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Unique natural landscapes along the Eastern Lake Ontario Region are host to rare, threatened and endangered species of plants and animals. Many of these aquatic and terrestrial places are being threatened by invasive species. Invasive species are non-native plants and animals that may cause environmental and economic harm and in some cases pose human health threats. To address this, a group of over sixteen partner organizations in a five county region have adopted a plan of work to mitigate the ongoing threat from invasive species. Formally known as the St. Lawrence, Eastern Lake Ontario – Partnership for Regional Invasive Species Management (SLELO-PRISM), this group is one of eight regional partnerships throughout New York State who’s mission is to protect our lands and waters from the threat of invasive species.

Hosted by The Central and Western New York Chapter of The Nature Conservancy, the SLELO-PRISM is now in their fifth formal year of addressing invasive species threats. The partnership has representatives from various organizations throughout a five county area who have recently developed a robust annual plan of work for the 2016 field season. The plan will address invasive species issues such as spread prevention, early detection, strategic response and ecological restoration which in turn will help to preserve critical lands, waters and natural areas in the region.

According to Rob Williams, Invasive Species Program Coordinator - “Invasive species pose a serious threat to the diversity of our natural areas, our economy and our health – Our partners have adopted a collaborative work plan that will mitigate the impact of invasive species”. Some of the target invasive species that the SLELO partners plan to address include terrestrial plants such as swallow-wort, giant hogweed, and knotweed along with aquatic plants such as water chestnut and hydrilla. Forest pests to include the Emerald Ash Borer and Hemlock Woolly Adelgid are also in focus. Williams goes on to say “some of these species are not yet found in our region, and it is important that we remain proactive”. Last year the partnership was instrumental in protecting dozens of acres of freshwater resources, wetland habitats, forested lands and globally rare alvar lands.

For more information about upcoming PRISM events or for information on invasive species in our area, visit the SLELO website at


Partners of the St. Lawrence Eastern Lake Ontario PRISM and their early detection team recently embarked on an intense effort to survey hemlock stands in the southern Tug Hill region. The purpose was to detect the presence or absence of the Hemlock Woolly Adelgid in the area. 821 hemlock trees surrounding the PRISM's Tug Hill I.S.P.Z. (Invasive Species Prevention Zone) were surveyed. So far, no adelgids have been observed.

Current Projects

  • Our partners continued efforts to restore the Salmon River and Estuary by suppressing 86% of Japanese Knotweed populations and planting native grasses within the disturbed areas along the river corridor.
  • Our partners have significantly reduced the human health threats posed by Giant Hogweed by treating 61 sites and completely eradicating 14 sites.
  • We continued to restore over 50 acres of globally rare Alvar communities along the Eastern Lake Ontario coastline by suppressing Pale Swallow-wort and promoting native succession this includes suppressing 70 acres of Pale Swallow-wort in 2014..
  • We have teamed up to protect our freshwater resources, wetlands and fens by supporting hands-on citizen science based control efforts, pathway mitigation and environmental DNA sampling. This includes hand-harvesting of 85.5 cubic yards of water chestnut plants and treating an additional 215 acres on the Oswego River.
  • Encouraged the development of biological controls for Water Chestnut (Trapa natans) and Pale Swallow-wort (Cynanchum rossicum and assisted with the release of a biological control (Galarucella spp.) to suppress purple loosestrife and maintain the native plant composition of the Lakeview Wetland complex.
  • Together we have completed early detection surveillance on ten priority conservation areas along with one rapid response to pale swallow-wort on the Limerick Cedars preserve.
  • Through a collaborative effort we have reached thousands of individuals through a combination of educational and outreach initiatives targeted at invasive species that affect our region’s forests, lands and waters.  

Salmon River Initiative

The Salmon River, located along the eastern shore of Lake Ontario, is a valuable cultural and natural resource worthy of protection from the habitat-altering impacts of invasive species. As a cultural resource, the Salmon River is a multi-million dollar fishery hosting in excess of 100,000 angler visitors annually. Angling enthusiasts travel from numerous regions across the United States and Canada, as well as from throughout the world, to fish the river. Many local businesses thrive as a result of this cultural resource.

This 17-mile river system is rich in habitat and diversity and provides, both in the upstream reaches and within the estuary, spawning and nursery grounds for pacific salmon (Chinook, Coho and Steelhead) and the native Atlantic salmon. The estuary provides shorebird nesting sites for species such as the Black Tern and the Least Bittern.

An initiative to restore and protect this resource is being considered by the SLELO partnership. The plan would include three components: 1) Suppression of Japanese Knotweed, 2) Native Plant Restoration and 3) Education & Outreach.


All SLELO Field Reports are available on-line at under that menu item FIELD REPORTS

Tug Hill ISPZ

SLELO partners are currently developing criteria and maps to establish an Invasive Species Prevention Zone (ISPZ) on the 150,000 acre "core-forest" of Tug Hill. This will allow SLELO partners to more effectively prevent and manage invasive species from this importnant habitat. The core-forest represents approximately 1/5 of the overall 750,000 acre Tug Hill.

Early Detection / Rapid Response

SLELO field crews are currently conducting early detection surveillance for prevention and target management species. Assessments are occurring on or scheduled for the following sites:Whetstone Reservoir, Black Lake, Oneida Lake, Salmon River Estuary, Mud Bay, Chamount Bay and El'Dorado Preserve.

Lake Ontario Wetland Invasive Species Control and Restoration Project


Funded through the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative (GLRI), this project will use an early detection/rapid response process to prevent new infestations of invasive plant species and lessen the impact these invasive species pose on the ecologically significant communities and rare species of the Eastern Lake Ontario barrier beach and coastal wetland complex. This will be accomplished by the implementation of various wetland restoration techniques such as re-establishing natural water flow patterns, invasive species prevention and invasive species control strategies. 

Eastern Lake Ontario Sand Dunes

With funding provided through the New York Department of State, the Central & Western NY Chapter of the Nature Conservancy inventoried and managed invasive species along a 17-mile stretch of inland sand dunes and wetlands along the eastern shore of Lake Ontario.

Meeting Minutes

February On-Line Partner Meeting Summary

Meeting Summary


THURSDAY, FEBRUARY 20TH, 2014, 10:00 a.m.


PRESENT: There were 33 people present on the webcast.



All the seasonal positions that are available for 2014 can be found on

There are 2 SLELO Restoration Crew Members-41875, 5-TNC Aquatic Invasive Species Crew Member – Hydrilla-41876, 4-GLRI Ecological Crew Member 41878 and 1-full time Lands Manager- 41869.


SLELO will have an exhibit at the 2014 Tug Hill Local Government Conference.  Paul Hessler, Mike Parks, and Sue Gwise have volunteered in the past. Sue will volunteer again this year but  we are looking for 2 more volunteers.


Invasive iMap spring training is scheduled for Wednesday may 21st, from 9:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. at Cornell Cooperative Extension in Watertown. Please bring a laptop and lunch will be provided, pre-registration is required at No alternative date could be found.


The 2013 PRISM Annual Report was sent to all the partners on January 28th, and a hard copy is available from Rob. Rob has been asked to present our PRISM’s work to the NYS Invasive Species Council in March, Kudos to partners.


2014 project nominations and Steering Committee Recommendations.  The Steering Committee recommends approval of all projects at requested levels, but reduce the swallow-wort bio-control project by $2,107.00.  All project sub-awards are pending the receipt of a new PRISM contract with NYS. Approved project nominations include:

Project Title

Partner / Sponsor

Amount Requested

Point Peninsula/PerchRiver Swallow-wort Control

Ducks Unlimited


Salmon River Initiative Yr-2



Oswego River Water Chestnut Control

Oswego SWCD


Biological Control of Swallow-wort

SLELO PRISM.More likely in 2015


Lewis County Invasive Species Signage Project

Lewis SWCD


Total Request



Rob presented the 2014 Work Plan to the partners which was reviewed and recommended by our Steering Committee. There will be early detection work on priority conservation areas, control work, education and outreach, volunteer work, restoration work, etc. Anyone who would like a copy of the work plan just ask Rob and he will send it.


Steering Committee recommendation: Meet on a bi-monthly basis instead of monthly.  We would still meet alternating Wednesdays and Thursdays during the third week of the month.  We will revisit this recommendation at the March 19th meeting.



Jessica Cancelliere, Manager of the DEC Forest Health Diagnostic Lab presented on the Asian Long Horned Beetle.



The Eastern Lake Ontario Invasive Species Symposium is scheduled for June 11th at Wehle State Park.  SAVE THE DATE!  This will be an all-day training event.  Katie should have logistical information at our March meeting. This event is being co-sponsored by the Wehle Trust.


The Spring newsletter has a March timeframe.  The ALB pool watch program would be great for the summer newsletter.


We could form a committee or work group for the Clean Equipment Protocol for Industry initiative, that was discussed by several people at January meeting or request volunteers to work on developing this project.  They would work on a manual for the SLELO area using the Canadian version as a template.  Katie has a list of potential candidates for the work group. Katie will send information to the PRISM so they can review the information from Canada.  We are hopeful they will let us use their materials with credit given to them.  Not sure of the time frame.


The next Education Committee meeting will be held at Wehle State Park on Wednesday, March 5th at 10:00 a.m.  All are welcome.



March 19th, 10:00 a.m., CCE Watertown. This will be an in-person meeting.


ADJOURN: The meeting was adjourned at 11:05 a.m.

PRISM Reports

Salmon River Knotweed Feasibilty Study

Link to reprt:

SLELO PRISM 2013 Accomplishment Report

Provides a summary of strategic partner initiatives in the St. Lawrence Eastern Lake Ontario region. Download this report from

New Species Introductions

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