Invaders continue to threaten Adirondacks
Invasive species on both land and water continue to threaten the health of Adirondack ecosystems.
The round goby, which made its way through the Erie Canal and Mohawk River to the confluence of the Mohawk and Hudson rivers in 2022, raised concerns that the bottom-dwelling invaders could find its way into the Champlain Canal and Lake Champlain.
After The Nature Conservancy and others urged the state to shutter access to the canal system, state officials imposed strategies to mitigate risks while keeping the system open. Close monitoring has shown that as of this fall round goby had not infiltrated the Champlain Canal this year. A large federal project to plan a permanent invasive species barrier at the canal progressed through key planning phases in 2022.
The Adirondack Watershed Institute continued its annual boat stewards program, facing some staffing and housing issues as stewards staffed popular boat launches through much of the summer. Stewards reported relatively good compliance with a new state law requiring boaters to certify they cleaned their vessel before launching at a new site.
State agencies this summer moved forward draft guidelines and best practices for controlling invasive species in the Adirondacks. The draft would allow the Department of Environmental Conservation to propose the use of aquatic herbicides as a best management practice, an option not currently in the guidelines. The proposed revisions would also allow DEC and Adirondack Park Agency to determine what species can be managed rather than rely on a list.
A proposal to combat invasive Eurasian milfoil on Lake George faced stiff resistance in the spring as the Lake George Association challenged in court a decision by the Lake George Park Commission to use a chemical herbicide against the invasive. The suit delayed the plan in 2022, but the commission and other communities around the park remain interested in the herbicide strategy.
Harmful invasive pests also put the health of Adirondack forests at risk. Scientists are working to combat the threat of those invasive pests on hemlock trees around Lake George with other pests that feed on the harmful invaders. — Zachary Matson
Join a community of people who care about the Adirondacks and essential, independent reporting. We rely on readers’ support to power this journalism. Will you give today, in any amount?