Stream Stewardship: Streamside: Invasive Species

Find out about the expansive negative effects of exotic, invasive species and threats to the Catskills. This section includes information about invasive plant control for already established species as well as identification information for invasive species on the fringe of the Catskill Mountains. Additionally, you can learn about joining a new group called the Catskill Regional Invasive Species Partnership (CRISP) that works cooperatively to address invasive species concerns.

Click here to read why invasive species are a problem

How to be helpful in the overwhelming world of invasive species control:

1. First it’s important to know what plants and animals have lived together over hundreds of years in the Catskill Mountains. These native species depend on each other in order to thrive. Understanding our natural surroundings makes it easier to identify what things do not belong. To begin getting familiar with Catskill native plants, please view our species lists.

2. In the Catskills we have several plant species like Oriental bittersweet or Japanese barberry that may seem native, because they cover such a large area, but they are actually non-native, invasive plants. While it is important to know these established invasive plants, it is actually more critical to learn about early detection species or non-native plants that may only be found in limited quantities in the Catskills. The reason being that it is much easier to control a small population versus an extensive, established population. This pdf includes a few slides of early detection plants that have demonstrated negative impacts elsewhere in New York, but have not yet taken a hold in the Catskills. The Nature Conservancy has also compiled a list of invasive species in or near the Catskill region and developed a useful guide to preventing the spread of invasive insects and disseases.

3. Once you’ve become familiar with early detection species and if you find one of these plants on your own property, please make a voucher specimen. For instructions on how to make a voucher specimen, please refer to this document link.

Invasive Species Japanese Knotweed

4. You could also just talk to neighbors if you notice that they are planting non-native, invasive plants or if they are moving soil that previously had an invasive plant growing in it. Japanese knotweed (seen above), which has colonized miles of streambank throughout the Catskills, was originally brought to the United States for its aesthetic qualities. Now it often creates new colonies when soil with small plant fragments is moved as part of bridge maintenance or gardening projects.

5. Create a neighborhood team to help each other control invasive species in your area. In the hamlet of Oliverea, the Foxfire 4-H club, wrote to neighbors living along the McKenley Hollow creek which flows in the Esopus Creek. After receiving permission from all of the landowners, the children mapped Japanese knotweed locations and worked together to stomp it out and cover it. This group of enthusiastic 6-12 year olds may successfully eliminate Japanese knotweed from their neighborhood.

6. Lastly, you could join a newly formed partnership, the Catskill Regional Invasive Species Partnership (CRISP). This group consists of many agencies and organizations working in throughout the Catskills, but is also welcome to concerned citizens. The link within this text will lead you to a sign-on letter and more information about CRISP.

Links and Resources

Click on the links below for more information:

> TNC Inventory and Assessment
> Catskill Mountains Garlic Mustard Trailhead/Trail Survey Report
> An Overview of Nonindigenous Plant Species in New Jersey
> An Invasive Species Assessment Protocol
> Grant and Partnership Programs for Address Invasive Species
> USDA Forest Service Invasive Species Program
> Invasive Species in Pennsylvania
> Native Plant Conservation Initiative’s Alien Plant Working Group
> Invasive Plant Council of New York State
> Invasive Plant Atlas of New England
> Experimental Management of Japanese Knotweed (Fallopia japonica)
on the Batavia Kill, Greene County, New York, Hudsonia, 2009
> Center for Invasive Plant Management
> National Invasive Species Council
> Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources
> Global Invasive Species Programme
> National Invasive Species Council
> Nature Serve assessment
> Invasive Plant Management Textbook
> Union of Concerned Scientists
> NYSDOT Invasive Species I.D., Management and Control(2.89 MB)

Sea Grant of NYS: New York Invasive Species


GCSWCD Knotweed Brochure


DCSWCD Knotweed Brochure

Other species lists

New York State NEEDS YOUR HELP with
Invasive Species Early Detection

Click here for Trout Unlimited’s Most Un-Wanted List

Click here for Chicago Botanic garden list


Connecticut Invasive Plant Working Group maintains a website on invasive plants and their control, as well as announcements of conferences and other events.

Guide to Invasive Non-native Aquatic Plants in Massachusetts C. Barre Hellquist and Massachusetts Dept. of Environmental Management, Lakes and Ponds Program, Boston. 14 page booklet with line drawings, color photos and brief descriptions. For a free copy, contact Michelle Robinson, (617) 626-1382.

“Wisconsin Manual of Control Recommendations for Ecologically Invasive Plants," edited by Hoffman and Kearns, and published by the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources. Copies are available by sending $3 to the Endangered Resources Fund, Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, P.O. Box 7921, Madison, Wisconsin 53707-7921.

U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has produced a "Noxious and Nuisance Plant Management Information System-PMIS" (Version 4) on CD-ROM, that discusses 60 plants, and includes pictures, range maps, control information, and information on pesticide regulations in 26 states. The Aquatic Plant Information System-APIS@ includes the identification and management of over 60 species of native and introduced aquatic and wetland plants. Single copies of each of these CD’s are available free from Michael J. Grodowitz, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, CEWES-ER-A, 3909 Halls Ferry Road, Vicksburg, MS 39180 (grodowm@mail.wes.army.mil). Not all of the plants included are problems in New England.

For more information, e-mail info@catskillstreams.org

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