DEC partners NYISRI, Cornell University to limit spread of invasive species

by MCR Correspondent

The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation has announced new partnerships with the New York Invasive Species Research Institute and Cornell University to develop and support projects and research to help limit the spread of invasive species.

The announcement was made during New York’s recognition of Climate Week 2020.

Climate change facilitates the spread and establishment of many species and creates new opportunities for them to become invasive.

In addition, invasive species can reduce the resilience of natural habitats, agricultural systems and urban areas to climate change.

“New York State recognizes the challenges we face preventing the spread of invasive species, particularly in light of our changing climate, changing habitats, and changing ecosystems,” said DEC Commissioner Basil Seggos.

“With sustained support and investments through the Environmental Protection Fund, DEC’s invasive species program continues to be a national leader, and the work of Cornell and the New York Invasive Species Institute bolster and complement New York’s efforts to effectively manage invasive species,” he added.

Cornell University is the current host for the Invasive Species Research Institute. Nearly 50 scientific investigations about invasive species have been/are being conducted.

The announcement sustains the State’s ongoing collaboration with NYISRI to coordinate invasive species research and develop outreach efforts to conserve New York’s hemlock resources in the face of multiple threats, particularly the hemlock woolly adelgid (HWA), an invasive insect.

Supported by the State’s Environmental Protection Fund with $3.5 million, the NYISRI five-year term agreement includes $2.5 million for invasive species projects; the agreement with Cornell University includes a two-year term with $1 million to support the New York Hemlock Initiative.

The five-year project memorandum of understanding (MOU) will support key positions and services at NYISRI for focused work on identifying invasive species, education, outreach, and targeted control efforts.

New York is home to vast stands of eastern hemlock trees (Tsuga canadensis).

These trees are threatened by the introduction of the invasive insect HWA and other environmental stressors.

HWA is now a serious threat to the survival of hemlock in eastern forests. Funded through the MOU, Cornell’s New York Hemlock Initiative provides a critical service by developing methods to conserve hemlock, including the growth and release of several biological control agents and other fundamental survey, research, and trend analyses.

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