Local experts say the threats from invasive species continues to grow every day. Dangers to ecosystems and potential health problems are a couple of reasons the state is hoping to make it much tougher for anyone to have those species. YNN's Brian Dwyer has more on a proposed DEC regulation and how you can make your voice heard.
Jefferson County, NY, November 20, 2013 - Jumping fish. It sure looks fun, but truth is, Asian Carp are destroying water environments. They alter the food chain, eat already endangered species and the plankton fish need to survive. They are already in the Great Lakes and they're on their way here.
"You can take an Emerald Ash Borer, a Zebra Mussel, an Asian Carp, Purple Loosestrife, you can take anyone of the invasives we often talk about and begin to put it into a context. They all follow a similar pattern," said New York Sea Grant Recreation and Tourism Specialist Dave White.
That pattern, whether for a reason or by accident, they get brought somewhere they don't belong. They grow in numbers, spread out and take over.
So to try and control or slow down that growth, the DEC is proposing a new policy that would make it illegal to have invasives with an intent to sell, travel with or introduce it to state water and land.
Some exceptions will be made, including permits for research and educational needs, but public hearings on the regulations start next month - there's one on December 11 at 2 pm at the State Fairgrounds in Syracuse. The public comment period on the proposals ends December 23.
"It's an opportunity to take that next step beyond ballast control that we have here in Upstate New York and throughout the system, to then look at what other mechanisms are needed to make sure we're containing invasives and we're not allowing them to get into new environments," said White.
"Once people know that these are a problem and they can identify them, they can start taking steps to control them," added Sue Gwise with Cornell Cooperative Extension of Jefferson County.
Gwise says invasives that aren't here or just got here, like the Emerald Ash Borer, will take over soon enough. She's also seen a boom in the spread of plants like Giant Hogweed and Wild Parsnip. Touch those plants, especially Hogweed, and you could get rashes and burns that re-occur for years.
"Wild Parsnip will cause similar burns in sensitive people and that has just exploded in the last 10 years," said Gwise. "It's everywhere."
Gwise says they're all spreading so fast, there's not much we can do now to stop it. The key is people knowing what's bad and reporting any sightings to offices like hers.
You can call Sea Grant with questions at 315-312-3042, visit the DEC's Web site
for more information on the proposed regulations and how you can take part in the public hearings. Additional invasive species information can be found at via NYSG at www.nyseagrant.org/ais
or at The New York Invasive Species Information Web site
New York Sea Grant (NYSG), a cooperative program of Cornell University
and the State University of New York, is one of 33 university-based
programs under the National Sea Grant College Program (NSGCP) of the
National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). The NSGCP
engages this network of the nation’s top universities in conducting
scientific research, education, training and extension projects designed
to foster science-based decisions about the use and conservation of our
aquatic resources. Through its statewide network of integrated
services, NYSG has been promoting coastal vitality, environmental
sustainability, and citizen awareness about the State’s marine and Great
Lakes resources since 1971.
For updates on Sea Grant activities: www.nyseagrant.org
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links. NYSG also offers a free e-list sign up via www.nyseagrant.org/coastlines
for NY Coastlines, its flagship publication, and Currents, its e-newsletter supplement, each distributed 3-4 times a year.
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