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For Release: Sunday, June 7, 2020

Departments of Environmental Conservation, Agriculture and Markets Announce State's Seventh Annual Invasive Species Awareness Week June 7 - 13

Virtual Public Events Scheduled throughout the Week

DEC Reminds New Yorkers to Use Local Firewood, Visit Boat Wash Stations While Enjoying the Outdoors

The New York State Departments of Environmental Conservation (DEC) and Agriculture and Markets (AGM) today announced with a proclamation issued by Governor Andrew M. Cuomo (PDF) that New York State's seventh annual Invasive Species Awareness Week (ISAW) starts today, June 7, through June 13. ISAW is an annual campaign that encourages New Yorkers to help protect the State's lands and waters from the negative impacts of invasive species.

"New Yorkers are encouraged to participate in Invasive Species Awareness Week and work to protect our lands and waters from invasive pests while following social distancing guidelines during the State's response to COVID-19," said DEC Commissioner Basil Seggos. "Our partners are providing new, virtual opportunities to educate the public about how to identify and map invasive species that New Yorkers can put to immediate use while spending time outdoors during these unprecedented times."

State Agriculture Commissioner Richard A. Ball said, "As we ramp up planting on our farms and start to spend more time outdoors, it's important that our farmers and the public continue to be vigilant for indicators of invasive species. Many of these pests, like Spotted Lanternfly, can be particularly harmful to our crops and forested lands. I thank everyone who has helped AGM and DEC by reporting sightings of these invasives and encourage participation in these great virtual events that will allow outreach to continue while we maintain social distancing."

Invasive species are plants, animals, insects, and pathogens that are not native to an area and cause harm to the environment, agriculture, the economy, or human health. These pests are one of the greatest threats to our state's rich biodiversity. New York is particularly vulnerable to invasive species due to its role as a center for international trade and travel. Everyone can make a difference in the fight against invasive species, whether it is through helping to locate and map infestations (leaves DEC's website), using only local firewood, properly cleaning your watercraft before and after boating, cleaning dirt off boots after hiking, or removing invasive species from the yard.

Aquatic Invasive Species (AIS) are non-native aquatic plants and animals that can cause environmental and economic harm and harm to human health. Many AIS have been found in the lakes, ponds, and rivers of New York, and can be transported from waterbody to waterbody on watercraft and equipment. Boat stewards are paid members of the community or volunteers that provide boaters and other water recreationists with important information about precautions to reduce the likelihood of spreading AIS. The stewards help people learn how to inspect, clean, drain, and treat watercraft and equipment.

Now in its second year of operation, the New York State Department of Transportation worked with partners to develop a boat washing station at the Adirondack Welcome Center (leaves DEC's website) on Interstate 87 in Queensbury, Warren County. In 2019, 403 boats were treated at the Adirondack site, the most of any site in the Adirondacks. This and other similar sites assist the public to "Clean. Drain. Dry." their watercraft and compliment the over 200 boating access sites statewide where boat stewards are present. For more information on ways to prevent the spread of aquatic invasive species, visit DEC's website. For the direct link to the map to help locate these services, visit the NYS Public Boat Launches with Boat Stewards or Decontamination Services Map.

During ISAW, citizens have ample opportunities to learn how to identify, survey, manage, and map invasive species. In 2019, 181 events were held statewide, with approximately 20 acres surveyed and 18 acres treated and/or restored, and more than 700 pounds of invasive species material was removed from natural areas in these efforts.

DEC and AGM encourage New Yorkers to participate in one of the virtual opportunities being offered during the 2020 ISAW. For a list of scheduled events (leaves DEC's website), please visit the ISAW website.

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