The Long Island Invasive Species Management Area

Invasive Species Legislation

New York State Legislation

The NYS DEC (Department of Environmental Conservation) released its proposed invasive species regulations on Oct 24, 2013. Included are lists of invasive species that are Prohibited – cannot be sold or “knowingly possessed with the intent to sell, import, purchase…” and Regulated “ which shall be legal to possess, sell, purchase, propagate and transport but may not be knowingly introduced into a free-living state; and require a permit for research, education and other approved activities…” Regulated species may be sold but only with a permanent label that informs consumers that the species is harmful and provides instructions for care and how to prevent the spread of the species into a free-living state. Regulations pertaining to invasive species are to take effect six months after notice of adoption in the State Register. Regulations allow for possible exemptions for non-invasive cultivars of prohibited or regulated plant species in the future.

NYS DEC and NYS DAM (Department of Agriculture and Markets) are to be commended for their groundbreaking regulations which were developed including input from stakeholders from the horticulture industry and environmental groups. The listing process relied on a combination of scientifically based ecological invasiveness assessments and socio-economic assessments of harm or benefits. Invasiveness assessments of plant species were carried out by the Brooklyn Botanic Garden and the LIISMA Scientific Review Committee which was funded and chaired by The Nature Conservancy.  

Invasive plant laws and lists of Do Not Sell plant species were first developed by Nassau and Suffolk Counties on Long Island beginning in 2007. These counties are to be commended for taking a leadership role regarding the harm caused by invasive species. The new NYS law “grandfathers” the laws and lists developed by Nassau and Suffolk Counties only, which may be more restrictive than the NYS law but not less restrictive. Implications are as follows:

Nassau and Suffolk Counties must prohibit ALL species that NYS prohibits regardless of invasiveness rank for LIISMA. Thus eight species must be added to the Nassau and Suffolk Counties Do Not Sell list including the two species of running bamboo that have raised so much controversy on LI and elsewhere: yellow groove bamboo and golden bamboo. Although these bamboo species don’t escape from cultivation into natural areas (although they can grow into them vegetatively) they can be damaging to properties in landscaped settings. The other six species are arthraxon, cut-leaf teasel, leafy spurge, garden loosestrife, killer alga Caulerpa, and giant hogweed (assessed Moderate for LI but should be prohibited because it is a Federal noxious weed).  In addition a new species, Japanese chaff flower, should be added to the Nassau and Suffolk Counties Do Not Sell list.

Several common horticultural species prohibited by Nassau and Suffolk Counties will also be prohibited by NYS, including Japanese barberry (but with a one year grace period), porcelain berry, sycamore maple, yellow iris and more.

On the flip side, six horticulturally important invasive plant species included on the NYS Regulated list (may sell but with label) are and will remain prohibited (cannot be sold) by Nassau and Suffolk Counties: Norway maple, burning bush, winter creeper, Chinese silver grass, black locust, Japanese virgin’s bower (also called autumn clematis). One species prohibited by Nassau and Suffolk Counties is not prohibited or regulated by NYS (reed canary-grass). 

There are four locations for public hearings in NYS: Albany, Buffalo, Syracuse and Stony Brook. The public hearing date for Long Island is Tues. Dec. 17 at 2:00 PM at the DEC offices in Stony Brook.

Statements, petition instructions and dates of public hearings are at:

Lists of prohibited and regulated species and instructions on obtaining permits to possess invasive species for education, research etc. are at:

Penalties for violations are at:

Information from all six of the separate DEC web pages can be found in this Word Document.

Suffolk and Nassau County Legislation

As part of their long-term, multi-strategy plans to slow the spread of invasive species, Suffolk and Nassau Counties passed local laws prohibiting the sale, introduction, and propagation of 63 invasive, nonnative plants, in 2007. Among the species banned are purple loosestrife, Japanese honeysuckle, autumn olive, and multiflora rose.

Each county adopted the same “Do Not Sell” list and similar legislation in collaboration with The Nature Conservancy, LIISMA, the nursery industry, botanists, field scientists, and environmental agencies. The concept for the Suffolk County legislation, and later the Nassau County legislation, was first outlined in the 2006 Suffolk County Invasive Task Force report entitled A Strategy to Develop and Implement the Suffolk County Invasive Species Management Program.

Phase out dates were given for each species, depending on the species’ growing time and popularity, to allow nursery owners sufficient time to clear their shelves and not undergo financial losses.  Phase out dates were reached with the help of nursery industry associations.
Exemptions are allowed for educational, scientific or removal purposes.
A Management list of Moderately Invasive species was also developed.  While not having legal standing or prohibitions, the list is intended to guide agency actions, urging agencies to not plant those species and to remove them if found.

Each county advisory board periodically reviews additional invasive species, and revisions to the “Do Not Sell” and Management lists are made. The results from the LIISMA invasiveness ranking system reviewed by the LIISMA Scientific Review Committee informs the work of the county advisory boards. For more information on the Scientific Review Committee, its members, and their work, please see the Species Assessment page.

The current Do Not Sell lists are here: SUFFOLK LIST, NASSAU LIST.

The current county codes are here: SUFFOLK CODE, NASSAU CODE.

If you have a complaint about someone selling banned plants fill out this form for SUFFOLK COUNTY, NASSAU COUNTY.

The current Management list for Suffolk County is HERE.

The LIISMA Scientific Review Committee reviews each species that has been put through the invasiveness ranking system and makes recommendations to the county advisory boards