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Entries Tagged as 'invasive species'

DEC Releases Draft Aquatic Invasive Species Management Plan for Public Comment

October 30th, 2014 · No Comments · Adirondack News

Public Comments Accepted Through December 15

NYSDEC LogoThe New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) today released its Draft Aquatic Invasive Species (AIS) strategy to prevent the introduction and spread of AIS in New York State for public comment. Comments will be accepted through December 15.


Aquatic Invasive Species threaten the ecology of New York’s rich abundance of waters and can harm water-based recreational opportunities and economies. New York is particularly vulnerable to AIS due to its vast marine and fresh water resources, major commercial ports and the easy access that ocean-going vessels have to the Great Lakes via the State’s canal system. Managing an infestation is extremely costly, so prevention is the most cost-effective strategy.
Attention - Invasive Species

“Prevention of aquatic invasive species is critical to the long-term vitality of waterways across New York State,” said DEC Commissioner Joe Martens. “This strategic plan details proposals to further our efforts to help ensure AIS-free waters remain free and additional AIS are not introduced to other waters. We welcome the public’s ideas and feedback on the draft strategy.” This action-based Strategic Plan updates DEC’s “Nonindigenous Aquatic Species Management Plan,” which was written in 1993. The draft plan includes more than 50 actions designed to address prevention, detection, and response to AIS. Proposed actions identified in the strategy include:

  • Expand the boat launch steward program statewide;
  • Develop an AIS response framework to guide decision making when AIS are detected, and communicate the reasoning for the response selected;
  • Implement an AIS public awareness campaign and evaluate its effectiveness in reaching target audiences;
  • Expand the use of AIS disposal stations at waterway access sites;
    Establish regional “first responder” AIS teams to incorporate local expertise in planning and implementing appropriate AIS responses; and
  • Identify and evaluate risks associated with pathways for AIS introduction and movement within New York.
    Aquatic invasive species arrive by many pathways including direct introduction, live animal trade, the nursery and landscape trade, recreational boating and cargo transportation. Northern Snakehead, Sea Lamprey, Round Goby, Hydrilla and the New Zealand Mudsnail are examples of aquatic invasive species present in some New York waters, which can prey upon or displace native species, alter habitat or otherwise harm native species.

The Draft Aquatic Invasive Species Management Plan can be viewed on DEC’s website. Public comments will be accepted from October 30 through December 15. You can send comments to the address below or email them – enter “AIS Management Plan” in the subject line.

Philip Hulbert
NYSDEC Division of Fish, Wildlife, and Marine Resources
625 Broadway, 5th Floor
Albany, New York 12233-4753

To help slow the spread of both aquatic and terrestrial invasive species, DEC asks all citizens to 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. Invasive species can be reported online to New York’s Invasive Species Database, a partnership with the Natural Heritage Program and SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry, by clicking the link to “Report an Invasive.”

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New State Regulations Target Aquatic Invasive Species

June 5th, 2014 · No Comments · Adirondack News

Boaters Using DEC Lands to Launch Boats or Other Watercraft Are Now Required To Clean and Drain Boats Prior to Launch

NYSDEC LogoAs part of an aggressive effort to prevent invasive species from entering and damaging New York water bodies, the State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) today adopted new regulations that require boaters to remove all visible plant and animal materials from boats, trailers and associated equipment, and to drain boats prior to launching from DEC lands.

The regulations, which are effective today, pertain to all DEC boat launches, fishing access sites and other DEC lands where watercraft such as boats, kayak or canoes, can be launched into the water.

“New York State continues to work with its state, local, federal and environmental partners to protect water bodies from destructive invasive species,” DEC Commissioner Joe Martens said. “Boats, trailers and associated equipment are common pathways for spreading aquatic invasive species. These new regulations will help reinforce the message that boaters need to clean their equipment of any clinging plant and animal materials and drain their boats prior to launching at lands administered by DEC.”

Boaters should take the following steps to ensure that their boat, trailer and equipment are free of aquatic invasive species:

  • Visually inspect the boat, trailer and other fishing and boating equipment and remove all mud, plants and other organisms that might be clinging to it. Materials should be disposed of in one of the Nuisance Invasive Species Disposal Stations installed at many DEC boat launches, in the trash or at an upland location away from the launch ramp.
  • Drain the boat’s bilge and any other water holding compartments such as live wells, bait wells and bilge tanks. This does not apply to water associated with sanitary systems or drinking water supplies.

Drying boats is also highly recommended but is not required under the new regulations. Boaters who are unable to dry their boats between uses should flush the bilge and other water holding compartments with water, preferably at a temperature of 140 degrees Fahrenheit. Microscopic larval forms of aquatic invasive species, such as zebra mussels and spiny waterflea, can live in as much as a drop of water. To ensure that these organisms are not accidentally spread, anything holding water should be dried, flushed or disinfected with hot water to ensure that these aquatic invasive species are not spread. Additional information on AIS and disinfection recommendations can be found at: Prevent the Spread of Aquatic Invasives.

The new regulations are available at: Proposed Regulations.

Boaters intending to boat on Lake George this year are also reminded that the Lake George Park Commission has enacted new regulations that require all boats to be inspected for aquatic invasive species prior to use. Additional information on this new mandatory boat inspection program can be found at: www.lgboatinspections.com.

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Hunting or Trapping of Wild Boars in New York Now Prohibited

April 29th, 2014 · No Comments · Adirondack News

New DEC Regulation Works Toward Statewide Eradication

NYSDEC LogoA new regulation that prohibits hunting or trapping of free-ranging Eurasian boars in New York State was formally adopted state Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) Commissioner Joe Martens announced today. The regulation is designed to ensure maximum effectiveness of DEC’s statewide eradication efforts.

“Enacting a statewide regulation was important to support DEC’s ongoing work to remove this invasive species from the state and to ensure that it does not become established in the wild anywhere in New York,” said Commissioner Martens. “Eurasian boars are a great threat to natural resources, agricultural interests, and private property and public safety wherever they occur and DEC will continue to work to protect these resources and remove wild boars from the state.”

Eurasian boars were brought to North America centuries ago and wild populations numbering in the millions are now present across much of the southern U.S. In recent years, wild boar populations have been appearing in more northern states too, often as a result of escapes from enclosed shooting facilities that offer “wild boar hunts.”

Governor Cuomo signed legislation on October 21, 2013, which immediately prohibited the importation, breeding or introduction to the wild of any Eurasian Boars. Furthermore, the law prohibits possession, sale, transport or marketing of live Eurasian boars as of September 1, 2015. The new law was an essential step in the state’s efforts to prevent Eurasian boars from becoming established in the wild.

Feral SwineHowever, there are already small numbers of Eurasian boars on the landscape in New York. Since 2000, wild boars have been reported in many counties across the state, and breeding in the wild has been confirmed in at least six counties (Tioga, Cortland, Onondaga, Clinton, Sullivan and Delaware) in recent years. DEC is working closely with the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Wildlife Services program to remove any Eurasian boars that are reported in New York. To date, more than 150 animals have been captured and destroyed. However, eradication is expensive, time consuming and requires a great deal of manpower.

“Hunters have offered to assist our efforts by hunting for boars wherever they occur, but experience has shown this to be counter-productive,” Martens said. “As long as swine may be pursued by hunters, there is a potential conflict with our eradication efforts. Eurasian boars often join together to form a ‘sounder,’ the name for a group of pigs that can number 20 or more individuals. Shooting individual boars as opportunities arise is ineffective as an eradication method often causes the remaining animals to disperse and be more difficult to remove.”

Hunters pursuing wild boars in locations where baited traps have been established by DEC or USDA can also undermine these costly and labor-intensive capture efforts. Shooting may remove one or two animals, but the rest of the sounder scatters and rarely comes back together as a group, thereby hampering eradication efforts. In addition to prohibiting take of free-ranging swine by hunters, the new regulation prohibits anyone from disturbing traps set for wild boars or otherwise interfering with Eurasian boar eradication activities. Hunting wild boar is still allowed at enclosed hunting preserves until September 1, 2015.

The regulation does provide necessary exceptions for state and federal wildlife agencies, law enforcement agencies, and others who are authorized by DEC to take Eurasian boar to alleviate nuisance, property damage, or threats to public health or welfare.

Anyone who observes a Eurasian boar (dead or alive) in the wild in New York should report it as soon as possible to the nearest DEC regional wildlife office or to: fwwildlf@gw.dec.state.ny.us and include “Eurasian boar” in the subject line.

Because it is sometimes difficult to distinguish a domestic pig, pot belly pig or Eurasian boar based solely on a description, reporting of all free-roaming swine is encouraged. Please report the number of animals seen, whether any of them were piglets, the date, and the exact location (county, town, distance and direction from an intersection, nearest landmark, etc.). Photographs of the animals are especially helpful, so please try to get a picture and include it with your report.

Full text of the regulation can be viewed on DEC’s website.

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DEC Proposes Regulatory Changes to Prevent the Introduction of Aquatic Invasive Species at Boat Launches

January 9th, 2014 · No Comments · Adirondack News

Public Comments Accepted Through February 24

NYSDEC LogoThe New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) is proposing new regulations to prevent the introduction and spread of aquatic invasive species (AIS) at DEC boat launches, DEC Commissioner Joe Martens announced. The proposed regulatory changes require boaters to remove all visible plants and animals from boats, trailers and associated equipment and to drain boats before launching at or leaving a DEC boat launch and waterway access.

DEC will accept public comments on the proposal through February 24, 2014. The full text of the proposed regulation can be found on DEC’s website at: Proposed Regulations.

Clean, Drain, and Dry“These proposed regulatory changes are the latest in a series of actions DEC has taken over the past few years to combat the spread of harmful invasive species, including the emerald ash borer,” Commissioner Martens said. “Cooperation and assistance from the public is essential in order for these efforts to succeed. Boats, trailers and the equipment can spread aquatic invasive species from waterbody to waterbody and significantly harm recreational and commercial use of a waterbody while having a detrimental effect on native fish, wildlife and plants. This regulation is an important component of DEC’s efforts to help ensure AIS-free waters remain free and additional AIS are not introduced to other waters.”

Boaters are advised to carefully check their boats, trailers and equipment for any plant or animal material that may be clinging to it and remove it if found. Nuisance Invasive Species Disposal Stations are provided at many DEC boat launches for this purpose. The boat should also be completely drained, including live wells, bait wells and bilge tanks, and dried before it is used in another waterbody.

Recommended drying times for each month of the year can be calculated at: Drying Time Estimator. Additional information on aquatic invasive species and preventing their spread can be found on DEC’s website.

Comments on the proposed regulations can be sent via e-mail to fishregs@gw.dec.state.ny.us, or mailed to Edward Woltmann, New York State Department of Environmental Conservation, Bureau of Fisheries, 625 Broadway, Albany, NY 12233-4753. Hard copies of the full text may also be requested from Mr. Woltmann at the above address.

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Eurasian Boars No Longer “Fair Game” in New York

December 13th, 2013 · No Comments · Adirondack News

Proposed Regulations Would Prohibit Hunting or Trapping of Wild Boars in New York

NYSDEC LogoNew York State Department of Environmental Conservation Commissioner (DEC) Joe Martens today announced the proposal of new regulations that would prohibit hunting or trapping of free-ranging Eurasian boars in New York. The proposal is designed to ensure maximum effectiveness of DEC’s statewide eradication efforts. Public comments on the proposed regulations will be accepted until January 25, 2014.



“Eurasian boars are a great threat to natural resources, agricultural interests, private property and public safety wherever they occur,”Commissioner Martens said. “It’s important that we do all in our power to ensure that this invasive species does not become established in the wild anywhere in New York State.”

Eurasian boars were brought to North America centuries ago and wild populations numbering in the millions now occur across much of the southern U.S. In recent years, wild boar populations have been appearing in more northern states too, often as a result of escapes from enclosed shooting facilities that offer “wild boar hunts.”

Governor Cuomo signed legislation on October 21, 2013 which immediately prohibited the importation, breeding or introduction to the wild of any Eurasian boars. Furthermore, the law prohibits possession, sale, transport or marketing of live Eurasian boars as of September 1, 2015. The new law was an essential step in the state’s efforts to prevent Eurasian boars from becoming established in the wild.

However, there are already small numbers of Eurasian boars on the landscape in New York. Since 2000, wild boars have been reported in many counties across the state, and breeding in the wild has been confirmed in at least six counties (Tioga, Cortland, Onondaga, Clinton, Sullivan and Delaware) in recent years. DEC is working closely with the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Wildlife Services program to remove any Eurasian boars that are reported in New York, and to date more than 150 animals have been captured and destroyed. However, eradication is expensive, time consuming and requires a great deal of manpower.

“Many hunters have offered to assist our efforts by hunting for boars wherever they occur, but experience has shown this to be counter-productive,”Martens said. “As long as swine may be pursued by hunters, there is a potential conflict with our swine eradication efforts. Eurasian boars often join together to form a ‘sounder’, the name for a group of pigs sometimes numbering 20 or more individuals. Shooting individual boars as opportunities arise is ineffective as an eradication method, and this often causes the remaining animals to disperse and be more difficult to remove.”

Hunters pursuing wild boars in locations where baited traps have been established by DEC or USDA can also undermine these costly and labor-intensive capture efforts. Shooting may remove one or two animals but the rest of the sounder scatters and rarely comes back together as a group, thereby hampering eradication efforts. In addition to prohibiting take of free-ranging swine by hunters, the proposed regulation would prohibit anyone from disturbing traps set for wild boars or otherwise interfering with Eurasian boar eradication activities. Hunting wild boar can be done at hunting preserves until 2015.

The proposed regulations provide necessary exceptions for state and federal wildlife agencies, law enforcement agencies, and others who are authorized by DEC to take Eurasian boar to alleviate nuisance, property damage, or threats to public health or welfare.

Commissioner Martens encouraged anyone who observes a Eurasian boar (dead or alive) in the wild in New York to report it as soon as possible to the nearest DEC regional wildlife office or to: fwwildlf@gw.dec.state.ny.us and include “Feral Swine”in the subject line.

Since it is sometimes difficult to distinguish a domestic pig, pot belly pig or Eurasian boar based solely on a description, reporting of all feral swine is encouraged. Please report the number of animals seen, whether any of them were piglets, the date, and the exact location (county, town, distance and direction from an intersection, nearest landmark, etc.). Photographs of feral swine are greatly appreciated, so please try and get a picture and include it with your report.

Text of the proposed regulation was published in the New York State Register on December 11, 2013. The full text of the regulation change and instructions for submitting comments can be found on DEC’s website at: Fish, Wildlife and Marine Resources Proposed, Emergency and Recently Adopted Regulations. Comments on the proposed regulations can be sent by email to WildlifeRegs@gw.dec.state.ny.us or mailed to: Kelly Stang, NYS Department of Environmental Conservation, Division of Fish, Wildlife and Marine Resources, 625 Broadway, Albany, NY 12233-4754. Hard copies of the full text may be requested from the same address listed above.

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DEC Rids Adirondack Pond of Non-Native Fish to Restore Native Brook Trout Fishery

November 13th, 2013 · No Comments · Adirondack News

NYSDEC LogoThe New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) recently completed a major effort to eradicate non-native fish from Lower Sargent Pond in Hamilton County, DEC Regional Director Robert Stegemann announced today. The pond will be stocked with fish next year to reestablish the high quality, naturally reproducing native brook trout fishery that had existed there before its population was depleted due to the presence of the non-native fish.

“Native brook trout populations have been significantly reduced in the Adirondacks and other areas throughout the east, but we are committed to restoring these populations in local waters,” said Director Stegemann. “This tremendous coordinated effort will ensure the continued existence of a natural aquatic community and provide a high quality wilderness fishing experience for anglers.”



Providing a high quality wilderness fishing experience on Lower Sargent Pond promotes Governor Cuomo’s NY Open for Hunting and Fishing Initiative, which has improved recreational activities for in-state and out-of-state sportsmen and sportswomen, and boosted tourism opportunities throughout the state. This initiative includes the streamlining of hunting and fishing licensing along with reduced license fees, improved access for fishing at various sites across the state and increased regional hunting and recreational opportunities.

The eradication of non-native fish, followed by restocking with native brook trout is a key component of DEC’s Brook Trout Restoration Program. DEC is a partner in the Eastern Brook Trout Joint Venture (http://easternbrooktrout.org/), which is working to protect, restore and enhance brook trout populations and habitats across their native range.

For decades Lower Sargent Pond was considered a high quality fishery, which sustained natural reproducing brook trout population. It was one of the most popular fly-in fishing destinations in the Adirondacks, and many anglers would walk the two miles into the pond to fish for brook trout.

Decline of Brook Trout - Map

As the abundance of largemouth bass increased in the pond, the brook trout population severely declined. In 2012, no young brook trout were present; only large, older brook trout that had been hatched before the bass population had grown. The decline in the brook trout population was not due to overfishing. The primary causes were illegal fish stocking and use of bait fish.

The eradication of non-native fish from a water body is known as a “reclamation.” The reclamation procedure is used to return the water to a historic natural aquatic community, provide higher quality fishing opportunities and, where possible, to reintroduce endangered fish species such as round whitefish.

The reclamation of the131-acre Lower Sargent Pond is the largest reclamation in New York State in several decades. A considerable amount of resources and a extensive coordination were needed to complete the reclamation over a five-day period. The effort included the participation of dozens of DEC staff from various regions and programs, and assistance from the State Police Aviation Unit for helicopter transport of personnel, equipment and supplies. There were 37 trips by helicopter during the project, but many workers still had to walk two miles to and from the nearest road carrying equipment and supplies.

Non-native fish, such as bass, yellow perch and golden shiner, negatively impact the native fish communities and ecosystems of Adirondack waters. Non-native fish prey on the eggs and young of native fish. They out compete brook trout and other native fish by consuming large quantities of zooplankton (very small aquatic animals) and other prey food that the native fish feed upon.

It is illegal to move fish from one water body to another without a permit from DEC. The possession or use of fish as bait is prohibited in Lower Sargent Pond and many other trout ponds in the Adirondacks to prevent the introductions of non-native fishes.

Adirondack heritage strain Little Tupper brook trout will be stocked in the pond next year. It is projected that in the next three to five years, Lower Sargent Pond will once again be a high quality wilderness brook trout fishing destination.

Brook trout thrive on a diet of insects and other invertebrates, and grow to large size in ponds that do not have minnows as forage. The current state record brook trout is a 6 pound fish caught in an Adirondack wilderness pond that contains no other fish species. Minnows can become abundant in a pond or lake and compete with brook trout for food – decreasing the brook trout population.

More information on protection of native brook trout, impacts of non-native fish, rotenone and other topics can be found at: Protecting Adirondack Fish.

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Adirondack Program Receive National Recognition for Invasive Species Work

March 19th, 2013 · No Comments · Adirondack News

Public-Private Partnerships Key to Program’s Effectiveness

The Adirondack Park Invasive Plant Program (APIPP) received the 2013 National Invasive Species Awareness Week Award in the category of Outstanding Achievement in Invasive Species Leadership, program partners announced today. APIPP is a partnership program founded by The Nature Conservancy’s Adirondack Chapter, New York State Departments of Environmental Conservation (DEC) and Transportation (DOT) and New York State Adirondack Park Agency (APA). This national recognition is for APIPP’s leadership in invasive species prevention and control, including collaboration and coalition building. DEC Commissioner Joe Martens presented the award to APIPP Director Hilary Smith during a Forestry Awareness Day celebration at the Legislative Office Building in Albany today.

The first program of its kind in New York State, APIPP started in 1998 as a grassroots effort to implement a landscape-level approach to address threats posed by invasive species and minimize costs to governments, businesses and landowners. It has since harnessed the energies of hundreds of volunteers, forged countless partnerships and influenced local and statewide action against invasive species. APIPP served as the model for seven other programs, known as Partnerships for Regional Invasive Species Management (PRISM), now supported in large part through the state’s environmental protection fund. The program has also shared best practices at Weeds Across Borders conferences in Mexico and Canada.

2013 National Invasive Species Awareness Week Award
From left to right: Kevin King, NYS Department of Agriculture and Markets director of Plant Industry; Hilary Smith, APIPP director and NYS Department of Environmental Conservation Commissioner Joe Martens.

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