STROUDSBURG, MONROE COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU) — Invasive species like the emerald ash borer have caused immense damage to the agriculture industry across Pennsylvania in the last few decades.
Discovering the impacts of invasive species like the borer was the focus of a statewide survey conducted last fall.
The invasive species council was formed in 2004, but they just released the results of their first statewide survey.
“There was great participation, over a thousand people took the survey, with over a hundred different invasives being identified,” stated Fred Strathmeyer Jr., Deputy Secretary of the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture.
New plant, insect, and animal species are introduced often across the northeast. Warmer temperatures sometimes help that process happen.
“Hundreds of species especially plant species are introduced including insects and other animals. Not all of those are harmful, some of them are here they just fit into the environment,” explained Dr. Emily Rollinson, an Associate Professor of Biology at East Stroudsburg University.
Many species in the report are almost common household names now.
“There are several areas of concern for the harms that invasive species can cause. Many are economic in terms of things like the spotted lanternfly that can harm agricultural plants or fruit trees,” described Rollinson.
“The emerald ash borer, and especially for you folks up in your area, the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre area, have just watched the ash go away,” said Strathmeyer.
The next step for the council may be the PRISM Program, which stands for Partnerships for Regional Invasive Species Management.
“The program will allow us to look at individual areas, and make sure that we are able to focus and do things intentionally,” added Strathmeyer.
For the general public, the best thing you can do is be informed about these issues and help when you can.
“You know doing our part. It’s about making sure that if we’re aware of something, and even if we’re not to try and educate ourselves,” stated Strathmeyer.
If you have any questions about invasive species in your area, visit the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture’s website.