ALBANY - Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo has signed legislation to protect New York's waterways and natural habitat from invasive species.
"This new law will give the Department of Environmental Conservation and the Department of Agriculture and Markets the tools they need to protect our state's ecology from the harm that invasive species can cause," Cuomo said. "This legislation ensures that the regulations governing invasive species are appropriate for New York's farming community and plant nurseries, while also protecting the environment. I commend the bill sponsors for their work on this legislation."
Invasive species threaten New York's environment by out-competing native species, diminishing biological diversity, and changing whole ecosystems. Invasive species are widely available in commerce for landscaping and aquaria, and include species such as hydrilla, an aggressive aquatic invader that chokes out native plants, clogs water intakes and impedes recreation. Other invasive species, such as the emerald ash borer and the Asian long-horned beetle, can devastate New York's timber and forest products industry. Millions of dollars are spent annually in the United States to control such species.
"This law implements a critical recommendation of the Invasive Species Task Force and gives DEC and DAM more authority to actively regulate invasive species and prevent their spread," said Joe Martens, state DEC commissioner. "Invasive species are destructive to habitat and cause millions of dollars of damage, impacting New York's economy from shipping and agriculture to outdoor recreation. Now, we will have additional tools to combat their introduction and proliferation."
The legislation signed today by the Governor will help address the risk to New York's environment associated with invasive species becoming established within the state. The new law provides the Department of Environmental Conservation and the Department of Agriculture and Markets with the authority to regulate the sale, purchase, possession, introduction, importation and transport of invasive species and establishes penalties for those who violate such regulations.
The law takes effect in six months.