Our priority initiatives are highlighted below, additional details can be viewed in our 2019-2023 Strategic Plan.
Preventing the introduction of new invasive terrestrial and aquatic plant and animal species not currently found in the SLELO region is the number one SLELO priority. These species are those that are not currently found in the SLELO region but are within close proximity and have the potential to have the greatest negative impact. Species examples include; hydrilla, Asian longhorned beetle and mile-a-minute vine.
Early Detection and Rapid Response
ED/RR for new species is a priority for the SLELO PRISM. This includes a control component that will help to eradicate new infestations and to contain and/or suppress species populations upon initial detection. We utilize a tiered system of species that allows us to prioritize species and communicate appropriate management actions between other NY PRISMs and partners.
The SLELO Tiered System is as follows:
Tier 1 – Prevention/Early Detection Species. Not in PRISM, but within a 100-mile buffer or introduction pathway exists. Highest level of early detection survey efforts.
Tier 2 – Eradication Species. Present in PRISM, but at low abundance making eradication feasible within Priority Conservation Areas.
Tier 3 -Suppression Species. Too widespread for eradication from PRISM. Targeted management to suppress the population within Priority Conservation Areas.
Tier 4 – Local Control Species. Present/widespread throughout PRISM with no chance of eradication. Localized, landowner management applied to protect high priority resources like rare plant or recreation assets.
Tier 5 – Monitor Species. These are species that may or may not be in PRISM but are difficult to respond to or that require more knowledge of.
Educating the general public on various issues related to invasive species is at the forefront of any long-term management effort. Educational efforts will be tailored to meet the needs of each stakeholder group. Increasing the stakeholders’ awareness of invasive species literacy, negative impacts, and strategies for limiting negative impacts is a goal of SLELO’s educational efforts. The public needs to be aware of the numerous ways in which invasive species impact our daily lives and how they can help address the issue. Consistent messaging that invoke behavioral change is an important element of our education, outreach and marketing efforts.
Urban Forest Sustainability
Urban forests constitute a collection of trees growing along streets, yards, parks, cemeteries, school grounds and undeveloped open spaces. Urban forests have numerous environmental, social and economic benefits that are important to both nature and people, such as, providing shade and shelter, water filtration, air purification, and enhancing property values and positive health benefits for people. Invasive forest pests threaten the health of our urban forests and street trees effected by invasive forest pests or pathogens can become a liability. SLELO partners are working together to help enhance the sustainability of urban forests in the wake of invasive species and a changing climate.
Enhancing the Health of Our Waters
Waterbodies within the SLELO region hold vast aquatic resources that have ecological, economic and recreational importance. Aquatic invasive species (AIS) threaten the health of our aquatic resources and SLELO PRISM is collaborating with partners to explore ways to protect our water bodies. We’re using environmental DNA (eDNA) to detect AIS on a molecular level and leverage early detection efforts for new threats. We implement early detection rapid response efforts on waterbodies throughout our region and have expanded our boat launch steward program to reduce AIS spread potential. We’re investigating if there is a connection between the nutrients released from AIS and harmful algal blooms and if there is a carbon-neutral approach to dispose of removed aquatic invasive plants.
SLELO PRISM draws upon the expertise of our partnership. We link people, information and action through enhanced communication and share information to enhance the prevention and management of invasive species. An example of these efforts is Eastern Lake Ontario Swallowwort Collaborative (ELOSC)—a collaborative online platform where researchers and land managers can share and learn the best management practices and cutting edge research available for swallow-wort control.
Considering Changing Climate
Our climate is changing; impacts of these changes make environmental ecosystems more vulnerable to the invasion and establishment of invasive species. Changes in precipitation and seasonal temperatures can stress and weaken natural plant communities. Climatic changes resulting in raised temperatures in northern latitudes may cause many species to shift their ranges farther north and higher in elevation; in addition to range shifts, climate change may enhance the success of naturalized non-native species causing them to become invasive. The presence of invasive species can also contribute to our carbon footprint; for example, trees killed by invasive forest pests lose their ability to store carbon. SLELO partners consider how climate change will impact the way we manage invasive species and incorporate adaptive management strategies to prepare for these impacts.
GOALS, OBJECTIVES, AND STRATEGIES
The Nature Conservancy follows a programmatic approach known as the Shared Conservation Agenda, a strategic planning and implementation process that engages stakeholders focusing on achieving the best possible results for the most important natural resource issues of today. Partners of the SLELO PRISM have engaged in a similar, complementary process to identify goals and objectives along with specific action-oriented strategies and accompanying measurable results. Our work follows a framework of goals, objectives, strategies, outputs, and outcomes that will help the SLELO partners to not only achieve the best possible outcomes but to maximize conservation benefit within the SLELO region.