Training to spot a species that doesn't belong

By Kelly McCarthy

August 30, 2013 Updated Aug 30, 2013 at 11:53 PM EDT

Oneonta, NY (WBNG Binghamton) Most Twin Tiers residents aren't sure how to spot invasive species, giving the plants and critters an advantage against Mother Nature.

But local organizations are teaming up to get the word out about eradicating what doesn't belong.

Coordinatores from the Catskill Regional Invasive Species Partnership (CRISP) said if they're not here yet, non-native species that do more harm than good are getting close.

The top invasive species have concerned landowners wanting to learn all they can before the species make themselvs at home.

"Our lake is a little 64-acre lake at an elevation at about 1,800 feet," said Tim Pritchard, of Hartwick, "And so far we have not been afflicted with invasive species. But we are concerned about it."

Invasive species range from plants to pests. The Emerald Ash Borer and Asian Longhorned Beetle are two small insects capable of leaving a path of big damage.

"These pests stand to completely devastate our forests," said CRISP Coordinator Molly Marquand, "And they are here or they're arriving, and so we really have our eyes and ears tuned into detecting them now."

Tracking down what doesn't belong requires the help of everyone who enjoys nature.

"We are the eyes and ears of these folks that don't have enough staff to do this," said Annette Macleod, a master gardener of Otsego County. "We can at least give them the help they need on the first level."

People should know some of the signs left behind by invasive species and be on the lookout for things like exit holes in tree bark and changes to the natural landscape.

"Do your research first," Macleod said, "Because you need to know what it is before you actually encounter that in the wild."

Invasive species exist in a non-native land with no native predators, meaning it's up the people to control.

"I think having some slogans and some buzz words help," Marquand said, "'Burn it where you buy it' kind of rolls off the tongue, helps them remember it easily."

The 'Burn it where you buy it' campaign reminds travelers not to take firewood across county lines.

To find more information on the top invasive species in the Southern Tier and Catskill area, click here.

To report an invasive species contact the local Cornell Cooperative Extension office.