Central and Western New York’s waters offer thousands of people peaceful places to live and recreate while supporting vibrant natural communities and healthy local economies. There are over 5 million hunters, anglers and wildlife watchers in New York, spending over $2 billion annually on their hobbies.
But several introduced species have invaded our lakes, and more may be on the way. Aquatic invasives can damage water quality, crowd out native fish, obstruct boating and even pose health hazards for people. Aquatic invasives also wreak havoc on local economies.
The good news is we have the science, tools and much of the knowledge needed to put rapid prevention, monitoring and response programs into action.
With support from the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative (GLRI), The Nature Conservancy dispatched five students and recent graduates on a different kind of road trip this summer—a quest for invasive species lurking in the region’s waters. The team will canoe, snorkel and conduct rake tosses in water bodies including Lake Ontario, Lake Erie, the Ohio River, the Finger Lakes and the Erie Canal in search of Hydrilla and other interlopers.
The effort is part of a large-scale surveillance effort the Conservancy is coordinating throughout New York, Pennsylvania and Ohio to determine where emerging aquatic invasive plants exist before they get established or transported to other waters.
The team will survey 400 water access points for aquatic invaders, but they need your help, too!
- Get informed: Learn which invasives species are found near you and get the latest alerts about new findings in the New York Invasive Species Clearinghouse.
- Follow our team: See where The Nature Conservancy’s team has been searching for hydrilla and other invasive plants.
- Help hunt Hydrilla: Download our one-page guide (pdf) to identifying and reporting Hydrilla.
- Report suspicious plants:If you find a suspicious plant, report it to your local PRISM (Partnerships for Regional Invasive Species Management)
Prevent the spread of invasives:
- Do not introduce any aquatic plant into a waterbody
- Remove and destroy plant fragments on motors and trailers, and inside boats, live wells and bait buckets
- Thoroughly clean all equipment and vehicles
- Allert others to the threat of invasive species
- Support legislation to control the sale and transport of aquatic invasive species
Gregory Sargis, Director of Ecological Management at firstname.lastname@example.org or (585) 546-8030 x34