Invasive Species Program

Last updated Nov. 12, 2019 - 10:35 am
Invasive species program

The Raleigh Parks, Recreation and Cultural Resources department maintains more than 10,000 acres of parkland which consists of approximately 220 parks and 120 miles of Capital Area Greenway System. Through the use of staff and volunteers, our department strives to maintain our parks and greenways for all to use and enjoy. A major area of concern that threatens the Raleigh Parks System is invasive plant species. These exotic plants threaten the natural ecosystem, limit visibility, and affect safety in all our parks and greenways.

The Invasive Species Program was created to assist with the management of invasive species within the Raleigh Parks System. The program will serve as a resource to manage infestations, prevent introductions, and provide educational opportunities to all citizens. Interested individuals and groups can volunteer to assist with managing the invasive species in our parks.

What are Invasive Species?

English Ivy

Invasive plant species are non-native aggressive plants that threaten and degrade our ecosystems. 

Brought in primarily through the landscape trade, these plants have escaped cultivation and are overwhelming our sensitive habitats. Fast growing and reproducing quickly, invasives shade out native plant seedlings, smother trees and outcompete for resources such as light, water and soil nutrients. By preventing native species (even oaks!) from growing, invasives prevent native birds and other animals from completing their life cycles. This changes the profile of our forests, and open spaces. 

Many invasive plants in Raleigh are evergreen and produce a lot of pollen, creating safety hazards for people such as visual obstructions along our greenways and roads and health hazards during peak pollen seasons. Preventing, removing, and monitoring for new infestations are important steps to maintain ecosystem and human health.

Upcoming Events

Pre-registration is required of ALL volunteers to ensure enough tools and supplies are available for invasive removal park projects.

Invasive Species Removal DaysNov. 23
Dec. 7
Jan. 18
VariousDurant Nature PreserveRegister Now
Invasive Plant Removal at Anderson PointDec. 3
Dec. 5
Feb. 1
9 a.m. - noonAnderson PointRegister Now
Bamboo and Invasive Removal DayDec. 14

9 a.m. - noon
1 p.m. - 4 p.m.
Horseshoe Farm Nature PreserveRegister Now
Bamboo and Invasive Removal DayJan. 4, 20201 p.m. - 4 p.m.Horseshoe Farm Nature PreserveRegister Now

Horseshoe Farm Nature PreserveHorseshoe Farm Nature Preserve

Volunteer Opportunities


You are invited to make a difference in our parks and greenways by assisting with the management of invasive species. Individuals, school groups, corporations, and community organizations can participate in invasive species volunteer projects. Volunteer opportunities include: manual removal of invasive species at designated parks/greenway trails and mapping plant species.

To coordinate a group invasive removal project, complete the group project interest form and submit to Leigh Bragassa.

Tracking Invasive Species


The Southeast Early Detection Network (SEEDN), developed by the University of Georgia's Center for Invasive Species and Ecosystem Health, is a free app that works on Apple and Android platforms and helps monitor and report populations of invasive species. Easy to use and comprehensive, the SEEDN app contains pictures and information on invasive plants, animals and pathogens in the Southeast. All reports are independently verified by local and state experts making it a perfect tool for citizen scientists or families to volunteer and get out in a park. Get it for your mobile device today and start mapping!

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