What is an invasive species?
Invasive species are non-native species that can cause harm to the environment, the economy or to human health. Not all non-native species are invasive. Most are not invasive and many are highly beneficial. However, even a single invasive species can cause great harm. Invasives come from all around the world. As international trade increases, so does the rate of invasive species introductions.
Why are invasive species a threat?
Invasive species threaten nearly every aspect of our world and are one of the greatest threats to New York’s biodiversity. They cause or contribute to:
- · Habitat degradation and loss
- · The loss of native fish, wildlife and tree species
- · The loss of recreational opportunities and income
- · Crop damage and diseases in humans and livestock
What can I do to help prevent the spread of invasive species?
You can help by learning which invasive species are in your local area, and what actions are being done to manage them. Make others aware of invasive species. Avoid unintentional movement of invasive species as hitchhikers on items such as hiking boots, boat trailers, hay, mulch, and firewood. Replace the invasive plants growing in your garden with non-invasive alternatives. Get involved in organized efforts in your area to find and remove invasive species from local parks, playgrounds and campgrounds. Learn how to care for exotic aquarium fish and other pets and plants, so that they don’t become a problem. Ask your political representative to support invasive species efforts. Support non-profit organizations that work to combat invasive species.
How do invasive species affect watersheds?
Invasive species may be a concern for watershed management. Many invasive species out compete native species. When native grasses that stabilize stream banks are out competed, sedimentation in streams and rivers may increase. When native plants closer to the ground are shaded out by larger invasive species, bare soil may be eroded. Invasive species degrade wetlands, which perform important functions like water purification, flood protection, and shoreline stabilization. All of these examples have negative implications for stormwater control measures that intend to control the volume and pollutant concentration of stormwater.
The New York Invasive Species Clearinghouse is a gateway for New Yorkers to access timely, accurate scientific and policy information to assist them in making informed decisions about preventing, eradicating, controlling and managing invasive species in New York State and to focus attention on the need for invasive species prevention, eradication and management in New York.
NYIS Clearinghouse website: www.nyis.info
The following websites also have information on invasive species
NYS DEC: www.dec.ny.gov
USDA National Invasive Species Information Center: www.invasivespeciesinfo.gov/unitedstates/ny.shtml
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service: www.fws.gov/invasives
USDA Forest Service: www.fs.fed.us/invasivespecies
NY Sea Grant: http://www.seagrant.sunysb.edu/
Water Chestnut Trapa natans
Most common in Wayne County – Maxwell Bay, Sodus Bay, East Bay, Blind Sodus Bay, Red Creek Estuary, Seneca River and Clyde River
Species: Trapa natans colonizes shallow (less than 16 feet deep) areas of freshwater lakes and ponds, and slow moving streams and rivers, where it forms dense mats of floating vegetation.
Identification: The water chestnut is a rooted aquatic plant with submersed and floating leaves. The 3/4” to 1 1/2” glossy green floating leaves are triangular with toothed edges and form rosettes around the end of the stem. Each of the 10-15 rosettes can produce up to 20 sharp, spiny seeds.
Origin: The water chestnut is native to Europe, Asia, and Africa. It was inadvertently released into the waters of the Northeast in the late 1870’s and is now slowly spreading across New York State.
Impact: The plant can form nearly impenetrable floating mats of vegetation. These mats can create hazards to boaters and swimmers. The density of the mats can severely limit light penetration into the water and reduce or eliminate the growth of native aquatic plants beneath the canopy.
Means of Spread: Seeds generally fall directly below the parent plant and serve to propagate the colony. Some seeds, or rosettes that still contain seeds, may be moved by currents. Waterfowl may also play a role in dispersal.
Control: Early detection and rapid response are the key to preventing high-impact infestations. Small populations, found in the early stages of colonization, can be controlled by hand pulling. Large infestations usually require the use of a mechanical harvester or the application of aquatic herbicides.
Emerald Ash Borer (EAB)
Has been found on the eastern side of Wayne County.
Species: Agrilus planipennis is an invasive wood-boring beetle that feeds on and eventually kills native ash trees.
Identification: Adult EAB are a bright metallic emerald green color and can be found from late May to mid-August. They average 3/8” to 3/4” long and 1/6” wide. Infested trees have “S” shaped tunnels under the bark and “D” shaped exit holes 1/8” wide.
Origin: The emerald ash borer is native to Asia. The beetle’s first North American populations were confirmed in the summer of 2002 in southeast Michigan and in Windsor, Ontario. It was likely introduced to the area in the mid-1990’s in ash wood used for shipping pallets and packing materials in cargo ships or shipping containers.
Impact: EAB infestation is always fatal to ash trees, even healthy ash trees, in approximately 2 to 4 years.
Means of Spread: The rapid spread of the beetle since its North American introduction is most likely due to the transport of infested firewood, ash nursery stock, unprocessed ash logs, and other ash products.
Control: There is currently no known control method for EAB. In an effort to slow the continued spread of EAB, both Federal and State agencies have instituted quarantines of infested areas to regulate the transport of ash products. To protect Ash trees, they can be removed or replaced, or they can be treated with insecticides until they can be removed or for the duration of the infestation.
To report EAB: Call the NYS DEC EAB hotline at 866-640-0652
MOST COMMON IN WAYNE COUNTY
Species: Fallopia japonica is an herbaceous perennial that emerges early in the spring and grows quickly and aggressively. It forms dense, nearly pure stands which crowd out native plants.
Identification: Japanese knotweed forms large dense clumps between 3 and 9 feet tall. The stems are reddish in color, rigid, jointed, and hollow. The alternating leaves are 2-3” wide and the petioles are 1” long and rigid. Flowers bloom in late summer and are small and greenish white.
Origin: Japanese knotweed is native to Japan, China, and parts of Korea and Taiwan. It was introduced to North America in the late 1800’s as an ornamental.
Impact: By eliminating grasses and other native plants along water bodies, banks are less stable and more likely to shear during flooding. This greatly increases sedimentation of water bodies.
Means of Spread: Japanese knotweed spreads rapidly through rhizomes and seeds. Fragments are transported to new sites by water and human interaction.
Control: Once established, Japanese knotweed is very difficult to eradicate. Manual control includes digging out the rhizomes or cutting the stalks. Herbicides can also be applied.
Found in the near shore of Lake Ontario and the Bays.
Species: Neogobius melanostomus is a bottom dwelling fish that breeds prolifically, spawning every 20 days during the spawning season.
Identification: Round gobies are usually 3” to 6“ in length, but can reach 10”. Key identifying characteristics include a black spot on the rear of the upper dorsal fin, a raised frog-like eye, thick lips and a body mostly slate gray or black, mottled with black or brown spots.
Origin: The round goby, a native of freshwater and marine waters of Eurasia (particularly the Black and Caspian Seas and the Sea of Azov), was first observed in the Great Lakes Basin in 1990 when recreational anglers caught a specimen in the St. Clair River. It is believed that the species was introduced via international shipping ballast water discharge.
Impact: Round gobies may prey on small fish such as darters, as well as lake trout, sculpin, and darter eggs and fry. Adult gobies take over prime nearshore spawning sites and aggressively prevent use by native species. Long-term impacts are expected to include declines in native species populations.
Means of Spread: The round goby spreads by interlake ballast water transport and natural migration.
Control: There is little that can be done to eliminate gobies once they are established. Preventing their spread is vital. Always drain water out of your boat, live well, and bilge before leaving water access. Do not throw unwanted bait into the water, place it in the trash.
Most commonly seen along roadsides in Wayne County and is a Public Safety Issue
Species: Heracleum mantegazzianum is a Federally listed noxious weed. Its sap, in combination with moisture and sunlight, can cause severe skin and eye irritation, painful blistering, permanent scarring and blindness. Contact between the skin and the sap of this plant occurs either through brushing against the bristles on the stem or breaking the stem or leaves.
Identification: Giant hogweed can grow to 14 feet or more. Its hollow, ridged stems grow 2-4”in diameter and have dark reddish-purple blotches. Its large compound leaves can grow up to 5 feet wide. Its white flower heads can grow up to 2 1/2 feet in diameter.
Origin: Giant hogweed is a native of the Caucasus Mountain region between the Black and Caspian Seas. It was introduced to the United States in the early twentieth century as an ornamental garden plant.
Impact: If you come into contact with giant hogweed, immediately wash the affected area thoroughly with soap and water and keep the area away from sunlight for 48 hours. This plant poses a serious health threat; see your physician if you think you have been burned by giant hogweed.
Means of spread: Seeds are dispersed short distances by wind but can dangerously travel longer distances by water (can float up to three days).
Control: If you identify giant hogweed on your property, call the giant hogweed hotline at (845) 256-3111 or email the DEC at firstname.lastname@example.org. Provide photos, detailed directions to the plant infestation and estimate the number of plants.
Asian Longhorned Beetle (ALB)
On the lookout, not yet found in Wayne County but in the surrounding Counties.
Species: Anoplophora glabripennis is an invasive wood-boring insect that infests and kills hardwood trees.
Identification: Adults are large (0.75 – 1.5” long) with very long black and white banded antennae. The body is glossy black with irregular white spots. Signs of infestation in a tree include dime sized holes, shallow scraped pits in the wood, and small piles of sawdust around the base of the tree or branches.
Origin: Native to parts of Asia, the beetle is believed to have arrived in North America in the wooden packing material used in cargo shipments from China.
Impact: ALB attacks and kills many hardwood trees, such as maple, elm, horsechestnut, ash, birch, poplar, willow and many more. ALB could significantly disrupt a forest ecosystem if it became established over a large area.
Means of Spread: ALB is spread by transporting wood that has been infested. This includes firewood and shipping/packaging material.
Control: Currently, there is no known biological defense against the Asian Longhorned Beetle and, in North America, they have few natural predators. Quarantines have been established around infested areas to prevent accidental spread of ALB. All infested trees are being removed, chipped, and burned.
If you see this beetle call the USDA toll free: 1-866-702-9938
Found in Wayne County – Marsh and wetter areas (Ditches, over grown fields, wetlands etc.)
Species: Lythrum salicaria is a perennial wetland herb that grows in sunny wetlands, ditches, around farm ponds and in other disturbed habitat.
Identification: Individual flowers have five or six pink-purple petals surrounding small, yellow centers. Each flower spike is made up of many individual flowers. Leaves are downy, with smooth edges. They are usually arranged opposite each other in pairs which alternate down the stalk at 90 degree angles, however, they may appear in groups of three. Stalks are square, five or six-sided, woody, as tall as 2 meters (over 6 feet) with several stalks on mature plants.
Origin: Purple loosestrife is a wetland plant from Europe and Asia. It was introduced into the east coast of North America in the 1800s. First spreading along roads, canals, and drainage ditches, then later distributed as an ornamental, this exotic plant is in 40 states and all Canadian border provinces.
Impact: Purple loosestrife invades marshes and lakeshores, replacing cattails and other wetland plants. The plant can form dense, impenetrable stands which are unsuitable as cover, food, or nesting sites for a wide range of native wetland animals including ducks, geese, rails, bitterns, muskrats, frogs, toads, and turtles. Many rare and endangered wetland plants and animals are also at risk.
Means of Spread: Seeds escape from gardens and nurseries into wetlands, lakes, and rivers. Once in aquatic systems, seeds are easily spread by moving water and wetland animals
Control: Purple loosestrife spreads rapidly by the very numerous seeds (up to 300,000 per plant) produced annually. For this reason it is very important to locate and eradicate the first plants to invade a wetland basin or habitat. Small infestations of up to 100 plants are best eliminated by hand pulling. Pull all or as much as possible of the root system out. If the plants are simply broken off at the soil surface, the “root crown” will sprout new stems. Pull plants early in the flowering season if possible to avoid scattering seeds in the removal process. Remove all stems from the wetland area as discarded stems will sprout and create new plants.
Huge Outbreak in Port Bay this spring. Found in other Waterbodies in Wayne County
Species: Hyrdocharis morsus-ranae is a free-floating aquatic plant that can create dense mats on the surface of the water.
Identification: The leaves are heart-shaped, 1-2” wide, green, veined on top, and dark purple-red with a spongy coating on the underside. Small, white, three-petaled flowers are produced in early summer.
Origin: European frog-bit was intentionally introduced to Canada as a potential commercial ornamental plant in 1932. It escaped cultivation and was first sighted in the U.S. in 1974.
Impact: Frog-bit forms dense mats that limit light penetration into the water, limiting the growth of vegetation under the mat. The mats can also limit the movement of waterfowl, large fish and boats, and limit recreational activities.
Means of Spread: Plantlets or winter buds may be transported on boats, waterfowl, or carried by currents. It is also transported by humans as one of the common plants sold for use in water gardens.
Control: Hand harvesting can provide limited, temporary relief. The best way to control frog-bit is to prevent the spread into uninfested waters.
Found in Macedon and Palmyra last spring.
Species: Cynanchum nigrum is a species in the milkweed family.
Identification: Black Swallow-wort has dark, glossy-green, simple leaves with smooth edges and a tapered point, 3-4 inches long by 2-3 inches wide that occur in pairs along the stem. The small five-petaled star-shaped flowers, borne in clusters at leaf axils, are deep purple to almost brown or black and are fragrant. They appear in June and may be found until late summer In winter, stems may be found entangled in small shrubs with remnants of old seedpods still attached. It dies back to the ground each year.
Origin: Black Swallow-wort is native to southwestern Europe and was intentionally introduced into North America as an ornamental in the 1900’s.
Impact: Black swallow-wort spreads long distances by seed and rhizomes. Thick infestations in full sun can produce 2,000 seeds per square meter. One seed produces one to four embryos, which greatly increases the likelihood of seed survival and establishment. Rhizomes can form extensive patches in clumps of several to many stems that crowd out the native vegetation. Stands can eventually cover several acres of land.
Means of Spread: Black swallow-wort spreads long distances by seed and rhizomes. Thick infestations in full sun can produce 2,000 seeds per square meter. One seed produces one to four embryos, which greatly increases the likelihood of seed survival and establishment. . Like native milkweeds, the seed is winged and readily spread by the wind. Reproduction is primarily by seed.
Rhizomes can form extensive patches in clumps of several to many stems that crowd out the native plants
Control: As with all invasive species, early detection and removal is the best approach for preventing the establishment and spread of this plant. Aim to remove all plants at a site.
Found in Sodus, East, Port and Blind Sodus Bays and Pultneyville Harbor
Species: Myriophyllum spicatum forms thick underwater stands of tangled stems and vast mats of vegetation at the water’s surface.
Identification: Eurasian watermilfoil stems are reddish-brown to whitish-pink. They are branched and commonly grow to lengths of six to nine feet. The leaves are deeply divided, soft and feather-like and about 2” long. The leaves are arranged in whorls of three to six leaves about the stem. The flowers are reddish and very small. They are held above the water on an emersed flower spike that is several inches long.
Origin: Eurasian watermilfoil originates from Europe and Asia, but was introduced to the eastern United States in the 1940’s. It was once commonly sold as an aquarium plant.
Impact: In shallow areas the plant can interfere with water recreation such as boating, fishing, and swimming. The plant’s floating canopy can also crowd out important native water plants.
Means of spread: Eurasian watermilfoil spreads primarily by boats and can also spread by waterbirds. A single segment of stem and leaves can take root and form a new colony.
Control: Once milfoil becomes well-established within a waterbody, it is difficult or impossible to remove. Control methods include harvesting, rotovation (underwater rototilling), installation of bottom barriers, diver hand pulling, and herbicides.