What are invasive species?
An invasive species is a plant or animal that is not native to an area. When a plant or animal is aggressive to the extent that they out-compete native plants and animals and disrupt the ecological balance, they are referred to as “invasive”. These problem plants and animals are spread and introduced into lakes by many different methods. One of the most common (and fastest) ways invasive weeds spread is by hitching a ride on boats as they move between water bodies, such as those traveling along the interconnected Erie Canal system.
Plants and animals can also be introduced into new water bodies by boat trailers, bait buckets and fishing tackle. Some exotic invasive species have been introduced unintentionally when they are used in gardens and landscaping near a waterway. When people dispose of aquatic plants and animals by emptying their aquariums into a nearby waterway, non-native nuisance plants, fish, snails and clams can introduced into the region. Stopping the spread of invasive plants and animals is essential to the health of the Finger Lakes.
- Establish Easily
- Produce High Number Offspring
- Grow and Proliferate Quickly
- Disperse Over a Wide Area
- Persist Without Cultivation
- Advantages over Native Species
What impacts do invasive species have over native species?
- Increased competition with native plants
- Alteration of environmental conditions
- Reduction in variety and diversity of species
- Impacts on people: 1) aesthetic-invasive plants decrease the quality of life and aesthetic value of a water body, 2) economic-clogged and infested water ways decrease property values, hurt tourism, impact fisheries, and cost communities money for control and management of plants, 3) recreation-invasive plants impede swimming, boating, fishing, and navigation opportunities
- Less suitable habitat for fish and wildlife
- Impacts on food chain and effects on ecosystem
This means that prevention is crucial and can be accomplished if everyone cleans their boats and equipment on dry land when leaving a water body. If an invasive plants and animals do arrive in a new area, early detection and rapid response are both essential to prevent a large infestation from becoming established.
Cayuga County’s Invasive Species:
Sooner than later,