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Invasive species regulations hearing Tuesday

Don Seubert, Medford civic leader, stands in a

Don Seubert, Medford civic leader, stands in a field of 20-foot-high invasive bamboo in Medford. Residents have compliained that bamboo has invaded their yards, pools, fences and basements. (Mar. 28, 2012) Credit: Randee Daddona

The state Department of Environmental Conservation is holding a public hearing in Stony Brook Tuesday to discuss proposed regulations that would ban or regulate nonnative invasive species in New York.

Under the proposed plan, 115 species of plants, insects, fungi and animals will be banned and another 29 would be restricted.

The list covers 71 types of plants, 27 fish and shellfish, eight insects, five animals, and four fungi.

It includes two varieties of bamboo, mute swans, Zebra mussels, four types of carp, Africanized honey bees and a fungi that causes Sudden Oak Death.

Invasive species can wreak havoc on native species, competing for food and natural habitat.

New York State, under then-Gov. George Pataki, began looking at the problem in 2003 when an invasive species task force was created. A 2005 task force report on the topic said that 46 percent of the “species of plants and animals listed as federal endangered or threatened are at risk because of invasive species.”

For another 42 percent of those listed, invasive species were listed as principal causes or contributing factors.

That same report said that between $13 million and $40 million is spent annually to remove the Asian long-horned beetle from New York City and Long Island.

The hearing will be at 2 p.m. in the basement conference room at the DEC Region 1 headquarters located on the Stony Brook University campus at 50 Circle Rd.

Public comments on the regulations will be accepted through Monday.

They can be emailed to invasivesregs@gw.dec.state.ny.us or mailed to Leslie Surprenant, NYS DEC Invasive Species Coordination Unit, 625 Broadway, Floor 5, Albany, N.Y. 12233.

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