Tuesday, July 12, 2016

It's Invasive Species Awareness Week

From Gov. Andrew Cuomo's office:

New York’s third annual Invasive Species Awareness Week is being held now -- from July 10 to July 16.

State Department of Environmental Conservation Commissioner Basil Seggos and state Department of Agriculture and Markets Commissioner Richard A. Ball said observance of the week urges all New Yorkers to exercise environmental stewardship to protect lands and waters from infestations that can be devastating to habitats, agriculture, tourism and human health.

Invasive species cause harm because of their ability to reproduce quickly, outcompete native species and adapt to new environments. 

Because invasive species did not evolve with the other species in their new location, they often do not have natural predators and diseases that would normally control their population within their native habitat. Economists estimate that invasive species cost the United States more than $120 billion in damages every year.

During Invasive Species week, the Partnerships for Regional Invasive Species Management, iMap Invasives, Cornell Cooperative Extension, DEC and additional state and local partners will host activities to inform citizens how to identify, survey, map, report or manage invasive species. 

Those attending will be able to help remove invasive species from public lands, join experts on the trails or on the water to see invasive species firsthand, attend presentations to learn more about what can be done to help fight these threats, and more. 

In addition, all citizens are asked to consider how their everyday activities may affect the spread of invasive species and use the following best management practices: clean, drain and dry watercraft and gear after boating and fishing; use non-invasive plants in gardens and landscaping; use local firewood; and learn about, look for and report invasive species.

New York is working persistently to fight invasives such as emerald ash borer, which has spread across the state on wood packaging and firewood, threatening to kill millions of ash and cause a negative impact on the timber industry in the millions of dollars. This includes baseball bat manufacturers and bats used in Major League Baseball.  

Hemlock wooly adelgid is another threat, killing thousands of acres of hemlock in the lower Hudson Valley and Catskills. Shade provided by hemlock is important for maintaining cool water temperatures for New York’s many trout streams. 

        Oak wilt, first discovered in 2008, has cost New York state about $500,000 to control. Some midwest states spend over $1 million a year to control it but New York has kept costs down by aggressively surveying and eradicating infestations quickly while they are small. Oak is an important species because of the wildlife (deer and turkey among others, big for hunting) that depend on the acorns.

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