Experts: Invasive Species are threatening North Country ecosystems, recreation


WATERTOWN, N.Y. (WWTI) — Annually, the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) and its partners host Invasive Species Awareness Week to alert regions across the state of the impacts these species have. DEC Eastern Great Lakes Watershed Coordinator Emily Sheridan sat down to address the week of awareness. 

“We like to promote awareness about the impacts of invasive species on these services, and encourage people to get engaged and understanding what invasive species are, and the types of actions that they can take to help reduce the spread of invasive species,” shared Sheridan.

She then broke down invasive that are a cause of concern by categories.

These categories included impacts to human health, forest growth, water quality and impacts to native fish, plant and wildlife species.

  • Species that impact human health:
    • Giant hogweed (Heracleum mantegazzianum)
    • Wild parsnip (Pastinaca sativa)
  • Invasive plant species:
    • Swallow-wort: “Dog strangling vine,” (Cynanchum louiseae, Cynanchum rossicum )
    • Mile-a-minute weed: Chokes trees
  • Invasive forest species:
    • Hemlock Wooly Adelgid (Adelges tsugae)
    • Emerald Ash Borer, (Agrilus planipennis)
    • Asian Longhorned Beetle
  • Aquatic/ Water-based invasive species:
    • Eurasian Water-Milfoil (Myriophyllum spicatum L. )
    • Curly Lead Pondweed
    • Water chestnut (Trapas nantans L.)
    • Hydrilla (Hydrilla Verticila)
  • Invasive fish species:
    • Round Goby
    • Tench (Tinca tinca)

Photos of the listed species are included in the gallery below:

The impacts these species have? Sheridan stated, they are countless.

The cumulative impacts of all of these invasives are really, really harmful to our ecosystems, our rare and endangered fish and wildlife habitats,” stated Sheridan. “They degrade our, our ecosystem services as well.”

And invasive species don’t just affect wildlife, Sheridan added that they are now threatening popular recreational activities in the North Country such as swimming in the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence River, boating and sport fishing.

Ways to prevent the spread of invasive in the North Country include learning to identify and report species when outdoors, cleaning hiking equipment when traveling to new locations, including scrubbing the bottoms of boots, buying local or treated firewood cleaning boat motors off when trailing to new locations and learning how to properly dispose of invasive species.

Invasive species can be reported to the local Partner Regional Invasive Species Management’s (PRISM) and local DEC office.

More information and Invasive Species Awareness Week events can be found on the DEC website.

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