Invasive Species are species that are not originally from the area that cause either environmental and/or economic damage. Enjoy and share this and upcoming articles and info-graphics!
Saratoga County is, unfortunately, home to invasive species such as the zebra mussel and the water chestnut (this one should sound familiar to some of our volunteers!).
Zebra Mussels are tiny invasive freshwater mussels, and they’re essentially too good at what they do. Effective filter feeders, they strain small particles from lakes, including plankton. As a result, they compete with native fish for food. Zebra mussels also attach themselves to and clog industrial water pipes, an expensive fix, costing the US billions of dollars to repair.
Originally from Europe, Asia, and Africa, water chestnuts escaped a confined growing area in 1879 in the US. With no known insects in the US to keep these water dwelling plants in check, they develop into thick mats that block sunlight and out compete native aquatic species. These dense carpets hinder recreational activities such as swimming and boating, which are important economic drivers for many lake and river communities. To remove the water chestnuts, New York and Vermont have spent $9,600,000 over 29 years on control expenses.
Want to make a difference?
To prevent the spread of zebra mussels and water chestnuts, make sure you clean and dry all boating and fishing material before putting it back into the water. You can also volunteer in your community for events such as local Water Chestnut Pulls organized by PLAN. Also, if you see these species, you can report them to NYmapinvasives.org.