How Hurricanes Michael, Florence May Have Spread Nonnative Species
The flathead catfish, which is native to the Mississippi Basin, has been recorded in the Carolinas and could be spread by Hurricane Florence’s floodwaters. It could affect the abundance of popular native fish like sunfish. Credit: Eric Engbretson, USFWS, public domain.
Hurricane Florence’s floodwaters and Hurricane Michael’s storm surge caused obvious devastation to natural areas, but a subtler set of harms is harder to see. Potentially destructive nonnative aquatic species, such as fast-growing plants that can choke waterways and hungry snails that can attack crops, can fan out across the landscape in the storms’ waters, spreading unseen and becoming hard to eradicate…