ADIRONDACKS —The Adirondack Park Invasive Plant Program (APIPP) and its partners have charted a course for the next five years. The “Adirondack Partnership for Regional Invasive Species Management (PRISM) Strategic Plan 2023–2027” outlines how APIPP and its partners will minimize the impact of invasive species on the Adirondack region’s communities, lands and waters.
“The 2023-2027 Strategic Plan highlights some of the innovative ways PRISM partners build knowledgeable and engaged Adirondack communities that are empowered to act,” said Peg Olsen, Adirondack Chapter Director of The Nature Conservancy. “The Nature Conservancy and APIPP share a vision for an Adirondack region where the diversity of life thrives, and our lands and waters are protected for future generations. As the climate continues to change and exacerbate the spread and impact of invasive species, APIPP’s foundational work as a leader in invasive species prevention, eradication and management, and as a convener of more than 30 diverse regional partners, is even more vital.”
The plan begins with an overview of the current situation regarding invasive species found in the Adirondacks: there are approximately 6,500 mapped infestations of terrestrial invasive species and 110 waterbodies where aquatic invasive species are known to be present. New invasives—such as hemlock woolly adelgid, emerald ash borer and beech leaf disease— have crept into the region since the last plan was released in 2013.
But the new strategic plan offers hope. Invasive species have been successfully removed from 62 percent of the sites managed by APIPP over the last two decades, and this work will continue under the new plan.
The news is also hopeful for aquatic species, as 76% of the more than 460 lakes monitored by APIPP and Adirondack PRISM partners are free of invasive aquatic plants and invertebrates.
“We have had great success managing invasive plants and animals over the last two decades, but the effort is ongoing to keep these species at bay,” said APIPP Manager Tammara Van Ryn. “The diverse partners from nonprofit organizations, research institutions, businesses and government, and the committed volunteers are the heart of what makes this partnership so successful. No one entity can tackle invasive species on its own, but together we are a powerful force for change.”
By outlining four goals with achievable objectives, the plan provides a clear path for anyone interested in working on invasive species to see how they can contribute to the regional efforts. The four goals cover minimizing the impact of invasive species on our aquatic and terrestrial ecosystems; community engagement; and the importance of research and innovation to inform the best ways to monitor and manage invasives.
“Working on invasive species can seem overwhelming, but by partnering with APIPP it allows our team to focus on priority species. APIPP knows the Adirondack ecosystem and knows our communities, and they let us know how we can best help make a difference,” said Caitlin Stewart, district manager for the Hamilton County Soil and Water District.
“Our team is grateful for the leadership APIPP brings to partners in the region, ” said Zoë Smith, deputy director of the Paul Smith’s College Adirondack Watershed Institute and a member of the strategic planning committee. “Partnering with APIPP and other Adirondack PRISM partners allows us to develop more effective strategies for identifying and controlling aquatic invasive species in the Adirondacks, as well as communicating those efforts to the public.”
The plan also includes tools Adirondack PRISM partners can use to track implementation of the strategic plan, including how their efforts can be reported using a Partner Data Dashboard. The dashboard will be one of the topics discussed at APIPP’s annual year-end partner meeting, which is 9:30 a.m. to noon on December 1. This year’s event will be held online. For more information or to register, visit www.adkinvasives.com/Events/Detail/160.
To see the “Adirondack Partnership for Regional Invasive Species Management Strategic Plan 2023–2027,” visit www.adkinvasives.com/About/Approach/Strategic-Planning.
Read a two-page summary of the plan here.
APIPP’s mission is to work in partnership to minimize the impact of invasive species on the Adirondack region’s communities, lands and waters. Learn more at www.adkinvasives.com.
The Adirondack Park Invasive Plant Program (APIPP) serves as the Adirondack Partnership for Regional Invasive Species Management (PRISM), one of eight partnerships across New York. APIPP is hosted by The Adirondack Chapter of The Nature Conservancy and receives financial support from the Environmental Protection Fund administered by New York State Department of Environmental Conservation.
Photo at top: Adirondack Park Invasive Plant Program website photo.