Overview

     
  Native plants better support the animals in our
watershed that spread seeds to create the diverse
ecosystems of Oregon.
   
 
  Many invasive plants like vinca (periwinkle) are sold
in Oregon nurseries, but they escape from gardens
and can dominate forests. When land cover changes,
the land responds to rainfall differently than it did
historically, which impacts downstream water quality.

 

Native plants are essential to healthy watersheds. They provide unique ecosystem services and products in our region that other non-natives may not provide. Native plants are generally easier to establish, and require less water and fertilizers.  They evolved over geologic time periods with other plants and animals in our watersheds and support the insects, that feed the birds, that spread the seeds, that grow the forests, that manage stormwater.

The following two references have been made available to help you choose the "right plant for the right place" in your stormwater facility or other area to be planted.

The USDA Plants list is a database created by the USDA. It has been found to be very helpful in researching native plants and their characteristics to help you choose the appropriate plants for your site.

The Oregon Noxious Weeds is a database of invasive, harmful plants in which you should not use in Oregon.

Non-natives may also provide these services, but they may also become invasive, and there's often no way to know which path a plant will take until it has been introduced into a watershed. Some non-natives have taken up to 80 years to become invasive after overplanting (i.e. kudzu planted on the East coast for erosion control); some spread quickly from just a few specimens (i.e. scotch broom dominates the Pacific NW landscape and originated from three plants introduced in the late 1800's). Invasives impact the watershed in may ways: by overgrowing on trees and preventing them from growing or by physically pulling them down; filling niches in the watershed that would have been occupied by a variety of species and excluding them; some invasives like Himalayan Blackberry erode soil as they grow; by changing the composition of the soil animals that provide our watershed's long-term permeability.

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