Invasive Species

The National Invasive Species Information Center (NISIC) defines invasive species as 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.

In the relatively short time that this country has existed, over 200 invasives

have found their  way here from other parts of the world. Not all non-native, non-indigenous imports are bad.

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Many non-indigenous plants, animals and pathogens were brought here with good intentions as was  the case with Water Chestnut, Eurasian Water Milfoil, Hydrilla and Mute Swans. Each of these  was brought to this country by man to beautify aquariums or garden ponds with no consideration  for unintended consequences.

Each has proven itself to be a net negative influence and a  formidable foe costing hundreds of millions of dollars to control while none has been eradicated  at this point. Eradication is rarely attainable while a level of acceptable coexistence is a  more reasonable end point.

Know Invasive Species that THREATEN Sodus Bay

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Water Chestnuts

Water chestnut has become a significant nuisance throughout Sodus Bay. These plants form impenetrable floating mats of vegetation. These mats create a hazard for boaters. The density of the mats can severely limit light penetration into the water and reduce or eliminate the growth of native aquatic plants beneath the canopy. The reduced plant growth combined with the decomposition of the water chestnut plants which die back each year can result in reduced levels of dissolved oxygen in the water, impact other aquatic organisms, and potentially lead to fish kills. They grow rapidly and become abundant enough that they can out-compete native aquatic vegetation.

Another effect of dense populations of water chestnut is the migration of small fish from under the canopy to the edges of the vegetative mat. That in turn leads to concentration of larger game fish attracted to the veritable “smorgasbord” at the fringe.

Quagga and Zebra Muscles

Some invasives although harmful to the aquatic food chain, are perceived as beneficial. Quagga and Zebra muscles are in this category. They have filtered algae from the water column creating clear water to greater depths than previously experienced. To the casual observer this would appear to be an improvement. The unintended consequence is that now the macrophite community (weeds) can flourish at greater water depths increasing the total biomass of the water body, diminishing recreational opportunities. These small bivalves also serve to restrict water flow wherever there is an intake to a power plant, municipal water system or boat as they inhabit intake screens restricting water flow.

The Great Lakes have been subjected to arrival of invasives since the opening of the St. Lawrence Seaway. We have become victims of the contents of ballast water discharged into the Great Lakes by ships from around the world. With that ballast water come potential invasives.

 

Hydrilla

Presently we are faced with an even more formidable aquatic plant, Hydrilla. As this invasive attempts a foothold at the southern end of Cayuga Lake at the Ithaca Inlet, at Fall Creek and in Tonawanda Creek that forms part of the Erie Canal, the State is expending great effort and money to contain and eradicate this plant. Hydrilla has the ability to render a water body unusable as it has in the Florida everglades.

New York State has passed legislation to restrict the sale of some known invasives and recently passed legislation governing the transportation of aquatic invasive species via the vector of boats, trailers and motors. This “Clean, Drain, Dry” campaign targets the spread of invasives and has spawned the advent of the Launch Steward Program around the state. It targets macrophytes, baitfish and bilge water. Lumber, wood product and firewood restrictions are also in place.

Hydrylla

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DONATE NOW

Save Our Sodus works on Your behalf.

Help us Preserve, Protect and Improve Great Sodus Bay – make a one-time or a recurring contribution to SOS.  Secure donations are processed through Network For Good