New York State Invasive Species Council Issues Draft Report to Protect Forests, Farmlands and Waterways from Invasive Species
On April 1, 2010, the New York State Invasive Species Council released a draft report, “A Regulatory System for Non-Native Species,” that calls for a multi-pronged approach to tackling invasive species.
Among other recommendations, the Council proposed a new assessment system for invasive species – such as zebra mussels, Sirex wood wasps and Eurasion milfoil – that would allow the state to categorize them as “prohibited,” “regulated” or “unregulated.” Such a classification system would help restrict movement of potentially harmful plants and animals.
The Council, created by state statute, comprises nine state agencies and is co-led by DEC and the Department of Agriculture and Markets (DAM). Following finalization, the report will be sent to Governor David A. Paterson and the state Legislature for possible action.
In producing the report, DEC and DAM assembled a multi-stakeholder team from other state and federal agencies, academia and conservation and business fields such as agriculture, pets, nursery and landscape.
Other highlights of the report include the following: (1) landowners would have no obligation to remove invasive species that spread on to their lands through no fault of their own; (2) the proposed regulatory system recognizes the business needs of nurseries and pet businesses to be able to plan and to manage existing stocks, some of which represent years of investment. This would include “grace periods” to avoid needlessly penalizing such industries; and (3) it encourages the nursery industry to develop varieties – “cultivars” in the plant world – that are sterile so that market demands could be satisfied without posing ecological and economic threats.