Albany, NY - July 9, 2014 - The New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation (State Parks) is celebrating New York State's first Invasive Species Awareness Week to encourage park visitors to help prevent the spread of potentially harmful invasive plant and animal species throughout the state. To mark the week, State Park boat stewards will begin assisting boaters in ridding potential invasive species from their boats and events are being held at parks across the state where visitors can learn about invasive species prevention and participate in invasive species removal projects.
"State Parks is pleased to participate in Invasive Species Awareness Week to highlight the devastating effects these species have on our native biodiversity," State Parks Commissioner Rose Harvey said. "Education and citizen training can make a huge difference in helping prevent and detect invasive species and protecting our forests, water bodies and other significant habitats and rare species in State Parks. I encourage park visitors to learn how they help prevent the spread of harmful invasive species."
Invasive species are one of the greatest threats to New York State lands and waters, including degradation of habitat, loss of native fish, animal and tree species, damaged crops, diminished recreational opportunities and negative impacts to tourism and agricultural industries. Once established, controlling non-native plant and animal life is extremely costly – and eradication is very difficult. Proactive assistance and cooperation from the public can help prevent the spread of invasive species. The mission of the New York Invasive Species Awareness Week (ISAW) is to promote knowledge and understanding of invasive species to help stop their spread by engaging citizens in a wide range of activities across the state and encouraging them to take action. For information on Invasive Species Awareness Week, visit nyis.info/blog.
To combat the spread of aquatic invasive species in the Great Lakes coastal communities, State Parks has received a $410,000 federal funding from the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative using a "boots on the ground" approach.
Beginning this week, and over the next two summers, State Parks will have Boat Stewards stationed at various launch sites spanning the St. Lawrence River, Lake Ontario, and Lake Erie. Their goal will be to help boaters conduct voluntary visual inspections of their watercraft before and after launching to remove any "hitchhiking" plants and animals, as well as record data that may advise future management plans and public outreach strategies. Some of the focal species that the Stewards have been trained to identify include Eurasian watermilfoil, curly-leaf pondweed, water chestnut, and hydrilla.
As part of the statewide effort, the following State Parks will hold public participation events to mark Invasive Species Awareness Week:
Allegany State Park, Cattaraugus County
Friday, July 11, 2014 - 10:00 am. The New York State Invasive Species Strike Team will be leading a hike along the Red House Bikeway to identify and remove invasive species.
Contact Meg Janis, email@example.com, for more information.
Bear Mountain State Park, Orange County
Daily through July 11, 1 - 2:30 pm. Visit Trailside Museums & Zoo to learn more about mile-a-minute vine, other invasive plants and forest pests, and what you can do to help stop the invasion! There will be informational displays with pictures and brochures. For directions and more information on Trailside Museums & Zoo, please visit: http://www.trailsidezoo.org/
Thursday, July 10, 9 - 11 am. Help the State Parks Invasive Species Strike Team and the Mile-a-Minute Project of the Hudson Valley with removal of mile-a-minute vine. Get a little exercise, enjoy the great outdoors, and learn about other invasive plants too, such as Black swallow-wort. The site is located on the Iona/Dunderberg bike path just off 9W (also called Jones Point Path / Old Route 9W). We'll meet at the northern end of the bike path, which is 0.3 miles south of the entrance to Iona Island. GPS coordinates: N 41.2997789, W 73.9856880.
Please bring water and be prepared for outdoor work. Wear long pants, closed-toed shoes, and a sturdy pair of gloves. If interested in attending, or for more information, please contact Becca Chambers at MaMHudsonValley@gmail.com or (845) 786-2701 ext. 293.
Caumsett State Park, Suffolk County
Friday, July 11, 2014 - 10:00 am – 1:00 pm and Saturday, July 12, 9 am – 12 pm. Caumsett State Park is one of the Long Island Sound Study's Stewardship Sites which were designated due to their recreational and ecological importance. Swallow-wort is an invasive plant that can be found throughout the fields and edges of woodland in this park. Swallow-wort creates tangled thickets and blocks light to native plants. Participants will be removing swallow-wort by hand pulling and digging. This event is free, but we ask that volunteers wear long pants and bring work gloves, sunscreen, water, and bug spray. We will provide all other equipment that will be needed. Register by the day before the event by filling out the registration form here. If you have any questions, please contact Amy Mandelbaum, Long Island Sound Study Outreach Coordinator, at 631-632-9216 or firstname.lastname@example.org or Vicky O'Neill, Long Island Sound Study Habitat Restoration Coordinator, at 631-444-0441 or email@example.com. Meet at the parking lot next to the toll booth at 10 am.
Fillmore Glen State Park, Cayuga County
Daily through July 10. The Central & Finger Lakes Invasive Strike Team will be conducting invasive plant surveys, control and elimination projects, qualitative surveys for Hemlock Wooly Adelgid, and public outreach throughout the park.
Green Lakes State Park, Onondaga County
Wednesday, July 9. SUNY College of Environmental Science & Forestry and student participants from Nottingham High School, Syracuse City School District will be participating in a small-scale stewardship project where they will remove pale swallow-wort as part of the ongoing invasive species management plan for the park. In addition, they will hike to Green and Round Lakes, Old Growth Forest and the Bird Conservation Area to witness first-hand the overall challenges that invasive species present to naturally functioning ecosystems.
Thursday, July 10. The Bristol-Myers Squibb Science Horizons program from Syracuse University will hike to Green and Round Lakes, Old Growth Forest and the Bird Conservation Area to witness first-hand the overall challenges that invasive species present to naturally functioning ecosystems.
Hudson Highlands State Park, Westchester County
Saturday, July 12, 10 am – 12 pm. Help the Mile-a-Minute Project of the Hudson Valley with removal of mile-a-minute vine. Get a little exercise, enjoy the great outdoors, and learn about other invasive plants too, such as Japanese stiltgrass. Meet at the Old Bear Mountain Toll House, on US-202 W / US-6 W approximately 2.6 miles south of Bear Mountain Bridge. GPS coordinates: N 41.3016, W 73.951582. Please bring water and be prepared for outdoor work. Wear long pants, closed-toed shoes, and a sturdy pair of gloves. If interested in attending, or for more information, please contact Becca Chambers at MaMHudsonValley@gmail.com or (845) 786-2701 ext. 293.
Minnewaska State Park Preserve, Ulster County
Sunday, July 13, 10 am-12 pm. Invasive Species Awareness Walk. Learn how to recognize these plants and insects and learn how you can help alleviate this growing ecological problem. Pre-registration required for this event. Contact the Park Preserve Office at 845-255-0752 for more information, or to register.
Thacher State Park, Albany County
Wednesday, July 9, 9:30 am. Assist in our field habitat improvement project and support Bobolinks and other field nesting birds. Join staff and volunteers in removing invasive Wild Parsnip. It is easy to identify and remove. Wear long pants and a long-sleeved shirt, bring loppers if possible, and bring water and a snack.
Saturday, July 12, 10 am. The Emerald Ash Borer is a small green beetle that is killing our Ash trees. This invasive pest came from Asia in wooden crates and quickly began to spread. Learn what you and your family can do to help prevent the spread of these creepy aliens. Learn how to identify ash trees and make an ‘EAB' mask to take home.
Please call 518-872-0800 to register and for meeting place of both events.