Pale Swallowwort

Giant Hogweed
Image by Jen stengle

Giant Hogweed

Invasive Species

"Invasive species are plants, animals, or pathogens that are non-native (or alien) to the ecosystem under consideration and whose introduction causes or is likely to cause harm." from

Invasive species can be plants, animals, and other organisms (e.g., microbes). Human actions are the primary means of invasive species introductions and movement. For more information, see the Vectors and Pathways section at

On you can learn about the impacts of invasive species and the Federal government's response, as well as read select species profiles (animals, aquatic species, microbes, and plants) and find links to agencies and organizations dealing with invasive species issues.

You can also find out about New York State responses to Invasive Species at NYIS and the NYS DEC website. And learn how to safely dispose of invasive species.

What Can you Do?

Humans actions are the major pathway to introduction for Invasive Species. Your day-to-day decisions can make a difference! 

Gardeners: Ask your Nursery or Garden center which plants are native. Or call your local Cornell Cooperative Extension or Native Plant Society; they can help you select plants suited to your landscape that are either native or that do not show invasive tendencies. Remember, garden centers and nurseries carry what their customers ask for. You can help make the change: if you ask for native plants, growers will be more likely to stock them. Check out this great guidebook on Alternatives to Invasive Plants.

Boaters and Anglers: Clean, Drain Dry & Disinfect.When you leave a body of water, remove any visible mud, plants, fish or animals before transporting your equipment. Be sure to eliminate any water from your hidden areas like bait wells and bilges. Clean and dry anything that comes in contact with water (boats, trailers, equipment, even your dogs). Never release plants, fish or animals into a body of water unless they came out of that body of water. If you have leftover bait, don’t just dump it out in the brush or into the water. New York State DEC maintains a list of approved baitfish species: ask your bait shop what they are carrying.

Hikers, Birders, Outdoor Enthusiasts: Chances are, you’re out there to enjoy nature. The last thing you want to do is introduce an invasive species. Clean equipment, boots, and gear between trips, preferably, before leaving an infested area. Make sure to remove all seeds and other plant parts. And since you’re already out there, learn to recognize and report invasive species. If you’d like to improve your ID skills and learn how to report what you’ve found, attend one of the many free invasive species ID classes offered throughout the region.

Citizens: Chances are your municipality will have to pay for invasive species control or removal. Whether it’s a bad neighbor like running Bamboo (Phyllostachys sp.) or the sudden loss of trees on town property to Emerald Ash Borer, municipalities often have to foot the bill and pass the burden on to taxpayers. Get involved at the local level to encourage invasive species regulation and preparedness for your town or village. Don’t know where to start? See if your county or municipality has an emerald ash borer task force, environmental commission or a citizen’s advisory committee. here are some facts about the costs of invasive species.


Jennifer Lerner
Senior Resource Educator
845-278-6738 ext. 216

Last updated August 22, 2023