Non-native earthworms, and the threats they pose to our native ecosystems, will be the topic of the monthly meeting of the Door County Invasive Species Team on September 26. Bernie Williams, an Invasive Species Specialist with the Wisconsin DNR, will present the program at 2 pm at Crossroads at Big Creek in Sturgeon Bay.
Scientists believe that the native earthworms in North America were literally pushed out by several glacial advances. After the glaciers, many ecosystems were naturally repopulated with plants, but not with earthworms. When European settlers arrived, they brought along plants – and soil and worms – from their homeland, which then spread from farmland into native forests and prairies. Once established, the earthworms can reduce the amount of leaf litter present and actually change the soil chemistry, making it unsuitable for some native plants.
The purpose of the Door County Invasive Species Team is to halt the invasion of exotic non-native plants by empowering citizens with the education, the tools and the skills necessary to control invasive species. For more information contact Marne Kaeske, DCIST Coordinator, at 920.839.2802.