Posts Tagged ‘National Invasive Species Awareness Week’

National Invasive Species Awareness Week — Water Chestnut

Posted on: March 2nd, 2018 by Samantha Kahl

Wel­come to the final day of National Inva­sive Species Week! Thank you all for stick­ing with us. We hope you’ve learned a great deal and will con­tinue efforts in pre­serv­ing our native species! Last, but not least, we look at the aquatic inva­sive Water Chestnut.

Water Chest­nut is native to Eura­sia and Africa, intro­duced to the U.S. in the mid-1800’s as an orna­men­tal plant. It is found in fresh­wa­ter lakes and slow-moving streams and rivers. First notice in Sco­tia, NY, Water Chest­nut occurs in 43 coun­ties across New York State.


Water Chest­nut is an annual plant with float­ing triangluarly-shaped leaves con­tain­ing saw-toothed edges. The sub­merged, hol­low air-filled stems grow 12 to 15 feet in length that anchor them­selves in the soil. Four-petaled, white flow­ers bloom in June, with fruits con­tain­ing 4-inch spines with barbs. Seeds within the fruits remain viable up to 12 years. The fruits are key in spread­ing Water Chest­nut, as they detach from the stem and float to another area. The barbs aid in attach­ing the fruit to recre­ational water­crafts and fish­ing equipment.

Leaf system of Water Chestnut. photo courtesy of Northeast Aquatic Nuisance Species Panel

Leaf sys­tem of Water Chest­nut.
photo cour­tesy of North­east Aquatic Nui­sance Species Panel

Water Chestnut. photo courtesy of Northeast Aquatic Nuisance Species Panel

Water Chest­nut.
photo cour­tesy of North­east Aquatic Nui­sance Species Panel

Fruit of the Water Chestnut. photo courtesy of NYS Parks Boat Stewards

Fruit of the Water Chest­nut.
photo cour­tesy of NYS Parks Boat Stewards

So what’s the prob­lem?

Water Chest­nuts con­tain dense root mats that make water recre­ation extremely dif­fi­cult to get through. These dense mats also shade out native plants, which pro­vide food and shel­ter to native  fish, birds, and insects. When the dense mats decom­pose, the chem­i­cal processes involved decrease the amount of dis­solved oxy­gen in the water, poten­tially suf­fo­cat­ing fish and plant species. The fruits of the Water Chest­nut are often found along the shore­line and bot­tom of water­ways, mak­ing the barbs of the fruits extremely painful if stepped on.

What can be done?

A vari­ety of meth­ods in con­trol­ling Water Chest­nut include man­ual, mechan­i­cal, and chem­i­cal meth­ods. Early detec­tion is the best way to con­trol and even erad­i­cate this inva­sive aquatic plant, keep­ing costs and eco­log­i­cal impacts low. Hand-pulling is often done to smaller infected areas, though, when a site is too large, har­vest­ing machines can also be used. Chem­i­cal treat­ments should be done by NYS DEC pro­fes­sion­als only.

As a local com­mu­nity mem­ber, make sure to Clean, Drain, and Dry your water­craft and equip­ment before and after each use. Be sure to dump your bait bucket water where it came from or on land.

If you think you have found Water Chest­nut, take a look at the Water Chest­nut Fact Sheet. If con­firmed, the NYS DEC asks you take many pho­tos and sub­mit a report to iMap­In­va­sives. Please share this infor­ma­tion with others!

For more infor­ma­tion regard­ing local infes­ta­tions of Water Chest­nut, check out the Eso­pus Creek Con­ser­vancy here. Thank you again for tak­ing time to explore inva­sive species with us dur­ing National Inva­sive Species Aware­ness Week! Check back soon for more updates from the Ashokan Water­shed Stream Man­age­ment Program!

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National Invasive Species Awareness Week — Didymo (Rock Snot)

Posted on: March 1st, 2018 by Samantha Kahl

Day 4 of National Inva­sive Species Aware­ness Week is ded­i­cated to Rock Snot!

What is it?

Didy­mos­pher­nia gem­i­nata a.k.a. Didymo a.k.a. Rock Snot, is an aquatic, inva­sive, micro­scopic diatoma­ceous algae that pro­duces high vol­umes of stalk mate­r­ial, which is why you may see thick mats on stream bot­toms. It is often brown, tan, or white, with the appear­ance and tex­ture of wet wool that does not fall apart easily.

Didymo in the Esopus Creek. photo courtesy of NYIS

Didymo in the Eso­pus Creek.
photo cour­tesy of NYIS

How does this impact streams?

Because Didymo grows on the bot­tom of streams and still waters, and forms thick mats of mate­r­ial, it can last for months, despite occur­ring through­out some fast mov­ing streams. When Didymo grows, or blooms, it cov­ers entire stream beds, cov­er­ing over native organ­isms, and restrict­ing the avail­abil­ity of food for native fish species. It spreads quickly and eas­ily due to water recre­ation activ­i­ties. Fish­ing, kayaking/canoeing, tub­ing, and boat­ing allows the micro­scopic algea to attach onto your boots, waders, and boats, and if not cleaned off prop­erly, it will spread to the next body of water you go to. Cur­rently, there are no con­trol meth­ods avail­able to stop the spread and erad­i­cate Didymo.

Make it stop!

NYS DEC urges the pub­lic to use the “Inspect, Clean and Dry” method to decrease the spread of inva­sive species. If for any rea­son you can’t get your equip­ment clean and dry, restrict your equip­ment to a sin­gle water body.

Density Observations of Rock Snot. map courtesy of NYIS

Den­sity Obser­va­tions of Rock Snot.
map cour­tesy of NYIS

**Atten­tion Felt-Sole Waders! We encour­age you to con­sider other alter­na­tives, such as rub­ber stud­ded boots. Because felt-soles absorb Didymo cells and remain absorbent for long peri­ods of time, the spread of Didymo can increase rapidly if spe­cial treat­ments are not conducted.

Check back tomor­row for our final day of National Inva­sive Species Aware­ness Week!

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National Invasive Species Awareness Week — Emerald Ash Borer

Posted on: February 28th, 2018 by Samantha Kahl

Happy Wednes­day! On this third day of National Inva­sive Species Aware­ness Week, we’re tak­ing a closer look at the Emer­ald Ash Borer (EAB).

Accord­ing to the NYS DEC, The EAB is a bee­tle from Asia that was first found in Michi­gan in 2002. Sadly, the EAB infests and even­tu­ally kills North Amer­i­can Ash tree species, mak­ing every native Ash tree sus­cep­ti­ble to infestation.

Let’s get a closer look!

The EAB is very small, mea­sur­ing, at most, 0.5 inches long and 0.125 inches wide. The adults have a shim­mer­ing emer­ald green body with a cop­per or pur­ple abdomen on it’s under­side. You’ll often see these pests from May through Sep­tem­ber, but their prime activ­ity months are June and July. If you pass by an Ash tree, you will most likely see D-shaped exit holes in the branches and trunk of trees. Other signs of infec­tion include the yel­low­ing and brown­ing of tree leaves and less tree canopy present. Within 2 to 4 years, the Ash trees will suc­cumb to the EAB infestation.

ID the Emerald Ash Borer. photo courtesy of NYIS

ID the Emer­ald Ash Borer.
photo cour­tesy of NYIS

Emerald Ash Borer Larva inside an Ash tree. photo courtesy of Emerald Ash Borer Information Network

Emer­ald Ash Borer Larva inside an Ash tree.
photo cour­tesy of Emer­ald Ash Borer Infor­ma­tion Network

Emerald Ash Borer Damage to an Ash tree. photo courtesy of Woodworking Network

Emer­ald Ash Borer Dam­age to an Ash tree.
photo cour­tesy of Wood­work­ing Network

The EAB is found through­out the East­ern to Cen­tral United States and East­ern Canada. In New York, the first infes­ta­tion of EAB was sighted in Cat­ta­rau­gus County in 2009. It then spread to the Hud­son River Val­ley, and con­tin­ued on to more than 30 coun­ties. Infes­ta­tions were most recently found in Franklin and St. Lawrence Coun­ties in 2017.

Map of Emerald Ash Borer Locations. courtesy of NYS DEC

Map of Emer­ald Ash Borer Loca­tions.
cour­tesy of NYS DEC

 What can you do?

Review this EAB Early Detec­tion Brochure. If you believe you have an Emer­ald Ash Borer infes­ta­tion and are out­side of the known infes­ta­tion areas, call the Depart­ment of For­est Health Infor­ma­tion line (1–866-640‑0652).


Keep up with us this week in honor of National Inva­sive Species Aware­ness Week and check back tomor­row to learn about a dif­fer­ent Inva­sive Species!

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