Invasive species of the Catskills

      Invasive species are species that are not native to a particular ecosystem and can cause significant damage to the native species, environment, and the surrounding economy this has been very prevalent for the catskill community in the recent years since there has been a spike of invasive species pushing the native ones out of there habitats.


download.jpg What Can New York Do prevent Invasive species?

  • Clean, drain, and dry all watercraft, trailers and gear after and before visiting a waterbody.
  • Buy and burn local firewood.
  • Use native plants in gardening and landscaping.
  • Be a responsible aquarium and exotic pet owner—never dump or release species into the wild.
  • Control/Mapping
  • Trainings on Best Management and Practices.


  Examples of invasive species:



The curly-leaved pondweed, is a species of aquatic plant native to Eurasia but an introduced species and often a noxious (poisonous) weed in North America. The curly-leaved pondweed quickly forms dense mats at the water surface of lakes and rivers  shading out later growing native plants.

RemovalUsing a broad spectrum contact herbicide, such as Ultra PondWeed Defense will quickly kill Curly Leaf Pondweed

Habitat: The curly-leaved pondweed is a submerged, aquatic plant that can tolerate a variety of different aquatic and slow-moving bodies of water.





Myriophyllum spicatum, is native to Europe, Asia, and north Africa and is a submerged aquatic plant, that grows in still or slow-moving water, and is considered to be a highly invasive species the Matted milfoil can displace native aquatic plants, impacting fish and surrounding wildlife.

Removal: Eurasian-Myriophyllum-spicatum.png

  • Myriophyllum spicatum can be removed by raking or  it from the pond, but will re-establish from any remaining fragments and roots.
  • Non-toxic dyes or colorants can be used to prevent or reduce aquatic plant growth by limiting sunlight penetrationEurasian-water-milfoil.jpg


Habitat: Myriophyllum spicatum is a submerged, aquatic plant that can tolerate a variety of different aquatic habitats for example lakes, ponds.

Identification: Myriophyllum spicatum has thin stringy stems that are covered in feathery leaflets in whorls of 4 around the stem tip of the stem may have a reddish cast resembling a flower.




Drosophila suzukii, is a fruit fly originally from southeast Asia, and is becoming a major pest species in America and Europe, because it infests fruit during the early ripening stages stunting full development of the plants.


Identification:    SWD Identification Chart

Removal: There has been limited research on treatments to manage spotted wing drosophila however chemical control such as pesticides have shown effective.






Habitat: Drosophila suzukii need host plants such as cheery or apple trees to live.



Starry stonewort, is an invasive algae with a plantlike structure that is native to Eurasia. It was likely introduced to the Great Lakes from ballast water and has spread to inland lakes in New York. Its dense mats of vegetation negatively impact native fish spawning and outcompeting native plants that provide food and shelter for native

aisssprog-1.jpginvertebrates and fish.

Removal: Both chemical (herbicide) and manual (hand-pulling and harvesting) controls have been used with varying success.

Habitat: Can live in most fresh aquatic habitats lakes, ponds.

Starrystonewortbulbil_504600_7.jpg         Identification

Leaves: Whorls (leaves) of 4-6 branchlets with blunt tips, irregular length branchlets are arranged along the main stem.

Flower: Star-shaped bulbils are produced at the nodes, generally 3-6 mm wide

Length: Can reach up to 33 inches long



The Invasive Japanese Barberry, is a non-native woody plant that can grow 3 to 6 feet tall with a similar width. This plant can dominate deep in the woods and along woodland edges crowding out native plants and disrupting these ecosystems in the process. Research has shown that the presence of the black-legged tick, which transmits Lyme disease, increases in areas with dense barberry.    GettyImages-528067872-Japanesebarberry-1024x680.jpg

Removal: Herbicides is good method to remove well established infestations however if your dealing with fewer plants pulling and cutting will be more effective.

Habitat: The Japanese Barberry tolerates a variety of different habitats from damp lowlands to dry roadsides  and waste places.



Leaves: The semi-evergreen leaves are alternate, or grow in alternate clusters

Stems: Twigs are brown, three-ridged downward from the node, with simple thorns.


Fruits: Berries are red and are often present through winter. Fruit matures May-September.



Honeysuckle, is native to Central Asia and Southern Russia, several species of honeysuckle are found in NY that have been characterized as invasive All three invasive honeysuckle species can form very dense populations that can outcompete and suppress the growth of native plant species.

Removal:  In early stages of invasion, or in cases where populations are at low levels, hand removal of honeysuckle seedlings and young plants or Systemic herbicides can be utilized in cases of heavy infestation.


Habitat: All four species are successful invaders of a similar range of habitats such as abandoned fields, pastures, early successional, and open canopy and forests.




Garlic mustard, is a non native invasive herb originating from Europe and parts of Asia that has spread throughout much of the United States choking-out native plants by controlling light water and nutrient resources becoming one of the worst invaders of forests in the American Northeast and Midwest.

Removal:  Hand-pulling individual plants is effective if the entire root

garlic_mustard_flowering.jpg is removed however herbicide may be needed for large, denser infestations and should be applied in the spring or fall on seedlings and rosettes.


  • First year plants are low-growing rosettes with rounded, kidney-shaped leaves, scalloped on the edges
  • Leaves are not noticeably fuzzy or hairy (unlike most look-alike species)
  • Upper leaves on mature plants are more triangular, becoming smaller toward the top of the plant, coarsely toothed
  • Plants often smell like garlic, especiatlly when leaves are crushed

Habitat: The preferred habitat for garlic mustard can be in an upland or floodplain forest, savanna, roadside, trail edge, or disturbed area.



Zebra mussel, is a small freshwater mussel originally native to the lakes of southern Russia and Ukraine. However the zebra mussel and has become an invasive species in many countries worldwide.

Removal: Boats and equipment may be pressure washed to remove small infections or Pesticides can be used to remove a larger scale infestations.zebra_mussel_13.jpg

Identification: Zebra mussel look like small clams with a yellowish or brownish “D”-shaped shell, usually with dark and light-colored stripes they can grow up to two inches long but they are most commonly an inch.

Habitat: Zebra mussels live in still or slow-moving freshwater, and attach themselves to any hard surface under water, natural or man-made, including rocks, submerged wood, boat hulls, buoys, docks, and water intake pipes.



Brazilian waterweed, is a species of Egeria native to warm temperate South America in southeastern Brazil, Argentina, and Uruguay. It is considered a highly ambiguous invasive species due to its use in home aquariums and subsequent release into non-native habitats

Removal: Prevention followed by early detection and rapid response is critical for managing the Brazilian waterweed Control of the plants growth is possible with herbicides such as diquat, fluridone. Mechanical removal for well46229731082_269ed272a7_b.jpg-established populations is believed to be ineffective. However, control of small populations by mechanical efforts can be effective if fragments and roots are completely removed.

Identification: Leaves and stems are generally bright green (often dark green when below the surface of the water) and the short internodes give this plant a very leafy appearance. Stems are erect, cylindrical, simple or branched, and grow until they reach the surface of the water, where they form dense mats.

Size: 3-5 m long, 2-2.5 mm diameter.

Habitat: Brazilian waterweed grows in standing or slow-flowing freshwater systems. It especially thrives in warm, slow-moving water that has high nutrient availability.



The hemlock woolly adelgid, is an invasive insect that poses a serious threat to the forest and ornamental hemlock it feeds by sucking sap from hemlock and spruce trees the hemlock woolly adelgid dose not pose as a threat in there native habitat however there main predator have been remove so there numbers can grow uncontrollably.


Removal: Currently, the two approaches for managing HWA infestations are chemical insecticides and the use of natural enemy predator species as biological control such as golden flies.

Identification: HWA are most easily recognized by the white “woolly” masses of wax produced by females in late winter.

Signs of infestation:

  • White woolly masses (ovisacs) about one-quarter the size of a cotton swab on the underside of branches at the base of needles
  • Needle loss and branch dieback
  • Gray-tinted needles




Giant Hogweed, a gigantic member of the carrot family has the potential to cause serious damage due to its ability to cause permanent scarring with an acidic sap its large size over shadow native plants by blocking sunlight and stunting there ability to grow and get basic nutrition.Giant_hogweed010_Barker_1.jpg

Removal: You can cut the root of young plants with a sharp round shovel. Start at the beginning of the spring and repeat every two weeks in order to weaken the plants repeat every-year to completely ataractic.

Handling: Cover all parts of your body with non-absorbent garments (synthetic and waterproof materials) Protect eyes use glasses or visor.

Flowers: The flowers of giant hogweed are white they grow on a single stem, forming clusters of rounded flowers at then tips of the stems called umbels.

Leaves: The leaves are divided into 1 to 3 deeply cut, pointed leaflets and the underside of giant hogweed leaves are smooth or slightly scaly.

Habitat: lowland streams and rivers, but also occurs widely on waste ground and in rough pastures. It grows on moist fertile soils, achieving its greatest stature in partial shade



Common reed, can quickly created dense and tight vegetation that has the potential to shade the surrounding native species turning rich habitats into monocultures devoid of the diversity needed to support a once thriving ecosystem.



  • Prescribed burns have been shown effective when conditions are right.
  • Herbicides are available for the common reed best suited for a newer colony.
  •  Manipulating the water level around The reeds  has shown to decrees the population in some conditions.
  • Repeated mowing may produce short-term results.

Habitat: The non-native Common reed ; a macrophytes, is ubiquitous, growing in roadside ditches and swales, wetlands, freshwater and brackish marshes, river, lake and pond edges, and disturbed areas.

Leaves: Smooth, lance shaped, can reach over 1 ft in length

Stem: Hollow and rough to the touch

Flower:  Feathery,  blooms at the end of the stem, composed of densely packed fruit.



Common buckthorns, forms thick hedges with long branches that crowd out and shade out native shrub and herbaceous species preventing basic regeneration of native plants the common buckthorn is native to most of Europe.         5457255.jpg

RemovalThere multiple ways to combat the spreading of the Common buckthorn  including mowing, excavation, cutting and burning. Repeated mowing and cutting has been shown to reduce the vigor of the plants pesticides have also been very effective for longterm removal.


Habitat: The common buckthorn occupies a range of habitats: dry open forests, alkaline fens, sunny open sites however it has been found many unlikely habitats including roadsides, old fields, prairie fens, savannas and a variety of woodlands due to it being out of its native habitat.

Flowers: Inconspicuous, small and clustered in leaf axils. Fragrant, greenish-yellow, 4-petaled flowers that bloom in spring.

Leaves & stems: Ovate or elliptic, with prominent veins curving toward tip

Roots: Extensive, black fibrous root system.

origins: First brought to Minnesota from Europe in the mid-1800s.


Japanese knotweed, is native to japan the native aquatic species are not able to process the knotweed leaves as well as threatening the native species, Japanese knotweed can cause some environmental issues. BohemianKnotweedRagingRiver.jpg

Removal: To remove Japanese knotweed cut canes and allow them to dry out, then burn them. On no account add them to your normal household waste.

Leaves: Lush green, heart or shovel shaped leaves

Flowers: Clusters (Panicles) of small creamy white flowers

Habitatdomestic gardens, Riverbanks, wooded area. Further identification



Northern Snakehead, a commonly know predatory fish from Asia, are extreme eaters that could patently reduce or eliminate native fish. The aquatic communities may suffer losses if the Northern Snakeheads should continue to populate the Catskills rivers.


RemovalThe potential control methods for a snakehead infestation are limited however Physical removal of the fish using nets, traps, angling, electrofishing or biological control by introduction of predators are likely to be successful for small infestations. If the infestation is believed to be to a more than a few individuals the above techniques may be unsuccessful in removing the selected organisms.

Appearance: The northern snakehead has a long, thin body that can grow to 47 inches and 15 pounds. It has a somewhat flattened head with eyes located in a dorsolateral position.

Habitat: Ponds, lakes, streams, rivers and other freshwater areas. Can live out of water for up to four days if kept moist and will lie dormant in mud during droughts.

Range: Found in the Potomac River and several of its tributaries in Maryland and Virginia. Native to China, Russia and Korea.



Spotted lantern-fly, is an invasive species from Asia that primarily feeds on wide variety of fauna such as grape vines, maple, walnuts, and fruit trees, this insect can impact New York’s agricultural community as well as the lush forests.

RemovalRemoving or destroying eggs will decrease numbers over time or for quicker alternative put pesticides on targeted trees/plants.


Appearance: The spotted lantern-fly is about an inch long and half an inch wide. The forewings are gray with black spots. When flying, it exposes its red and black-hind wings. The lantern-fly has a black head, black legs and a yellow abdomen with black bands.

Habitat: Spotted lantern-flies can live on a variety of host plants, including fruit trees, grape vines and various hardwoods. Their preferred host, especially as adults, is the tree-of-heaven, which is also an invasive species.

Range: The spotted lantern-fly has been seen in parts of Pennsylvania, Delaware, New York and Virginia.

Potential: Stilling grow outwards at a rate of ten miles each year they have the potential to destroy the keystone states wine, craft beer, wood and apple products.




Hydrilla, is one of the most difficult invasive species to control and eradicate due to the dense consistency can have negative impacts on recreation, tourism and aquatic ecosystems.


Removal: There are several options to control the spreading of Hydrilla Use a season long herbicide such as Pond Logic or WipeOut this method should quickly remove Hydrilla.

Appearance: has pointed, bright green leaves about 5/8 inches long, the leaves have small teeth or serrations on the edges and at the tips.

HabitatThe Hydrilla can be found in a variety of aquatic habitats such as reservoirs, lakes, ponds, springs, rivers, and tidal zones. It can tolerate a wide range of water chemistry conditions.






Mountainkeeper kids!

Bella Noche Ruffalo                                                                         Tuesday, August 14, 2018

Hello, My Name is Bella Ruffalo and I was born in L.A and I moved to the town of Callicoon NY, in the Catskills, when I was around three years old. The Catskills is filled with dense green lands and incredible amounts of wildlife.  The vibrant colors of green, brown and blue – depending on the season, filled my senses when I first moved to the Catskills.

Some activities that I embarked on during the years that I lived full time in the Catskills were swimming in the Delaware River and frolicking outside in every season. The Delaware is very cleansing since the river is one of the cleanest natural water sources you can swim in. In recent years, the summer has become warmer and the winter temperature has been rising, and we have been getting less and less snow. Some people do not understand how this affects the ecosystem and not just their ski schedule – and this frustrates me, how people just live in the dark. The reason the climate is changing is each day fossil fuels are released into the sky and that affects our ecosystem in a negative way, causing global warming. unnamed-2For example, cars produce chemicals that fly up into the sky and destroy the ozone. But winter is beautiful, even if we get less and less each year so that just means we have to enjoy it while it lasts. Each year when winter comes around in the Catskills, the snow is white and fluffy and it’s almost like powdered sugar. Even though I may not able to enjoy liquid water during the winter I can enjoy the frozen water. Winter and summer may be very different but they both have their own unique beauty. For example, summer is hot and winter is cold.  In the heat and the humidity of the summer, you can see the blossoming of flowers and the hatching of robins and watch them open their eyes and look at the world, both curious and fearful. And for the winter all the birds leave, and the snow falls, and you can look outside your window and see a white desert. The Catskills is one of the most incredible places I have ever been I we fight every day to save it because this place is my Eden.

The Delaware River is a major river on the Atlantic coast of the United States and it is 14,119 miles long. I have mainly seen the Delaware in the Catskills but it can be seen in New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Maryland, and Delaware. The Delaware is the cleanest river in the United States in most cases of the Delaware we can drink its water unfiltered. Even our founding fathers saw the importance of the river. They used the river during the unnamed-1battle of Trenton they used the river for cover during the battle in the middle of winter. Just recently there was an oil spill in the Delaware which was caused by a train crash. This made the areas near the oil spill toxic and if it gets in direct contact with your skin it may cause medical problems in future years. Accidents like this can affect the river in a very negative way if it’s not dealt with.

I Grew up in Callicoon NY in the Catskill Mountains but there are many other places to go visit while you’re in upstate New York. For example, Narrowsburg and Bethel.   Since I grew up in Callicoon I’m going to be a little bit biased. I’m sorry about that, but nearest town is Narrowsburg and another nearby town is Bethel Woods where the  Woodstock Music Festival took place, are both an amazing place. Some reasons that you should go to Callicoon are how close you are to the water and the great food and restaurants and unnamedsmall businesses.  Many of the shops and restaurants are owned by families. My favorite restaurant in town is Matthew’s on Main and my second favorite is Pepenos. Matthew’s on Main is an amazing American-based food restaurant. For example, they have burgers, fries, pasta and other foods like that.  Pepenos is an Italian restaurant about 50 feet away from Matthews on main they’ve been growing a lot over time and getting bigger and bigger, so you might need to call for a reservation but their food is amazing and their service is great. Narrowsburg is another small cozy town that sits right on the Delaware River, and there are these two big rocks right under a bridge where go swimming and it makes for a good summer afternoon. My mom also owns a small shop in town called Sunny’s Pop. I would recommend you check it out, downloadshe recently opened it. She sells furniture, teapots and an assortment of other amazing and gorgeous items including vintage clothing. The Items at Sunny’s pop are truly quality. She sells stuff for artists that are trying to be discovered, and their art is unique. Some great food options in town are the Laundrette and the Heron.  The Heron has been around for a good 2 years, they sell an assortment of foods including one of my favorites is fried catfish bites that are seasoned in different seasonings that I cannot name. the laundrette is an Italian restaurant that sells amazing handmade pizzas and great salads even though I don’t normally like salads they caught my eye.

Fort Delaware Museum is a fun Activity to teach your kids about colonial history. Fort Delaware Goes back in time with actors in complete role play and costume. They show kids how to shoot cannons. Teach them about blacksmithing and how the settlers first Unknowngot here. They are open on the weekends and on Columbus Day. You get to enjoy the full settler experience, for example, you get to try farming blacksmithing candle making and baking. And there are also various shops throughout the fort and you can get a tour on TripAdvisor or just get tickets while you’re there. I’ve gone to Fort Delaware multiple times.   It is an enclosed place that’s surrounded by huge wooden walls that are spiked at the end. I would recommend Fort Delaware to anyone who wants to learn about the history of Delaware and Columbus in an interactive way.

Lenni Lenape Indians was a native tribe to the Delaware.  Lenni Lenape means men of men and they were one of the first tribe to live in the Catskill Mountains. Their territory was the Delaware River Basin which is now southeastern New York, eastern brush_shelter_in_Great_BasinPennsylvania and most of Delaware and New Jersey. For most native American tribes, how they treated animals was a big part of their culture, so each way they hunt is very different. The Lenni Lenape hunted fish with a spear and not with fishing poles so it put the fish through the least amount of pain. But if there was a bigger fish they would use a harpoon and they mainly used the wood head for there spears. Lenni Lenape mainly lived in wigwams which were a hut house made out of birch branches and bark. And the inside consisted some sort of blanket or wolf skin no furniture. The Lenni Lenape culture is a very interesting topic and has explored the Delaware for thousands of years.

From the Lenape to the colonial settlers to my peers, the Delaware Valley has been a place that we have called home, and I love it.

Mountainkeeper kids!

The Catskills are covered with beautiful pieces of land and huge bodies of water. In the Catskill’s fresh water lakes, rivers and streams, local beauties such as bass, trout, pike and pickerel roam the rapid waters. Many animals live in the Catskill mountains such as bobcats, black bears, red foxes and so many more. The Catskills are also home to Trout Town USA, a famous trout resort in Roscoe New York. Famous fishermen like Theodore Gordon, the inventor of the Quill Gordon, and Joan Wulff, “the first lady of fly fishing”, came to the Beaverkill to fish! It is an area worth protecting. Mountainkeeper is an organization that works to protect the natural land in the Catskills.


“The beautiful Catskills”



imageCatskill Mountainkeeper’s Top 5 map is your guide to endless fun in the Catskills. While infinite opportunities for adventure await, the Top 5 map highlights only the best. Explore the Top 5 swimming holes, hiking trails, biking trails, fishing spots and ski mountains. Just click on the location icons on the map for more information and directions to each of the sites.

Save Our Farms: NYs Dairy Farms are Shutting Down

Dear Mountainkeeper Supporter —
New York’s dairies are under attack. It’s been an awful couple of years for the dairy industry–milk sales are down, output is up, and there’s a huge glut of milk on the market creating the low milk prices that are driving farms out of business. With the recent announcement that Walmart’s supplier is canceling contracts with local farms and processors in order to open its own mega-processing facility in Indiana to bottle 100 million gallons of milk per year, things have gotten dire.

Catskill Mountainkeeper supports the family farms that are the backbone of life in the Catskills and have provided milk to New York City for more than one hundred years. Statewide, our farms are part of our heritage and we will work to ensure they are a part of New York’s future. Where and how we grow and purchase our food impacts our air and water quality, lifestyle, health, climate change emissions, and communities at large.

This is a local, state and national problem, and we need to do our part to solve it. We’ve been working with some of the foremost experts on this issue, and several things have become clear. We must make our voices heard:

  1. Call Governor Cuomo. Tell him to direct New York schools to buy New York’s milk. (518) 474-8390
  2. Call Senator Gillibrand. Senator Gillibrand sits on the Senate Agriculture committee. Tell her you support New York’s farms, and that our farms can’t survive without a floor price for their milk. (845) 875-4585
  3. Buy local. As we’ve spoken with farmers and experts in the field they’ve let us know that local markets and local demand for local products truly matters. If our communities were voting with our purchases, buying local first, big retailers would not have captured such a huge percentage of the market and would not have the power to force local businesses out of business. We can take the extra effort to buy local or regional products from local distributors or independent stores. We can skip the big box store and buy from our farmers. Find a farmers market near you. If you’re in Liberty or Monticello, Catskill Mountainkeeper’s farmers markets open this month. Click here to learn more.

The dairy crisis and the immediate danger of losing more New York State farms speaks to the problems of our agricultural system. Mega farms and processors are making decisions in corporate offices light years removed from the soil, the animals, the weather, and our communities. Consumers have become farther and farther separated from their basic needs and now we are seeing up close the real costs of how we produce our food. We can change this, and we’re starting now.

We are calling on our elected officials to do everything in their power to ensure that the many farms in the Catskills and statewide are protected and supported until we have a solution. And we’ll continue to spread the word and support our local markets.


Ramsay Adams, Executive Director

Please help us continue this important work by making a donation today!
Make a difference! Donate now!
Catskill Mountainkeeper
P.O. Box 1000, Livingston Manor, New York, 12758 

Copyright 2017 Catskill Mountainkeeper is a non-profit 501(c)(3) grassroots advocacy organization dedicated to protecting and preserving the unique and irreplaceable Catskill region of New York State. Click here to unsubscribe.


Philipstown Garden Club: Sponsoring an Environmental Forum

The Philipstown Garden Club blazed a new trail last spring by sponsoring a public forum about the transport of crude oil in New York State’s Hudson Valley. Among the 70 people in attendance were members of Ulster County GC, Millbrook GC, GC of Orange and Dutchess Counties, and the GC of Irvington-on-Hudson. We learned about the dangers of moving shale-imbedded Bakken oil from North Da- kota, Montana, and Canadathrough the Hudson Valleyvia barge, rail, and pipeline to refineries in New Jersey and Pennsylvania.

Read more

The ‘Skills Are Alive

September 29, 2016 | A Blog on Country Life by Dana DiPrima

The hills and meadows of the Catskills are enough to make you want to twirl around and sing at the top of your lungs like Julie Andrews in The Sound of Music.

In 2006, no strangers to this sensation, Mark Izeman, a lawyer with the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC), and Ramsay Adams, then a greenhorn public relations executive with roots in the valley, put their heads together to battle the potential invasion of five casinos in the Catskills.  Read more