Non-native aquatic plants, animals, and microorganisms are serious threats to the Adirondack Park. These organisms are distributed outside of their indigenous range mostly through human activities and can become invasive in their new environments. A species is considered "invasive" when it is alien to introduced locations and causes detriment to the economy, environment, and/or human health. It is estimated that aquatic invasive species (AIS) cost economies over a billion dollars per year.
We became involved in AIS management in 1999 with the start of our Management Program on Upper Saranac Lake, followed the next year by our Stewardship Program in the St Regis Lakes watershed. Within a few years these two programs became the largest of their kind in the region as public awareness and concern about invasive species grew. In 2005 we participated in a grass roots effort in cooperation with 11 other organizations to develop the Adirondack Park Aquatic Nuisance Species Management Plan (the Plan). The Plan was adopted by the Adirondack Park Agency and endorsed by local governments, and has the following three goals: (1) prevent new AIS from entering the Park, (2) limit the spread of AIS already established in the Park, and (3) mitigate negative impacts resulting from established populations of AIS. The Plan is overseen by an implementation committee under the Adirondack Park Invasive Plant Program (APIPP), who provides leadership, guidance, and support for implementing various activities described in the Plan. We participate in this committee and work with various partners to achieve the three goals of the Plan through our Stewardship (goal 1), Early Detection/Rapid Response (goal 2), and Management (goal 3) Programs. We also conduct research on AIS biology, management, and spread to increase both our understanding of the potential impacts of these organisms and our ability to manage them.