Watertown, NY, November 14, 2013 - Invasive species are becoming a big problem for New York state's ecology.
As New York Sea Grant's Recreation/Tourism Specialist Dave White tells the newscasters at Watertown's WWNY-TV 7 News This Morning studios, New York State's Department of Environmental Conservation is proposing regulations to help control invasive species.
When it comes to the discussion over how to keep invasive species out of the waters of the Great Lakes, White says, the emptying out of ballast water from large ships has always been a big issue. "One of the other topics relates to a list that is being codified with invasives species that are of concern for New York, both aquatic and terrestrial," he says, citing Emerald Ash Borer and zebra mussels as just two examples.
"This law will begin to say, 'what are the rules and regulations for prohibiting their transport, their sale, their possession for scientific use, for public use, for commercial sale?'" Another words, White says it begins to put into law, for example, what process someone would need to go through if they wanted to sell an invasive species.
"As we well know, a lot of invasives have gotten into the system potentially through aquaria release or accidental release from a pond to another area. So, knowing where these species are also begins to put into play if there are any management issues or considerations."
As seen in this video clip, White explains that Asian carp is a species of great concern for invading the Great Lakes. "Asian carp was an invasive brought into to control algae and weeds in farm ponds. Through flooding, they got out of the farm ponds and into the waters of the Mississippi."
The big question: "This is for folks to look at and decide if this is going to provide a better opportunity for us to be a part of controlling invasive species. And the nice things is that many people are a part of the control - from the Stop Aquatic Hitchhikers campaign to New York Sea Grant's Launch Stewards Program. It's about bringing the whole community together to talk about it and provide input to the DEC."
"You have to remember this this is a statewide initiative, so this provides a chance restrict and make sure we are not bringing in things through shipping and ports. And, it also has to be looked at that we have species in New York that are native in one part of the state and invasive in another."
There's a public hearing at 2 p.m. December 11 at the State Fairgrounds in Syracuse. The public comment period on the proposals ends December 23.
You can call Sea Grant with questions at 315-312-3042, visit the DEC's Web site
for more information on the proposed rules and check out the invasive species via the The New York Invasive Species Information Website
Since April 2006, White has been bringing Sea Grant's "message" to the morning masses at WWNY TV 7, a Fox affiliate in downtown Watertown, during one of the highest rated TV blocks in the "wake-up hours," the 6:30-7 am stretch.
Sea Grant's 'five minutes of fame' - which potentially reaches around 10,000 viewers in New York's Jefferson and Northern Oswego Counties - has featured topics over the years such as boating safety, aquatic invasive species, diving in search of sunken wrecks, the dune and Salmon River stewards program, shoreline land issues, tourism, and marine safety.