Salmon River Initiative – Year II
The Salmon River, located along the eastern shore of Lake Ontario, is a valuable cultural and natural resource worthy of protection from the habitat-altering impacts of invasive species. As a cultural resource, the Salmon River is a multi-million dollar fishery hosting in excess of 100,000 angler visitors annually. Angling enthusiasts travel from numerous regions across the United States and Canada, as well as from throughout the world, to fish the river. Many local businesses thrive as a result of this cultural resource. The Salmon River is also an integral part of Lake Ontario ecosystem linking it directly to the overall Great Lakes whole system.
This 17-mile river system is rich in habitat diversity and provides, both in the upstream reaches and within the estuary, spawning and nursery grounds for pacific salmon (Chinook, Coho and Steelhead) and the native Atlantic salmon. The estuary provides shorebird nesting habitat for important species such as the Black Tern (Chidonias niger) and the Least Bittern (Ixobrychus exilis).
The increasing dominance of Japanese knotweed (Fallopia japonica), an aggressive invasive plant present within the Salmon River corridor, has the potential to negatively impact the economic and ecological values of the Salmon River and Salmon River Estuary. Dense stands along the upstream portion of the Salmon River interfere with angler access, making some areas of the river less attractive to fishermen. Large-scale alteration of the plant structure within the estuary could have direct impacts on shorebirds and other organisms that rely on the unique composition of emergent and riparian plant communities for shelter, nesting materials and food.
Partners of the SLELO-PRISM have endorsed a strategic initiative to restore and protect the estuary and river which involves three components to include; 1) Suppression of Japanese Knotweed, 2) Native plant restoration and 3) Education and outreach.
Anglers and Conservationists – please help!
1. Learn to identify the Japanese Knotweed plant – (refer to the “Species in the SLELO Region” menu item on this website – top of page)
2. Don’t walk through, trample, cut or otherwise disturb knotweed patches—this plant spreads primarily by germinating plant fragments, you will only spread the seeds and plant fragments which will worsen the problem.
Land Disturbance & Terrestrial Invasive Species
On my daily drive to and from work I have often noticed a relatively small patch of Japanese Knotweed (Polygonum cuspidatum) in the southeast corner of a nearby intersection. My previous disregard stems only from the fact that this small patch does not lay within one of our PRISM’s identified priority conservation areas (PCA’s).
In a more recent drive by of this same site, I noticed a small bulldozer clearing, or should I say grading the land. The topsoil, about 20 cubic yards was being staged along the south end of the lot and being that the entire site was covered with knotweed, certainly the topsoil was full of seeds and cuspidatum propagules.
After pondering the demise of the topsoil throughout the workday, I toyed with the idea of stopping after work to inquire as to what plans they had for the topsoil, after all topsoil is a sought after commodity. Too late, all the equipment and topsoil were nowhere to be seen.
Often overlooked in our discussions of invasive species pathways and mitigation is the idea of land clearing and infrastructure development, even on a small scale, and the translocation of topsoil contaminated with invasive plant fragments and/or seeds. I assume that the aforementioned “spoil” was used elsewhere to fill a need.
Let’s extrapolate using another species known for its high seed production (pale Swallow-wort (Cynanchum rossicum). At 2,000 seeds per square yard multiplied against an average 550 cubic yards per acre of topsoil, that suggests 1,100,000.00 seeds translocated per acre of contaminated topsoil.
In cooperation with our Canadian friends of the Ontario Invasive Plant Council, the SLELO PRISM Education & Outreach Committee will soon be pursuing a clean equipment protocol initiative that educates heavy equipment operators and will hopefully serve to identify contaminated topsoil and its translocation as a significant pathway for the spread of terrestrial invasive species. Identifying the need to manage contaminated topsoil is a good beginning, but must be followed with best management practice recommendations along with incentives to implement such practices.
The PRISM partners are confident that this initiative will serve to educate developers, engineers and heavy equipment operators on the need to better manage this pathway.
Rob Williams, PRISM Coordinator
Citizen Science & Volunteer Monitoring Event
“Another successful event”
The SLELO PRISM in cooperation with partners from the Oswego County Soil and Water Conservation District and the New York Sea Grant planned a two part citizen science and volunteer monitoring event on July 12th, 2014. This event took place on the Salmon River Estuary, starting at the Pine Grove Boat Launch, Port Ontario, NY. The purpose of this event was to:
- Recruit and teach volunteers the skills to survey their favorite landscape and/or waterbody for invasive species.
- Conduct a practical “hands-on” community demonstration designed around the hand-pulling of Water Chestnut plants.
- To celebrate New York State’s first formal Invasive Species Awareness Week.
There were a total of 29 participants at his years event. Each participant was given an invasive species handbook, a pocket magnifying lens and Hydrilla and Asian Clam identification cards. Approximately 11 cubic yards of Water Chestnut was pulled. THANK YOU Citizen Scientists!
for making our
Eastern Lake Ontario
Invasive Species Symposium
A Tremendous Success!
On behalf of the partners of the St. Lawrence Eastern Lake Ontario PRISM we wish to thank you for making our first Eastern Lake Ontario Invasive Species Symposium a tremendous success. We had 61 pre-registrations, 11 walk-ins and 23 turn-away’s for a total potential participation of 95 people. Our presenters were very informative and spot-on with a great balance of general verses technical information. We had great participation on the afternoon in-situ tour of swallow-wort. Many thanks to thank the Wehle Charitable Trust for sponsoring and Windswept Meadows for preparing wonderful morning refreshments and a great lunch. And many thanks to the helpful staff at the park. We are looking forward to future symposiums.
“What a great symposium your group put on yesterday! One of the best ones I have been at.” – Naja Kraus
“I thought the meeting went well and the speakers were excellent.” – Glen Roberts
“This was a great meeting, thanks for all the organizational effort. Please count me in when you do it again”. -Mark Whitmore
“Thanks for a great program”. – Sandy Bonanno
Prepare for Productive Season
Collaboration is a great thing, especially when it comes to managing invasive species for the purpose of protecting our regions natural areas and biodiversity. Our tag line “Teaming up to stop the spread of invasive species” and that’s exactly what the SLELO PRISM partners have once again committed to during the 2014 field season.
By working together throughout the five county Eastern Lake Ontario region, our partners anticipate another productive season focused on meeting our PRISM’s seven strategic goals; prevention, early detection/rapid response, cooperation, information management, control, restoration and education/outreach. After adopting a 2014 plan of work, partners of the SLELO PRISM anticipate 48 planned activities strategically designed to meet the objectives and goals outlined within the PRISM’s five year Strategic Plan. Many of these activities will take place on a PRISM-wide scale, other activities will focus on 13 of our PRISM’s 24 priority conservation areas.
Partners will also be working on independent projects targeted towards invasive species management along with tentative special projects sponsored by the PRISM. Combined, these efforts offer a collaborative approach targeting invasive species prevention, control and management.
Work Plan Summary
Salmon River Initiative
The Salmon River, located along the eastern shore of Lake Ontario, is a valuable cultural and natural resource worthy of protection from the habitat-altering impacts of invasive species. As a cultural resource, the Salmon River is a multi-million dollar fishery hosting in excess of 100,000 angler visitors annually. Angling enthusiasts travel from numerous regions across the United States and Canada, as well as from throughout the world, to fish the river. Many local businesses thrive as a result of this cultural resource. The Salmon River is also an integral part of Lake Ontario ecosystem linking it directly to the overall Great Lakes whole system. Unfortunately, the increasing dominance of Japanese knotweed, an aggressive invasive plant present within the Salmon River corridor, has the potential to negatively impact the economic and ecological values of the Salmon River and Salmon River Estuary.
Partners of the SLELO-PRISM have endorsed a strategic initiative to restore and protect the estuary and river which involves three components to include; 1) Suppression of Japanese Knotweed over the course of a minimum of three years using a stem injection technique as the primary control strategy. 2) Native plant restoration, which includes promoting natural regrowth and intentional plantings and 3) Education and outreach to occur as an on-going and important project component. Partners are confident that this project will benefit the natural processes and the ecological integrity of this magnificent resource.
Background on SLELO
Invasive species pose a serious ecological and economic threat in the St. Lawrence – Eastern Lake Ontario region of New York and indeed the entire state.
The St. Lawrence – Eastern Lake Ontario Partnership For Regional Invasive Species Management (SLELO PRISM) was formed in 2005 to combat the spread of invasives and mitigate associated threats. Our overall mission is to protect the natural and cultural integrity of aquatic and terrestrial areas in Jefferson, Oswego, Oneida, St. Lawrence, and Lewis counties from invasive species. Formally recognized by the state in 2011, our PRISM has made tremendous progress towards the prevention of new species and the management of existing species within the PRISM.
SLELO provides region-wide coordination for invasive species monitoring and management across the terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems within our 7,600-square mile PRISM region.
SLELO partners promote prevention, early detection and rapid response of invasive species through development and dissemination of educational materials and programs, documentation of species distributions, promotion of integrated habitat management strategies, and builds consensus for resource protection through partnerships with residents, institutions and agencies. Hosted by the Central Western NY Chapter of The Nature Conservancy, the SLELO PRISM has and continues to make significant progress towards invasive species management by utilizing the support and expertise of our partners.
- From early detection to rapid response and education, SLELO shares several goals with our PRISM partners.
- To focus immediate priorities, we have targeted several invasive species.
- We engage in several Projects & Activities throughout the SLELO region.
Invasive Species Program Coordinaator Rob Williams, has engaged and rallied the SLELO partnership in a strong and focussed way, one which will certainly help our PRISM to achieve our goals and objectives.