HWA Managers Strategize Hemlock Conservation Around New York

One of the overarching reasons that the New York State Hemlock Initiative exists is to contribute to the statewide conversation about hemlock woolly adelgid management. HWA isn’t an isolated issue; there are 43 counties in New York with known HWA infestations, and that means that many land managers across the state are dealing with HWA at some level of infestation. For many managers, this means actively planning treatments as new infestations arise. For others, it can mean identifying stands to survey as HWA approaches their conserved lands. On December 7, we met with HWA managers from around the state representing over 15 different organizations. We spoke with state, regional, and local NYSHI partners including NYS Dept. of Environmental Conservation, NYS Dept. of Parks, Reccreation, and Historic Preservation, NY Dept. of Environmental Protection, the New York Partnerships for Regional Invasive Species Management, Finger Lakes National Forest, Catskill Mountainkeeper, Cornell Cooperative Extension, Cornell Botanic Gardens, the New York Invasive Species Research Institute, Finger Lakes Land Trust, and the Nature Conservancy, among other dedicated local and regional collaborators.

 

One major challenge when working with so many different players is staying connected and consistent when planning HWA management. At this meeting we collaborated to improve NYSHI’s new hemlock prioritization tool, a project that has been in development since 2016. Our goal in creating our prioritization tool is to help landowners and managers identify key hemlock stands on their properties that, when treated, would optimize the results of those HWA treatments.

When it comes to conserving hemlocks, landowners and managers have different interests. Some managers are looking to save hemlocks near streams to protect water resources. Others may be inclined to save hemlocks near campsites and trails to keep visitors safe from falling hazard trees. Landowners may be looking to conserve their property value or protecting their house from a deadfall. Whatever priorities landowners or managers identify, the hemlock prioritization tool will help make management decisions that work for the long-term. With feedback provided from our many partners, we can improve upon the work we have started to create a tool that will be useful in small and large stands on one property or across multiple properties to plan management that is ecologically responsible and economically feasible.

Look out for our prioritization tool to be made available on our website in early 2019!

Thinking of attending the HWA Managers Meeting in 2019? Email cam369@cornell.edu for more information.