of Aquatic Invasive Plants
Invasive exotic plants can disrupt the natural integrity of aquatic
ecosystems and often proliferate to nuisance levels. The cost
and labor required to control species such as Eurasian watermilfoil
and Curlyleaf pondweed increases dramatically following their
establishment, while the probability for eradication decreases.
On this basis, opportunities for successful control follow from
early detection and rapid management response to new infestations.
In many cases, eradication of an invasive plant is not feasible
and a long-term commitment to plant management is required.
Management options for aquatic invasive plant
control can be characterized as either mechanical, physical, or
chemical. None of these techniques can be applied without some
collateral impact to the environment, nor is one intrinsically
superior to another. As a consequence, appropriate methods must
be selected based on site-specific constraints, costs, and regulatory
requirements. It follows that management should be prioritized
to meet the goals and intended use of the waterbody, as well as
individual infestations within that system. A comparative discussion
of aquatic plant management techniques and resources by Dr. John
Madsen can be reviewed online at www.aquatics.org/pubs/madsen2.htm.
In spring 2005, the New York State Department of Environmental
Conservation drafted a resource document: A
Primer on Aquatic Plant Management In New York State.
Freshwater Wetlands Act
The Adirondack Park Agency (APA) administers the
Freshwater Wetlands Act within the Adirondack Park. Activities
which influence the function or benefits derived from freshwater
wetlands are considered regulated activities and require prior
approval by the APA. In this context, Agency jurisdiction extends
to submerged wetland communities (deep water marsh) up to 2m (6.6
ft.) in depth. Management of nuisance invasive or native aquatic
plants within this shoreline area is subject to Agency review
and permitting. The Agency also recognizes the importance of aquatic
plants and animal communities living below this water depth.
Hand Harvesting of Nuisance and Invasive
Aquatic Plants : Identification, Collection, and Disposal
The Adirondack Park Agency developed a brochure,
on Hand Harvesting Nuisance and Invasive Aquatic Plants' that
provides guidance for hand-harvesting by individual landowners
that have nuisance growths of native or invasive aquatic plants
that interfere with recreational access to the waterbody. The
brochure provides instructions for the landowner on the best management
practices to identify, collect, remove, and dispose of nuisance
aquatic invasive vegetation by hand or with the use of un-powered
A permit is not required for hand harvesting if
a) is conducted by hand in open water.
b) leaves at least 200 square feet of contiguous
indigenous wetland in the immediate vicinity of the owner's
c) does not involve more than 1000 square feet
of native freshwater wetland plants.
d) does not involve rare or endangered species.
e) is conducted only on the individual's property,
or with permission of the property owner.
f) does not involve any pesticides or any other
form of aquatic plant management, including mechanical plant
harvesting methods or matting.
g) does not involve dredging, removal of stumps
or rocks, or other disturbance to the bed or banks of the water
on Hand Harvesting Nuisance and Invasive Aquatic Plants' does
not authorize any other form of aquatic plant management, including
mechanical plant harvesting methods or matting, pesticide use,
lake-wide harvesting, or the removal of rare, threatened, or endangered
species. Similarly, disturbances to the bottom of the waterbody
are limited to the minimum necessary to remove the plants. Hand
harvesting does not authorize removal of stumps, rocks, submerged
trees, removal of sediment, or other disturbances to other portions
of the waterbody or other wetlands.
Permits for Aquatic Plant Management Activities
Proposals to harvest larger areas of aquatic plants
or to apply alternative control techniques require a separate
permit from the Agency. These activities may include, but are
not limited to, hand and suction harvesting and installation of
benthic mats in moderate to dense vegetation stands. Such projects
typically require a pre-management plant survey to delineate the
location and boundaries of the target species and to identify
and record the location(s) of any NYS protected plant species.
Management activities should be undertaken with on-site supervision
of personnel experienced in aquatic plant identification and management,
and should minimize impacts to other portions of the waterbody
or wetlands. Arrangements for proper collection and disposal of
plant material should be identified prior to the management activities.
To learn more about the Adirondack Park Agency
or wetland permits, please visit the Adirondack
Park Agency website or call 518-891-4050.