Explorer policy reporter Gwendolyn Craig has reported plenty of news on invasive species this month — most of it unfortunate.
First came word of the long-expected confirmation of the emerald ash borer in the Adirondacks. That tree killer had long spread throughout the Midwest and East, and in recent years was chewing a circle around the park. Ash isn’t the most abundant species in our high country, but it has cultural and economic significance as well as an ecological role. Gwen will explore all of that in a magazine piece later this year.
2020 has been a boom year for the Gypsy moth caterpillar, and the Department of Environmental Conservation has been receiving reports of unusually high Gypsy moth populations and leaf damage in several parts of New York State.
Gypsy moths are not native to New York, but they are naturalized into the eco-system, meaning that they will always be in our forests. They tend to have a population spike every 10 to 15 years, but it is usually offset by predators, disease, and other natural causes. The caterpillars are beginning to disappear now as they transition into the next cycle of their lives and become moths.
One year of defoliation is probably nor going to kill your trees, but over the course of a couple years it typically leads to tree death. The DEC will be monitoring Gypsy moth caterpillar populations to predict whether a major defoliation should be expected.
Japanese knotweeds (Reynoutria japonica, Reynoutria sachalinensis, and their hybrid Reynoutria X bohemica) are invasive plants that are infamously difficult to control and have negatively impacted ecosystems and economies in the US, Canada and Europe.
For several years, researchers have sought to find a biocontrol for knotweed. Biocontrols are species selected from an invasive species’ native range that are used to control the invasive species in its introduced range. This approach is more targeted than chemical methods, and when successful, it permanently suppresses the invasive species.
After extensive testing and review by federal agencies, in March of this year, an insect native to Japan called the knotweed psyllid (Aphalara itadori) was approved for release in the United States as the country’s first biocontrol agent for Japanese knotweed.
The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) announced the confirmation of an infestation of the Hemlock Woolly Adelgid (Adelges tsugae) on Forest Preserve lands in the town of Dresden in Washington County.
The Schroon Lake Association will host a panel discussion on the future of Schroon Lake, including a discussion of the threats of invasive species and water quality facing Schroon and Paradox lakes. Founded in 1911, the Schroon Lake Association is one of the oldest conservation organizations within the Blue Line of the Adirondack Park.
All are welcome. Admission is free. There will be opportunity for questions and discussion with the audience. The discussion will take place on July 8, 2016 at 7:30 pm at the Schroon Lake Central School Auditorium, 1125 US Route 9, Schroon Lake.
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