PGC Organizes Talk about How Invasive Species Are Dealt with
in the Hudson Valley - November 14, 2022
Concern for our beautiful and special Hudson Highlands environment drove attendance at a November 14 lecture on “Invasives Species” at Boscobel arranged by the Philipstown Garden Club. Brent Boscarino, Coordinator of the Lower Hudson Partnership for Regional Invasive Species Management (LH-PRISM), recounted how species from outside our ecosystem arrived here as packing material (Phragmites, Japanese stilt grass), hitchhiked in containers of fruit (stinkbug), were brought by colonists as valued medicinal or culinary herbs (garlic mustard, mugwort) or ornamentals (oriental bittersweet). Freed from the controls of their original ecosystems, they challenge natives and their seeds are spread by birds, boots, wind, water. The Garden Club of America’s Wildlife Call to Action letter stated that over one-third of America’s species of plants and animals are threatened with extinction; invasives constitute a considerable part of that threat. Ecologically they degrade wildlife habitat; economically their control costs an astounding 5% of global GDP!
While state agencies are involved in protection of economic resources, most invasive species action is local. Since 2013, the New York-New Jersey Trail Conference has been the host organization for LH-PRISM, one of eight PRISMs across NYS. The LH-PRISM, Brent explained, consists of fifty-eight regional partners representing multiple environmental fields, including forestry, agriculture, aquatics, and garden clubs. Local “citizen science” volunteers form the Invasives Strike Force who collectively hike hundreds of miles of trails to identify invasives. Their input drives invasive removal events, also known as “weed wrangles,” during volunteer workdays to restore and protect native habitats.