Invasive species

An invasive species is a non-native plant or animal whose introduction to an ecosystem causes or is likely to cause harm to the environment, human health or the economy. There are two kinds of invasives species – aquatic and terrestrial. OCCA is in the forefront of invasive species control and eradication in Otsego County. 

Aquatic invasive species are spread by recreational boaters and fishermen who unwittingly introduce mollusks or plant and animal species to clean lakes from infested ones.


OCCA has asked the Otsego County Solid Waste and Environmental Concerns Committee to consider endorsement of a countywide aquatic invasive species transport law. Representing 19 other countywide entities as well, OCCA believes the threat of aquatic invasive species to be significant to the economic and ecological health of Otsego County and that strict guidelines should be enacted to restrict the introduction and spread of aquatic invasive species here. SUNY Oneonta student Faith O. Carney has written a paper in support of a countywide AIS transport law. Click here for the full text.


In summer 2007, Otsego Lake fell victim to a damaging invasive species – the zebra mussel – whose ill effects include ecological destabilization, damage to municipal, residential, and commercial intake pipes, production of sharp shells causing injury to recreational users of the lake, and emission of unpleasant odors. Once established, elimination of this mollusk is impossible. Controlling the mussel is now our only resort. Posted on this website is information for property owners on how to control the zebra mussel population on and off shore. We have also uploaded information on how local fire departments can avoid spreading the zebra mussel to other bodies of water. Click on the above link to learn more about the zebra mussel and zebra mussel control.


The water chestnut has a stem which extends to the surface of the water and ends in a rosette of floating, saw-toothed leaves. The plant bears a spiky fruit, which can pierce tennis shoes and thick-soled boots. In addition, water chestnuts can clog pipes, canals and waterways and adversely affect the environment by removing oxygen from the water and out competing native vegetation. OCCA has spearheaded a manual eradication effort of the water chestnut on Goodyear Lake. Click on the above link to learn more about the water chestnut and water chestnut eradication.

According to the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation website, New York's forests are under attack from numerous invasive exotic insect pests. In years past, we have been hit with chestnut blight, European gypsy moth, Dutch elm disease and beech bark disease, all with devastating results. Recently, we have discovered Asian long-horned beetles, hemlock wooly adelgids, pine shoot beetles and sirex woodwasps infesting New York's urban and rural forests and killing thousands of trees. Other, potentially devastating insect invaders such as emerald ash borer and Asian gypsy moth loom just over the horizon.



The Asian long-horned beetle (ALB) may be one of the most destructive and costly invasive species to enter the United States. These insects threaten urban and suburban shade trees and recreational and forest resources valued at hundreds of billions of dollars. The beetle also could impact such industries as maple syrup production and hardwood lumber processing, nurseries and tourism. Click on the above link to learn how to identify the Asian long-horned beetle and whom to notify if you discover the insect in your area.


An invasive beetle native to eastern Asia, the emerald ash borer (EAB) kills all species of ash trees in North America, and has the potential to cause severe economic and ecological damage. First detected near Detroit in 2002, it has now spread to 13 states, the District of Columbia, and two Canadian provinces. Ash mortality is 100% near Detroit and is widespread in all the affected areas. With establishment of EAB in New York State we can expect tremendous economic impacts in forests where ash is a common timber species and in urban areas where ash are frequently planted as street trees. Click on the above link to learn how to identify the emerald ash borer and whom to notify if you discover the insect in your area.


• "Stop the Spread of Aquatic Invasive Species and Fish Diseases in New York State"

• Handpulling Water Chestnut

• Didymo Alert