APIPP News: BLD Found in Warren County; Water Week Underway

APIPP News: BLD Found in Warren County; Water Week Underway

Dear Partners,

Summer invasive species surveys and treatments are underway. Assessments for terrestrial invasive species have been performed at over 1,800 sites, and 350 sites have received treatment. Assessments sometimes confirm that past treatments have worked, and invasive species are no longer present; however, they can also lead to identification of new populations of invasive species. Such is the case for three terrestrial invasive species: beech leaf disease (BLD), tree-of-heaven, and porcelain berry. Read more below about the implications of these new occurrences.

Our staff and professional crews have been out on the water too, and more than 40 waterbodies have been surveyed. Preliminary data from the field season show the vast majority of Adirondack lakes remain free of aquatic invasive species (AIS). That is good news. We have, however, found AIS in some waterbodies not previously surveyed that are connected to lakes that are known to be invaded. A full report will be available this fall and presented at the December APIPP Partner Meeting (tentatively set for December 6 in Keene Valley with a Zoom-in option).

There is a lot to celebrate with respect to our Adirondack Waters though. Check out the full schedule of Adirondack Water Week events here. Water Week is an annual celebration that seeks to highlight organizations, partners, and communities that are taking efforts to protect clean water for future generations. This year’s celebration runs through August 13. As part of Water Week, APIPP is hosting its last Lake Protector training of the season tomorrow, August 8, from 1:00pm – 3:pm in Long Lake. The Adirondack Lakes Alliance is hosting its annual Symposium at Paul Smith’s College on Friday.

Beech Leaf Disease (BLD) Found in Warren County – Help Search for BLD!

BLD was recently confirmed on the Town of Bolton’s Edgecomb Pond parcel, making it the first verified occurrence of the invasive forest pest in Warren County. The first confirmed case of BLD in the Adirondacks was in Herkimer County in 2022; it was first confirmed in the U.S. in 2012.

BLD can kill affected trees, with current data from the Midwest showing that saplings die after a few years and mature trees die in six to 10 years. The disease also moves fast. It was first confirmed in Westchester and Rockland counties in 2019, and since then its symptoms—which include dark striping between the leaf veins, leaf curling, and a leathery leaf texture—have been found on beech trees throughout that region.

“We’ve seen almost 100 percent transmission within forest stands where BLD is established in the Lower Hudson Valley. I don’t think we’ve received a single report of a beech tree stand that is symptom-free in Westchester County, for example,” said Brent Boscarino, Coordinator of the Lower Hudson Partnership for Regional Invasive Species Management (PRISM). Lower Hudson and APIPP are two of the eight PRISMs in New York state.

Help us find BLD. APIPP launched its BLD Forest Pest Hunters volunteer program on August 2. Click here to watch the webinar recording. Click here to learn how to sign up to survey a trail. Click here to read APIPP’s recent press releases about BLD. I hope you will join in the hunt for BLD.

Tree-of-Heaven Downgraded to Tier 3

Tree-of-heaven (Ailanthus altissima), a highly invasive tree, was only known in a handful of Adirondack locations a few years ago and, until this year, was considered a Tier 2 species by APIPP. (Tier 2 species are those for which eradication may be possible with concerted effort). However, 10 new occurrences on eight different properties in Warren and Washington counties were found this summer. APIPP has attempted to contact all of the landowners. Some have enthusiastically accepted assistance managing this tree. Others have not responded to multiple attempts at contact.

Given the growing number of infestations, this species was recently downgraded to Tier 3—meaning eradication is no longer considered feasible but efforts to minimize its spread will continue. It is expected that tree-of-heaven will become part of the Adirondack landscape. Its aggressive growth frequently outcompetes native tree species, which can harm wildlife habitat. Learn about this species here, and report any trees you find to iMapInvasives.

Porcelain Berry Found in Clinton County

Professional ecologists recently uploaded two occurrences of porcelain berry (Amur peppervine) in Clinton County to iMapInvasives. If confirmed, these would be the first known occurrences of this species in the Adirondack PRISM, meaning it will be moved from Tier 1—species that are close to the PRISM boundary but not yet here—to Tier 2, species for which eradication may be possible with concerted effort. Porcelain berry can form thick mats of vegetation that shade out native trees and shrubs. If you see this plant, please report it to iMapInvasives.

Uplifting News!

Community science volunteers are actively helping to find invasive species across the Adirondacks. Many Adirondack PRISM partners have invasive species prevention and management programs underway. The vast majority of Adirondack lakes and ponds remain free of AIS.

In addition, APIPP continues to receive shipments of emerald ash borer biocontrols from the USDA APHIS quarantine facility in Michigan to help in the fight to protect ash trees. APIPP also plans to start collecting hemlock samples soon as part of a University of Connecticut hemlock genetics project that is part of the quest to find hemlock trees that are resistant to hemlock woolly adelgid.

Thank you volunteers and partners for all you do to help minimize the impact of invasive species on the Adirondack region’s communities, lands, and waters.