On June 2, the New York State Departments of Environmental Conservation (DEC) and Agriculture and Markets (AGM) announced the State’s 10th annual Invasive Species Awareness Week (ISAW) begins Monday, June 5. Free events and invasive species challenges are offered from June 5 through 11 across the state and online, including daily webinars at 1 p.m. and 4 p.m., Monday through Friday.
“Invasive Species Awareness Week is an excellent opportunity for New Yorkers to learn about invasive species and the comprehensive efforts underway thanks to investments by Governor Kathy Hochul to combat the threats these pests pose to our environment, agriculture, public health, and economy,” said DEC Commissioner Basil Seggos. “We encourage New Yorkers to join our experts and partners this week to learn how to help combat harmful invasives.”
“Communities across New York State have been instrumental in our efforts to combat the harmful invasive species that have a costly impact on our agricultural industries, environment, and economy,” said State Agriculture Commissioner Richard A. Ball. “Invasive Species Awareness Week gives all New Yorkers, including farmers and members of our agricultural community, a great opportunity to learn more about how they can play a part in protecting our natural resources. I encourage everyone to join some of the ISAW activities to learn how to spot, identify, and protect against these harmful species, and safeguard our environment.”
Invasive species are plants, animals, insects, and pathogens not native to an area that cause harm to the environment, agriculture, economy, or public health. New York is particularly vulnerable to these pests due to its role as a center for international trade and travel.
DEC leads a comprehensive program to research, manage, and combat the effects of invasive species statewide. This includes tackling aquatic invasive species like hydrilla, round goby, and northern snakehead; tracking and managing forest pests such as southern pine beetle, beech leaf disease, and hemlock wooly adelgid; operating a giant hogweed control program that works to eradicate this large, caustic plant; and managing eight New York State Partnerships for Regional Invasive Species Management that address invasive species issues regionally. DEC also works with numerous partners to educate the public about how to protect lands, waters, and forests from invasive species. ISAW is an important way to encourage working together to spread the word, not the species.
AGM works to control and eradicate various invasive species, such as spotted lanternfly, European cherry fruit fly, and Asian longhorned beetle, which can harm New York’s agricultural crops, particularly grapes, hops, and fruit trees. Staff conduct annual surveys for each of these pests, and inspect the state’s nearly 9,000 greenhouses, retail markets, and nursery growers and dealers for compliance with invasive plant regulations. Horticultural inspectors also monitor for invasive pests and diseases, such as European pepper moth and boxwood blight that are harmful to New York’s lands. Learn more about the invasive species that are a concern for New York agriculture at AGM’s website.
Scheduled events include:
- Webinars on a variety of topics including “Community Science for Kids,” “Photography for Invasive Species,” and “Pathways of Invasive Species: Understanding How Invasive Species Spread and How to Stop Them in Their Tracks.”
- Guided hikes and paddles to learn how to identify and remove invasive species.
- Screenings of Uninvited: The Spread of Invasive Species.
- Anyone interested in participating in an ISAW event, including the daily webinars, is encouraged to visit the New York Invasive Species Awareness Week Events webpage to find a complete list of offerings in their area.
Everyone can make a difference in the fight against invasives by helping to locate and map infestations, using only local firewood, properly cleaning watercraft before and after boating, cleaning dirt off boots after hiking, or removing invasive species from the yard. To learn more about invasive species and how to get involved, visit DEC’s website.
Photo at top: Close-up of Hydrilla. Photo Credit: Chris Evans, River to River CWMA, Bugwood.org. Courtesy of the New York Invasive Species Information Clearinghouse.