Unique habitats along with rare, threatened and endangered species in the Oswego County region are being threatened and displaced by invasive species.
To address this issue, a group of more than 15 partners in a five-county region have adopted a plan of work to mitigate this threat.
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 economically, environmentally and socially important native habitats, biodiversity and natural areas.
Hosted by the Central and Western New York Chapter of The Nature Conservancy, the SLELO-PRISM is now in its third year of addressing invasive species.
The partnership has representatives from various organizations throughout a five-county area who have developed a work plan for the 2014 field season.
The plan will address invasive species issues such as prevention, early detection, control and habitat restoration which in turn will help to preserve critical lands, waters and natural areas in the region.
“Invasive species pose a serious threat to the diversity of our natural areas, our economy and our health,” said Rob Williams, invasive species program coordinator. “Our partners have adopted a collaborative work plan that will mitigate their introduction and spread.”
Some of the target invasive species that the SLELO partners plan to address include terrestrial plants such as Swallow-wort, Giant Hogweed and Japanese Knotweed.
Aquatic plants such as Water Chestnut and Hydrilla and forest pests to include the Emerald Ash Borer and Hemlock Woolly Adelgid also are in the plan.
“Some of these species are not yet found in our region, and we want to keep it that way,” Williams said.
Last year, the partnership was instrumental in protecting hundreds of acres of freshwater resources, wetland habitats, forest lands, shoreline dunes and globally rare Alvar lands.
In addition, the group treated over 141 Giant Hogweed sites reducing the health threat posed by this plant.
For more information on the SLELO-PRISM or for information on invasive species in the Oswego County area, visit the SLELO website at www.sleloinvasives.org