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NYSDEC: Partnerships now span the state to prevent the spread of invasive species

by jmaloni

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Mon, Dec 16th 2013 01:30 pm

State continues to seek comments on invasive species regulations through Dec. 23

Every area of the state now has a partnership working to combat invasive species at the local and regional level, New York State Department of Environmental Conservation Commissioner Joseph Martens announced today. New York state recently finalized a contract establishing the final of eight Partnerships for Regional Invasive Species Management (PRISM) in Western New York, achieving the important statewide milestone. Each PRISM is funded by the state Environmental Protection Fund and has a full-time coordinator.

"Invasive species can have a devastating effect, not only on the environment, but also on the economy," Martens said. "By partnering with nonprofits, universities and consultants, New York is establishing one of the nation's most comprehensive approaches to invasive species management. A regional, coordinated approach that benefits from research, statewide education and outreach, online resources and a robust database are critical to New York's success in managing invasive species."

New York's PRISMs are regional private-public partnerships that have diverse memberships, including local and state governments, conservation and trade organizations, academia, landowner associations and interested citizens. The partnerships are focused on shared goals including education and outreach, developing and coordinating volunteer invasive species monitoring programs, and controlling select invasive species in priority locations.

"The vision for the state of New York's invasive species program is becoming a reality. The state's sustained commitment to advancing its invasive species program enabled the development of one of the most comprehensive frameworks in the country," said Hilary Smith, chair of the New York Invasive Species Advisory Committee and director of the Adirondack Park Invasive Plant Program PRISM. "Involving governmental and non-governmental organizations in shared decision-making is essential for success, and has inspired innovative and effective approaches now underway."

DEC recently published proposed invasive species regulations including lists of species proposed for prohibition or regulation that are open for public comment through Dec. 23. Four hearings are underway statewide. More information on the proposed regulations can be found at http://www.dec.ny.gov/regulations/2359.html. In addition, DEC is drafting an updated aquatic invasive species plan that includes recommended actions and a timetable for implementation. 

As a result of implementing the Invasive Species Task Force recommendations, New York has significantly increased its capacity to meet the challenge of invasive species, particularly on the local and regional levels.

PRISM successes include controlling giant hogweed, a plant that causes severe skin reactions, and other invasive plants such as black swallowwort, Phragmites and Japanese knotweed. PRISMs also established a volunteer training program to monitor and report invasive species, conducted ash tree inventories for communities to help them plan and prepare for their removal following the Emerald Ash Borer infestations, and are educating homeowners and interested citizens on how to identify and manage invasive species and how to prevent their spread. PRISMs have sponsored public outreach campaigns including public service announcements and targeted mailings.

Other components of the state's invasive species program include:

•An online go-to resource for information (www.nyis.info);

•An online invasive species database and GIS mapping system known as iMap Invasives (www.nyimapinvasives.org) to track invasive species populations and management efforts in the state;

•The New York State Invasive Species Research Institute, housed at Cornell University, which connects scientists, research and managers; and

•Support for statewide invasive species education and outreach, operated through the Cornell University Cooperative Extension Program.

The state agencies and nongovernmental organizations that comprise the New York Invasive Species Council and the New York Invasive Species Advisory Committee work with DEC's Invasive Species Coordination Unit to provide leadership to control invasives.

Current partner projects include developing a mobile application for reporting invasive species to New York's invasive species database, an annual invasive species in-service training conference, developing invasive species white papers and research priorities, and assessing lists of non-native species for classification of regulated and prohibited species.

More information on PRISMs, invasive species task force recommendations, and helpful links can be found online at the following sites:

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