WNY Partnership for Regional Invasive Species Management, a project administered by the Great Lakes Center at Buffalo State, will take part in New York's second annual Invasive Species Awareness Week, which runs from July 12-18.
Andrea Locke, coordinator of WNY PRISM, said events in Western New York include weed wrenching removal of amur honeysuckle at Kenneglenn Nature Preserve, a community first detector invasive pest detection workshop in Fredonia, an education display at the East Aurora Farmer's Market and a native plant and habitat restoration tour.
Invasive species are plants and animals that have been accidentally or intentionally introduced to new areas, and spread uncontrollably. Invasive Species Awareness Week promotes opportunities for citizens to learn about the most threatening species and how to prevent their spread.
Most invasive species reproduce in high numbers, lack predators, and are highly adaptable. Invasive plants and animals put New York's agricultural lands, natural resources and even people at risk. PRISM said it is important to always consider planning native alternatives to invasive species when planting ornamental plants.
Besides plants, invasive species include the emerald ash borer and the Asian long-horned beetle. Both can kill trees, which can be costly to remove or pose a threat to homeowners. Noxious plants, such as giant hogweed, and disease organisms, such as West Nile virus, affect human health. Japanese stilt grass, swallow-wort, phragmites and hydrilla are invasive plants capable of changing New York's forests, meadows, wetlands and lakes.
Invasive species can be spread unknowingly through activities such as a gardeners' plant swap, dumping a bait bucket, or moving firewood to a campsite.
Citizens can help manage and control invasive species. In fact, citizens often are the first line of defense in reporting new infestations, such as observing and reporting signs and symptoms of forest-pest damage, and in participating in the removal of invasive plants.
Many organizations are working together to slow the spread of invasive species. "Stop the Invasion. Protect New York from Invasive Species," is the state's new slogan. Citizens can help by taking measures to prevent the transport of unwanted "hitchhiking" plants and animals, learning about which invasive species are of local concern, and reporting sightings to www.nyimapinvasives.org/report-an-invasive.
New York Invasive Species Awareness Week is coordinated by the New York Invasive Species Advisory Committee, New York Invasive Species Council and Partnerships for Regional Invasive Species Management. WNY PRISM is one of eight Partnerships for Regional Invasive Species Management (PRISM) in the state sponsoring Awareness Week activities. For further information about WNY PRISM, visit www.wnyprism.org.