KEENE VALLEY — The invasive plant swallow-wort vine crept into the southwestern corner of the Adirondack Park last summer.
Heavy infestations are found just beyond the park’s western boundary, and Adirondack Invasive Plant Program field crews sounded the alert about its presence inside.
“The most common ways terrestrial invasive plants are introduced to new areas are by ornamental plantings and contaminated equipment or fill used in roadside projects,” said Hilary Smith, director for the multi-agency effort begun in 1998 to address the increasing threat of invasive species on a regional level.
In that way, invasives can move into new areas rapidly, Smith said. Giant hogweed is another non-native species that has popped up in the park, and yellow iris is one threatening to settle there.
The program will host a series of workshops, with the first this week, that focus on identifying and managing such terrestrial invasive species as Japanese knotweed and garlic mustard.
The trainings, free and open to the public, will include presentations and in-field demonstrations and are beneficial for landowners, landscapers, gardeners, resource and highway-department staff.
“Community members are an essential part of the solution to the invasive-species problem,” Smith said. “They are often the first line of defense in combating invasives by reporting invasive-plant sightings to us and lending assistance in managing infestations.”
More than 40 non-native plants have been identified in the Adirondacks on both public and private lands. Repeat treatments are often necessary to achieve successful control, but poorly managed efforts to control invasives can do more harm than good.
“Training sessions in how to properly manage terrestrial invasive plants are a win-win for landowners and the environment,” Smith said. “Landowners learn the skills to effectively treat and remove invasive species.
“By properly eliminating infestations, native plants and wildlife can thrive.”
More than 30 cooperating organizations and hundreds of volunteers participate in the Adirondack Park Invasive Plant Program.
“We apply a coordinated, integrated and strategic approach to combat this serious environmental threat,” Smith said. “Priorities include preventing the arrival of new invasive species, establishing an early-detection and rapid-response network to eliminate new infestations, and managing infestations in priority areas to mitigate harmful impacts.”
The program has three full-time staff, including coordinators for both terrestrial and aquatic invaders and is funded through the Environmental Protection Fund.
The workshops are set for: 1 to 3 p.m. this Thursday at Harrietstown Town Hall in Saranac Lake; 10 a.m. to noon Wednesday, Aug. 1, at the Tannery Pond Community Center in North Creek; and 1 to 3 p.m. Tuesday, Aug. 21, in the Zoning Office Board Room in Old Forge.
To attend, contact Sarah Walsh at 576-2082, Ext. 119, or by email at sarah_walsh