Wednesday, December 1, 2021

Invasives roundup

stiltgrassThe late fall and early winter is a time of winding down in the Adirondacks, and that’s the case for the many programs combating invasive species across the park.

Earlier this month a group of around 40 representatives from government, nonprofits and local associations and private individuals hopped on a Zoom meeting to rehash a season of anti-invasive programs. This gathering of the Adirondack Park Invasive Plant Program — a multi-agency/public-private partnership that coordinates parkwide efforts to combat invasive plant species — was a helpful briefing on the latest in Adirondacks invasives.

The speakers touched on a variety of invasive species challenges – including continued management of two types of water milfoil and problems with nursery plants invading native habitats – but I focused on some invasive threats that have people concerned but have yet to establish in the Adirondacks.

Adirondack Watershed Institute boat stewards intercepted hydrilla at least once this year, and they believe it originated from somewhere in the Delaware or Potomac river regions.

We had to correct the record because AWI had mistakenly indicated the hydrilla originated from the lower Hudson region, where the plant has been identified in the past. But a state Department of Conservation employee reached out to say hydrilla efforts on the Croton River, which feed the Hudson River downstate, have not identified hydrilla in the past four years. That’s good news and let’s hope the stewards keep finding hydrilla on boat ramps and not in the water – anywhere in the state.

tree of heaven invasiveWhile my focus will remain on water invaders, the APPIP conversation also focused on the threat of spotted lanternfly, a pest that can infect maples, fruit trees and grapevines if given a chance. The pest has not been found in the park yet, but its host plant, tree of heaven, is making a play to establish itself in the southeastern corridor of the park. I’m fairly confident that tree of heaven has a foothold near my home in Corinth, but I will look for a definitive identification in the spring.

Above: A patch of stiltgrass and tree of heaven leaves Photos provided by Adirondack Park Invasive Plant Program.

Editor’s note: This first appeared in Zach’s weekly “Water Line” newsletter. Click here to sign up.

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Zachary Matson has been an environmental reporter for the Explorer since October 2021. He is focused on the many issues impacting water and the people, plants and wildlife that rely on it in the Adirondack Park. Zach worked at daily newspapers in Missouri, Arizona and New York for nearly a decade, most recently working as the education reporter for six years at the Daily Gazette in Schenectady.

4 Responses

  1. Brent C says:

    I do believe we should do whatever we can to keep invasive species out of our water. Each year I am left scratching my head questioning what is being done about the continued stocking of invasive trout? Why do we keep putting Brown and Rainbow trout in our Brook Trout streams and ponds? Shouldn’t we be focusing on stream restoration instead of filling them with pellet head German and west coast trout? I understand that they bring tourists who spend money in our small towns but there should be some sort of limitations to where they are being put. Okay so if you want to have trout Disney land in the west branch fine. This year I caught several browns in small native wild brook trout streams that are not tributaries to the ausable river, why? The Native Brook Trout in these small mountain streams can not compete with hatchery raise NON-NATIVE INVASIVE FISH!

    • Boreas says:

      I agree Brent!! DEC has convinced itself that no one will fish for trout if browns/rainbows aren’t planted. Indeed, trout fishing may decline sonewhat if they stop planting non-native fish, but at least our stream will contain a higher number of brook trout than they do now. Protect the fish and fishery, not the license income that supports stocking non-native species!

  2. Larry Mayo says:

    Japanese Knotweed is a concern that’s emerging. There are quite a few stands in Wanakena, some within 30 feet of the Oswegachie on the Inlet side of Cranberry Lake. Almost impossible to control without a specialist.

    • JT says:

      Yes, very difficult to control. I attended an invasive species workshop in Wanakena many years ago. The main topic was eradicating Japanese Knotweed. They used special syringes to inject glyphosate into each stem. They had to use a sharpie marker to circle each injection in order to keep track of which ones had been done. This took care of approximately 90% of the infestation. Then follow up treatments over a couple of years using foliar spraying to complete. So it is a very labor intensive process.
      I see it along the Boquet River below E’Town. This is a major problem because with high water in spring time, the stems break off and land downstream to establish new patches. Eventually it will overtake the entire stream bank and change the river ecology. Hopefully the infestation in Cranberry Lake is on the agencies radar. Better to take care of the problem sooner rather than letting it get to the river where it will become impossible to eradicate.

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