The City of Annapolis, Maryland has decided to enter the war on invasive species - plants only. Introduced by Alderman Paone, ORDINANCE NO. O-05-09 is offered for “…the purpose of prohibiting invasive plants on lots or parcels within the City unless completely contained to control growth and prevent encroachment.” Unfortunately for the conversation and dialogue among interested parties, the Council thus far has decided to overlook the United States federal advisory committee definition white paper as a source for its working concept of “invasive species”. Instead, quoting from the proposed legislation, “…Invasive plants, as defined in “Invasive Plants of the Eastern United States” by the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the University of Georgia, are not permitted on any lot or parcel of land within the City unless completely contained so as to control growth and prevent any encroachment upon or interference with neighboring properties, utilities, streets, sidewalks, or structures of any kind.” Clarity in legislation and sources of definition for wicked messy problems are a wicked inconvenience for some.
Wicked problems by their nature become a definitional struggle among stakeholders and woe to the policy arbiter who ignores this part of the controversy. The United States government recognizing the myriad definitions and fragmentation of the discussion by producing a white paper intended to provide a non-regulatory policy interpretation of the term invasive species by identifying what is meant, and just as important, what is not meant by the term. Executive Order 13112 – defines an invasive species as “an alien species whose introduction does or is likely to cause economic or environmental harm or harm to human health.” In the Executive Summary of the National Invasive Species Management Plan (NISMP) the term invasive species is further clarified and defined as “a species that is non-native to the ecosystem under consideration and whose introduction causes or is likely to cause economic or environmental harm or harm to human health.” 
The city of Annapolis has selected a well know and respected source of invasive species information. Invasive.org is a joint project of some of the following organizations and agencies: The Bugwood Network, USDA Forest Service & USDA APHIS PPQ.. The University of Georgia - Warnell School of Forest Resources and College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences - Dept. of Entomology. The proposed bill is based on the Center’s statement that at least in part is not referenced in the legislation: “While this is not an official list of "invasive" plants throughout the eastern United States, it includes Federal Noxious Weeds and those listed by State regulatory agencies, pest plant councils and other organizations. Some of the plants on this list are often found in ornamental plantings and landscapes. In fact, many non-native plants introduced for horticultural and agricultural use now pose a serious ecological threat in the absence of their natural predators and control agents. This publication will aid landowners, foresters, resource managers, and the general public in becoming familiar with invasive plants in their area to help protect our environment from the economic and ecological impacts of these biological pollutants.” Maryland’s own MISC (Maryland Invasive Species Council) list could have been cited, but was not.
Invasive species issues are controversial and problematic. Dr. Robert Lackey proposes nine generalities, all of which may come into play with the proposal:
(1) the policy and political dynamic is a zero-sum game;
(2) the distribution of benefits and costs is more important than the ratio of total benefits to total costs;
(3) the most politically viable policy choice spreads the benefits to a broad majority with the costs limited to a narrow minority of the population;
(4) potential losers are usually more assertive and vocal than potential winners and are, therefore, disproportionately important in decision making;
(5) many advocates will cloak their arguments as science to mask their personal policy preferences;
(6) even with complete and accurate scientific information, most policy issues remain divisive; (7) demonizing policy advocates supporting competing policy options is often more effective than presenting rigorous analytical arguments;
(8) if something can be measured accurately and with confidence, it is probably not particularly relevant in decision making;
(9) the meaning of words matters greatly and arguments over their precise meaning are often surrogates for debates over values.
Dr. Lacey continues: “Wicked, messy ecological policy problems share several qualities: (1) complexity
— innumerable options and trade-offs;
(2) polarization — clashes between competing
(3) winners and losers — for each policy choice, some will clearly benefit, some
will be harmed, and the consequences for others is uncertain;
(4) delayed consequences
— no immediate "fix" and the benefits, if any, of painful concessions will often not be
evident for decades;
(5) decision distortion — advocates often appeal to strongly held
values and distort or hide the real policy choices and their consequences;
(6) national vs. regional conflict — national (or international) priorities often differ substantially from those at the local or regional level; and (7) ambiguous role for science — science is often not pivotal in evaluating policy options, but science often ends up serving inappropriately as a surrogate for debates over values and preferences.
List from Invasive Plants of the Eastern United States: Identification and Control
Alternanthera philoxeroides (Mart.) Griseb.
Eichhornia crassipes (Mart.) Solms
Hydrilla verticillata (L. f.) Royle
parrot feather watermilfoil
Myriophyllum aquaticum (Vell.) Verdc.
Myriophyllum spicatum L.
Pistia stratiotes L.
Salvinia molesta D. S. Mitchell
Trapa natans L.
Japanese climbing fern
Lygodium japonicum (Thunb. ex Murr.) Sw.
old world climbing fern
Lygodium microphyllum (Cav.) R. Br.
Alliaria petiolata (Bieb.) Cavara & Grande
Carduus acanthoides L.
Carduus nutans L.
winged plumeless thistle
Carduus tenuiflorus W. Curtis
Centaurea biebersteinii DC
Cirsium arvense (L.) Scop.
Cirsium vulgare (Savi) Ten.
Commelina benghalensis L.
Euphorbia cyparissias L.
Euphorbia esula L.
Galega officinalis L.
Hemerocallis fulva (L.) L.
Heracleum mantegazzianum Sommier & Levier
Lespedeza bicolor Turcz.
Lespedeza cuneata (Dum.-Cours.) G. Don
Lythrum salicaria L.
Murdannia keisak (Hassk.) Hand.-Maz.
Orobanche minor Sm.
Polygonum cuspidatum Sieb. & Zucc.
Ranunculus ficaria L.
Solanum tampicense Dunal
Solanum torvum Swartz
tropical soda apple
Solanum viarum Dunal
Striga asiatica (L.) Kuntze
Tussilago farfara L.
Arundo donax L.
Cyperus entrerianus Boeck.
Imperata cylindrica (L.) Beauv.
Lolium arundinaceum (Schreb.) S.J. Darbyshire
Microstegium vimineum (Trin.) A. Camus
Miscanthus sinensis Anderss.
Phragmites australis (Cav.) Trin. ex Steud.
Phyllostachys aurea Carr. ex A.& C. Rivière
Rottboellia cochinchinensis (Lour.) W.D. Clayton
Sorghum halepense (L.) Pers.
Berberis thunbergii DC.
Buddleja spp. L.
Elaeagnus pungens Thunb.
Elaeagnus umbellata Thunb.
winged burning bush
Euonymus alata (Thunb.) Sieb.
Ligustrum japonicum Thunb.
Ligustrum lucidum Ait. f.
Ligustrum sinense Lour.
Ligustrum vulgare L.
sweet breath of spring
Lonicera fragrantissima Lindl. & Paxton
Lonicera maackii (Rupr.) Herder
Lonicera morrowii Gray
Lonicera tatarica L.
Nandina domestica Thunb.
Rhodotypos scandens (Thunb.) Makino
Rosa bracteata J.C. Wendl.
Rosa multiflora Thunb. ex Murr.
Rubus phoenicolasius Maxim.
Spiraea japonica L. f.
Acer platanoides L.
tree of heaven
Ailanthus altissima (P. Mill.) Swingle
Albizia julibrissin Durazz.
Broussonetia papyrifera (L.) L'Hér. ex Vent.
Elaeagnus angustifolia L.
Melaleuca quinquenervia (Cav.) Blake
Melia azedarach L.
Morus alba L.
Paulownia tomentosa (Thunb.) Sieb. & Zucc. ex Steud.
Pyrus calleryana 'Bradford'
Quercus acutissima Carruthers
Schinus terebinthifolius Raddi
Triadica sebifera (L.) Small
Ulmus pumila L.
Akebia quinata (Houtt.) Dcne.
Ampelopsis brevipedunculata (Maxim.) Trautv.
Celastrus orbiculata Thunb.
Coronilla varia L.
Cuscuta japonica Choisy
Cynanchum spp. L.
Dioscorea alata L.
Dioscorea bulbifera L.
Dioscorea oppositifolia L.
Euonymus fortunei (Turcz.) Hand.-Maz.
Hedera helix L.
Lonicera japonica Thunb.
Paederia foetida L.
Polygonum perfoliatum L.
Pueraria montana (Lour.) Merr.
Vinca major L.
Vinca minor L.
Wisteria sinensis (Sims) DC.
Wisteria floribunda (Willd.) DC..
 Invasive Species Definition Clarification and Guidance White Paper, Submitted by the Definitions Subcommittee of the Invasive Species Advisory Committee (ISAC), Approved by ISAC April 27, 2006; http://www.invasivespeciesinfo.gov/docs/council/isacdef.pdf
 Charles T. Bargeron, David J. Moorhead, G. Keith Douce, Richard C. Reardon and Arthur E. Miller The University of Georgia, USDA APHIS PPQ and USDA Forest Service Forest Health Technology Enterprise Team. FHTET-2003-08; http://www.invasive.org/eastern/
 Lackey, Robert T. 2006. Axioms of ecological policy. Fisheries. 31(6): 286-290.