American society is becoming increasingly global, due to the instant communications and the ever-increasing mobility that has become necessary to satisfy the global marketplace. Never in the history of mankind has a society been so adept at redistributing species across the face of the earth. The threats and challenges presented by this steady redistribution have the potential to become one of the greatest environmental challenges of the years ahead.
Unfortunately, the burgeoning global marketplace and the steady acceleration of global climate change have accelerated the pace of non-native species redistribution. For nearly a decade, the earth's average temperature has experienced a steady rise. Although climate scientists have pronounced 2010 as the "warmest year on record," it is a title that will likely be handed down regularly over the next few years.
It seems that nearly every week brings another announcement regarding the discovery of a new "invasive species," a Spiny Water Flea in Sacandaga Lake, a Round Gobi in the St. Lawrence, or alewives in Lake Champlain. The pace of redistribution is alarming, whether it is the arrival of rock snot in Kayaderosseras Creek or the challenge of preventing Asian "flying" carp from reaching the Great Lakes, the march moves inexorably forward.
Unfortunately, the results of this steady invasion will result in the alteration of our ecosystems, and of our way of life. It will be a factor in our lifestyles and in our economy, and it will change the way we live and the places where we play. Unfortunately, current efforts to halt the onslaught of invasive species have proven to be woefully inefficient. With few laws, and the lack of adequate funding or enforcement mechanisms, the future of our "home waters" is in jeopardy.
Lock it up and throw away the key
Despite continued efforts of DEC, numerous advocacy groups and the public at large, the introduction of invasive species will surely continue.