Denying the Obvious

By Gary L. Karl

ESSLA does everything we can to keep invasive species (IS) out of the Schroon Lake watershed.

We support boat inspections and washes to keep aquatic IS like hydrilla, zebra mussels, Asian clams, quagga mussels, curly leaf pondweed, and spiny waterflea from entering our beautiful lakes.

We support Eurasian water milfoil (EWM) harvesting to control the IS that is already in our lakes.

We support efforts to identify and eradicate terrestrial IS like iron knotweed and purple loosestrife to keep them from taking over the lands in our watershed. And we support efforts to identify the insect IS, the hemlock woolly adelgid (HWA), to keep it from destroying our forests.

So we were discouraged, to say the least, to learn that “invasive species denialism” is a thing.

Anthony Ricciardi, a professor in McGill University’s School of Environment, recently published a paper examining more than six dozen articles—primarily from the popular press in the last 25 years—that deny the risks posed by non-native species and claim that the entire field of invasion biology is “pseudoscientific.”

Professor Ricciardi describes IS denialists as a mix of corporate and free-market anti-regulatory groups who oppose restrictions on transporting living organisms around the world, and contrarians who give voice to societal distrust in scientific institutions, or simply seek notoriety.

We are grateful that our partners in protecting and preserving the Schroon Lake watershed—in particular, the Towns of Chester, Horicon and Schroon, and the Warren County Soil and Water Conservation District—are IS realists, not denialists. We are grateful also for the State’s commitment to the Adirondacks generally.

For the IS denialists out there, we invite you to volunteer for a shift or two hand-harvesting EWM on any of our lakes before you tell us that IS are “pseudoscientific” and not really a problem.

Comments are closed.