North Country lands, waters, natural areas threatened by invasive strains, group says
Monday, February 25, 2013 - 9:12 am

Invasive species in the North Country are threatening and displacing native species, according to the St. Lawrence, Eastern Lake Ontario – Partnership for Regional Invasive Species Management (SLELO-PRISM).

A group of over fourteen partners in a five-county region have adopted a plan to mitigate the threat from invasive species. SLELO-PRISM) is one of eight regional partnerships throughout the state working to protect economically, environmentally and socially important native habitats.

The SLELO-PRISM group is now in the second year of “formally” addressing invasive species. The partnership has representatives from various organizations throughout St. Lawrence, Jefferson, Lewis, Oneida and Oswego counties, who have recently developed their second annual plan of work for the 2013 field season.

The plan will focus on prevention, early detection, control and habitat restoration, which will also help preserve critical lands, waters and natural areas in the region.

“Invasive species pose a serious threat to the diversity of our natural areas, our economy and our health. Our partners have adopted a collaborative work plan that will mitigate their introduction and spread,” said Rob Williams, Invasive Species program coordinator.

The target invasive species that the SLELO partners plan to address include terrestrial plants such as swallow-wort, giant hogweed and knotweed, as well as aquatic plants such as water chestnut and hydrilla. Forest pests include the emerald ash borer and hemlock woolly adelgid. “Some of these species are not yet found in our region, and we want to keep it that way,” Williams said.

Last year the partnership worked to protect hundreds of acres of freshwater resources, wetland habitats, forestlands, shoreline dunes and the globally rare Alvar lands. In addition, the group treated over 141 giant hogweed sites, reducing the health threat posed by the hogweed plant.

For more information on the SLELO-PRISM or for information on invasive species in our area, visit the SLELO website at www.sleloinvasives.org.