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Invasive Species Interpretive Walk at Point Au Roche

In recognition of Invasive Species Awareness Week (July 8–14) an invasive species interpretive walk will be held from 1:30-3 p.m. Sunday, July 8, at the Point Au Roche Nature Center. The event is free and open to the public.

Staff from SUNY Plattsburgh’s Lake Champlain Research Institute and Lake Champlain Sea Grant will lead the walking tour, which will highlight terrestrial and aquatic invasive plants (and host plants) along with animals within the Point Au Roche State Park. Discussions will cover the ecological and economic impacts of invasive species, and typical spread prevention measures currently recommended by invasive species managers. Interested participants are asked to meet next to the Nature Center and to wear suitable footwear and clothing. All ages are welcomed.

According to the National Invasive Species Council, invasive species are defined as, “an alien species whose introduction does, or is likely to cause, economic or environmental harm or harm to human health.” Increasingly, both terrestrial and aquatic invasive species are becoming a concern. Currently, there are approximately 50 aquatic non-native species within the Lake Champlain basin, with many more (including problematic invasives) rapidly approaching.

Invasive plants and animals threaten the Lake Champlain basin’s aquatic and terrestrial ecosystems which are precious resources that underwrite the economy of many communities through recreation, tourism, forestry, and numerous other uses.

In 2006, Gov. George Pataki proclaimed the second week in July as Adirondack Park Invasive Species Awareness Week. This year, organizations across the Adirondack Park will lead numerous activities to raise citizen awareness about invasive plants, animals, pests and pathogens.

Point Au Roche State Park Nature Center is ideally located adjacent to wetlands, old-fields habitats and Lake Champlain embayments. All of these environments are being threatened by invasives, and several examples of invasives will be showcased on the tour.

While researchers and managers continue to seek new control practices, the best and most cost effective way to manage invasives is to prevent their spread. This event will help acquaint park visitors with some of the identification and spread prevention skills that can be applied to both public and private lands and waters across the region.

“While nearly every visitor to Lake Champlain is familiar with zebra mussels, there are numerous additional plants and animals that have recently invaded the lake, nearby forests or nearby water bodies. Simply increasing public knowledge of these plants and animals will not stop their spread, but may help motivate outdoor enthusiasts to better understand the impact of invasives and ways to slow their spread to new systems,” said Mark Malchoff, Aquatic Resources Specialist with Lake Champlain Sea Grant.

For more information, please contact Mark Malchoff at 518-564-3037.

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