Continuing our countdown of new Illinois environmental laws taking effect on January 1, 2016 is Public Act 99-0081, which adds to the list of exotic weeds that shall not be bought, sold, or distributed without a permit from the Illinois Department of Natural Resources.
This new law amends several sections of the Illinois Exotic Weed Act, 525 ILCS 10/3, which designates exotic weeds that can become an invasive species and mean the loss of native plant species. Because of the dangerous nature of exotic weeds, Illinois law (525 ILCS 10/4) bans any person, corporation, political subdivision, agency, or department of the State to buy, sell, offer for sale, distribute, or plant seeds, plants, or plant parts of exotic weeds without a permit issued by the Illinois Department of Natural Resources. Those permits are generally only given for experiments into controlling and eradicating exotic weeds and for research to demonstrate that a variety of a species designated under the Act is not an exotic weed.
The new law designates these weeds as exotic: exotic bush honeysuckles (Lonicera maackii, Lonicera tatarica, Lonicera morrowii, and Lonicera fragrantissima), exotic olives (Elaeagnus umbellata, Elaeagnus pungens, Elaeagnus angustifolia), salt cedar (all members of the Tamarix genus), poison hemlock (Conium maculatum), giant hogweed (Heracleum mantegazzianum), Oriental bittersweet (Celastrus orbiculatus), and lesser celandine (Ficaria verna), teasel (all members of the Dipsacus genus), and Japanese, giant, and Bohemian knotweed (Fallopia japonica, syn. Polygonum cuspidatum; Fallopia sachalinensis; and Fallopia x bohemica, resp.).
The new law allows the Illinois DNR to grant permits for the use of exotic olive (Elaeagnus umbellata, Elaeagnus pungens, Elaeagnus angustifolia) berries in the manufacture of value-added products, not to include the resale of whole berries or seeds.