Invasive Species In Nassau and Suffolk County
Staff of The Nature Conservancy help Nassau County to remove aquatic invasive plant Ludwigia from Mill Pond, Merrick, 2009.
Nassau County is involved with different programs that protect our waters and lands, keeping them biologically rich, and usable for walking, swimming and boating. One of the problems affecting our environment and water bodies are invasive plant species, which take over ecosystems, crowd out local species, and make the area impassable and enjoyment difficult. The cost to fix these invasions, when they even can be fixed, is in the millions of dollars and takes many years.
Proactively, Nassau County became a leader in invasive species control policies and funding -- the need to keep waters open for fishing, boating and swimming, our lands walkable, and our natural areas rich in biodiversity is critical for our county’s future. In 2006, Nassau County defined the critical components needed for an effective county-wide invasives program.
In 2007, Nassau and Suffolk Counties became the first Counties in New York State to take a key step in slowing the spread of invasive species by outlawing the sale, transport, distribution, and propagation of 63 invasive plant species. As part of a long-term invasive species management plan, this law is a major move in the fight against the spread of these species into our lands and waters. The complete list of invasive plants, and the phase-out dates for each species is here:
For more information on the law and its enforcement, and how you can collaborate in the enforcement of this law, please visit the Department of Consumer Affairs website.
The Long Island Invasive Species Management Area (LIISMA) website has more information on local invasives legislation and the scientific ranking system developed to determine analytically whether a species is highly invasive (see http://nyis.info/LIISMA/Legislation.aspx).
How You can Help :
One of the ways that you can help protect and enhance the environment is with your gardening habits, by planting ornamental native or non-invasive plantsinstead of invasive species.
Cornell Cooperative Extension of Suffolk County has published 2 brochures that provide you with information on invasive plants and alternatives:
Alternatives to Ornamental Invasive Plants
The Nassau County Invasive Species Advisory Committee
The Nassau County Invasive Species Advisory Committee was created in 2009 to advise the County. The Committee has members from County agencies, Legislature, industry and environmental communities, and works together with The Nature Conservancy, Long Island Invasive Species Management Area (LIISMA), Long Island Nursery & Landscape Association, Long Island Farm Bureau, Cornell Cooperative Extension, Soil & Water Conservation District, Suffolk County Department of Parks, Nassau County Department of Parks, Nassau County Department of Public Works, New York City Department of Parks, US Fish & Wildlife Service, Brooklyn Botanic Garden, LI Botanical Society, and many individual botanists and field scientists. The Committee is well represented by its members’ interests, training and knowledge to develop and implement a vision for better action and coordination for invasive species management.
What is an invasive species? An invasive species is legally defined as an organism that is not native to the ecosystem under consideration AND whose introduction causes or is likely to cause harm to the environment, economy, and/or human health.
Both Nassau and Suffolk Counties have the same invasive species list. Prohibited species include their cultivars.