The 2012 Virginia Invasive Species Management Plan was developed by the Virginia Invasive Species Advisory Committee for the Virginia Invasive Species Working Group. The plan was approved by the Working Group in August 2012. The Advisory Committee is comprised of stakeholders including state, federal and local government agencies, private industry interests, and nongovernmental organizations. The plan identifies seven goals and supporting strategies that guide invasive species prevention, early detection, rapid response, management, research, and educational efforts. An implementation table prioritizes key actions as necessary next steps for the Working Group and state agencies to take in establishing a coordinated approach to invasive species issues. The plan also includes an overview of state laws, regulations, and policies pertaining to invasive species. The plan can be downloaded from this website.
Twelve Invasive Species of High Concern in Virginia
Invasion of the Habitat Snatchers
Stop the Invasion!
New Virginia Invasive Plant Species List
The newly revised DCR invasive plant list is available here www.dcr.virginia.gov/natural-heritage/invspinfo or click on the thumbnail.
The Virginia Invasive Plant Species List comprises species that are established - or may become established - in Virginia, cause economic and ecological harm, and present ongoing management issues.
The list is for educational purposes only and has no regulatory authority.To be included on the list, there must be demonstrable evidence that a species poses a threat to Virginia's forests, marshes, wetlands and waterways. DCR's Invasive Species Assessment Protocol was used to conduct a risk assessment for each listed species. The protocol ranks species as exhibiting high, medium or low levels of invasiveness. Following NatureServe methodology, this ranking is known as the invasiveness rank, or "I-rank." Generally, this list does not include the many ruderal, or weedy, species that primarily grow in highly disturbed sites, including farmlands, but do not impact natural areas such as forests and marshes. However, as species adapt and change behavior, their rankings may change as new information becomes available.
A subcategory of the Virginia Invasive Plant Species List includes the Virginia Invasive Plant Early Detection Species. These are species not yet established in Virginia but known to be highly invasive in habitats similar to those found here. If discovered in Virginia, these species need to be quickly mapped, photographed and reported to DCR. The management goal for early detection species is eradication, as preventing the establishment of newly arrived species will save valuable natural and economic resources.
Early detection species will be listed until control efforts have failed, permanent establishment has been achieved and eradication is no longer feasible. Even species that have been successfully eradicated remain on the early detection list to maintain vigilance.
Invasiveness ranks reflect the level of threat to natural communities and native species. I-ranks used on the list are high, medium and low.
High Species poses a significant threat to native species, natural communities or the economy.
Medium Species poses a moderate threat to native species, natural communities or the economy.
Low Species poses a low threat to native species, natural communities or the economy.
Invasiveness rank increases for species that:
- Alter ecosystem processes, such as succession, hydrology or fire regime.
- Are capable of invading undisturbed natural communities.
- Cause substantial impacts on rare or vulnerable species or natural communities or high-quality examples of more common communities.
- Are found widely distributed and generally abundant where present.
- Disperse readily to new areas.
- Are Difficult to control.
For more information or to report early detection species, contact:Kevin Heffernan
DCR Stewardship Biologist
Wavy Leaf Grass
On September 4, 2013, a task force meeting was held in Warrenton, Virginia to discuss strategies for the use of federal grant money intended to address the invasive plant wavyleaf grass (Oplismenus hirtellus ssp. undulatifolius). Members from the Department of Forestry, Department of Conservation and Recreation, Towson University, Piedmont Environmental Council, Fairfax County Parks and Recreation, and concerned citizens came together to build a plan focused on surveying, treating and educating the public on wavyleaf grass. Training volunteers, especially Virginia Master Naturalists, and field work will begin in the spring of 2014 and continue through the fall of 2015. Goals of the project are to increase knowledge of the distribution of wavyleaf grass in Virginia and the development of best management practices.
For more information on wavyleaf grass, its threat to Virginia's natural resources, and how you can become a part of this project:
On September 18, 2013, the Virginia Feral Hog Stakeholder Meeting was held in Sandston, Virginia to discuss the threats feral hogs pose and management strategies. In attendance were members from various federal, state and non-profit organizations as well as invested individuals, associations and alliances. Contributing speakers included members from United States Department of Agriculture, Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries, and United States Fish and Wildlife Service providing data, information and discussing various management practices for controlling feral hogs.
As feral hog populations increase in Virginia, environmental damage to vegetation from rooting, wallowing and herbivory as well as predation on various small animals will become more prevalent. Human, pet and wildlife health is also at risk, because feral hogs are carriers of several diseases such as Brucellosis and Pseudorabies. From an economic standpoint, feral hogs are destroying crops and preying on vulnerable livestock. Trapping and hunting are the only viable solution for reducing current populations. The stakeholder meeting strives for long term suppression with regulatory mechanisms, public awareness and corporation from landowners.
For more information, visit the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries feral hog page:
For current map data, go to
Virginia Invasive Species Working Group Meeting
On August 30, 2012, the Working Group met in Richmond. Chaired by Secretary of Natural Resources Doug Domenech, the Working Group includes Secretary of Agriculture Todd Haymore (vice-chair) and department heads or representatives from DCR, DGIF, DOF, VMRC, DOH, VDOT, DEQ, VIMS, Virginia Tech, The Nature Conservancy, Dominion Power, and the Virginia Nursery and Landscape Association.
DCR Stewardship Biologist Kevin Heffernan presented the revised invasive species management plan for Virginia. The new plan was approved by the Working Group and will be posted on this site soon.
The Working Group heard reports on new noxious weed regulations proposed by VDACS, the latest distribution information on emerald ash borer, nutria and feral swine surveys, and a hydrilla management program at Claytor Lake. To view the presentations, see the links below (all PDF).
- Emerald ash borer in VA
- Nutria in VA
- Feral hogs in VA
- Hydrilla in Claytor Lake, VA
- VA Noxious weed regulation
Members of the public offered comments, including representatives from the Tri-County Lake Administrative Commission, Friends of Quantico Bay, and Virginia Native Plant Society. The next Working Group meeting will be scheduled for some time in Spring 2013.
To view the downloadable PDFs available on this site you'll need Adobe Acrobat Reader installed on your computer. It's a free download from Adobe's web site - www.adobe.com.