What are invasive plants and how do they alter habitat?

Invasive plants outcompete native species for resources like food and water. They often lack natural enemies (predators, competitors, and parasites) in their new habitat. They grow and reproduce rapidly, making them hard to eradicate and control. Heavily disturbed areas, such as by human development, are usually prone to the proliferation of invasive plants.  

In 1922 Willow Springs Park became a focus for oil extraction. The increase in heavy disturbances and human activity quickly changed the landscape: invasive plant species crowded out natives, making it nearly uninhabitable for the local wildlife that depend on these plants. Oil field activities and invasive plant species prevailed until 2017 when work on the Willow Springs Wetland Restoration Project began.   

For more information on invasive plants and which species to avoid planting:

Common invasive plants at Willow Springs Park

Castor bean (Ricinus communis)

Ice plant (Carpobrotus edulis)

Black mustard (Brassica nigra)

Fountaingrass (Cenchrus setaceus)

Yellow starthistle (Centaurea solstitialis)