Program Director

Rob Williams

Email: rwilliams@tnc.org

Phone: 315 387 3600 x7725

Rob Williams is educated as a freshwater biologist (Brockport State University) and has extensive experience in working with invasive species, water quality assessments, natural resource management, and strategic planning. Rob is one of the co-founders of the Finger Lakes –Lake Ontario Watershed Protection Alliance and co-founder of the Lake Ontario Coastal Initiative. Rob manages and directs SLELO PRISM contracts, annual work plans, special projects, and initiatives. Rob engages collaborative efforts among partners to align our work with strategic goals. He plays an active role on the New York State Invasive Species Advisory Committee and The Nature Conservancy’s North American Invasive Species Advisory Board and various other Technical Working Groups.

Education Outreach and Communications Coordinator

Megan Pistolese-Shaw

Email: megan.pistolese@tnc.org

Phone: 315 387 3600 x7724

Megan Pistolese holds a Bachelor of Science Degree focused in Ecology, Environmental Education and Sustainability. She is experienced with aquatic and terrestrial invasive species identification, impacts, modes of introduction, prevention and management methods. She leads our Education & Outreach Committee and collaborates with our partners to raise awareness of invasive species and coordinate outreach events throughout the region.  She is working to recruit and train volunteers to recognize and report invasive species through our invasive species Volunteer Surveillance Network (VSN).

If you are interested in collaborating on invasive species outreach efforts and events or if you would like to join our VSN please reach out to Megan.

Aquatic Restoration and Resiliency Coordinator

Brittney Rogers

Email: Brittney.rogers@tnc.org

Phone: 315 387 3600 x7730

Brittney Rogers holds a Master of Science from SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry and a Bachelor of Science in Zoology from SUNY Oswego and brings with her extensive experience in aquatic invasive species identification and management and is one of the pioneers in New York States Watercraft Inspection Steward Program. Brittney leading efforts to protect aquatic priority conservation areas from the impacts of invasive species through early detection and rapid response efforts and is leading multiple initiatives to enhance the health of aquatic ecosystems in our region. She is collaborating with Cornell University on two major projects, one with the Atkinson Center for a Sustainable Future at Cornell University using environmental DNA (eDNA) to detect the presence of invasive species such as tench, snakehead and Asian carp in the Black River and other inland waters throughout our region. She is also working with the Cornell Nutrient Analysis Lab (CNAL) to determine if the management of water chestnut through hand-pulls or other means is impacting nutrient levels in relation to harmful algal blooms and to provide best management practices for a more carbon-neutral approach to dispose of removed water chestnut rosettes. Brittney is co-administering SLELO PRISM’s Watercraft Inspection Steward Program with partners, which is expanding to 20 boat launch sites, disbursed across our entire region. Other projects Brittney is involved in include the designation of a new Invasive Species Prevention Zone (ISPZ) to be formally announced in the spring and a new initiative being developed to restore and preserve select aquatic habitats in the region.

If you are interested in collaborating on aquatic restoration projects, would like to volunteer with water chestnut pulls, eDNA sampling or our watercraft inspection steward program or if you just want to know what that weird plant is in your pond, please reach out to Brittney.

Terrestrial Restoration and Resiliency Coordinator

Robert Smith

Email: robert.l.smith@tnc.org

Phone: 315 387 3600 x7723

Robert Smith holds a Master of Science from SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry and brings with him extensive experience in terrestrial invasive species identification and management including ecosystem restoration and dendrology and is a US Army Veteran. Robert is leading efforts to protect terrestrial priority conservation areas from the impacts of invasive species through early detection and rapid response efforts, in addition to reducing the spread potential of invasive species to and from our region. He is coordinating the Eastern Lake Ontario Swallowwort Collaborative to link researchers and land managers through an online platform to share and learn the best management practices to control swallowwort. Robert is also developing an urban forest sustainability initiative aimed to enhance the resiliency of urban forests in the wake of invasive forest pests and a changing climate. He is creating a guide to help communities plan for the impacts that climate change and invasive forest pests such as emerald ash borer and spotted lanternfly will have on our street trees, parks, and other green spaces.

Please reach out to Robert if you have questions or are working on projects related to the prevention or management of terrestrial invasive plants and animals.

Conservation and GIS Analyst

Zachary Simek

Email: zachary.simek@TNC.ORG

Phone: (518) 576-2082 ext. 131

Zack received a Bachelor of Science in Natural Resource Management and Policy, with a minor in Geographic Information Systems, from Paul Smith’s College. He currently acts as the GIS and data analyst for SLELO PRISM and the Adirondack Park Invasive Plant Program. His role informs invasive species survey and management work across northern New York. As a licensed drone pilot, he deploys novel technology to support the programs’ science-driven approach. 


Please reach out to Zack if you have questions regarding the utilization of GIS or remote sensing technology in invasive species management. 

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    Prevent the introduction of invasive species into the SLELO PRISM.

    Rapidly detect new and recent invaders and eliminate all individuals within a specific area.

    Share resources, including funding personnel, equipment, information, and expertise.

    Collect, utilize, and share information regarding surveys, infestations, control methods, monitoring, and research.

    Control invasive species infestations by using best management practices, methods and techniques to include: ERADICATION (which is to eliminate all individuals and the seed bank from an area), CONTAINMENT (which is reducing the spread of established infestations from entering an uninfested area) and SUPPRESSION which is to reduce the density but not necessarily the total infested area.

    Develop and implement effective restoration methods for areas that have been degraded by invasive species and where suppression or control has taken place.

    Increase public awareness and understanding of invasive species.

    Develop and implement innovative technologies that help us to better understand, visualize, alleviate or manage invasive species and their impacts or that serve to strengthen ecosystem function and/or processes.