NY regs seek to prevent spread of invasive species

New state regulations will prevent the introduction and spread of invasive species and help to preserve New York’s ecosystems, state Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) Commissioner Joe Martens announced Wednesday. The regulations are the latest step in the state’s efforts to combat invasive species and were developed by DEC in cooperation with the state Department of Agriculture and Markets (DAM).

“Invasive species can cause serious harm to other species and impair natural ecosystems,” Commissioner Martens said. “These regulations will establish strict limits to better control the spread of invasive species and help to protect natural resources, habitats and biological diversity, including trees, crops and native species that are threatened by the presence of invasives.”

In early July, Governor Cuomo urged all New Yorkers to take action to protect lands and waters from invasive species that can be harmful to human health, animal habitat, agriculture and tourism by designating New York’s first-ever Invasive Species Awareness Week.

Many invasive species such as the Eurasian Boar, Asian Longhorned Beetle, Emerald Ash Borer, and Northern Snakehead fish can cause significant damage to natural communities in New York State. Since 2011, $30 million in state funds has been allocated toward preventing the spread of invasive species.

The regulations make it unlawful to knowingly possess a prohibited species with the intent to sell, import, purchase, transport, or introduce. Regulated species are those that have been determined to have the potential to cause harm to New York’s ecology, or human health but also have positive socio-economic benefits and which may be effectively contained through regulatory programs.

Regulated species may be possessed, sold, purchased, propagated, and transported, but may not be knowingly introduced to the state’s environment.