With AIS and climate change impacting the future of the Great Lakes, there is an opportunity to enhance a more diverse and resilient native ecosystem in the Eastern Lake Ontario region. Today, there are strict laws in place for ballast water dumping, transporting invasive species knowingly and extensive efforts underway to educate recreational boaters on preventing the spread of AIS to un-infested waters through the NYS Watercraft Inspection Steward Program, which teaches boaters to “Clean, Drain, Dry” their equipment. These efforts are important but without innovative and restorative plans being implemented, unintended negative anthropogenic impacts will continue to destabilize this system.
As a result, SLELO PRISM initiated the new Aquatic Restoration Initiative beginning in 2020 which will continue through 2023.
Phase II of the Aquatic Restoration Initiative is now complete. This year, 3.2 acres of riparian invasive species, Japanese knotweed and common reed, were treated at South Sandy Creek and Sandy Creek. Following treatment, many dead stands were mechanically cut and/or removed from the site. This was followed the first phase of restoration, where 11 native species, including spotted Joe Pye weed, green-headed coneflower, common sneezeweed, and a series of grass and rush species were spread across the treatment areas. The final report and presentation on results can be found below. Any partners interested in this work can contact Brittney Rogers for more information.
The first phase of this initiative began our “Aquatic and Riparian Invasive Species Inventory and Habitat Assessment.” The assessment focused on three select tributaries that may be impacted by aquatic and riparian invasive species. The study was completed to also gain a better understanding of the presence of species such as; non-native crayfish, gobies, and mussels; macrophytes such as fanwort, water hyacinth, and hydrilla; and near shore plant species, like Japanese knotweed, common reed, and oriental bittersweet. The results of the assessment identified the most deserving areas in need of eradication, suppression, restoration, or management of invasive species and the need for restoration, and serves as the foundation for this project.
To scale-up this initiative, this work will focus on building partnerships with organizations within NYS and the Great Lakes Region, and information will be disseminated to any interested parties through outreach and educational resources. Any partners interested in this work can contact Brittney Rogers for more information.