New York State bans 126 invasive species

Oriental bittersweet is one of the invasive species targeted by the state.

Oriental bittersweet is one of the invasive species targeted by the state.

New regulations went into effect banning the sale, purchase and transportation of a long list of invasive species that have plagued properties and the ecosystem for years. As of March 10, 2015, it is no longer legal to buy, sell or transport 126 species identified by the state Department of Environmental Conservation as invasive. The list includes 69 plants, 15 fish, 17 aquatic invertebrates (including several snails, clams and snails), 13 terrestrial invertebrates (insects and land snails), five vertebrates (such as the mute swan) and seven species of algae, bacteria and fungi.

In addition, 29 species are “regulated,” meaning that, while they may be sold and transported, they may not be knowingly introduced on or near public lands or natural areas. The prohibited species are: garlic mustard, porcelain berry, Japanese angelica tree, Japanese barberry, Oriental bittersweet, autumn olive, yellow iris, privet, several oriental honeysuckles, purple loosestrife, Japanese stilt grass, black swallow-wort, common reed grass (phragmites), several types of bamboo, kudzu, Japanese knotweed, multiflora rose and wineberry. Also on the list are walking catfish, several species of snakehead fish, common carp, sea lamprey, Asian earthworms, nutria, Eurasian boar and Asian clam. Insects include the Asian longhorn beetle, hemlock wooly adelgid, emerald ash borer and Japanese pine sawyer, as well as the Africanized honey bee. For the official regulations and a complete list of species, visit www.tinyurl.com/banned-species.

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Invasive species are defined as those not native to our ecosystem that cause economic or environmental harm. Although some of the newly-banned or regulated species are already well established here, the new regulations will slow their spread. The new regulations do not require property owners to remove existing plants but do forbid commerce in the prohibited species and their introduction into public lands or natural areas. Some species, notably Japanese barberry, have a grace period during which existing stock may be sold by nurseries or stores. The NYS Department of Agriculture and Markets will be responsible for enforcement.

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