To the Editor:
The ordinance eliminating invasive species in Cape May has been withdrawn from consideration. I would like to use this letter as a step towards educating the public on the danger of invasive species plants to the environment.
Alien (not native to this planting zone) plant species are not all invasive and are not the focus of this ordinance. As an aside, native plants require less maintenance and water to survive and thrive.
Invasive species came to our shores many years ago, both accidentally and intentionally. Many were brought here to control erosion and then got way out of control. Kudzu is one of these. It certainly controls erosion, but gets out of control faster than it can be contained.
It grows over trees and bushes and kills them in the process. It outcompetes all native vegetation and creates a monoculture made up of itself. This is true of all invasive plants.
You may control an invasive on your property, but if it has seeds, both the birds and the wind spread the tree, bush, or plant.
Monocultures do not feed our bees, butterflies, or birds. Planting native trees attracts insects that are needed to feed the birds.
Alien tree species do not attract these specific insects, so they may be pretty, but as far as the environment is concerned, they might as well be stone statues.
We need this ordinance as a way of supporting the need to educate and control invasive species.
ED. NOTE: The author is a member of Cape May’s Environmental Commission.