New York May Ban Dozens of “Invasive” Plants and Animals
20 Dec, 2013
By Joyce Newman, Environmental Reporter
Loop Environmental Reporter Joyce Newman wants you to know the public comment period on this proposal to ban certain plants is up on December 23:
Many Westchester gardeners and homeowners have been battling invasive species of plants and animals for years. Now New York State’s Department of Environmental Conservation and the Department of Agriculture and Markets have taken up the challenge, declaring their own war on invasives.
The agencies currently propose to prohibit the sale and availability of a wide range of invasive species in Westchester and other parts of the state– including many well-known flowers and trees, as well as certain fish and other animals. On the list of prohibited plants, for example, are the ever-present Porcelain Berry, Japanese Barberry, Oriental Bittersweet, Amur Cork Tree, Kudzu, and many more highly visible invaders.
The proposed rules (called 6 NYCRR Part 575) also create a separate list of other plants and fish that need to be better regulated, with special warning labels, though these species would not prohibited for sale.
The new rules define an invasive species as “a species that is nonnative to the ecosystem under consideration, and whose introduction causes or is likely to cause economic or environmental harm or harm to human health…. the harm must significantly outweigh any benefits.”
You can review a complete list of the invasive species that would be banned and those that would be regulated here.
Carol Capobianco who heads The Native Plant Center at Westchester Community College says her group supports the new proposed rules calling them “a step in the right direction.” The Center, however, has sent some additional recommendations.
Some plants on the “to be regulated” list are controversial, such as the Black Locust tree, which Capobianco says is really not so invasive as to be a problem here. Native plant experts at The New York Botanical Garden probably would agree. They have installed Black Locust boardwalks and benches on the promenade throughout their Native Plant Garden because Black Locust, they say, is a “native hardwood.”
You can weigh in on the merits of the new rules and which plants or animals should be targeted. There’s a public comment period on the proposed rules which ends Dec. 23.
Send your letter or email to:
Ms. Leslie Surprenant
NYS DEC, Invasive Species Coordination Unit
625 Broadway, Floor 5
Albany, NY 12233
Photos by Leslie Mehrhoff, U. of Connecticut, www.invasive.org