NYS Ban on Invasive Species Goes into Effect on March 10, 2015


Many homeowners will breathe a sigh of relief on March 10, when new regulations go into effect banning the sale, purchase and transportation of a long list of invasive species that have plagued our properties — and our ecosystem — for years.

As of March 10, 2015, it will no longer be legal to buy, sell or transport 126 species identified by the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation as invasive. The list includes 69 plants, 15 fish, 17 aquatic invertebrates (including several snails, clams and snails), 13 terrestrial invertebrates (insects and land snails), five vertebrates (such as the mute swan) and seven species of algae, bacteria and fungi . In addition, 29 species are “regulated,” meaning that, while they may be sold and transported, they may not be knowingly introduced on or near public lands or natural areas.

The prohibited species are familiar enemies: garlic mustard, porcelain berry, Japanese angelica Tree, Japanese barberry, Oriental bittersweet, autumn olive, yellow iris, privet, several oriental honeysuckles, purple loosestrife, Japanese stilt grass, black swallow-wort, common reed grass (phragmites), several types of bamboo, kudzu, Japanese knotweed, multiflora rose and wineberry are among the 69 prohibited plants.

Also on the list are walking catfish, several species of snakehead fish, common carp, sea lamprey, Asian earthworms, nutria, Eurasian boar and Asian clam. Insects include the Asian longhorn beetle, hemlock woolyadelgid, emerald ash borer and Japanese pine sawyer, all of which have wreaked havoc on our forests, as well as the Africanized honey bee. For the official regulations and a complete list of species, see: www.dec.ny.gov/animals/265.html or www.dec.ny.gov/regulations/93848.html.

To those who have battled these plants and animals, imported, by accident or design, from distant shores, it is welcome news and long overdue. Invasive species are defined as those not native to our ecosystem and which cause economic or environmental harm. Although some of the newly-banned or regulated species are already well established here, the new regulations will slow their spread.

The new regulations do not require property owners to remove existing plants but do forbid commerce in the prohibited species and their introduction into public lands or natural areas. Some species, notably Japanese barberry, have a grace period during which existing stock may be sold by nurseries or pet stores. The species list is not considered to be final, and will be updated regularly in response to new threats. The NYS Department of Agriculture and Markets will be responsible for enforcement.

Continual monitoring of invasive species in our area is the purview of the Lower Hudson Partnership for Regional Invasive Species Management (LHPRISM), which has been working on the invasive species problem since the partnership’s inception. There are eight PRISMs in New York State, formed at the recommendation of the 2005 NYS Invasive Species Task Force, to help prevent or minimize the harm caused by invasive species. PRISMs are intended to coordinate invasive species management, including recruiting and training citizen volunteers, providing education and outreach, establishing early detection monitoring network and implementing direct eradication and control efforts. Membership is open to individuals and organizations interested in invasive species issues and management.

LHPRISM is hosted and coordinated by the New York – New Jersey Trail Conference and funded through New York State Environmental Protection Fund. One of eight regional partnerships, the LHPRISM serves parts of New York City, the Bronx and six counties on both sides of the Hudson River. Membership is open to individuals and organizations interested in invasive species issues and management. For more information, go to lhprism.org.

Author: Harlem Valley News