Fire Island National Seashore is a complex park with a number of historic and modern structures, landscapes, and natural areas, including wilderness and dynamic coastal dunes with accompanying vegetation.
Beyond the usual assortment of urban and rural pest issues, extensive populations of exotic invasive plants present an additional challenge. Invasive plants and animals often find their way into the park through neighboring non-federal lands.
An invasive plant mapping project in 2002 found fifteen invasive plant species on Fire Island and seven at the William Floyd Estate. Funding for continued inventory and mapping was obtained in 2007 and 2008, and an invasive species control program was initiated for Fire Island National Seashore in 2008.
The most prominent invasive plant species on Fire Island include:
Other invasive plants of concern include:
The common reed (Phragmites australis) is very extensive on Fire Island, especially on the eastern end of the wilderness area. This plant, which can grow up to 20 feet high, forms dense stands by a network of roots and rhizomes. One plant can spread more than 10 feet in a single growing season. However, there may also be a native genotype of this species (Phragmites australis americana) on Fire Island, which would need to be identified and protected. Fire Island National Seashore has not yet implemented an inventory and management program for invasive common reed.
For More Information
You can learn more about invasive plant species through the National Invasive Species Information Center.
New York State Department of Environmental Conservation also has various invasive species management programs.
Did You Know?
New York's state gem—the garnet—may be found among the sands that comprise Fire Island's beaches. Due to differences in size and weight of the grains of sand, you may sometimes see ribbons of garnet and magnatite among the white quartz, as the sand settles on the beach. More...