds. Homer Soil and Water Conservation District is collaborating with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to provide technical assistance to Kenai Peninsula landowners to help protect native plants and animals.

Conservation district Natural Resource Specialist Matt Steffy said invasive weeds can disrupt the balance of native ecosystems, and they can threaten one of the most cherished recourses in Alaska: salmon habitat.  

Photo courtesy of Patrick Saltonstall

In recent decades, researchers around the world have become increasingly concerned about the introduction of invasive species to islands. Some species, like cattle and foxes, were intentionally introduced to Gulf of Alaska islands and have wreaked havoc on ecosystems.

Biologists assumed that settlers also brought Arctic ground squirrels to Gulf of Alaska Islands around the turn of the twentieth century. A new research study, however, has turned this notion on its head.


Photo by Rose Grech/KBBI

Earlier this month, local artist and KBBI volunteer Desiree Hagen received an individual artist award from the Rasmuson Foundation. She plans to use the grant on a community art project making paper out of invasive plants in the Homer area. She hopes to both help remove the species from native plant areas and create awareness of their effects on the ecosystem. KBBI’s Shady Grove Oliver spoke with Hagen about her art.

  SGO: First of all, can you describe the scope of your project so people can have an idea of what you’re hoping to create with this?

Peninsula Spruce Threatened By Aphid

Apr 4, 2016
Courtesy of the U.S. Forest Service

Spruce trees are under attack in the Kachemak Bay area. Tiny insects called spruce aphids are draining sap from the trees leaving tell-tale signs of damage. Spruce aphids are not usually found on the Kenai Peninsula and their sudden appearance is making residents worry for the health of their trees.