Posts Tagged ‘invasive species’

Spotted Lanternfly Discovered in New York State

Posted on: September 20th, 2018 by Leslie_Zucker
Spotted Lanternfly is an emerging invasive species to our region. Photo:  USDA

Spotted Lanternfly is an emerging invasive species to our region. Photo: USDA


Recently, the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (NYSDEC) and the NYS Department of Agriculture and Markets (NYSDAM) announced that Spotted Lanternfly (Lycorma delicatula) was discovered in Albany and Yates counties. So far only two single adult insects have been discovered but the concern is that there could be more. First discovered in Pennsylvania in 2014 Spotted Lanternfly (SLF) has since been found in New Jersey, Delaware, Virginia, and now New York.

SLF is an invasive species that is native to Asia, specifically parts of China, India, and Vietnam. With no native predators to keep its population in check, there is concern that SLF could have a significant impact on our native forests. Although their primary source of food is the Tree of Heaven (Alianthus altissima), an invasive species itself which contrary to popular belief grows in more than just Brooklyn, it has been known to feed on a wide variety of plants including grapevine, hops, walnut and several types of fruit trees. This has the potential to impact several multi-billion dollar industries including grape and hop production, the fruit growers and logging. Several riparian species are also at risk including maples, oaks, pines, poplars, sycamores, and willows. This, coupled with the die-off of hemlocks and ash trees caused by Hemlock Wooly Adelgid and Emerald Ash Borer, respectively, could have severe consequences for riparian corridor ecosystem health and stability.


Spotted Lanternfly egg masses. Photo:  USDA

Spotted Lanternfly egg masses. Photo: USDA


SLF lay their eggs between the months of September and December. Newly laid egg masses have a grey mud-like covering that can take on a dry cracked appearance over time. Old egg masses appear as rows of 30-50 brownish seed-like deposits in 4-7 columns on the trunk that are roughly an inch long. Eggs hatch between the months of May and June. SLF nymphs emerge and are black with bright white spots. At this stage they are roughly the size of a pencil eraser. Over the next several months they grow larger but maintain their colors until between the months of July and September where they turn bright red with distinct patches of black and bright white spots. From July through December SLF matures into an adult that has wings that are about 1-inch-long that are grey with black spots. When the wings are opened it reveals a red underwing.

Spotted Lanternfly early stage nymphs (black) and late state nymphs (red). Photo:  USDA

Spotted Lanternfly early stage nymphs (black) and late state nymphs (red). Photo: USDA


SLF feeds by using it mouthparts to pierce and then suck the sap from the trunks, branches, twigs and leaves. This creates a weeping wound of sap. As it digests the sap, SLF secretes a substance known as honeydew. This combined with the flowing sap tends to collect at the base of the trunk and provides a fertile area for the growth of fungi and mold that may stunt plant growth or even cause premature death. It may also attract bees, wasps, ants and other insects to the site, further stressing the plant.

If you think you have SLF on your property please take a photograph of either the nymph, adult insect, egg mass, or infestation sign along with an item for scale (such as coin or ruler) and email them to Be sure to note the location including address, intersecting road, landmarks or GPS coordinates. Also report the infestation to iMapInvasives.

For more information on SLF be sure to visit the NYSDEC Website on SLF as well as websites devoted to SLF on the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture and Penn State Extension websites.

Adult Spotted Lanternfly. Photo:  USDA

Adult Spotted Lanternfly. Photo: USDA

Help Fight the Spread of Hemlock Woolly Adelgid

Posted on: June 15th, 2018 by Leslie_Zucker
White Woolly egg ovisacs are an indicator for hemlock woodly adelgid infestation

White woolly egg ovisacs are an indicator of hemlock woolly adelgid infestation


Hemlock Woolly Adelgid (HWA) is a non-native invasive insect that has killed millions of hemlock trees across the eastern United States. In recent years it has been devastating in the Catskill Mountain region and threatens not only hemlock trees, but plants and animals that rely on hemlocks for habitat.

Hemlocks are an important tree bordering mountain streams. Their branches and the spread and distribution of needles keep most of the sunlight from reaching the ground, creating shade and drastically reducing stream temperatures. Trout and other native species of fish rely on cold mountain streams to survive.

Researchers from Cornell University’s Department of Natural Resources are using biological controls such as predator insects to help stop the spread of HWA. Groups such as Catskill Mountainkeeper and the Catskill Regional Invasive Species Partnership (CRISP) are providing education and outreach to let people know about the dangers HWA poses to forests and streams.

Be sure to watch this video from Catskill Mountainkeeper and learn more about what you can do to help stop the spread of this serious forest pest.

National Invasive Species Awareness Week – Water Chestnut

Posted on: March 2nd, 2018 by Leslie_Zucker

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 Leslie_Zucker

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 Leslie_Zucker

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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National Invasive Species Awareness Week 2018 – Japanese Knotweed

Posted on: February 26th, 2018 by Leslie_Zucker

February 26th marks the beginning of National Invasive Species Awareness Week! Throughout this week, until March 2nd, we will be exploring different invasive species present within our watershed. To start off this week, we must first ask ourselves, “What is an invasive species?”. An invasive species is a species that is non-native to an ecosystem and has the potential to cause environmental harm to an area. Invasive species often out-compete native species, giving native species little chance for survival; this includes both terrestrial and aquatic plants and animals.

Japanese Knotweed within the Watershed

Japanese Knotweed within the Watershed

The first invasive species we’ll look at is Japanese Knotweed. This monster of a plant came to the U.S. as an ornamental plant in the 1800’s from Eastern Asia. Knotweed is identified by its large heart-shaped leaves, hollow bamboo-like stalks, and clusters of white or cream colored flowers. It is often found near streams or rivers and it can withstand low-light, high temperatures, drought, and poor soil quality, making this invasive resilient to many different types of environments. Knotweed can grow up to 15 feet tall, with deep rhizomes (roots) extending into the ground, making it very difficult and timely to eradicate.

Photo of Japanese Knotweed leaves & flowers courtesy of

Photo of Japanese Knotweed leaves & flowers courtesy of

Collaboration and coordination from as many people and organizations as possible is the best way to tackle Japanese Knotweed. In order to control it, one must be diligent. The Catskill Regional Invasive Species Partnership (CRISP) recommends continuous manual removal of Knotweed approximately 2-3 times each year for at least 3 years, or until it is eradicated. According to New York Invasive Species Information (NYIS), mowing or cutting of Japanese Knotweed will actually spread the plant, rather than contain it. For those who would like to use herbicides on large volumes of Knotweed, call your local CCE or Soil and Water Conservation District office to get more information on chemical regulations and safety precautions in your region.


Videos regarding Invasive Species in New York State:

Prevent the Spread of Invasive Species

Get to Know Invasive Plants


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The Catskill Interpretive Center Riparian Buffer Demonstration Project Planted!

Posted on: November 15th, 2016 by Leslie_Zucker

Setting the stage to plant all of the native plant material at the Catskill Interpretive Center.

In September 2016, a group of dedicated volunteers, together with the Ashokan Watershed Stream Management Program (AWSMP) and the Catskill Streams Buffer Initiative (CSBI) team, got together to remove some of the invasive species that had taken over the riparian (streamside) areas and out-competed native plants at the Maurice D. Hinchey Catskill Interpretive Center (CIC). The CIC received funding from AWSMP and CSBI to create a Riparian Buffer Demonstration project.  The main objectives for this project are removal of invasive species, planting of native plant material, and placing interpretive signage around the project area to provide education on the role of riparian buffers in maintaining habitat and stream health.


The team (from left to right), Bobby Taylor, Allison Lent, Jake Wedemeyer, and Tiffany Runge of Ulster County Soil and Water Conservation District, removed a whole lot of invasive plant material!



Upstream of the Riparian Buffer Demonstration area. The under story is covered in invasive species. This under story composition extended towards the demonstration area.


Riparian Buffer Demonstration project area cleared of invasive plants!


Earlier this fall the CSBI team removed the last of the invasive plant material and planted the riparian buffer with native plants.  Invasive species are fast growing, especially in disturbed areas, as such, as much plant material as possible was removed to give the native plants the best chance to establish themselves. Native riparian tree and shrub species form dense root systems that provide excellent bank stabilization in riparian zones, an area that is prone to erosion. This complex root system contrasts sharply to the shallow and fast-growing root systems that invasive species have, that are part of their ability to rapidly colonize an area. A restored riparian buffer provides natural habitat for native species and enhances water quality, an important resource for humans, native fish and macro-invertebrates.



Riparian buffer area cleared of invasive plants.


The native trees and shrubs are planted!
























The CIC Riparian Buffer Demonstration is a collaborative project between The Catskill Center, the NYS Department of Environmental Conservation, NYC Department of Environmental Protection, Cornell Cooperative Extension of Ulster County, and the Ulster County Soil & Water Conservation District.

Out With The Invasive, In With The Native

Posted on: September 12th, 2016 by Leslie_Zucker

On Saturday, September 10th the Catskill Interpretive Center (CIC) held a volunteer invasive pull event on their property. The area is to be prepared for a Riparian Buffer Demonstration project lead by the Catskill Streams Buffer Initiative (CSBI). The CIC received funding from the Ashokan Watershed Stream Management Program (AWSMP) and CSBI to remove the invasive species, replace them with native trees and shrubs, and create educational material to inform the community on the importance of streamside buffers.

Bobby Taylor, CSBI Coordinator, teaching the volunteers how to identify common riparian invasive plant species.

Our day started off with a short pre-event rain storm that helped to cool off the previous mugginess of the day. Once all of the volunteers gathered, CSBI coordinator Bobby Taylor held an educational talk about invasive species’ role in the environment and different important management options. We were pleased to learn just how much our participants already know about invasives and how passionate they are about limiting invasive species spread and managing them on their own properties. Our conversations touched on just how easily invasive species outcompete native species and decrease biodiversity and how they can drastically affect native organisms that rely on native habitat. It is always inspiring to interact with community members who are dealing with and care about the same issues we are tackling.

With shovels, pickaxes, uprooters, bugspray, and sheer determination in hand, the volunteers set out with one mission; to get those pesky plants out! And boy did that determination go a long way! We were utterly blown away at how great of a team the volunteers made and how much material we were able to clear. As our day wound down we had a lovely picnic lunch, provided by the CIC, and got to sit down with the volunteers and get to know them a bit. Our productive day ended with good food and great company!

Volunteers identify and pull invasive species at the Riparian Buffer Demonstration project site at the CIC.

At the root of the pull project and the impending riparian restoration in the fall, is the importance of stream buffers to water quality, habitat, and floodplain stability.  A small ephemeral stream, one that has flowing water during and following a rain fall or snow melt event, runs through the back of the CIC property; adjacent to the stream is the special zone called the floodplain. These floodplains are highly susceptible to invasive species because seeds and fragments of plant material can so easily be carried by flowing water and deposited downstream.

This issue is far from only being a streamside problem. Many people, groups, and even government agencies deal with invasive species management on a daily basis. It takes all members of a community to really stop the invasion and eliminate the future introduction of nonnative and invasive species. Our amazing group of volunteers was not only hardworking, but also enthusiastic about environmental protection, continuing their own fight against invasives on their properties, and helping to educate others to do the same.

CSBI, AWSMP,the CIC, and the NYS Department of Environmental Conservation wants to thank all those who participated and made our Invasive Pull Event a success on all levels!

If you would like to learn more about invasive species, what you can do, or about the support available to streamside landowners please visit the CSBI website at or contact CSBI Coordinator Bobby Taylor at If you would like to learn more about the Ashokan Watershed please visit AWSMP’s website at or contact us at 845 688 3047.


It is Invasive Species Awareness Week!

Posted on: July 15th, 2016 by Leslie_Zucker

Invasive Species Awareness Week (ISAW) is a collaboration between multiple regional, state, and federal agencies. ISAW seeks to enhance awareness of invasive species and provide people with tools for management. Locally, throughout the Catskill area, the Catskill Regional Invasive Species Partnership (CRISP) provides educational material and support for invasive species removal. A focal species for management has been Japanese knotweed.

Japanese Knotweed was introduced to the United States sometime in the late 1800s and was touted as an excellent garden ornamental plant. It was soon identified as an invasive species due to its aggressive spread throughout and beyond the region of introduction and its tendency to outcompete native plant species.  In Ulster County, though we are not alone in this struggle, we have seen the tremendous spread of knotweed especially along stream sides. Its migration is highly efficient along these buffer zones due to its ability to reestablish a new stand from a small root fragment washed downstream.



Japanese knotweed stand along left side of stream. Photo by Ulster County Soil and Water Conservation District.


Knotweed can be identified by its large heart-shaped leaves, hollow bamboo-like stalks, and the cluster of white or cream colored flowers. Stands of knotweed are immensely difficult and time consuming to eradicate, however, it can be managed with vigilance and patience. Among other management plans, CRISP suggests routine and continuous removal of knotweed stands or herbicide injections into the stocks.  Manual removal of knotweed can be time consuming, as removals must reoccur 2-3 times every year for 3 or more years. Additionally, due to the ease with which knotweed spreads the herbaceous material must be disposed of properly; disposal includes letting the material dry out and burning it when dried. Injection of the herbicide is also time consuming and may not be practical for a large knotweed stand. The herbicide must be injected into each stalk at approximately the 3rd node on the stalk during the late summer and early fall months.

The battle against Japanese knotweed is best fought on many fronts and with coordination and efforts from as many people as possible. If you would like to know more about how you can help with Japanese knotweed eradication and management in your area, or would like to learn more about other invasive species in the area, please click here to be directed to the CRISP website. If you would like to learn more about the annual Invasive Species Awareness Week and to get more information about New York invasive species, please click here.

Videos from 2015 Ashokan Watershed Conference Available Online

Posted on: May 14th, 2015 by Leslie_Zucker

Full length videos from the 2015 Ashokan Watershed Conference held on April 10 at the Ashokan Center in Olivebridge are now available for viewing on the AWSMP Youtube channel.

Watch and listen as Bob Steuding speaks about the building of the Ashokan Reservoir and the social forces that drove it. Learn from Professional Engineer George Fowler how historical stream management practices have caused lasting impacts on our region’s streams. Become engaged while listening to forest entomologist Mark Whitmore and Town of Woodstock Environmental Commission Chairman Jim Hanson explain how invasive insects like Hemlock Woolly Adelgid and Emerald Ash Borer are threatening our native forests, the impacts they will cause and the work that communities need to do to prepare for them. Finally,  hear from a panel of “steam experts” as they answer some of the more common and pressing questions that the public has about streams and how they are managed.

This is a great opportunity for those who missed the conference but want to hear the speaker presentations, or for those who attended and want to revisit some information  they may have forgotten. There are a number of other great videos from past conferences and events on the channel so be sure to check those out too!