Department of Environmental Conservation

D E C banner

Invasive Species Council

The Invasive Species Council (Council) is a statutory body that was created in 2008 by Title 17, Section 9 of the Environmental Conservation Law (ECL). The Council was created to coordinate among multiple State entities and partners in addressing the environmental and economic threats of invasive species. The legislation defines invasive species as "a species that is: (a) non-native to the ecosystem under consideration; and (b) whose introduction causes or is likely to cause economic or environmental harm or harm to human health."

The next Council meeting is scheduled for December 11th, 2018. Please see the agenda (PDF).

Council Membership

The Council is co-led by the Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) and the Department of Agriculture and Markets (DAM) and consists of nine members: the Commissioners of the DEC; DAM; Transportation; Education; the Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation; the Secretary of State, the Chairperson of the New York State Thruway Authority, the Director of the New York State Canal Corporation, and the Chairperson of the Adirondack Park Agency.

Role of the Council

Invasive Species Advisory Committee

The next ISAC meeting will be Wednesday, February 27th, 2019. Please see the agenda (PDF).

2013-2015 Annual Advisory Committee Reports (PDF)

The Invasive Species Advisory Committee (Committee) is a statutory body created in 2008 by Title 17, Section 9 of the Environmental Conservation Law (ECL) to provide information, advice and guidance to the Invasive Species Council. Up to 25 members from stakeholder organizations described or specified in the law constitute the Committee. Among the efforts of this committee are:

  • assisting the Council in developing a four tier classification system for nonnative animal and plant species called for in Title 17, Section 9 of the Environmental Conservation Law (ECL)
  • preparing a white paper advising the Invasive Species Council on preventing the spread of aquatic invasive species by boats and trailers
  • assisting the Council in drafting a proposed legislative bill aimed at reducing the spread of aquatic invasive species by boats and trailers

Future efforts will likely include advising the Council on preventing the spread of invasive species through other pathways, identifying and assessing existing efforts and advising the Council on how to implement effective invasive species spread prevention measures.

A Sample of Invasive Pests and Diseases in New York and the Damage They Can Do

  • Early in the 20th Century, chestnut blight arrived in North America and has since wiped out one of the most valuable trees in our forest, the American chestnut.
  • Zebra mussels arrived here from their native Caspian Sea in the late 20th Century and have altered ecosystems, clogged pipes, and ruined bathing beaches in some of our largest waters.
  • Near the start of the present century, West Nile Virus came here from Africa and has harmed both birds and humans.
  • Asian Longhorned Beetle arrived within the lumber used for packing crates and has forced us to cut down thousands of prized shade trees in our cities and suburbs - in the hope that it does not spread to our forests.
  • Emerald Ash Borer was first identified in New York in 2009. It attacks all species of ash trees and kills them within 3 years of infesting the tree with eggs.
  • Swede midge was first found in New York in 2005 and could decimate our broccoli and cabbage crops.
  • Eurasian boars have become a problem in western New York. They will compete with native animals for food; eat native animals; will eat nearly any agricultural crop; can destroy crops and native vegetation, cause erosion, and negatively affect water quality by their rooting and wallowing habits; will attack humans and their pets, and can carry diseases transferable to livestock and/or humans.
  • Didymo is invading prime trout fishing streams, potentially impacting aquatic habitat and food sources.

Numerous agencies and organizations across New York are combating the threats posed by these invasive species; the New York Invasive Species Council, Invasive Species Advisory Committee and the Office of Invasive Species Coordination are working together to develop a fully coordinated and comprehensive defense.

The Problem

Invasive species are non-native species that can cause harm to the environment or to human health. As a threat to our biodiversity, they have been judged second only to habitat loss. Invasives come from all around the world; the rate of invasion is increasing along with the increase in international trade that accompanies globalization.

Invasive species have caused many problems in the past, are causing problems now, and pose threats to our future. A wide variety of species are problematic for many sectors of our world: our ecosystems, including both all natural systems and also managed forests; our food supply, including not only agriculture but also harvested wildlife, fish and shellfish; our built environments, including landscaping, infrastructure, industry, gardens, and pets. Invasive species have implications, too, for recreation and for human health.

New York State Invasive Species Management Strategy

The NYS Invasive Species Management Strategy (PDF) supports the need to implement the 12 recommendations developed by the Task Force in the report to the Governor and Legislature in 2005 and the use of the National Invasive Species Council's federal model for the development of an adaptive, statewide invasive species management plan.

New York State Invasive Species Education and Outreach Strategy

The NYS Invasive Species Education and Outreach Strategic Plan Summary (PDF) was developed by Invasive Species Council and Advisory Committee representatives to guide education and outreach efforts undertaken by statewide partners from 2016-2021. The plan describes a series of actions focused on improving New York's Invasive Species Awareness Week campaign, celebrated annually during the second week in July.

More about Invasive Species Council:

  • Invasive Species Awareness Week - Invasive species awareness week draws attention to the impacts of invasive species and provides info on what you can do to prevent their spread.
  • Invasive Species Council Report - This report recommends a regulatory system for preventing the importation and/or release of non-native species. It would create the first-ever official lists of invasive species for New York State.