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July 26, 2012

New legislation targets invasive species

KEENE VALLEY — Legislation signed into law by Gov. Andrew Cuomo this week will help the region’s ongoing battle against invasive species.

The Invasive Species Prevention Act, unanimously passed by the New York State Legislature in June, is designed to create a statewide regulatory system to prohibit or limit the sale and transport of plants and animals known to threaten communities, natural areas and job-creating industries that depend on natural resources.

“This will probably be one of the most effective strategies for dealing with invasive species that we’ve seen,” said Hilary Smith, director of the Adirondack Park Invasive Plant Program.

“A lot of our work focuses on the early detection of invasive species of concern and doing rapid response or long-term management,” she added. “Many of these species have been introduced unintentionally through the sale of aquatic species through aquariums or nurseries.”

ESTABLISHING RULES

The bill, which was sponsored by Sen. Betty Little (R-Queensbury) and co-sponsored by Assemblywoman Teresa Sayward (R-Willsboro), requires the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation and Department of Agriculture and Markets to develop regulations for the sale, purchase, possession, introduction, importation and transport of invasive species.

The agencies will also develop a list of prohibited species that will be unlawful to possess with the intent to sell or introduce, as well as lower tiers of regulated species that would be legal to possess but with restrictions.

“By identifying the worst invasive species in New York that will no longer be available for sale, it will ease the burden on management of invasives for the long term,” Smith said. “These species won’t be making their way into the lands and waters of New York state in the future.

“We’re spending a lot of money to prevent the spread of purple loose strife,” she gave as an example, “but it’s kind of discouraging if someone is planting it next door.”

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