With Earth Day just around the corner, we’re shining a light on the efforts of our environmentalists, educators and horticulturists to ensure our Park remains clean and green for those of us who call Hudson River Park our backyard—and for the creatures who share our land and waters. This past year has featured great steps forward: our newly expanded Community Compost Program is thriving and our stewardship efforts are growing. We even discovered our waters are home to the largest wild oysters seen in our estuary in over a century!
One of the ways our team protects the Park ecosystem is by using an Integrated Pest Management (IPM) system for maintaining our green spaces, reducing the use of chemicals and supporting a healthy Park habitat for all of our species. Each year around this time, you can find Hudson River Park staff removing what at first glance may look like small pinecones but are actually the protective “bags” of the bagworm moth. These camouflaged protective casings keep bagworm moth eggs safe from predators during the winter before they hatch out in late spring.
Bagworm moths are considered an invasive species because when they feed and build their protective bags, they damage the juniper and cypress trees that sustain them, resulting in dead areas, defoliation and plant death. In 2014, when our horticulture staff noticed an increase in bagworm moth casings in the Greenwich Village and the Meatpacking District sections of our Park, they put an IPM system in place, inspecting our trees and manually removing any egg casings found each spring.
This ecosystem-friendly process is working! Over the past few years, the number of bagworm moth casings found in the Park has greatly decreased. Instead of finding hundreds of casings, our staff found under thirty this April—a real improvement in the management of this species and a welcome change for our cypress and juniper trees, all achieved without harsh chemicals.
Through efforts large and small, we continually seek ways to be better stewards for our 550 acres—from our waters to our gardens to our trees—ensuring your Park remains green in more ways than one.