Wednesday, March 1, 2023

Invasives update: The good, the bad and the promising

Despite an omnipresent threat of invasive species entering or spreading in the Adirondack Park, around three-quarters of Adirondack waterways remain free of aquatic invasive species.

Conservationists battling the spread of invasive species in the park like to cite that fact as a sign of the park’s still-pristine nature and as a clarion call to continue their work.

The Adirondack Park Invasive Plant Program, a small team that coordinates efforts to fight invasives in the park, this week released its annual report. The report highlights the growing threat of forest pests like hemlock wooly adelgid on Lake George and the looming threat of round goby and hydrilla, which have yet to break through the park’s borders.

APIPP reported five new waterbodies found to contain invasive species within its area: Lake Roxanne and Tracy Brook in Clinton County, the St. Regis River and a connected wetland in Franklin County, and Park Lake in Hamilton County.

Wineberry, an invasive shrub related to raspberries and blackberries, last year was identified in the Adirondack Park for the first time on Long Island in Lake George. So was beech leaf disease. The invasive water plant European Frog-bit expanded its range to the St. Regis River last year.

In 2022, APIPP also piloted new tactics in its never-ending fight against invasive species. Working with a similar organization in the St. Lawrence River watershed, APIPP tested the use of environmental DNA to monitor for invasives. They also started focused harvesting of Eurasian milfoil near Lake Champlain boat launches in an effort to minimize boats picking up the invasive on their way out of the water.


You may have noticed the last few Water Lines were a bit off the news. That’s because I spent the last three weeks with our first child. To all those people who over nearly a decade of covering education asked me whether I have a kid, the answer is now, “Yes!”

Bryer William Matson was born last month in Glens Falls.

While hiking Crane Mountain this summer, thinking about the new fatherly duties headed my way, I snapped a picture of a plaque dedicated to Adirondack conservationist Paul Schaefer. I thought it was a powerful summation of why we all owe a debt of gratitude to those who have fought and continue to fight for public land protection.

“You have given the youth of the distant tomorrows the opportunity to experience the freedom of spirit and the indescribable happiness found in the solitude of wilderness,” the easy-to-miss plaque on Crane says.

I’ve experienced that freedom and failed to describe that happiness and am now thankful Bryer can too. I’ll be taking a longer leave with Bryer this summer, so pass along any good hikes with infants you care to share.

A plaque on Crane Mountain dedicated to conservationist Paul Schaefer sums up well the importance of public land protection. Photo by Zachary Matson

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. Eric Hancock says:

    Congratulations on your new arrival!

  2. louis curth says:

    Good luck with your new progeny Zach. It is Interesting to me that you chose Crane (my favorite mountain) for your personal contemplations, as did Paul Schaefer and so many other men and women who have been there before you. When the time is right, a hike with young Bryer William, to the summit of Crane, followed by a leisurely pause (and possibly a dip) at the pond, should definitely be on your list.

    Soon after the birth of our daughter, my friend and fellow EPL board member, Winifred LaRose, gifted her a copy of Frank Graham’s primer; “The Adirondack Park”. Now, I would like to pass along Winnie’s kind gesture by gifting Bryer a copy of “The Forest Rangers”. This is DECs history of the ranger force written by me as part of the Forest Preserve Centennial celebration in 1985. I’ll check with Melissa to see how best to get it to you.

    Happy hiking!

  3. Bob Meyer says:

    Congratulations Zachary!

  4. Jim S. says:

    It’s amazing having one of those tax deductions! Congratulations!

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