Invasive species are organisms (plants, animals, and pathogens) that are not native to the ecosystem and whose introduction causes, or is likely to cause, economic or environmental harm, or harm to human health.
Potential pathways for individuals to spread invasive species include the aquarium trade, boating, hiking, fishing, and swimming. Seeds, plant parts, or larvae attached on boots, waders, clothing, automobiles, recreational and commercial boats, paddles, life jackets, and bilge water are examples of some potential vectors that may spread invasive species.
There are multiple reasons to be concerned with invasive species, some of which include the impacts ecologically, economically, recreationally and to the health of native species and humans. Due to the potential harm invasive species can cause to natural communities and systems, all New Yorkers have a stake in the issue. A comprehensive list of prohibited and regulated species was developed to help control invasive species by reducing their spread and introduction.
A survey, New York Residents’ Awareness of Invasive Species, conducted by the Human Dimensions Research Unit in the Department of Natural Resources at Cornell University in 2014-2015, studied the level of awareness, knowledge, and concern about invasive species among the general public and the behaviors engaged in by specific stakeholder groups can guide educators and outreach coordinators as they develop programs to encourage people to behave in such a way as to prevent the spread of invasive species. This report details the results of the follow-up survey, which was conducted by email and mail in the winter of 2015.
A team of experts consisting of scientists, land managers, and officials from environmental organizations and government meet in person and determine the priority invasive species lists of concern.
To help protect the resources you love, join the PRISM listserve to learn more about the priority invasive species in New York. Check with your PRISM to find out what species are listed as priority species in your region.