Our Environment. Our Home. OUR CHALLENGE.

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Otsego County Conservation Association is sponsoring three invasive species events as part of the fifth annual New York State Invasive Species Awareness Week (ISAW).

On Sunday, July 8, OCCA hosts a “Paddle and Pull” on Goodyear Lake aimed at finding and removing water chestnut (Trapa natans), an invasive plant from eastern Europe. Participants will meet at the New York State Fishing Access Site on Route 28 in Portlandville and head out into the ‘Stump Lot,’ the northernmost portion of the Lake. Any water chestnut plants found will be pulled by hand and composted. The event takes place from 1 to 4 p.m.Volunteers should bring sunscreen, a hat and water, and should wear clothes that can get wet and/or muddy. OCCA has a limited number of canoes available for participants to use, or they may bring their own canoe/kayak.

On Wednesday, July 11, OCCA will be tackling Japanese knotweed at Mohican Farm in Springfield from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. Japanese knotweed grows in dense clumps and spreads rapidly, crowding out native vegetation. OCCA and Mohican Farm have been working together for the last two years to try to bring this stubborn invasive under control without the use of herbicide. Participants may bring hand tools such as pruners, loppers, and picks or mattocks.

Invasive Species Awareness Week draws to a close on Saturday, July 14 with the “Invasive Species Teach-In” at the small pavilion in Wilber Park, Oneonta. This event will include educational displays, an urban forest/invasive species-themed nature walk, activities for children and adults, and a plant identification booth. The Invasive Species Teach-In will run from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. and is sponsored by OCCA, the Catskill Regional Invasive Species Partnership (CRISP) and the City of Oneonta.

All events are free and open to the public. Pre-registration is required to reserve canoe space in the “Paddle and Pull,” and is preferred for the Japanese knotweed removal. To sign up, either call Jeff O’Handley at (607) 282-4087 or use the form on OCCA’s web page: (http://occainfo.org/program-and-event-sign-up-form/).

Invasive species are organisms that are not native to an area and cause or are likely to cause harm to the environment, the economy, or human health. Invasive species cost the United States more than $120 billion in damage and control costs each year.

The mission of Invasive Species Awareness Week is to promote knowledge and understanding of invasive species and the harm they can cause by engaging citizens in a wide range of activities across the state, and empowering them to take action to help stop the spread.

Founded in 1968, OCCA is a private, non-profit membership group dedicated to promoting the appreciation and sustainable use of Otsego County’s natural resources through education, advocacy, resource management, research, planning and practice. For more information on OCCA, or to donate, visit www.occainfo.org.