The mission of the New York Invasive Species Awareness Week (NYISAW) is to promote knowledge and understanding of invasive species and the harm they can cause. We want to empower YOU to stop the spread of invasive species!
Organizations across all of New York State are offering a variety of engaging events, such as interpretive hikes, volunteer days, webinars, movie screenings, and fun family activities!
By participating in NYISAW, you can help protect your community’s natural spaces, learn about new invasive species, meet your neighbors, get outdoors, and even win prizes!
The Lake George Association last week made good on its promise to explore all options for blocking the planned use of an aquatic herbicide on Lake George.
The nation’s oldest lake association – along with Lake George Waterkeeper Chris Navitsky, the Town of Hague and a shoreline resident – sued Thursday to stop the herbicide plan. In its petition, the association took aim at the process that led to permit approvals by the Department of Environmental Conservation and Adirondack Park Agency, arguing the agencies failed to consider important concerns raised by the public. The suit accuses the state agencies of “behind the scenes decision-making” to rush the plan to approval.
Have you noticed spongy moth egg masses in your neighborhood? Last year was a boom year for spongy moth (formerly known as gypsy moth) caterpillar populations, especially in Central and Western NY. Egg masses contain 600-700 eggs each and will hatch around May. If you find them now, you can scrape them off trees or buildings and drop them into a container of detergent to prevent the eggs from hatching.
Spongy moths are non-native, but are naturalized, meaning they will always be around in our forests. They tend to spike in numbers roughly every 10-15 years but outbreaks are usually ended by natural causes such as predators and disease. Removing their egg masses is not a cure for spongy moth infestations, but it is a small step you can take to help protect trees in your neighborhood. To learn more about this species and management efforts throughout the year, visit our website.
Here in the Adirondack region, we know how special Lake Champlain is. It provides year-round recreational opportunities for residents and visitors alike and drives our local economies. It hosts some of the best fishing in the nation and is home to an abundance of wildlife. Lake Champlain provides so much to our communities, and now we need the state to step up and protect it.
Invasive species outcompete native wildlife and cause severe harm to our ecosystems and our economies. Their proliferation can lead to the extinction of native plants and animals and threaten our way of life.
Lake Champlain is facing that threat now, with the looming introduction of invasive round goby. Round goby is a small fish species native to southeastern Europe that arrived in the Great Lakes 31 years ago in a ship’s untreated ballast water. Round gobies aggressively outcompete native fish for habitat and feed on their eggs and young, harming native fisheries and local businesses.
Have you seen tree of heaven plants in your neighborhood? This fast-growing invasive tree is easy to identify and found all over NY, particularly in urban areas. Tree of heaven (Ailanthus altissima) is the preferred host plant of the spotted lanternfly, an invasive insect being found in more and more parts of NY that could have severe impacts on our state’s agriculture and forests. Finding and reporting tree of heaven to NY iMapInvasives can help supplement state efforts to prevent negative impacts from these two species.
“Uninvited: The Spread of Invasive Species” is an exciting and informative 55-minute film by Westfield Production Company. The documentary introduces the concept of invasive species and highlights some of the species threatening New York’s environment and economy, while showing some innovative ways that New York State is combatting these threats. “Uninvited” features the collaborative work of DEC and its partners including NYS Department of Agriculture & Markets, the eight Partnerships for Regional Invasive Species Management (PRISMs), New York State Invasive Species Research Institute (NYISRI), and more.
The Kelly Adirondack Center is hosting a screening of the film via Zoom, on Jan. 11, 2022 at 7 p.m. The film will be introduced by Dr. Jennifer Dean, Invasive Species Biologist with the New York Natural Heritage Program. Dean will take questions after the documentary.
Calling all hikers, xc skiiers, and snowshoers in the Saint Lawrence/Eastern Lake Ontario (SLELO) Region! Our friends at SLELO PRISM invite you to take a hike to protect the region’s hemlocks (and win cool prizes) this winter through their Virtual Hike Challenge. The challenge is running now through March 1st, and you can participate any time you get outside. All you need to do is take a hike, check a hemlock for signs of invasive hemlock woolly adelgid, and take a photo. Share a photo of your experience on Facebook with the hashtag #VirtualHikeChallenge for a chance to win prizes!
You can find more information about the challenge, including featured trails, on the SLELO PRISM website. Brush up on hemlock ID, and take a quiz to test your knowledge on the New York State Hemlock Initiative website. Happy trails!
Photo: White woolly egg masses of invasive HWA on a hemlock branch
The Hamilton County Soil and Water Conservation District closes out 2021 with the release of their Annual Report. The document details the District’s 2021 programs, projects, and events.
“The accomplishments listed in our 2021 Annual Report would not be possible without the steadfast support from our Board of Directors, the Soil and Water Conservation Committee, Association of Conservation Districts, Natural Resources Conservation Service, Hamilton County, and local organizations and agencies” said District Manager Caitlin Stewart. “Technicians Lenny Croote and Jaime Parslow, and Clerk Marj Remias provided expert and excellent service to landowners and municipalities year round.”
Highlights from the District’s Annual Report include:
Sometime in the 1990s, a mutant crayfish able to conquer and degrade aquatic systems emerged as a result of secret German experiments gone awry. The marmorkreb, a.k.a. marbled crayfish (Procambarus virginalis), is a destructive new species that first appeared aquariums in Germany. However, it’s more likely the result of too much inbreeding in captivity, rather than some mad-scientist scheme, that led to their mutation. They are now here, and your help scouting for them is invaluable.
Spotted lanternfly (SLF) is an invasive pest from Asia that feeds on a variety of plants including grapes, hops, and maple trees, posing a severe threat to New York’s forests and agriculture. SLF has been found in several locations in NY but has not yet spread to much of the state. One potential pathway for the spread of SLF is its preferred host plant, tree-of-heaven (TOH), which is already found in many locations across NY.
Volunteers like you are needed to look for SLF and TOH in your area. You can help protect NY’s agriculture and forests by knowing what to look for and how to report it to NY’s official invasive species database, iMapInvasives. Visit iMap’s website to learn about the project and sign up for a grid square on the map to look for these species out in the field.
Join iMapInvasives and the NYS Department of Agriculture and Markets for some tips on how to find these invasive species (particularly adults and egg masses), and for a recap of the incredible monitoring efforts made by volunteers across the state this year:
Monday October 27, 1 p.m. – Virtual Event: Identifying & Reporting Spotted Lanternfly and Tree-of-heaven with NY iMapInvasives – Register online.
Photo: An adult spotted lanternfly, photo from NYS AGM
“If I knew for a certainty that a man was coming to my house with the conscious design of doing me good, I should run for my life.” David Henry Thoreau’s statement, funny in a way, also brings to mind the grave harm done to cultures around the world by Western powers in the guise of “helping” them. In a less horrific sense it applies to how we’ve “assisted” nature to disastrous ends. Cane toads in Australia, mongoose in Hawaii, Kudzu in the Southeast, and Asian harlequin ladybeetles that invade our homes each fall are a few examples of being too helpful.
I get a lot of questions from folks who’ve recently purchased a few acres of forest or home on a wooded lot and want to know if they should clear brush, thin trees, or do other things to improve the woods. It’s a fair question, and an important one.
The defoliation of trees this spring and summer by Gypsy Moth (also known as Lymantria dispar) caterpillars left a lot of local property owners feeling helpless to protect their beloved trees. Should we expect similar problems next year? What can be done to prevent infestation, or lessen the damage?
On Thursday, September 23rd, from 1 p.m. to 2 p.m., Warren County and the Warren County Soil and Water Conservation District will host a discussion on Gypsy Moth caterpillar infestation featuring Rob Cole from New York State Department of Environmental Conservation’s Office of Forest Health. Cole and Soil & Water Conservation staff will give a general overview of the problems these caterpillars can cause, and how property owners can safely address them this fall and next spring.
“This past year was eye-opening for many people in our county and region, and this presentation will provide some understanding of this insect, its affects and what may be anticipated for next year and beyond,” explained Jim Lieberum, District Manager for Warren County Soil & Water Conservation District.
This event will be livestreamed through the Warren County YouTube page, and those interested in the subject can attend at Warren County Municipal Center as well. Participants will be able to ask questions during the presentation through YouTube chat, and we are encouraging people to submit questions or comments ahead of time for efficiency.
Please email questions or comments to: [email protected], with the subject line Gypsy Moth 2021
Giant hogweed plants are now blooming across many parts of the state, making it a prime time to spot this harmful invasive. Giant hogweed is a large plant from Eurasia with sap that can cause painful burns and scarring.
If you think you have found giant hogweed, do not touch it. From a safe distance, take photos of the plant’s stem, leaves, flower, seeds, and the whole plant. Then report your sighting to DEC by emailing photos and location information to [email protected] or calling (845) 256-3111. DEC staff will confirm if it is giant hogweed and discuss plans for management if it is a site not yet being managed by DEC.
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