Agencies to join forces to stop invasive
By Liz Hacken
Posted on Auburnpub.com August 3, 2005
SYRACUSE - The battle against invasive species can seem
insurmountable, but a state task force wants to coordinate
groups already working to stop these unwanted biological
pests before they get any more intrusive.
The state Invasive Species Task Force, headed up by the
state Department of Environmental Conservation and Department
of Agriculture and Markets, recently released a report
offering recommendations on how the state can combat these
Many of the report's suggestions focus on coordinating
efforts between agencies and researchers currently working
to find solutions to invasive problems. Task force representatives
like Ed Mills from Cornell University presented the report
during public input sessions statewide Wednesday, including
one in Syracuse.
Mills, a professor in the department of natural resources
at Cornell University, said that the disconnect has been
a major hurdle in previous efforts to cut back on species
like Eurasian milfoil and zebra mussels that have plagued
the Finger Lakes in recent years.
"At Cornell, there's hundreds of people working
on all aspects of this, but it's not being transferred
to government," said Mills, who represented the university
on the task force.
The task force began in 2003 and was charged with exploring
the issue of invasive issues statewide and providing recommendations
to the governor and state Legislature by November 2005.
"I think at this point, New York can be a leader
on the invasive species front," he said. "Until
now, we've been sitting back while other states have been
effectively moving forward.
The problem of invasive species shows no signs of slowing,
Mills said. Since the task force first convened in 2004,
at least seven new invasive species have been identified
Often those invasive species are transported in ballast
water from cargo ships.
When the ships discharge their water in the Great Lakes,
the invasives are sent into the water and can make their
If the state had been more proactive about identifying
and eradicating invasives, it could have prevented major
problems like water chestnut, Mills said.
Some of the report's recommendations encourage being
proactive, like establishing a comprehensive public outreach
effort and establishing comprehensive statewide management
plans and policies.