Need for Coordinated Monitoring
Adirondack Park forms the headwaters of five major river systems
and has 30,000 miles of free flowing rivers, brooks, streams,
and riparian habitat. Its mountains are interspersed with over
3,000 ponds and lakes from tiny kettle-hole bogs to major water-bodies
such as Lake George and Lake Champlain. This mosaic of lakes,
forests, rivers, wetlands, and even sand plains support a diverse
array of natural communities and species, many of which are
among the best examples of their kind in the Nation.
The biodiversity, natural processes,
and services afforded by these unique aquatic ecosystems are
now increasingly threatened by infestations of exotic
plants such as Eurasian watermilfoil, Curlyleaf
pondweed, and Water chestnut. While
these species are not yet predominant across the Park, they
have a high potential to spread - undermining the ecological
and recreational value of lakes and ponds throughout the area.
of exotic plant invasions and early detection and monitoring
of existing infestations through area-wide partnerships have
been identified as primary objectives in a national strategy
for invasive plant management. A unique opportunity exists in
the Adirondacks to work proactively to detect infestations of
invasive plants before they become well established, and to
prevent further establishment and spread of such species, thus
maintaining a high quality natural landscape. Early detection
of aquatic invasive plants across the vast mosaic of ecosystems
and human settlement within the Park necessitates a well-coordinated,
Involved! Volunteer to prevent further introduction and
spread of invasive species.
Prevention along Scenic Byways! Learn how to steward these important
Adirondack Park Invasive
A Partnership Program for Monitoring, Management, and Education
In 2001, the Adirondack Park Agency and partner
organizations including, NYS Dept. of Conservation, Adirondack
Nature Conservancy, Paul Smiths College, and the Franklin County
Network of Shoreline Associations, submitted a proposal to the
U.S. EPA to institute a centralized framework for aquatic invasive
plant monitoring and educational-outreach in the Adirondack Park
over a two-year period. Funding was awarded to support this baseline
project, known as the Adirondack Park Aquatic Invasive Plant Project.
When the September
2003 completion date neared for the EPA funded Project, the partner
organizations identified the need for the continuation of coordinated
efforts for both aquatic and terrestrial invasive plant species.
In the spring of 2003, the NYS Departments of Environmental Conservation
and Transportation, Adirondack Park Agency, and Adirondack Nature
Conservancy formally established the Adirondack Park Invasive
Plant Program (APIPP) and developed an Adirondack Park Invasive
Plant Action Plan. The Action Plan is a strategic document that
outlines and guides program planning, development, and implementation.
is a recent designation, the APIPP partnership has been building
and the two projects it facilitates have been active for a number
of years: the Aquatic Invasive Plant Project (AIPP, initiated
in 2001) and the Terrestrial Invasive Plant Project (TIPP, initiated
in 1998). An APIPP Coordinator is currently funded by and housed
at the Adirondack Nature Conservancy in Keene Valley, one of the
partner organizations, until September 30, 2004. Throughout the
year, the Coordinator and principle partners will seek additional
funding sources to sustain the APIPP in future years.
Aquatic Invasive Plant Project
- Provide coordination and
leadership for a "community-based" volunteer monitoring
program to collect information on the location and spread of
aquatic invasive plants in the Adirondack Park.
- Develop a central database of the current
aquatic invasive plant distributions in the Adirondack Park.
- Disseminate information to promote an understanding
of invasive species impacts and their implications for aquatic
Aquatic Invasive Plant Project adopted a "core-community"
strategy to facilitate monitoring activities and information exchange
among Park residents and professionals (Figure 1). The core-community
represents an area within the Adirondacks which residents identify
as their geographical "neighborhood", providing a focus
for volunteer recruitment and support. An Advisory Panel consisting
of representatives from each core-community provides guidance
and lends organizational assistance at the local-scale. In turn,
the APIPP Coordinator conducts the "on-the-ground" outreach,
education, and volunteer training with guidance and assistance
from the partner organizations and the Advisory Panel. Additional
information and opportunities are outlined on the Volunteer
The Aquatic Invasive Plant Project summarizes
known distributions of aquatic invasive plants in the Adirondack
Park and provides this information to residents and professionals
alike. Specific products include:
- a geographic database for aquatic invasive
plant species distribution based on existing data and volunteer
- a central internet website for invasive plant
species information and species distribution maps
- a list-serve
discussion group to promote community organization and communication
regarding invasive species issues
- an annual summary report of volunteer monitoring
In 2004, the
APIPP principal partners
incorporated a fifth partneróNYS Invasive Plant Council
(IPC)ó and enter into a Memorandum of Understanding that outlines
the roles and responsibilities of the partners in the administration
and implementation of the Adirondack Park Invasive Plant Program
and its Aquatic and Terrestrial Invasive Plant Projects. The APIPP
aims to coordinate monitoring and management activities designed
to prevent and, where possible, mitigate the loss of native biodiversity
due to infestations of invasive plants in the Adirondack Park.
funding will be sought to support the APIPP Coordinator, volunteer
monitoring, management, and outreach in future years.
History of Activities, Accomplishments,
and Timeline for the Aquatic Project
January 2001. Adirondack Park Agency and its partners submit
a State Wetland Grant proposal for coordinated monitoring of invasive
plants in the Adirondack Park to the U.S. Environmental Protection
October 2001. Adirondack Park Agency and
its partners receive notification of the grant award. Dr. Sean
Connin becomes the AIPP Project Director.
October - December 2001. The AIPP partners
outline and adopt a volunteer monitoring strategy and identify
"core-communities" in the Adirondack Park. The partners
establish an organizational relationship with the Adirondack Park
Terrestrial Invasive Plant Project.
January - February 2002. AIPP partners
identify and secure assistance from AIPP Advisory Panel members.
February - March 2002. AIPP partners hire
a Project Coordinator, Hilary Oles, and hold an Advisory Panel
meeting at Paul Smiths College to discuss project history, future
goals, plan of action, and expectations.
March - April 2002. AIPP partners and Project
Coordinator design protocol for regional volunteer monitoring
of aquatic invasive plants in the Adirondack Park and produce
training manuals and secondary education resources for volunteer
June 2002. AIPP partners and Project Coordinator
sponsor volunteer plant identification and monitoring training
sessions with partners at the Darrin Freshwater Institute, New
York State Department of Environmental Conservation, Hamilton
County Soil and Water Conservation District, and Paul Smiths College.
July - August 2002. Volunteer monitors
conduct surveys on selected waterbodies in the Park. The Project
Coordinator provides workshops and presentations to residents
and watershed and lake associations. The Project Coordinator consolidates
Adirondack aquatic plant distribution data from other sources.
August 2002. AIPP partners establish an
Invasive Species listserve to facilitate discussion among
September 2002. Craig Cheeseman of Indian
Rock Consulting is hired to design the Aquatic Invasive Plant
Project database and website.
October 2002. An AIPP Intern, Alexia Hain,
is hired to assist the Project Coordinator.
November 2002. The AIPP website and database
designs are completed and presented to the Adirondack Park Agency.
Invasive Plant Monitors are formally recognized during the Adirondack
Park Agency meeting and presented with 'Certificates of Appreciation'.
Winter 2002/2003. The database is updated
and invasive plant distribution maps are produced.
Winter 2003. The NYS Depts. of
Environmental Conservation and Transportation, Adirondack Park
Agency, and Adirondack Nature Conservancy agree to merge the Aquatic
Invasive Plant Project and Terrestrial Invasive Plant Project
under the common organizational name, 'Adirondack Park Invasive
Plant Program'. The principal partners propose to hire one Program
Coordinator to be funded by and housed at the Adirondack Nature
Conservancy for one year.
Spring 2003. The AIPP Project
Director and principal partners develop and approve the Adirondack
Park Invasive Plant Program Action Plan.
Spring/Summer 2003. The AIPP Project Coordinator
recruits for the 2003 aquatic invasive plant volunteer monitoring
season, facilitates volunteer training in Bolton Landing, Inlet,
and Paul Smiths, and monitors lakes for aquatic invasive plants.
APIPP educational presentations and workshops are conducted. The
APIPP partners formally announce the launch of the Adirondack
Park Invasive Plant Program website.
Summer 2003/Fall 2003. The APIPP partners
hire an APIPP Program Coordinator, Hilary Oles, and prepare for
the completion of the EPA funded project and the transition of
the Aquatic and Terrestrial Invasive Plant Projects.
Fall 2003. The APIPP Program
Coordinator moves offices from the Adirondack Park Agency to the
Adirondack Nature Conservancy. The Aquatic Invasive Plant Project
Volunteer Plant Monitors and Advisory Panel members Larry Eichler,
Scott Kishbaugh, and Elizabeth Mangle are formally recognized
at the October Adirondack Park Agency meeting for their contributions
to the Project.
Fall 2003 - 2004. The baseline
AIPP study was completed during Fall/Winter 2003. Additional funding
to continue the Adirondack Park Invasive Plant Program and joint-coordination
of both Aquatic and Terrestrial Invasive Plant Projects was provided
by the Adirondack Nature Conservancy through September 30, 2004.
Adirondack Park Invasive Plant Program
Timeline: 2003 - Current Status