NYS Invasive Species Response

NY Invasive Species Council  |  NY Invasive Species Advisory Committee  |  Partners  |  Reports

Why New York State Is Responding to Invasive Species

  • In 1904, chestnut blight was discovered in the Bronx Zoo. By 1950, the American chestnut, a once prevalent tree species of eastern forests, was reduced to threatened status.
  • Zebra mussels arrived from the Caspian Sea in the late-1980s and have altered ecosystems, clogged pipes, and ruined bathing beaches in many of the State's largest waters. Nationwide, damages and control activities resulting from the bivalve's invasion have cost more than $6 billion.
  • West Nile Virus (native to Africa) was discovered in Central Park in 1999. It has since harmed both birds and humans, infecting 36,799 people and killing 1,506 humans nationwide (670 infected, 57 dead in NYS).
  • In 1996, the Asian long-horned beetle was found in NYS, most likely as a hitchhiker in wooden pallets and packaging materials. Over 6,000 infested trees resulted in the removal of over 18,000 urban and suburban trees in Manhattan (including several near Central Park), Staten Island Queens, and Long Island, in the hope that it does not spread to the State's natural forests.
  • The emerald ash borer was identified in southwestern NYS in 2009. By November 2013, 14 counties in the State were known to have EAB infestations and 42 of the State's 57 counties were quarantined. This beetle attacks all species of ash trees and can result in mortality within 3 years of infestation.
  • Swede midge was found in western NYS in 2005 and had spread to 26 counties, from the State's western boarder to the eastern end of Long Island. The midge damages broccoli, cabbage, and other cruciferous vegetable crops.
  • Feral swine (wild hogs) have become a problem in NY where sightings have been confirmed in eleven counties, mostly along the State's border with Pennsylvania and in the State's northern counties. Feral swine can damage natural resources, agricultural crops, and lawns; compete with native animals for food; cause stream bank erosion and impact water quality (the EPA estimates that one hog can destroy ten acres of wetland in its lifetime); and, carry diseases transferable to wildlife, livestock, domestic pets, and humans.

New York's Response

Numerous agencies and organizations across New York were combating the threats posed by these invasive species, but in a local, uncoordinated, inefficient manner. This was recognized by the State Legislature, resulting in legislation in 2003 to address the invasive species issue using a holistic statewide approach.

Legislative Background

In response to the growing problem of invasive species, in 2003, Governor Pataki signed legislation sponsored by Senator Marcellino and Assemblyman DiNapoli. Chapter 324 of the Laws of New York of 2003 called for an Invasive Species Task Force to explore the invasive species issue in NYS and to provide recommendations to the Governor and the Legislature by November 2005.

The 146-page Fall 2005 NYS Invasive Species Task Force Report, describes the nature and extent of the invasive species problem in NYS. It discusses existing efforts to manage invasive species, starting with overviews of statewide, including federally supported, programs. It addresses both successes and obstacles to success, using species accounts to illustrate concepts, including a review of who is doing what to combat invasive species in the state. The report presents 12 recommendations for how the state could better address the invasive species issue. The report is available here as both an Executive Summary and as the full NYS Invasive Species Task Force Report.

NYS Invasive Species Council

In August 2007, Governor Spitzer signed Chapter 674 of the Laws of 2007 creating a new Title 17 of the NY Environmental Conservation Law, the NYS Invasive Species Council Act, establishing the New York Invasive Species Council and an Invasive Species Advisory Committee to assess "the nature, scope and magnitude of the environmental, ecological, agricultural, economic, recreational, and social impacts caused by invasive species in the state" and to identify and coordinate actions to prevent, control, and manage invasive species. Title 17 was amended by the Legislature in 2008 (Laws of New York, 2008 Chapter 26, Environmental Conservation Law Title 17). Additional information on the NY ISC can be found on the NYS Department of Environmental Conservation's NY Invasive Species Council webpage, including the 2010 report "A Regulatory System for Non-Native Species".

Visit the NYS Invasive Species Council Page to learn more

NYS Invasive Species Advisory Committee

The 2007 NYS Invasive Species Council Act, Chapter 674, Title 17, Section 9 of the NY Environmental Conservation Law as amended in the Laws of New York, 2008 Chapter 26, Environmental Conservation Law Title 17, established the New York State Invasive Species Advisory Committee to provide information, advice, and guidance to the Invasive Species Council, including but not limited to providing assistance with the development of the four-tier classification system for non-native animal and plant species.

Visit the NYS Advisory Committee Page to learn more

New York State Laws and Regulations Regarding Invasive Species (September 2014)

New York State has a number of existing, many new, laws and regulations pertaining to invasive species under the Department of Environmental Conservation, Department of Agriculture & Markets, Soil and Water Conservation, and Department of Health. Click here for a listing of all NYS Laws and Regulations addressing invasive species.

Contract Partners Funded by New York State

Many components of New York's response to invasive species are being carried out by partner programs under contract to the State, funded with NYS Environmental Protection Fund support.

  1. New York Invasive Species Research Institute
  2. New York iMapInvasives
  3. New York Invasive Species Clearinghouse
  4. Cornell Cooperative Extension Invasive Species Program
  5. Partnerships for Regional Invasive Species Management
    1. Adirondack Park Invasive Plant Program - APIPP
    2. Capital/Mohawk PRISM
    3. Catskill Regional Invasive Species Partnership - CRISP
    4. Finger Lakes - FL-PRISM
    5. Long Island Invasive Species Management Area - LIISMA
    6. Lower Hudson PRISM
    7. St. Lawrence-Eastern Lake Ontario PRISM - SLELO
    8. Western PRISM




2014 Giant Hogweed Annual Report

The NYS DEC Forest Health & Protection Program 2014 Giant Hogweed Annual Report is now available online.

The DEC Forest Health giant hogweed crews and partner agencies (Oswego SWCD and four PRISMs [Partnerships for Regional Invasive Species Management] -- APIPP, CRISP, Lower Hudson, and SLELO) had an extremely productive field season which resulted in the following achievements: 

  • 1,495 (93%) of the 1,613 active sites located throughout 47 counties in NY State were visited
  • 501 sites previously infested (28% of all sites), no longer had any giant hogweed plants
    • 239 of these sites have been monitored for 3 years with no plants found and we now consider them eradicated
  • 516 sites had only 1-19 plants (34% of active sites). The sites are getting smaller in size
  • 556 sites were treated with root-cutting- 22,255 plants controlled
  • 551 sites were treated with herbicide- 397,000 plants sprayed
  • 316 sites were treated with flower/seed head removal- 7,677 flower/seed heads removed
  • The hotline, based out of the New Paltz DEC office, received 2,491 calls and emails