InvasiveSpecies.jpg

Stopping the spread of invasive species

We don’t need to relive high school nightmares, but non-native invasive species are the bullies of the natural world. By definition, an invasive species is: a species that is non-native to the ecosystem under consideration whose introduction causes or is likely to cause economic or environmental harm or harm to human health. A little education can go a long way in preventing the spread of these bullies. Learn how you can help!

On land

Terrestrial non-native invasive species are ones that inhabit the land. They are found in wild forests, open meadows, maintained gardens at home, and lakesides. Terrestrial invasive species can be plants or animals. Here are some little things you can do to help be part of the solution:

  • Know the firewood regulations. In New York, you cannot use untreated firewood from another state or country. All untreated firewood must be used within 50 miles (linear) from its source. Treated firewood may be transported and used freely. This is done to prevent insects from traveling from place to place in the wood itself. Species to watch out for: Asian longhorned beetle, emerald ash borer, gopsy moth.

  • Beautiful gardens are fine, but be sure you are planting native plants! Species like purple loosestrife, lesser celandine, and Japanese barberry may be pretty, but they disrupt natural ecosystems.

  • Do your laundry! Cleaning gear is the best way to ensure that non-native invasive species do not spread. Make sure you clean everything - don’t forget boot bottoms - before your next hike. Take special care to avoid garlic mustard, giant hogwood, and wild parsnip.

  • One of the latest invaders in the United States is the spotted lanternfly. This “planthopper” has been known to hitch a ride across state lines on cars, and even lay eggs on vehicles as well. If this species spreads, it will have devastating effects on agriculture and lumber industries. Several states on the east coast have reports so if you are driving through, please check your vehicles for adults and eggs.

 

If you see anything suspect, please report your sighting to the Adirondack Park Invasive Plant Program!

On water

Aquatic non-native invasive species are ones that inhabit lakes, ponds, rivers, and streams. They can be plants or animals, and come in a variety of shapes, sizes, and colors! Here is the best thing you can do to help be part of the solution:

  • Clean, drain, and dry all watercrafts and gear - that includes motorboats, canoes, anchors, fishing line, paddles, everything! There are many aquatic invasive species that can spread while remaining largely unseen, making it that much more important to have properly cleaned gear. After use, clean your boat, trailer, and/or any other recreational equipment, using hot water if possible. Then, make sure your boat or kayak or canoe is completely drained of water (this includes livewells and ballast tanks!). Dry all boats and equipment before use in another body of water.

 

Learning about the different species is important! Here are some of the big names:

  • Eurasian watermilfoil and variable-leaf milfoil. Unfortunately, these plants are widespread in the Adirondacks. They can spread via small fragments.

  • Hydrilla. This is the big one, the one no one wants to see. It is one of the most aggressive growing aquatic plants.

  • Asian clam and zebra mussels. Adults are recognizable, but the “babies” (known as veligers) are microscopic and can be floating in standing water or buried in sand/mud.

  • Spiny waterflea. Enlarged images of this crustacean are frightening, but they pose no threat to human health. Fish, however, are susceptible to getting the “spine” caught in their throats. There is no control method; prevention is the only key. Be sure to clean all fishing gear because that is how this species spreads. 

  • Water chestnut. Ouch! The seed pods of this aquatic plant are its most distinctive trait; the thorny four-spined nutlets can be found stuck to boat trailers or washed up on shore.

 

Again, if you see anything suspect, please report your sighting to the Adirondack Park Invasive Plant Program!

Know before you go

  • Knowing how to identify different native and non-native plants and animals is the best way to prevent the spread of invasive species! Local environmental organizations like the Adirondack Park Invasive Plant Program and the Adirondack Mountain Club often host ID classes to help teach you the basics.