This article was featured in the 2023 Winter Newsletter by Greg Welter-NYNHP.


Fort Drum Military Installation is a staple of the Watertown, NY area.  It covers over 100,000 acres of land, most of which is undeveloped and used for Soldier training.  Sadly, just like elsewhere across the region, invasive species threaten to take over if the appropriate management is not performed. To make educated management decisions, natural resource managers at Fort Drum first must know the extent and spatial distribution of the problem.

To this end, Fort Drum has teamed up with the New York Natural Heritage Program (NYNHP) to perform a survey of invasive plant species on the installation.  NYNHP is a program of the State University of New York College of Environmental Science and Forestry that is funded primarily by the NYS Department of Environmental Conservation and its partners, with a mission to facilitate the conservation of New York’s biodiversity by providing comprehensive information and scientific expertise on rare species and natural ecosystems to resource managers and other conservation partners.

NYNHP began this survey during the summers of 2021 and 2022.  A field crew of four seasonal staff was brought on in 2021, followed by eight seasonal staff and a field coordinator in 2022.  The crews hope to survey much of the installation systematically on a 15-meter grid.  Terrestrial plant species are focused on, though the crew keeps their eye out for some aquatic species as well. 

The data collected will drive Fort Drum’s invasive species management strategy moving forward. Their invasive species treatment staff often follow a week or two behind the NYNHP survey crew and manage newly discovered populations of species such as black and pale swallow-wort, which is still in low abundance on the installation, so the survey effort pays off in real-time.  Additionally, the data gets uploaded to iMapInvasives, New York’s invasive species database which is managed by NYNHP.  Zoom on to Fort Drum on the map in iMapInvasives to see observation and treatment data!


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