Monday, September 14, 2020

Fighting a hemlock invasion

Hemlock woolly adelgidScientists have found a large swath of trees with hemlock woolly adelgid in the Lake George watershed, including a 1.5-mile stretch along the eastern shoreline. This is in addition to some that was found in August on Glen Island.

This is considered especially troubling for the Lake George region because hemlocks are so prevalent there, and they play a key role in the ecosystem, providing habitat for trout and other wildlife.

One of the ways the public can help slow the spread of this infestation and potential new ones is to pay attention for signs of the invasive pests in other areas.

According to the state Department of Environmental Conservation, the invasive pests look like “white woolly masses about one-quarter the size of a cotton swab on the underside of branches at the base of needles.” Trees with these bugs may also have gray-tinted foliage and needle loss.

If you come across trees that potentially have hemlock woolly adelgid, the DEC is asking the public to take the following steps:

  • Take pictures of the infestation signs as described above (include something for scale such as a coin);
  • Note the location (intersecting roads, landmarks, or GPS coordinates);
  • Contact DEC or the local Partnership for Regional Invasive Species Management (PRISM) by visiting this website;
  • Report the infestation to iMapInvasives; and
  • Slow the spread of HWA by cleaning equipment or gear after it has been near an infestation and by leaving infested material where it was found.

Editor’s note: This first appeared in Mike’s weekly “Backcountry Journal” newsletter. Click here to sign up.

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Mike Lynch is a staff writer and photographer for the nonprofit Adirondack Explorer, the regional bimonthly news magazine with a focus on outdoor recreation and environmental issues. Mike’s favorite outdoor activities include paddling, hiking, fishing and backcountry skiing. In 2011, he paddled the 740-mile Northern Forest Canoe Trail from Old Forge to Fort Kent, Maine. From 2007 until 2014, Mike worked as an outdoors writer and photographer for the Adirondack Daily Enterprise in Saranac Lake. Mike welcomes story ideas and can be reached at

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