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June 10, 2013

Invasive-species workshops help identify unwanted visitors

KEENE VALLEY — Residents across the Adirondacks can take a proactive stand against invasive aquatic species with help from upcoming workshops.

The Adirondack Park Invasive Plant Program will host its annual volunteer training sessions in aquatic invasive plant identification and survey techniques at three locations later this month.

“This is an enormous park,” said Meghan Johnstone, aquatic invasive-species coordinator for the Adirondack Park Invasive Plant Program.

“There are only a few of us (employed staff members) and only so much we can possibly do in a summer. We really rely on volunteers to help” search for new aquatic invaders.

12 YEARS OF STUDY

Nearly 600 Adirondack Park residents have put in more than 6,500 hours to survey 300 water bodies across the park.

Their efforts during the 12-year program have helped establish a baseline to better understand the distribution of infected waters.

“People living in the park care about the water bodies they live on,” Johnstone said.

“They want to be more active (in controlling invasive species). This program helps them play a role to protect their lakes and ponds from aquatic invaders.”

FLEXIBILITY

Workshop participants will obtain skills to help identify plants and animals that should not be in a particular body of water. Then, volunteers can begin surveying water bodies in search of unwanted invaders.

“Volunteers can select a water body they’re specifically interested in monitoring, or we can select a water body for them to monitor,” said Johnstone, who noted that 98 volunteers participated in 2012, the highest number the program has seen in one year.

“A volunteer can take one day or spend as much time needed” for the survey, she added.

“They will report back to us at the end of the season, and if they do find something, we can help set up a management plan for dealing with new invaders.”

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