Saturday, June 6, 2020

Raising awareness about invasive species

 The Adirondack Park Invasive Plant Program (APIPP) is calling for Adirondack outdoor enthusiasts to join a state-wide effort to protect trails, waterways, and habitats during New York’s seventh annual Invasive Species Awareness Week (ISAW). This year, from June 7-13, APIPP is going digital by holding online trainings and awareness initiatives to help community members protect the environment while maintaining safe social distancing guidelines. 

Invasive species are non-native plants, animals, and insects that can throw native ecosystems out of balance, cause harm to human health, and put economically important industries such as farming, fishing, forestry, and tourism at risk. We all have a critical role to play in preventing the spread of damaging invasive species, and with increased knowledge, we can work together to steward the Adirondacks. What can you do to help? 

Become a Citizen Scientist: Looking for ways to support the environment while on a socially distanced hike or paddle this summer? Your help is needed to map and manage invasive species on land and in water across our region, and APIPP can sharpen your skills to join the effort. During ISAW 2020, APIPP’s expert staff is offering two virtual volunteer trainings on how to correctly identify target invasive species, conduct surveys, and document findings with easy-to-use digital maps. Once trained on species identification and survey protocols, volunteers select an area of interest to monitor or infestations to manage.

Learn About the Invasive Species that Threaten Our Lands: Join APIPP’s Conservation and Geographic Information System Analyst, Zachary Simek, for an interactive online workshop to learn how to identify the invasive plants and animals impacting Adirondack forests, meadows, and woodlands. This two-hour virtual training provides participants with an introduction to the biology and identification of common terrestrial invasive species. Attendees will also learn about New York’s iMapInvasives database and how to report occurrences. Volunteers are essential to helping APIPP better understand the distribution of terrestrial invasive species in backcountry areas of the Adirondacks. Date: Tuesday, June 9, 10am-12pm RSVP: To register, please complete this online form: bit.ly/ADKTerrestrial 

Learn About the Invasive Species that Threaten Our Waters: Join APIPP’s Aquatic Invasive Species Project Coordinator, Erin Vennie-Vollrath, and guest speaker, Larry Eichler from the Darrin Fresh Water Institute in Bolton Landing, for an interactive online workshop on how to identify aquatic invasive species such as Eurasian watermilfoil, hydrilla, and spiny waterflea. The speakers will also demonstrate how to perform simple surveys to detect their presence in a waterbody. To-date, over 800 citizens have volunteered to survey more than 420 Adirondack waterbodies. Their participation each year has established baseline distribution information for the region which helps guide APIPP’s prevention and management efforts. Learn how you can help. Date: Wednesday, June 10, 10am-12pm RSVP: To register, please complete this online form: bit.ly/ADKAquatics 

Give Invasive Species the Brush-Off: What is the most common way for invasive plants to spread along trails to backcountry hiking areas? On our shoes! Tiny seeds often travel in soil found on the bottom of our hiking boots and gear. Using something as simple as a boot brush station to clean footwear before and after a hike can help control the spread of invasive species like garlic mustard that can quickly out-compete native species, shifting the balance of woodland ecosystems. 

APIPP is teaming up with The Nature Conservancy’s preserve staff to design and install boot brush stations at the Boquet River Nature Preserve in Willsboro this month. At a time when hikers are stepping aside to allow for safe social distancing on trails, being aware of what we carry into the woods is more important than ever. There are more than 15 invasive species at the Preserve and your efforts can help avoid spreading these plants to other areas of the Adirondacks. 

APIPP hopes similar boot brush stations can be installed across the Adirondacks to help slow the spread of invasive species along popular recreation spots and campgrounds. To help make this possible, our team is offering design assistance, templates, and assembly instructions to bring more boot brush stations to a trailhead near you. 

Resources for land managers, land trusts, and individuals are available at www.ADKinvasives.com

What else can you do to stop the spread of invasive species? 

  • Always clean dirt from your boots and gear before hitting the trails on foot or by bike 
  • Clean, drain, and dry all fishing gear and boats between trips 
  • Burn it where you buy it – use local firewood 
  • Use clean fill and native plants for construction and gardening projects 

APIPP is a partnership program between The Nature Conservancy, New York State Department of Environmental Conservation, New York State Department of Transportation, and the Adirondack Park Agency. Its coordinated approach to invasive species management, which combines education, prevention and management, has been a model for similar programs across the U.S. Funding is provided by the Environmental Protection Fund as administered by the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation. To learn more about APIPP, invasive species of concern, and how to get involved, visit www.adkinvasives.com

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One Response

  1. Tim-Brunswick says:

    Granted that Invasive species awareness is important, but this article might be better timed.

    Right now the human race, etc. is more concerned with survival through the Covid-19 Virus. Hopefully once that deadly virus is brought under control folks will have time to again turn their attention to invasive virus’s.

    Thank you

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