Skaneateles Conservation Area/Invasive species

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Invasive plants[edit | edit source]

Invasive plant species are a primary cause of biodiversity loss and undoubtedly the main cause in former agricultural natural areas like the Skaneateles Conservation Area (SCA). The lists on this page show the plants known to be present in significant amounts at or very near the SCA. They are ranked here according to the Non-Native Plant Assessments provided by the New York Invasive Species Information Clearinghouse.[1] Ranks range from very high (VH), high (H), moderate (M), to low (L).

The New York Invasive Plant Ranking System considers invasive plants to be non-native species that have spread into native or minimally managed plant systems in New York State, where they would likely cause economic or environmental harm or harm to human health[2] by developing self-sustaining populations and becoming dominant and/or disruptive to those systems.[3]

Note that the order in which these species are listed reflects their invasiveness ranking for the whole of New York State at the time the assessments were made and doesn’t necessarily indicate how important they will be for managers at the SCA to consider in the management decisions. But the order does provide some indication of how concerned we should be about their presence at the SCA.

It should also be noted that there are undoubtedly invasive plants present that we are not aware of. Land managers should continue to be watchful for newly identified invasive plants. Aside from the normal problems seen in in abandoned agricultural lands, invasive plants may be a particular problem at the SCA because the Town of Skaneateles transfer station is located in the center of the nature preserve. This transfer station accepts yard waste from town residents and creates mulch out of it. It seems quite likely that propagules from this waste have been escaping for years to the surrounding conservation area.

State prohibited and regulated invasive plants at the SCA[edit | edit source]

According to New York State law, a Prohibited invasive species is one that "poses a clear risk to New York's economy, ecological well-being and/or human health and is listed as prohibited" under New York Codes, Rules and Regulations, Title 6, Chapter V, Subchapter C, section 575.3, which states that

  • "no person shall knowingly possess with the intent to sell, import, purchase, transport, or introduce any prohibited invasive species" and that
  • "no person shall sell, import, purchase, transport, introduce or propagate any prohibited invasive species."[1]

The legal definitions of introduce and propagate need to be examined to determine whether we are breaking the law by even allowing prohibited plants to remain at the SCA. According to Section 575.2 (Definitions),[2]

  • Introduce: "...the intentional or unintentional escape, release, dissemination, or placement of a species into an ecosystem as a result of human activity."
  • Propagate: "...to cause to continue to increase by sexual or asexual reproduction."

Anyone who realizes how easily invasive plants can be spread might interpret that to mean that one would be guilty of introducing and propagating prohibited species simply by walking across an infested property, much less by allowing prohibited species to thrive there. But, the Q&A paper published by the DEC concerning the regulation says: "No, existing populations of non-native invasive species listed as prohibited or regulated and established prior to the implementation of the final part 575 regulations do not require management by the owner. However, once implemented, the final regulations do prohibit commerce involving those species listed as prohibited species and the release of regulated species into a free-living state." These regulations took effect on March 10, 2015.[3]

New York State law defines a Regulated invasive species as one that "has the potential to cause significant harm to New York's economy, ecological well being and/or human health and could be effectively contained through regulatory programs and is listed as regulated under section 575.4."[4]

  • "no person shall knowingly introduce into a free-living state or introduce by a means that one knew or should have known would lead to the introduction into a free-living state any regulated invasive species, although such species shall be legal to possess, sell, buy, propagate and transport."
  • "Free-living State means unconfined and outside the control of a person," including within "...lands identified as public lands, ...natural areas," and "...waters identified as public waters."

This begs the question of whether a town resident "should have known" that taking their yard waste containg invasive plants or insects to the transfer station would place it in jeopardy of being introduced to a free-living state in the surrounding conservation area.

Note that the Regulatory System for Non-Native Species, proposed by the New York Invasive Species Council in 2010, specified that species ranked "High" and "Very High" would be Prohibited and species ranked "Moderate" would be Regulated in New York State.[5] However it appears that economic and likely political forces have lead to some highly- and very-highly-invasive plants being regulated but not prohibited and most moderately-invasive plants not being regulated at all.

Invasive Species Tiers[edit | edit source]

The following is a generalization of the system used by the New York State PRISMs for assigning tiers to be used for prioritizing invasive species detection and management efforts. A similar system could be used for prioritizing invasive species at the SCA. Only the definitions of "larger area" and "buffer" would need to be adjusted.

Tier 1. Prevention / Early Detection[edit | edit source]

The species is not known to be present in the area.

  • 1a. High-impact species is inside a designated buffer (e.g. 100 mi.) surrounding the area, but not in the area (e.g. FL-PRISM) itself
  • 1b. High-impact species is in a larger area (e.g. eastern North America), but not in a buffer surrounding the area nor in the area itself
  • 1c. Introduction pathway may exist but high-impact species is not in the larger area.

Tier 2. Eradication[edit | edit source]

High-impact species is inside the area with a low population or removal cost.

If eradication or full containment is possible, this should have the highest level of response to a high or very impact being detected in the area.

Tier 3. Containment[edit | edit source]

Medium population & cost, with strategic management may contain, slow or prevent spread to adjacent area.

Tier 4. Local control[edit | edit source]

Populations are established and/or widespread. Concentrate on protecting high priority resources, which may include rare species and unique habitats.

Tier 5. Monitor[edit | edit source]

Populations of low impact species may be present but only require watching to ensure that they don't become higher impact.

Invasive plants present or possible at the SCA[edit | edit source]

In the following table, the NYS and FL tiers are those provided in iMapInvasives by the New York Natural Heritage Program (NYNHP) and the Finger Lakes (FL) PRISM. The "SCA tiers" are based on the current FL tier and whether or not the species is currently known to be present within the boundaries of the SCA. For species known to be present, the current FL tier may be used or reduced if we feel that the species can be controlled. For species not yet discovered at the SCA, those present in the FL PRISM will generally be assigned an SCA Tier of 1a, 1b, or 1c depending on how likely we believe an infestation could occur, based on distance of known infestation from the SCA and the habitat requirements of the species.

Column keys[edit | edit source]

Heading Cell links to Cell text shows Abbreviation Key
G Global Biodiversity Information Facility an indication of whether the Global Register of Introduced and Invasive Species (GRIIS) shows "Evidence of Impact" for the contiguous U.S. Y = Yes (Invasive, impact apparent)
N = No (no evidence reported)
? = not on GRIIS-US
Z = GRIIS-US lists as Invasive under a synonym, possibly a misspelling of the author abbreviation
A New York Flora Atlas Nativity and naturalization status Y = Yes (Non-native and Naturalized in New York State)
N = No (Not native and not naturalized in New York State)
U = Nativity undetermined
? = Naturalization status undetermined
I = Native but Interfering and/or listed as Invasive
N iNaturalist taxon page Approximate number of New York State counties with research-grade observations for the taxon. Note that observations may be lacking for taxa that are more difficult to identify or less interesting or less obvious to observers. 0 = No New York State counties
1 ... 9 = number of Upstate New York counties where observed
X = 10 or more counties
M = Most if not all New York State counties
C = Cultivated (not naturalized) north of Rockland and Westchester
D = Only Downstate counties (no counties north of Rockland and Westchester)
S NatureServe Explorer conservation status in New York E = Exotic (not native) in New York State
U = Unranked
0 = Not present in New York State
5 = Secure (may be mixed native & exotic)
I Invasive.org number of sources for the listing of the taxon on Invasive.Org 0 ... 9 = Number of sources listed
X = 10 or more sources listed
M = Many (near 50 or more) sourced listed
T iMapInvasives New York Species List whether taxon is currently tracked in NY T = Tracked in NY
L New York Codes, Rules and Regulations, Title 6 - DEC, Chapter V - Resource Management Services, Subchapter C - Invasive Species, Part 575 whether species is Prohibited or Regulated in New York State

Chromista: Haptophyta: Prymnesiophyceae: Prymnesiales (alga)[edit | edit source]

Family Species Common name G A N S I T M L % NY
Rank
NY
Tier
NY PRISM Tiers SCA
Tier
BW
Tier
CBG
 
W F K C S A H L
Prymnesiaceae Prymnesium parvum(au) golden algae ? 0 T 1d 1d NM

Plantae: Rhodophyta: Florideophyceae (seaweed)[edit | edit source]

Order: Family Species Common name G A N S I T M L % NY
Rank
NY
Tier
NY PRISM Tiers SCA
Tier
BW
Tier
CBG
 
W F K C S A H L
Ceramiales: Dasyaceae Dasysiphonia japonica(au)(syn) dasy, red alga ? 0 T AB
Halymeniales: Halymeniaceae Grateloupia turuturu(au) red alga, devil's tongue weed N D T 1d 1d

Plantae: Chlorophyta: Ulvophyceae: Bryopsidales (alga)[edit | edit source]

Family Species Common name G A N S I T M L % NY
Rank
NY
Tier
NY PRISM Tiers SCA
Tier
BW
Tier
CBG
 
W F K C S A H L
Caulerpaceae Caulerpa taxifolia(au) feather caulerpa, killer green algae N \ 0 High 1b 1d 1d
Codiaceae Codium fragile ssp. fragile dead man's fingers ? \ D T 1d 1d

Plantae: Charophyta: Charophyceae: Charales: Characeae (stoneworts)[edit | edit source]

Family Species Common name G A N S I T M L % NY
Rank
NY
Tier
NY PRISM Tiers SCA
Tier
BW
Tier
CBG
 
W F K C S A H L
Characeae Nitellopsis obtusa(au) starry stonewort N \ 3 T M Very High  4   3  4  3   2   3   5  1 1a 1a FL

Plantae: Tracheophyta: Polypodiopsida: Salviniales (aquatic ferns)[edit | edit source]

Family Species Common name G A N S I T M L % NY
Rank
NY
Tier
NY PRISM Tiers SCA
Tier
BW
Tier
CBG
 
W F K C S A H L
Salviniaceae Salvinia minima(au) water sprangles, water fern Y \ C U 7 High 1a 1b 1 1b 1c 1c
Salviniaceae Salvinia auriculata(au)(syn) African payal ? \ 0 Y X T 1c 1c
Salviniaceae Salvinia × molesta(au) African payal Y \ 0 0 M 1c 1c
Salviniaceae Salvinia natans(au)(syn) floating watermoss N \ 0 E 1c 1c
Marsileaceae Marsilea quadrifolia(au) European water-clover Y Y 1 E 4 T M 68 Moderate  u   u   u   u   5   b   u   2   5  1c 1c

Plantae: Tracheophyta: Pinopsida: Pinales: Pinaceae (pine, spruce, larch)[edit | edit source]

Subfamily Species Common name G A N S I T M L % NY
Rank
NY
Tier
NY PRISM Tiers SCA
Tier
BW
Tier
CBG
 
W F K C S A H L
Pinoideae Pinus thunbergii(au) Japanese black pine Y Y 0 E 4 T 59 Moderate 1c 1c
Pinoideae Pinus sylvestris(au) Scots pine, Scotch pine Y Y X E 7 4 2 A5
Pinoideae Pinus nigra(au) Austrian pine Y Y C E 1 5
Piceoideae Picea abies(au) Norway spruce Y Y X E 8 T 4 4 A4
Piceoideae Picea pungens(au) Colorado blue spruce ? ? 4 E 0 1b 5
Laricoideae Larix decidua(au) European larch N Y 4 E 0 4 3
Laricoideae Larix kaempferi(au) Japanese larch N Y 0 0 0 1c
Laricoideae Pseudotsuga menziesii Douglas fir N ? 2 N 2 2 3

Plantae: Tracheophyta: Pinopsida: Pinales: Taxaceae (yew)[edit | edit source]

Family Species Common name G A N S I T M L % NY
Rank
NY
Tier
NY PRISM Tiers SCA
Tier
BW
Tier
CBG
 
W F K C S A H L
Taxaceae Taxus cuspidata(au) Japanese yew Y Y C 0 2 T 1a A5
Taxaceae Taxus baccata(au) English yew N ? 2 E 0  n   u   u   u   b   b   b   b   3  1d 1a 1b

Plantae: Tracheophyta: Liliopsida (monocots)[edit | edit source]

Plantae: Tracheophyta: Magnoliopsida (dicots)[edit | edit source]

For invasive species that are in the same genus (e.g. honeysuckles, knapweeds, privets, teasels) that are hard to tell apart and often hybridize with one another (possibly creating hybrid swarms), all likely state-ranked species are included together, even if only one of them is prohibited. In some cases this may imply that identification down to genus level is sufficient before applying treatment options, but at least in the case of bush honeysuckles, the possibility of the plant being a native relative needs to be eliminated first.

Interfering native plants at the SCA[edit | edit source]

Occasionally beneficial native plant species such as grape vines (Vitis spp.) or even some ferns can become a problem.

  • Large contiguous dense forests do not generally have many vines.
  • Vines require light, so they are most prevalent on forest edges where they can easily overtop the edge trees, slowing their growth and increasing their mortality and causing forest edges to recede.[1]
  • Native vines do provide substantial food for birds and small mammals.[2]

Invasive animals[edit | edit source]

  • Earth worms
    • European earth worms
    • Asian jumping worms
  • Deer
  • Insects
    • Emerald ash borer
    • Hemlock woolly adelgid
    • Beech bark disease
    • Spotted lantern fly

Prioritizing invasive species control[edit | edit source]

The density of an individual invasive species is not necessarily an indicator of the priority that should be assigned to that species. Often invasive species that are the most rare or newly discovered in an area are given higher priority because they are easier to control than more established species.

The physical size of invasive species also should be taken into account when ranking them for local control. When told that there is an invasive species problem at the SCA, a common response is “Oh, you have garlic mustard?” Well, yes, here is a relatively small amount of garlic mustard present at the SCA, but that may be because there are larger, more dominant species like buckthorn that don’t even allow garlic mustard to spread. Keeping the garlic mustard out of more pristine part of the SCA is important, but searching for garlic mustard to pull in the large buckthorn infestations is probably a waste of time.

On the other hand, removing large invasives like buckthorn usually release numerous smaller invasives to grow from the ground that they were shading. Removing invasive plants requires continued monitoring of the location from which they were removed in order to ensure that only native plants return to replace them. Often it will be mostly other invasives or more of the same species that will return form the seed bank, root suckers, or wherever. Even when stumps are chemically treated to kill an individual that has been cut down, other invasives will probably return.