Monday, December 24, 2007

Week of December 23

Merry Christmas!

New office within New York State DEC to focus on invasive species

ALBANY, NY (12/26/2007)(readMedia) -- With invasive species proliferating throughout New York’s waterways, forests and farmlands, Department of Environmental Conservation Commissioner Pete Grannis announced today the formation of a new office within DEC to focus on one of the state’s fastest growing environmental threats.

The new Office of Invasive Species will bring together biologists and foresters to develop ways to combat the problem, and work with universities, other state agencies and non-profit organizations to support research and raise public awareness. From zebra mussels to Eurasian water milfoil to Sirex wood wasps, hundreds of non-native plants and animals have invaded New York – especially in the last decade, thought to be linked to the rise in global shipping – posing threats to ecosystems.

The new DEC office will involve biologists and foresters in developing ways to combat invaders, also working with universities, other state agencies and non-profits to support research and raise public awareness, the agency said. Headed by biologist Steve Sanford, it will have a staff of four.

Earlier this year, Governor Spitzer signed a law to create the New York State Invasive Species Council, comprised of representatives of nine state agencies and an advisory committee of business, academia and conservation interest groups. In addition, the 2007-08 State budget included $5 million for invasive species programs.

The new office also will aid efforts to craft an integrated map that pinpoints invasives in and near New York, create an information clearinghouse (within New York Sea Grant, a research organization) for invasives and work with the federal government. To find more information, go to DEC’s Invasive Species page on the Web:
News Release


Connecticut group urging program to cull deer

JOHN BURGESON, The Connecticut Post

Odds are if a Connecticut resident falls prey to an animal, it won't be from an attack by a shark, bear, copperhead or mountain lion. It will be a deer. Deer, according to a group trying to control the animals' numbers, can be the cause of death to motorists in the region or they can be the source of chronic illness by spreading Lyme disease. According to the Fairfield County Deer Management Alliance, Bambi's image is nothing to fawn over. The alliance aims to blunt what it feels are the dangers posed by large numbers of deer in the region by encouraging hunting — by professional sharpshooters or sportsmen. The group's goal is to get the population of deer reduced to the point where Lyme disease will be eradicated and vehicle-vs.-deer accidents will be greatly reduced. According to the alliance, there are far too many deer for the suburban environment to support. The alliance is sponsoring a study in 15 Fairfield County communities to determine the density of the deer tick population and the percentage infested with Lyme disease. "People don't understand the threat posed by the excess numbers of deer," said Dr. Georgina Scholl, the alliance vice chairwoman and spokeswoman, who maintains that Lyme disease can be eradicated in the state if deer numbers are brought under control. Full Article

Bloggers note: While the white-tailed deer (Odocoileus virginianus) is a native species in Connecticut (and surrounding states) and as such is generally not considered to be invasive, it has to some degree become destructive in its native region, with negative impacts similar to those of invasive species. The deer population has increased greatly due to human development, which leads to an abundance of habitat edges where deer thrive. Also, removal of predators has allowed numbers to soar. White-tailed deer have a tremendous impact on their habitat because of their huge numbers and the amount of food needed to support this population. Large numbers lead to overbrowsing which affects forest succession and other ecological conditions. Thus, white-tailed deer are occasionally considered to be pests in their native range.


Flap Over Mute Swans in Connecticut

HARTFORD, Conn. (Boston Globe) — The Connecticut Audubon Society is asking the state Department of Environmental Protection to remove swans from critical marine habitats, claiming the graceful birds are invaders causing serious environmental harm. Defenders of the swans say any move against the birds is unacceptable. "If the DEP tries to target the mute swan, we'll give them a full-fledged war," said Kathryn Burton of East Lyme, founder of Save Our Swans USA. The group has sued other states that have tried to curb the swan's rapid population growth.

Connecticut Audubon plans to lobby state legislators to give state environmental officials authority to control the number of mute swans. In Connecticut, the swans are a protected species. "Mute swans may be beautiful, but the havoc they wreak is anything but," said Milan Bull, the Audubon Society's senior director of science and conservation. "They create a marine desert below the waterline and drive away native species."

Connecticut Audubon says the swan population totals more than 1,100, particularly along the shoreline, which is already affected by rising water temperatures and pollution. The mute swan is expanding inland where it has been spotted in Avon and Woodstock. New York and Rhode Island allow the shaking of eggs until they are no longer viable, but Connecticut forbids the destruction of eggs and the hunting of any swan. Full Article


Pennsylvania Announces New Invasive Species Council Web Site

HARRISBURG, PA – People can learn how Pennsylvania is protecting against invasive plants, animals and insects by logging on to the new Invasive Species Council Web site, Agriculture Secretary Dennis Wolff said today. The Web site can be accessed by clicking on “Invasive Species Council” under the Agriculture site list at


Study: Garlic Mustard Suppresses the Growth of Native Tree Seedlings by Disrupting Belowground Mutualisms

The impact of exotic species on native organisms is widely acknowledged, but poorly understood. Very few studies have empirically investigated how invading plants may alter delicate ecological interactions among resident species in the invaded range. We present novel evidence that antifungal phytochemistry of the invasive plant, Alliaria petiolata, a European invader of North American forests, suppresses native plant growth by disrupting mutualistic associations between native canopy tree seedlings and belowground arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi. Our results elucidate an indirect mechanism by which invasive plants can impact native flora, and may help explain how this plant successfully invades relatively undisturbed forest habitat. Link


Donation will help combat weeds on Maryland trail

A stretch of the Capital Crescent Trail in Bethesda, Maryland is about to get a little cleaner, thanks to a donation by a trail advocacy group. The Coalition for the Capital Crescent Trail, a group that fights for the trail and its users, recently donated more than $20,000 to help Montgomery County combat non-native invasive plants along the popular path. Full Article


Monday, December 17, 2007

Week of December 16

Updated December 21

Nassau County, New York, legislature bans the sale and dumping of invasive plants

Legislation was approved on Monday that prohibits the sale and dumping of invasive non-native plant species in Nassau County, New York. The County recently spent more than $1 million cleaning non-native plant species out of Mill Pond on the Wantagh-Merrick border.


Red Palm Mite Infestation Identified in Florida

TALLAHASSEE -- Florida Agriculture Commissioner Charles H. Bronson announced today the detection of the red palm mite (Raoiella indica) on a coconut palm at a medical facility in Palm Beach Gardens in Palm Beach County. This is the first confirmed report of this serious plant pest in the United States. Red palm mite is a pest of coconut, areca palm, and date palms in the Middle East and is probably widespread in tropical and subtropical regions throughout the Eastern Hemisphere. The red palm mite was first identified in the Western Hemisphere in 2004 on the eastern Caribbean island of Martinique. By 2006, the mite was reported as established in the Dominican Republic, Guadeloupe, Puerto Rico, Saint Martin and Trinidad-Tobago, St. Lucia and Dominica. In 2007 the US Virgin Islands, Granada, Haiti, Jamaica and Venezuela have been added to the list of islands and countries infested with the red palm mite. In all instances, this mite has established itself on various palms, with significant outbreaks on coconut palms. Press Release


Not quite eastern USA, but interesting nonetheless: Wisconsin DNR's Draft Invasive Species Identification, Classification and Control Rule

According to Wisconsin DNR, the proposed rules will establish a fairly consistent classification and regulatory system for all listed invasive species. The rules will set specific restrictions on actions such as sales, transporting and planting or releasing certain species to the wild. It will allow DNR to work with local units of government and landowners to quickly contain new infestations of species likely to become problematic. Full Article


NPMA: European Paper Wasps and Formosan Termites Prove to Be the Year's Most Influential Pests

FAIRFAX, VA.--(BUSINESS WIRE) -- According to the National Pest Management Association, invasive pests became a hot topic in 2007 as stink bugs, carpet beetles, and other insects traversed the United States in record numbers. This year, however, the European paper wasp and Formosan termites emerged as the pests that generated the greatest attention from homeowners and entomologists. These invasive pests were often highlighted because of their national prominence and the potential harm each can cause to public health and property. Full Article

Originally from East Asia, the Formosan termite (Coptotermes formosanus) infests over a dozen southern states, costing an estimated $1 billion a year in property damages, repairs, and control measures. Before 1981, the dominulus or European paper wasp (Polistes dominulus) was not recorded in North America. In its native region, P. dominulus is the most abundant paper wasp in those countries around the Mediterranean. It is also found in southern Europe, northern Africa, the Middle East, and eastward into China. It appears that this new introduction has had an adverse impact on the native species of Polistes. Some entomologists worry that the large numbers of P. dominulus will adversely affect species of desirable insects (i.e., butterflies). Fact Sheet


Halting the Invasion in the Chesapeake Bay

The Environmental Law Institute announced the publication of "Halting the Invasion in the Chesapeake Bay: Preventing Aquatic Invasive Species Introduction through Regional Cooperation," a report by attorney Read D. Porter that examines coordination on aquatic invasive species (AIS) prevention among the Chesapeake Bay states. The report focuses on prevention-related legal authorities in Virginia, Maryland, and Pennsylvania in particular, and recommends actions to improve regional cooperation both within the existing regulatory frameworks and through potential amendments to state laws and regulations to enhance prevention. The report is available free of charge from ELI's website. Website


Upper Delaware Scenic Byway awarded national grant, partly to raise Japanese knotweed awareness

Narrowsburg - The Federal Highway Administration has awarded the Upper Delaware Scenic Byway, Inc. a $12,400 grant to undertake an Invasive Plant Species Educational Campaign and Interpretive Signage Project. The project will raise awareness of the detrimental effects of Japanese Knotweed on the Upper Delaware Scenic Byway corridor and offer eradication strategies. The grant will cover the Upper Delaware Scenic Byway, Inc.’s development and distribution of 20,000 copies of a Japanese Knotweed brochure in cooperation with the Delaware River Foundation, Inc. and the National Park Service’s Upper Delaware Scenic and Recreational River Resource Management Division. Full Article


Some landscaping species to think twice about planting in Delaware

The University of Delaware Cooperative Extension discusses several landscape tree and shrub species that are often used for screens, windbreaks, or border plantings in Delaware. Each has problems and should be avoided in some or all landscapes. Species to avoid include privet (Ligustrum spp.), autumn olive (Elaeagnus spp.), spreading bamboos (Phyllostachys spp. and others), burning bush (Euonymus alatus), and Japanese barberry (Berberis thunbergii). Full Article


Paid Internships: Invasive species removal in Virginia

The Fairfax County Park Authority, Virginia, is seeking five highly motivated college students to be part of the stewardship team (more positions may be available) to help rescue our 24,000+ acres of parkland from a host of different invasive, non-native plants such as English ivy and kudzu. The paid internship will last ten (10) weeks, this summer from May through August. Full Article


Migratory Bird Die-off in Great Lakes Region Prompts New York DEC Investigation

More than 100 dead loons and other migratory birds washed up on Great Lakes shores in mid-November, prompting the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) to suspect another botulism-poisoning episode linked to the spread of invasive species.
DEC is investigating the die-off and, although results are not complete, preliminary evidence closely matches die-offs related to type E botulism that have occurred during fall migration every year since 2000 on Lake Erie, and since 2002 on Lake Ontario, according to state Wildlife Pathologist Ward Stone. The die-offs are tied to two invasive species consumed by birds during migration stopovers: quagga mussels and a fish called round goby. Loons especially feed on round goby. Full Article


Research Project: Effects of Elevated Atmospheric CO2 on Invasive Weed Species

Summary: "A neglected aspect of global environmental change is how invasive plants might react to the rise in atmospheric CO2 level. Invasive plants can disrupt farm and forest systems and this threat is great for the southeastern U.S., with its numerous ports of entry and mild climate. We studied the response of several invasive plants by growing them under two levels of atmospheric CO2 (ambient or elevated). While most plants grew larger under high CO2, grasses showed a smaller growth response to CO2. We also found a delay or reduction in flowering under high CO2. Our findings suggest that although these invasive plants may grow bigger in a high CO2 world, their ability to spread might be reduced." Full Article


Pretty, but pushy

By Karen Nugent TELEGRAM & GAZETTE STAFF - Peter C. Alden watched as the well-dressed older woman bought a wreath decorated with Oriental bittersweet, a nonnative vine that he says is rapidly killing off forests, fields and wetlands — and probably trees and shrubs in the woman’s own backyard. Mr. Alden, a naturalist author, illustrator and lecturer, followed the woman to her car, and explained the environmental dangers of the aggressive vine with the bright orange-red berries. “She listened, she nodded. And then she said, ‘But it looks pretty’ and got into her car and left,” he said. Mr. Alden, who lives in Concord, Massachusetts, was not surprised. Despite warnings from horticultural societies, conservationists and state agencies — including a state ban with fines for violators — Oriental bittersweet, along with multiflora rose, a thorny shrub that produces bright red fruits called “hips” — are wildly popular in holiday wreaths, garlands and fall dried flower arrangements. Full Story


New York State Parks’ natural resources are threatened by pollution, invasive species, soil erosion and global warming

The New York State Council of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation today released its 2007 Annual Report to Governor Eliot Spitzer highlighting achievements over the past year and setting forth recommendations for improving the (1) infrastructure and management and (2) stewardship of New York’s 213 State Parks and Historic Sites. The report details the growing backlog of urgent capital needs at state parks and historic sites and identifies priorities of the State Council for 2008. Capital needs include remediation of existing facilities (65% of capital need), health and safety (15% of capital need), new facilities development (15% of capital need), and natural resources (5% of capital need) including invasive species management to restore habitats and ecosystems. Full Article


Monday, December 10, 2007

Week of December 9, 2007

Updated December 14

New National Map Shows Relative Risk for Zebra and Quagga Mussel Invasion

There is considerable interest in determining the range of habitats an invasive alien species could possibly reach. Since its discovery in the Great Lakes , the zebra mussel (Dreissena polymorpha) has spread rapidly throughout waterways in the eastern US, negatively impacting ecosystems and infrastructure. A close relative of the zebra mussel and also of the Dreissena genus is the more slowly-spreading quagga mussel (D. bugensis), found primarily in the Great Lakes.

Based on published reports of the species' preferred habitats and needs for survival, Thomas Whittier (Oregon State University) Paul Ringold (US Environmental Protection Agency), Alan Herlily (Oregon State University) and Suzanne Pierson (Indus Corporation) created a map to better determine where the quagga and zebra mussel may appear next, in their paper “A calcium-based risk assessment for zebra mussel and quagga mussel (Dreissena spp.) invasion.” Their research appears in the online e-view version of Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment. Full Article


Solar Bee not working to improve water quality and control invasive aquatic plants

The Geneseo Town Board (New York) will vote tonight on the future of the town's Solar Bee, one of three solar-powered water circulation devices that has been churning Conesus Lake. Geneseo, Livonia, and the Conesus Lake Association each rented a Solar Bee in April 2006 to improve water quality and fight invasive species. After two summers of data showing that the devices are not having the desired effect, Livonia leaders decided to end their pilot program. Geneseo Supervisor Wes Kennison says that he will recommend that his board also return its Solar Bee, which costs about $1,300 a month to rent. "The scientific analysis does not provide proof it's working," he said. The leaders who rented them were hoping they would control species like blue green algae, filamentous algae and Eurasian water milfoil. Full Article


Nassau County, New York looks to ban eco-unfriendly plants


Purple loosestrife, porcelain berry and the Norway maple are among a group of 63 invasive plants that Nassau County (New York) wants to ban as part of an effort to eradicate a rogues' gallery of pesky shrubs, weeds, vines and shade trees from local woods and waterways. Calling these foreign imports "biological pollution," Nassau County Executive Thomas Suozzi yesterday introduced a bill that would prohibit the sale of such plants by nurseries, fish stores and other outlets by 2009. Full Article


Paul Smith’s College wins pair of invasive species grants

The Adirondack Watershed Institute of Paul Smith’s College has been awarded a pair of grants to help control invasive species. The Invasive Species Eradication Grants, which total $84,228, came from the state Department of Environmental Conservation through the Environmental Protection Fund. Full Article


Lake Cochituate, Massachusetts, losing the battle

Plans to rid Lake Cochituate (Natick, Massachusetts) of invasive weeds are failing. The Conservation Commission may call a regional meeting with state officials to develop a management plan for Lake Cochituate, which has experienced a 68 percent increase in invasive weed coverage over the past year. Full Article


New York State DEC announces Annual Environmental Excellence Awards

The Nature Conservancy's Adirondack Chapter and associated Adirondack Park Invasive Plant Program (APIPP) were recognized for their efforts to eradicate invasive plants, which include tearing out tons of garlic mustard, Japanese knotweed, purple loosestrife and other plants from Adirondack roadsides. Full Article ; News Release


Relationship between invasive plants, fire subject of new report

The relationship between fire and invasive plant species is complex, to say the least. On the one hand, fire, like other disturbances, can create conditions that promote population explosions of invasive plants, so-named because they are both nonnative and potentially harmful to the ecosystems they inhabit. On the other, fire can be a management tool that curtails invasive plant growth. A new general technical report published by the USDA Forest Service’s Pacific Northwest Research Station explores this dynamic by summarizing completed and ongoing research conducted as part of the Joint Fire Science Program (JFSP). The report is titled "Invasive Plant Species and the Joint Fire Science Program". Full Article


State grants are coming into Schuyler County (New York) to eradicate weeds in Waneta and Lamoka lakes

Grants of $100,000 each will be used over a two-year period to fight Eurasian watermilfoil in Waneta and Lamoka lakes. Mill Pond off Lamoka is also included. Full Article


PhD Student Fellowships: Ecological genetics of invasive species

The University of Georgia has received a Partnerships for International Research and Education (PIRE) grant from the National Science Foundation to support research on the genetics and ecology of invasive plant and pathogen species exchanged between the southeastern US and China, Taiwan and Hong Kong. Full Article



Snails Invade in Florida

Snails have infested irrigation pipes in Cape Coral, according to city officials, and some residents are complaining their sprinkler systems are moving at about the pace of the small creatures. The species causing the most grief is the Mayan snail, an invasive species believed to have originated in Malaysia. David Rice, aquatic invasives coordinator for the commission, said there were reported populations of the snails in Miami-Dade and Collier counties. Populations of snails were reported in Mexico as far back as 1973. Full Article


13 more species hit Great Lakes via ships' ballast tanks

By Jeff Kart, The Bay City Times

They're the unlucky number of non-native, aquatic species recently documented for the first time in the ballast water of ocean-going ships that entered the Great Lakes. Any of the critters could be the next explosive invasive species, joining the zebra mussel and more than 160 other invaders already deposited in the lakes, mostly by marine vessels, argues Corry Westbrook, legislative director for the National Wildlife Federation in Washington, D.C. Full Article


Monday, December 3, 2007

Week of December 2, 2007

Updated December 6


Birds Pushed to Extinction by Invasive Species

Relentless sprawl, invasive species and global warming are threatening an increasing number of bird species in the United States, pushing a quarter of them — including dozens in New York and New Jersey — toward extinction, according to a new study by the National Audubon Society and the American Bird Conservancy.

The study, called WatchList 2007, categorized 178 species in the United States as being threatened, an increase of about 10 percent from 2002, when Audubon’s last study was conducted. Of the 178 species on the list, about 45 spend at least part of the year in this region. Full Article


Kudzu: A pollution problem?

By Brian McNeill /

Kudzu - the ubiquitous vine that covers shrubbery, trees, telephone poles and anything else in its path - may be pumping significant levels of pollution into the region’s air. University of Virginia researcher Manuel Lerdau and State University of New York scientist Jonathan Hickman believe that kudzu is emitting sizable amounts of ground-level ozone - potentially increasing smog, aggravating respiratory ailments and quickening the pace of global climate change. Full Article


U.S. House must plug leaks in ballast water rules

By Corry Westbrook, National Wildlife Federation

In less than two years, scientists found 13 new, potentially invasive species in the ballast water tanks of just 41 vessels entering the Great Lakes. None of the 13 had previously been found in those waters. The report, by David M. Lodge and John M. Drake with the University of Notre Dame, also confirms what many already knew: Ballast water is the most important source of new introductions into the Great Lakes, accounting for more than 64% of nonnative species. Once a species settles into the Great Lakes, it is often only a matter of time before it moves across the country. The evidence is clear that current ballast water regulations are not adequate in protecting U.S. waters from aquatic invaders. In the next few weeks, the U.S. House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure will have the opportunity to do something about that, as it prepares to vote on legislation that would set national standards for ballast water. Full Article


Invasive Plants Coming to America - Overview of the U.S. National Early Detection and Rapid Response System for Invasive Plants

By Randy G. Westbrooks and Leslie J. Mehrhoff

Throughout history, as people colonized the Earth, they brought cultivated plants and domesticated animals along with them. Since European colonization of North America began in the 1500s, about 50,000 taxa of plants and animals (species, varieties, and hybrids) have been introduced to the U.S. While most of these species are well behaved and provide immense benefits to human society, a small percentage of them have escaped from cultivation and are a serious threat to food and fiber production and/or natural ecosystems. To date, about 4,200 species of introduced plants, or about 8.4% of total introductions, have escaped from cultivation and established free-living populations with the country. Recently, scientists at Cornell University estimated that losses to the American economy due to introduced invasive species are about $138 billion per year. Of this total, costs and losses due to invasive plants are now estimated to be over $50 billion per year. Full Article


N.J. researchers breed bugs to tackle pests

EWING, N.J. (AP) - A laboratory full of bugs might make some people nervous. But for Tom Dorsey, it's just another day on the job. "Nothing here bites, scratches or claws," Dorsey recently said at the 21,000-square-foot Phillip Alampi Beneficial Insect Rearing Laboratory he runs in Ewing. The state Agriculture Department lab, funded annually with about $1 million in state and federal funds, breeds beneficial bugs to fight invasive plant species and pesky insects that threaten the state's open spaces and agricultural crops. Full Article


Alternatives to Norway Maple

By Dr. Leonard Perry, Extension Professor, UVM

Norway maple is an invasive plant you should not put in landscapes, and for which there are several good alternatives. This maple tolerates heavy shade, so establishes well in woodlands where birds drop their seeds. There, with their own heavy canopies, they shade out native wildflowers. Their shallow roots compete in forests with other less vigorous native vegetation.

Norway maple is an invasive plant you should not put in landscapes, and for which there are several good alternatives. This maple tolerates heavy shade, so establishes well in woodlands where birds drop their seeds. There, with their own heavy canopies, they shade out native wildflowers. Their shallow roots compete in forests with other less vigorous native vegetation. Full Article


New York State Declares Nassau County Free of Sudden Oak Death

New York State Acting Agriculture Commissioner Patrick Hooker today announced that Sudden Oak Death (Phytophthora ramorum), a disease that has killed oaks in the western coastal region of the U.S., is known to not occur in Nassau County. A bark sample from a red oak tree in the Tiffany Creek Preserve in Oyster Bay (Nassau County) was reported as positive for Sudden Oak Death in June 2004, however subsequent sampling and testing has proven negative.
"Although Sudden Oak Death has primarily been found in California and Oregon in the U.S., it is a great concern to our nursery and ornamental industries and forest health managers, because of the number of ornamental plant species associated with the spread of this disease," Hooker said. "I am relieved to know that this disease does not occur in Nassau County, however, we will continue to be vigilant in surveying for exotic plant pests to ensure a healthy green industry in New York State." Full Article


New York State Promotes Live Local Christmas Trees to Help Prevent Spread of Invasives

From an invasive species standpoint, real New York Christmas trees are an excellent way to prevent the introduction of invasive plant pests. New York trees take 7 to 10 years to grow and must be maintained in excellent health because they must be aesthetically pleasing to the eye. Trees grown under such conditions are naturally resistant to insects and diseases, and because real trees are grown here in New York, there is little chance of spreading pests from one area to another. Full Article


A Death in the Forest

This week’s issue of The New Yorker magazine features an article by Richard Preston titled “A Death in the Forest,” about the hemlock woolly adelgid’s (Adelges tsugae) spread through the Southern mountains and its implication for the forest ecosystem.


Invasive Rodent Spotted in New Jersey

Newark (AP) -- It's not the Jersey Devil, but its reputation is just as bad. A 20-pound rodent that scientists say is one of the world's worst invasive species has been spotted in New Jersey. State Fish and Wildlife biologist Andrew Burnett tells The Star-Ledger of Newark he saw one nutria (Myocastor coypus) swimming in Salem County's Lower Alloways Creek Township in late October. The critters are native to Brazil, Paraguay and Argentina. But they've been showing up in North America. Burnett says nutria eat vegetation, causing animals and fish to lose their habitats. State wildlife officials are asking people who spot nutrias to report them so they can determine whether they're colonizing in the state.

Emerald Ash Borer in Dozens of Toronto Trees

TORONTO (AP) — The invasive emerald ash borer beetle, which has already destroyed ash trees in southwestern Ontario, has now been found in Toronto. Full Article


Monday, November 26, 2007

Week of November 25, 2007

Funding in MA

BOSTON— The Massachusetts Division of Fisheries & Wildlife is accepting grant applications through Dec. 21 from private landowners, sportsmen’s clubs, land trusts and nonprofit organizations interested in enhancing wildlife habitat on their properties. This year’s grant round will give preference to proposed projects to maintain grasslands and create young tree and shrub land habitats. Goals of the Landowner Incentive Program include managing and controlling exotic and invasive plants. Additional information about habitat programs, grant application and criteria is available at the agency’s Web site,


Growers Bid to Revive American Chestnut

The American Chestnut Foundation oversees a tree-breeding program with chapters in 15 Eastern states and is closing in on blight-resistant American chestnuts trees it hopes could revive the species. Unless a new biological invader intervenes, the Bennington, Vt.-based group hopes to begin mass replantings in about a decade in the chestnut's original range from Maine to Mississippi. Full Article


Invasive Mussel Hurting Great Lakes Fish Population

They are invasive, living in Lake Michigan, and spreading a lot faster than anyone's prepared for, which is causing quite a challenge for fisherman. Some call them the "rabbits of the aquatic world." They are a breed of mussels called Quaggas, swarming many marinas on Lake Michigan. Quaggas are hungrier and more aggressive than their cousin, the zebra mussel, which blanket beaches and clog up pipes all along the Great Lakes. Full Article


New York State Awards $1.4 Million to Control Invasive Aquatic Species

ALBANY, NY (11/23/2007; 1254)(readMedia)-- More than 30 municipalities and organizations will receive a total of $1.4 million to help wipe out infestations of non-native aquatic species across the state, New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) Commissioner Pete Grannis announced today. The Aquatic Invasive Species Eradication grants will be used by recipients to help fight zebra mussels, water chestnuts, round goby, Eurasian watermilfoil, purple loosestrife, and phragmites, and other invasive threats to New York’s ecosystems. Full Article


Study Shows Horses Disperse Alien Plants Along Recreational Trails in Colorado

Plant invasions are rapidly becoming a threat to wildlands. One of the ways these aliens are dispersed is through large mammals that forage and excrete seeds in new locations. A new study has found horses to be a source of dispersal along recreational trails in Colorado. The study is published in the latest issue of Rangeland Ecology & Management. To read the entire article, click here:


New York to Wipe Out Phrag "Mites"

Here's a short Albany news video report, where the reporter announces that the state is going to wipe out phrag "mites". Video


New report says global warming will lead to more phragmites along our shoreline

By Jeff
If the previous warnings about global warming weren't bad enough, a new report says warmer temperatures will allow phragmites to thrive in the Great Lakes region. The invasive, monster weed has already overtaken large swaths of Saginaw Bay and spread along other shorelines and farther inland, showing up in farm fields and ditches. Charley Curtiss says the global warming predictions, from a National Wildlife Federation report to be released today, aren't surprising. Full Article


USDA Assesses The Scotts Company, LLC $500,000 Civil Penalty

WASHINGTON, Nov. 26, 2007--The U.S. Department of Agriculture's Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) has concluded an investigation into alleged compliance infractions by The Scotts Company, LLC. The investigation related to regulated genetically engineered glyphosate-tolerant creeping bentgrass. Under today's settlement agreement, Scotts has agreed to pay a civil penalty of $500,000 which is the maximum penalty allowed by the Plant Protection Act of 2000. Full Article


Ballast Water Brings New Invaders As Congress Slowly Moves Toward Stricter Rules

In less than two years, scientists found 13 new, potentially invasive species in the ballast water tanks of just 41 vessels entering the Great Lakes. None of the 13 had previously been found in those waters. Full Article


‘Bringing Nature Home: How Native Plants Sustain Wildlife in Our Gardens,’ by Douglas Tallamy, 288 pages, published by Timber Press, $27.95 Full Article


"Human-Assisted Migration"

Some conservationists have proposed the radical notion of “human-assisted migration”: a species in danger of extinction, they say, should be relocated to a place where it has a better chance of surviving. Earlier this year, the magazine Conservation reported that a group of American eco-vigilantes called the Torreya Guardians were trying to save a species of Floridian yew tree called Torreya taxifolia by spreading its seeds up to 1,000 km north of its current geographic range. Full Article


Scientists Use Bugs to Battle Florida's Invasive Species

By Kumari Kelly Sentinel Staff Writer

Think of it as a boxing match: In one corner, the predators; in the other, their prey.The predators: armies of beneficial insects. The prey: noxious weeds that clog waterways and choke native plants or destructive bugs that threaten sago palms, bromeliads or citrus.The tactic, increasingly used in Florida's sensitive ecosystems, is known as "biological control." Full Article


Stop Aquatic Hitchhikers: Five Years Later

Five years ago, through the national leadership of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, under the auspices of the national Aquatic Nuisance Species Task Force and in partnership with the U.S. Coast Guard and others, the Stop Aquatic Hitchhikers! campaign was launched to elevate the growing threats presented by aquatic invasive species and to empower people who recreate on our nation’s waterways with prevention behaviors to limit the spread of these harmful species through their recreational activities. Full Article


Monday, November 19, 2007

Week of November 18, 2007

Happy Thanksgiving!

Updated November 20, 1007


Invasive Tunicate Confirmed in Fortune Bay, Newfoundland

It’s called violet tunicate (Botrylloides violaceus) and it looks like something out of a Jules Verne novel, but the Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO) is warning that the dangers it represents are very real. A provincial aquatic invasive species survey conducted by DFO in October has confirmed that Violet Tunicate is present in Belleoram, Fortune Bay, Newfoundland, Canada. The tunicate was detected on boat hulls, wharf pilings and rocks in Belleoram. Full Article


Deer: Researchers Checking Deer for Invasive Plants

Scientists from Luther College in Decorah Iowa will be in Wisconsin to check and see if deer are carrying invasive plant species from place to place. They'll scrape dirt off their hooves, check the fur and then send the samples back to Iowa. The teams will be at a registration station at Fort McCoy and in La Crosse. Article


Bittersweet Holidays: MA Warns Against Decorating With Invasive Plants

Oriental bittersweet and multiflora rose might dress up a holiday decoration, but both are on the state’s invasive plant species list and the state Division of Fisheries & Wildlife is strongly recommending avoiding their use in decorating homes and businesses. Full Article


Ailanthus Research: Please Send Seeds

Hello all. My name is Emmi Felker-Quinn, and I am a graduate student at the University of Tennessee. I am starting a research project on the invasive plant tree-of-heaven (Ailanthus altissima). I am interested in looking at how traits related to invasability vary inpopulations across the United States. To that end, I am interested in collecting seeds from tree-of-heaven from different locations. However, as a first-year graduate student my opportunities for travel are fairly limited, so I am asking for help from people interested in invasive plants. If you have tree-of-heaven growing near you and can easily collect seeds and mail them to me, I would greatly appreciate your help. More Information


Invasive plant species altering soil

Invasive plant species, such as spotted knapweed, are not only taking a toll on native plant species, but have a detrimental effect on the biodiversity of microbes in the soil, according to a new study by Colorado State University researchers to be published in the journal "International Society for Microbial Ecology." Full Article


Aquatic Invasive Species Eradication in Suffolk County, NY

Suffolk County Executive Steve Levy on Monday announced over $1.43 million in water quality protection and restoration projects, including $250,000 to study aquatice invasive plants at three lakes in the Town of Brookhaven - Canaan Lake in North Patchogue and Upper and Lower lakes in Yaphank - and develop an eradication plan to be tested in a pilot project. Full Article


Monday, November 12, 2007

Week of November 11, 2007

Updated November 15, 2007


New York: Migratory Bird Die-Off in Great Lakes Linked to Invasive Species

More than 100 dead loons and other migratory birds have washed up on Great Lakes shores in the past week, prompting the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) to suspect another botulism-poisoning episode linked to the spread of invasive species. DEC is investigating the die-off and, although all results are not complete yet, preliminary evidence closely matches die-offs related to Type E botulism that have occurred every year on Lake Erie since 2000 and Lake Ontario since 2002, during fall migration, according to state Wildlife Pathologist Ward Stone. Those incidents are tied to two invasive species consumed by birds during migration stopovers: the quagga mussel and a fish called the round goby. Loons especially feed on the round goby. As the round gobies have proliferated in recent years, particularly in Eastern Lake Ontario, cases of botulism poisoning have increased, said David Adams, a DEC waterbird specialist. Full Article


Tunicates: Making Mussel Harvesting Increasingly Risky, Say Workers
CBC News

Tunicates, an invasive species cutting into the profits of mussel farmers on Prince Edward Island, Canada, are also increasing risks for the people harvesting them, say workers in the industry. The jelly-like tunicate cling to mussel lines, competing for food, slowing the growth of the shellfish, and making them more difficult to harvest. Full Article


Asian Long-Horned Beetle: Additions to Quarantined Areas

Federal Register: Nov 5, 2007 (Volume 72, Number 213) AGENCY: Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, USDA. ACTION: Affirmation of interim rule as final rule.


Opinion: Forget the Word "Invasive"

Saturday, November 10, 2007, Pittsburgh Tribune Review

Question: I have heard that Japanese stiltgrass is an invasive plant. What should I do to get rid of it?
Answer: The war on "invasives," and even using the word, has been a death knell to any plant pointed out and labeled in this botanical witch-hunt. The label itself is so nonspecific that it seems ludicrous to me that any person who considers themselves a scientist should ever nod their heads in agreement when yet another plant is added to the list... Full Article


Job: Temporary Research Assistant (Biological Control), Connecticut US


Japanese Knotweed: Allergies in Binghampton, NY

The whole time the darned stuff stays in bloom, my voice is barely up to speaking at all -- a great hardship to me. Along with that I find great difficulty breathing. I must alter my routes to necessary destinations to avoid exposure to the stuff, which can be fairly simple some years, but nearly impossible when it is flourishing everywhere, as it is now. My ears ache and I can't hear through them. My chest is congested along with my head. Gums are sore; teeth seem to be floating. Full Article


BetterWorld Telecom Volunteers Control Invasives

Late last week, most of the BetterWorld DC-area team was out in the George Washington National Parway again helping The Nature Conservancy cut back the invasive Amur bush honeysuckle (Lonicera maackii). Full Article


Sunday, November 4, 2007

Week of November 4, 2007

Updated November 9, 2007

Boston, MA: Countdown to Deforestation

BOSTON, MA - The Franklin Park Coalition (FPC) says the park’s tree canopy will be gone in 30 years. The cities’ Parks and Recreation Department isn’t so sure. But both organizations recognize that maintenance of Boston’s largest park is an immediate priority, and they are getting to work.

The FPC predicts in the current draft of its Woodland Management Plan that, “The age and condition of the tree canopy in the park indicate that most of the large trees that define the park’s woodlands will be gone within thirty years.”

Heavy use and the establishment of invasive species have prevented the woodlands, which cover about 200 acres of the over 500-acre park, from fully regenerating themselves over the 125 years since they were originally planted, according to the report. Link


Maine: Rep. Jayne Crosby Giles honored for supporting invasive plant legislation

AUGUSTA, ME (Nov 2): Rep. Jayne Crosby Giles (R-Belfast) was honored for her support of policies protecting Maine’s environment during the first session of the 123rd Legislature. The first-term lawmaker received a 5 out of 5 score from the Maine League of Conservation Voters in the 2007 Environmental Scorecard for legislators. Five pieces of legislation monitored by MLCV were used in the organization’s rating process, including control and prevention of invasive plant infestations. Link


New York: Control Invasives to Protect Tourism

LAKE PLACID, NY — What does a lack of uniform cell phone and broadband service, invasive species control, and accessible bicycle paths mean for the tourism industry in New York state? A lot, according to representatives from the state Hospitality and Tourism Association.

Government officials and tourism leaders from across the state gathered in the Adirondack Park to discuss those issues. Needs include controlling invasive species of plants and bacteria that can cause major damage to streams and forests, especially in the 6-million-acre Adirondack Park, which can hinder tourism. Hilary Oles, program coordinator with the Adirondack Park Invasive Plant Program in Keene Valley, said invasive species are the “visitors we don’t want coming to the Adirondacks.” Link


Gypsy Moths in Maryland

THURMONT -- If you thought this year's gypsy moth infestation was bad, just wait until next year. Gypsy moths munched their way through more than 15,000 acres of trees in the spring of 2007, and state officials expect the leaf-eating pests to defoliate more than that in 2008. How much more is anybody's guess. The state was caught by surprise in 2007 with many more gypsy moths than expected. At the same time, the federal government cut back the amount of money it provides to states to fight the invasive pest. Link


Hydrilla: A Benefical Role in the Chesapeake Bay watershed?


A recent trip up the Chickahominy River and one of its tributaries, Morris Creek, revealed one of the tidal freshwater spots in the lower Chesapeake Bay watershed where grasses — though already dying back at the onset of fall — seem to be making steady comeback. ...Kenneth Moore, a scientist at the Virginia Institute of Marine Science, has been studying the struggling conditions of the Chesapeake's grasses since the 1970s. In some of those cases, the resurgence is led by an Asian species of grass that is not native to the Chesapeake ecosystem. Called hydrilla, it was likely introduced to East Coast waters as an aquarium plant and somehow made it to the wild.The species can become a nuisance and invasive. But it has played a beneficial role, Moore said, and is better equipped to thrive in less than ideal conditions. Native species also seem to grow alongside it in many ecosystems, Moore said, and fish find it suitable as habitat. Link


Hillary Clinton: Invasive Species Wreak Unnatural Havoc

From a recent speech by Ms. Clinton: "Two years ago as part of a bipartisan congressional delegation, I traveled to Barrow, Alaska. That's the northern most point of the United States. And I also traveled through on my way there the Yukon Territory in Canada. Traveling over those vast coniferous forests that blanket those harsh unforgiving latitudes, I looked down to see dead trees as far as the eye could reach. These trees are part of an ecosystem formed to survive brutal conditions. But the giant spruce trees of the Yukon, some centuries old, are no match for a relative newcomer: a tiny insect known as the bark beetle. The forests, it turns out, were once protected by cold, cold winters. The beetle could not survive. But warmer temperatures have allowed this invasive species to travel into higher latitudes and wreak unnatural havoc. In once pristine forests, there was devastation. Millions of acres infested. Whole swaths of land - once green - now brown." Link


Eurasian Watermilfoil Plan

2008 Statewide Strategic Plan for Eurasian Watermilfoil in Idaho (Oct 17, 2007; PDF 2.16 MB) Idaho State Department of Agriculture. Prepared by the Idaho Invasive Species Council and the Idaho State Department of Agriculture


Japanese Knotweed in Vermont

Demo site winding down, mapping project gearing UP! Keep an eye on us:


Carp Management and Control Plan

Management and Control Plan for Bighead, Black, Grass, and Silver carps in the United States (Oct 2007; PDF 3.62 MB) Aquatic Nuisance Species Task Force.


Hemlock Woolly Adelgid: Maine Towns Combat Invasive Species With Beetles

By CHARLES McMAHON, Democrat Staff Writer

KITTERY, Maine — Agents from the state Forest Service have released 900 beetles in Kittery and York to combat another invasive species of bug, the Hemlock Woolly Adelgid. Link



The National Council for Science and the Environment (NCSE) is pleased to announce the second annual Request for Proposals (RFPs) in its Wildlife Habitat Policy Research Program (WHPRP). Project descriptions and detailed directions for submitting Letters of Intent (LOIs) are now available. Please click here .


Asian Earthworms: Hooked on Destruction

By Lee Shearer, OnlineAthens

They're big, they're bad, and they may be wriggling soon to a patch of dirt near you. They're Asian earthworms (Amynthas agrestis). Fishermen love them, because they're good bait. They're sometimes called "Alabama jumpers," because they actually can flip themselves out of a bait cup, said Mac Callaham, an ecologist with the U.S. Forest Service's Forestry Science Laboratory in Athens. Full article


Educating Rhode Islanders About Invasive Plants

By Dotti Farrington, The Jamestown Press

Jamestown Conservation Commissioners last month decided to develop a brochure for homeowners to be able to identify and to remove invasive plants from their properties. The educational pamphlet will supplement the commission's effort to identify and control invasive plants on town properties and along island roadsides. Full Article


Sea Lamprey: Vermont and New York Lampricide Debate

Vermont and New York tried to resume a program Wednesday to poison Sea Lamprey. For several years, anglers have been lobbying Vermont officials to crack down on the parasites by kick-starting the program that first began almost twenty years ago. Lamprey attack and kill sport fish like trout and salmon. But environmentalists have tried to put the brakes on the program. Full Article


JOB: Director, Center for Invasive Plant Management, Montana State University. Seeking talented and enthusiastic individual to promote ecologically sound invasive plant management. Complete announcement and application instructions: under Professional Positions. Screening begins December 15, 2007. ADA/AA/EO/VET PREF.


CASE STUDY: The long-term control of Giant Hogweed and Japanese Knotweed (Scotland, UK)

By ADAM DRUMMOND, The Berwick Advertiser

TWEED Forum launched their best practice booklet on the control of invasive plant species this week at Paxton House. The Scottish Government sponsored Tweed Forum to produce the best practice booklet due to the Forum's success in tackling invasive plants. The booklet will show others how to approach a similar problem. Michael Russell, Minister for Environment, who launched the booklet on Monday said: "The approach taken by Tweed Forum has shown what can be done through close coordination and involvement of everyone who lives and works on the river." For the last five years Tweed Forum has been carrying out the control of invasive, non native plant species on the Tweed. As a result of this catchment based and highly coordinated approach this has quickly become one of the most successful projects of its type in the UK. Luke Comins, manager of Tweed Forum said: "Five years ago the lower part of the Tweed was infested with Giant Hogweed; taking over the riverbanks to the detriment of our native flora and fauna. We have carried out control of Hogweed on over 300 miles of river. Where there were huge stands of 12 foot high flowering Hogweed there are now virtually no flowering plants to be found anywhere in the catchment." The Tweed Invasives Project aims to control Giant Hogweed and Japanese Knotweed and Himalayan Balsam on the Till, throughout the Tweed catchment, an area of over 3000 sq miles. Over the last five years, over £500,000 ($1,050,000) has been spent on tackling the problem, with the main course of action being spraying with glyphosphate; the only herbicide approved for use next to watercourses. Case Study Link


Cornell Researchers Discover Natural Herbicide Released by Grass

By Krishna Ramanujan, Cornell Chronicle Online

Certain varieties of common fescue lawn grass come equipped with their own natural broad-spectrum herbicide that inhibits the growth of weeds and other plants around them. Cornell researchers have identified the herbicide as an amino acid called meta-tyrosine, or m-tyrosine, that these lawn grasses exude from their roots in large amounts. This amino acid is a close relative of para-tyrosine (p-tyrosine), one of the 20 common amino acids that form proteins. Reporting on the discovery in the current issue of the Proceedings of the National Academies of Science, Frank Schroeder, the paper's senior author and an assistant scientist at the Boyce Thompson Institute for Plant Research on Cornell's campus, said, "We at first didn't believe m-tyrosine had anything to do with the observed herbicidal activity, but then we tested it and found it to be extremely toxic to plants but not toxic to fungi, mammals or bacteria." Article Link


Sunday, October 28, 2007

Week of October 28, 2007

Updated November 2, 2007

Emerald Ash Borer: Found in West Virginia

Emerald ash borer (EAB), a highly destructive, non-native beetle that attacks ash trees, has been found in Fayette County, WV, according to Commissioner of Agriculture Gus R. Douglass. “We were surprised to find the beetle this far south, because the closest known areas of infestation are in Ohio and Pennsylvania,” said WVDA Plant Industries Division Director Gary W. Gibson.


Draft South Carolina Aquatic Invasive Species Management Plan (Oct 2007; PDF 4.37 MB) South Carolina Department of Natural Resources. Aquatic Nuisance Species Program.


Home Values on Invasive Plant Infested Lakes Carol Ann Doucette is a Realtor and the president of a lake association in Maine. Carol is doing a survey of homes which are located on invasive plant infested lakes. Currently there are 29 lakes infested with Milfoil with an approximate total of all lakes in Maine at 6000. Carol (and the rest of us) would love to know any information from Realtors and property owners how this has or is effecting sales and values on their lakes throughout the U.S. No statistics are available in Maine to track this.


Zebra mussels: From Warnings to Citations in Washington State

SPOKANE, Washington -- Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) enforcement officers have shifted from warnings to issuing citations in an effort to keep Washington's waters free of an invasive species that threatens native fish and wildlife.

The state’s first citations for illegally transporting zebra mussels were issued earlier this month to two out-of-state trucking companies hauling large boats to the Pacific coast. Live zebra mussels were found attached to boats being transported by a hauler from Ontario, Canada, and another from Iowa. The zebra mussels were spotted during Washington State Patrol commercial vehicle inspections at a Washington-Idaho port-of-entry weigh station east of Spokane.

“We hope these citations, which can result in fines up to $5,000, will raise awareness that this state looks at invasive species very seriously,” said Mike Cenci, WDFW deputy chief of enforcement.

“When I talked with the truck driver and trucking company manager from Ontario, both said they fully understand because they’ve seen what zebra mussels have done to the Great Lakes area,” said Capt. Mike Whorton, who heads WDFW’s enforcement operations in eastern Washington. “One trucking company manager said he would no longer haul vessels that have not passed an aquatic-invasive-species inspection.”

Full news release at


Ballast Water Legislation

WASHINGTON (Gannett News Service 1/1/07) — Seven Great Lakes lawmakers are urging Senate leader Harry Reid to aid the region's fight against invasive aquatic species by finding a compromise between competing bills to regulate the discharge of ships' ballast water into the freshwater lakes. In a letter, Wisconsin Sen. Russ Feingold and six colleagues said discharge from ships is a key way aquatic organisms enter the Great Lakes and must be controlled. Ships use ballast water for stability and frequently release the water when in port. The five Democrats and two Republicans back legislation by Sen. Carl Levin, D-Mich., but the bill headed to the floor is the Ballast Water Management Act by Sen. Daniel Inouye, chairman of the Commerce Committee. Levin is one of the letter signers. Environmental groups, lawmakers and Wisconsin's attorney general oppose provisions in Inouye's bill they say would exempt the discharges from the Clean Water Act and pre-empt states’ ability to enforce their own anti-pollution laws. The letter writers said those are "concerns about the legislation that need to be addressed prior to the Senate's consideration of the bill. Because of the seriousness of invasive species, it is important to double efforts to resolve those concerns, and we urge you to help find a compromise."


Hemlock Woolly Adelgid:
Young Harris College (YHC) Hemlock Project, Young Harris College (Georgia).


North American Lake Management Society (NALMS)

Excelsior, Minn., Oct. 31 /PRNewswire/ -- At its International symposium in Orlando Florida today, the North American Lake Management Society (NALMS), passed the gavel to Dick Osgood, a member of the society since 1980. Mr. Osgood will begin a year-long term as President of the international organization overseeing the agenda for the board as well as all policies and programs, committees and planning for the organization. Osgood's agenda for 2008 identifies several critical lake management challenges in North America, including: Aquatic invasive species, which may "change the game" for lakes by causing serious, wide-spread and irreversible damage; toxic algae, which are becoming more prevalent; and adapting to climate change, which intensifies and accelerates the impacts of aquatic invasive species and toxic algae.,212341.shtml


E-Learning—Engaging Volunteers and the Public in Invasive Plant Issues and Management

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the Center for Invasive Plant Management announce a new e-learning website aimed at engaging volunteers and the public in invasive plant issues and management. Designed for National Wildlife Refuge volunteers and Friends groups, the website provides science-based, introductory information that is suitable for anyone interested in learning about invasive plants. The five self-study modules address the purpose and history of the Refuge System, how volunteers help in invasive plant management, how refuges manage invasive plants, and tips for community outreach. Each module contains a quiz and web-based resources that enable learners to explore topics more thoroughly.

The website is part of a larger program carried out by the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service in conjunction with partners, such as the National Wildlife Refuge Association, to engage volunteers in managing invasive species on National Wildlife Refuges. This program includes competitive grants and training in how to map invasive plant infestations using hand-held computers and GPS devices.

Volunteers and Invasive Plants: Learning and Lending a Hand website:


Meeting: Weed Science Society of America

Registration for the WSSA annual meeting at the Chicago Hilton, February 4-7, 2008 is now open on the WSSA web site: Brochures will be mailing soon but in the meantime, a PDF of the brochure is also available on the site.


Hemlock Woolly Adelgid: Biocontrol in Maine

KITTERY, Maine — Agents from the state Forest Service in Maine were scheduled to release beetles in Kittery and York on October 30, 2007 to combat another invasive species of bug, the hemlock woolly adelgid. Attacking hemlocks, the invasive pest has infested some 6,000 acres in York County, primarily in Kittery and York, according to information released by the agency Monday. Maine Forest Service Entomologist Charlene Donahue said the bugs will be released in three spots around the area including the Kittery Landtrust and the York Water District. No time has been set for their release because the beetles are still en route via Fed Ex, said Donahue. Once released, the bugs will help control the woolly adelgid population, but are not designed to eradicate the adelgid, just slow it's spread.

Additionall information about the whooly adelgid can be found at the US Forest Service site at


VHS: Penn State Ban on Moving Fish


Pennsylvania has banned removing fish from Lake Erie and its tributaries, and releasing them or using them as bait in other waterways. A Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture quarantine order took effect Monday for areas of Erie and Crawford counties that are part of the Lake Erie watershed. Those areas include most of northern and western Erie County, and the northwestern corner of Crawford County. The order was issued to control the spread of viral hemorrhagic septicemia. The virus poses no risk to humans, but causes internal bleeding in fish and has been linked to numerous fish kills in the Great Lakes, including Lake Erie.


Lamprey in Vermont
Vermont Fish and Wildlife officials are seeking to increase the level of pesticide that could be applied in the Poultney and Hubbardton rivers this fall, to bring about a more complete kill of baby lamprey living in the streams.

Wayne A. LaRoche, commissioner of Vermont Fish and Wildlife, has sent a memorandum to officials in the Department of Environmental Conservation to increase concentrations of TFM, the lampricide from 1.1 times minimum lethal concentration to 1.3 times mlc in a permit issued earlier this month.

The proposed change would be a "major modification" to the existing permit and will require a standard review in order to be considered, Susan Brittin, an environmental scientist that coordinates DEC's Aquatic Nuisance Control program, said this week.


Codium fragile: Botany Photo of the Day

See a beautiful photo of Codium fragile subsp. tomentosoides at
The photo, by Courtnay Hermann, is also at AlgaeBASE, together with some good information, at


Faucet Snail: Finding the Exotic Faucet Snail (Bithynia tentaculata): Investigation of Waterbird Die-Offs on the Upper Mississippi River National Wildlife and Fish Refuge (2007)

By Jennifer S. Sauer, Rebecca A. Cole, and James M. Nissen

Beginning in 2002, there have been major waterbird die-offs every spring and fall in the Upper Mississippi River National Wildlife and Fish Refuge (UMR Refuge). UMR lies within the Mississippi Flyway, through which an estimated 40 percent of the continent’s waterfowl migrate. Through the 2006 spring migration, an estimated 22,000–26,000 birds died on the UMR Refuge.

Wildlife pathologists at the U.S. Geological Survey’s National Wildlife Health Center (NWHC), Madison, Wisconsin, found that infection by two trematode parasites was the cause of death. An exotic snail known as the faucet snail is the first and second intermediate host for the trematodes. The faucet snail, with a shell length that can reach 15 mm, is typically found in freshwater ponds and shallow lakes. Waterbirds are at risk of consuming the trematodes inadvertently as they eat snails, which are important in their diets.

Faucet snails are native to and well distributed throughout Europe. The snail was introduced into the Great Lakes in the early 1870s. In Wisconsin, faucet snails were only found in Lake Michigan and the Wolf River drainage until 2002 when they were found in Lake Onalaska.

See the full report at:


Giant Hogweed: "Monstrous Toxic Weed on the Attack on Long Island"

Monday, October 29th 2007, 4:00 AM

It's called giant hogweed, and this Godzilla of weeds produces a hefty stalk that can reach 15 feet high and sprout leaves as wide as 5 feet.

But it is the hogweed's watery, toxic sap that has earned it the dubious distinction of being declared a public health hazard. The plant's juices can cause burning and blistering to human flesh, and leave blackish scars that can last several years.

And it's here on Long Island. The plant, which sprouts massive clusters of white flowers, was included in a list of 63 invasive plant species that Nassau County Executive Tom Suozzi aims to ban from local shops by 2009.

"It's like Audrey from 'Little Shop of Horrors.' It's a huge, huge plant," said Allan Lindberg, a wildlife biologist with the Nassau County Department of Parks, Recreation and Museums. Lindberg said staff at the Muttontown Preserve in East Norwich, on Long Island's North Shore, has been battling the plant for 10 years. The only other known patch of giant hogweed on Long Island is on the grounds of a horse stable off Northern Blvd., near the preserve.


Invasive Plant Species Threaten Upper Delaware
By SARAH THOMAS, The Wayne Independent

Japanese Knotweed, Purple Loosestrife, and Rock Snot may not sound like the names of a dangerous band of invaders. But for property owners and National Park Service officials on the Upper Delaware River, they're no laughing matter. They are just three of the 61 species of invasive plants threatening one of the country's premier natural waterways.

Continued at


Cornell Cooperative Extension: Apple, biofuel and invasive species programs are some newly funded research and extension projects

By Lauren Chambliss, Cornell Chronical Online

Research projects on biofuels, apples and teaching youths to cook to promote healthy eating are just a few of the 94 new research and extension programs that will be funded this year with more than $1.9 million from the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Cooperative State Research, Education and Extension Service.

The money will be disbursed to new research and extension projects in such diverse areas as human health, food safety, communicating in the Internet age, global climate change, renewable energy and agriculture. They include projects on:

Biofuels -- finding the right mix of field grasses specifically for New York that will provide the best, most sustainable, economically efficient fuel source for the "green" energy revolution;

West Nile virus -- investigating new methods of mosquito population control to reduce the threat of diseases transmitted to humans;

Youth and health -- using cooking skills to promote healthy eating among youth;

Invasive species -- keeping New York's lakes and rivers healthy and flowing by researching the ecosystem impact of invasive aquatic plants; and

Apples -- promoting one of the state's largest agricultural products by creating new strategies to benefit processed apple products.

Appropriated by Congress under authority of the federal Hatch, Smith-Lever, McIntire-Stennis and Animal Health acts, these "federal formula funds" go to the Cornell University Agricultural Experiment Station (CUAES), New York State Agricultural Experiment Station in Geneva (NYSAES) and Cornell Cooperative Extension. The annual project awards primarily go to faculty at the Colleges of Agriculture and Life Sciences, Human Ecology and Veterinary Medicine.

Complete article at


Asian Carp

The Asian carp, a non-native species imported from China and Siberia, is eating its way up the Mississippi River toward the Great Lakes, conquering water ecosystems in its path.

Week of October 21, 2007

Updated October 26, 2007


Meeting: Delaware Invasive Species Council, Friday

By MARGO McDONOUGH, Special to The News Journal
Posted Sunday, October 21, 2007

"They've invaded Delaware, they just keep growing, and we're not taking it anymore" is the theme for the Delaware Invasive Species Council's annual meeting Friday at the Grass Dale Center, near Delaware City.


Meeting: Aquatic Nuisance Species Task Force Meeting
AGENCY: Fish and Wildlife Service, Interior.

This notice announces a meeting of the Aquatic Nuisance Species (ANS) Task Force. The meeting is open to the public. DATES: The ANS Task Force will meet from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Tuesday, November 6 and Wednesday, November 7, and from 8 a.m. to 12 p.m. on Thursday, November 8, 2007. ADDRESSES: The ANS Task Force meeting will take place at the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service office, 4401 North Fairfax Drive, Arlington, VA 22203; You may also view the minutes on the ANS Task Force Web
site at:


Workshop: Ecological Approach to Invasive Aquatic Plant Management Workshop Oct 30, 2007 Orlando, Florida. This workshop is part of the North American Lake Management Society Symposium. Sponsored by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers


Partnerships: PRISMs Shine Across New York State

Step into NY, and you’ll step into a PRISM. PRISMS are interjurisdictional partnerships among governmental and nongovernmental organizations and citizens formed to prevent, manage, map, monitor, research, educate about, and mitigate impacts of invasive species in a specific geographic region in NY. Learn more about PRISMs by logging onto . This PRISM news is courtesy of APIPP, the Adirondack Park Invasive Plant Program. Visit APIPP at . You can read APIPP's Fall/Winter 07 newsletter at


Red Lionfish ... the presence of red lionfish, a venomous invasive species, was confirmed off the coast of Georgia. The fish are native to the Pacific Ocean ...


Job Opening: Virginia Cooperative Extension

Virginia Cooperative Extension is seeking applications for a full-time, salaried, Invasive Plant Control Program Coordinator for Arlington County. This is a restricted, lecturer rank, non-tenure track, professional faculty position. Salary based on qualifications and experience. Continuation is contingent on annual funding by the localty.


Marine Industry: Green Marine and Invasive Aquatic Species

QUEBEC CITY, Oct. 23 /CNW Telbec/ - The marine industry in Quebec and the rest of Canada continued to set itself apart today by officially launching its own environmental program calling on industry businesses to go further. This program covering the St. Lawrence and Great Lakes corridor is the first of its kind in North America. Program participants already include over 25 leaders representing the bulk of marine operations in this corridor.

Green Marine was founded by seven marine industry associations in Canada and the United States who decided to further reduce their "environmental footprint" by taking action around six major issues specific to their operations: aquatic invasive species, pollutant air emissions, greenhouse gases, cargo residues, oily water, and conflicts of use in port and terminals (noise, dust, odors, and light).

"Each business participating in the program is doing so voluntarily and is subject to a certification process. Each must set out its environmental challenges and a related action plan. A year may pass before program participants are granted official certification on a scale that ranges from compliance with applicable regulations to excellence and leadership in their practices."


VHS: Vermont emergency rule

WATERBURY, Vt. (AP) - The Vermont Fish and Wildlife Board has enacted a new emergency rule for the handling of bait fish as a way to prevent a deadly fish disease from reaching the state. The rules are to stop the spread of viral hemorrhagic septicemia (VHS), which was recently discovered in the Great Lakes and affects 37 species of fish, and has been found in 3 of New York's Finger Lakes.

The disease can kill tens of thousands of fish at a time. Some of the highlights of the rules include a requirement that anglers buy from state-approved bait dealers, bait fish can only be used on one body of water and unused baitfish must be destroyed and properly disposed of. Copyright 2007 The Associated Press

There is a VHS fact sheet at:


Legislation: USA. House Passes Bill to curb invasive species devastating national wildlife
Wednesday, 24 October 2007

On Monday, the U.S. House of Representatives unanimously passed the bipartisan Refuge Ecology Protection, Assistance, and Immediate Response Act, or REPAIR Act (H.R. 767), that will direct federal resources to states to help eradicate invasive species that are devastating many wildlife refuges. In response to the exploding threat that invasive species pose to the health and abundance of many birds, Congressman Ron Kind (D-WI) championed legislation which provides grants to states to identify harmful non-native species and establish priorities for preserving native birds, fish, other wildlife, and their habitats. The REPAIR Act now moves to the Senate.


The Asian clam (Corbicula fluminea) has been found in Rhode Island waters and is spreading.


Lamprey: Invasive? Pests?

The state of Vermont wants to hear from the public on how best to control lamprey that are blamed for killing fish in Lake Champlain. For years, the parasitic lamprey were thought to be an invasive species. Studies now show they are native to the lake. Still, fisheries managers say they are a nuisance, and they want to kill as many as possible.

Vermont Public Radio's John Dillon reports:
(Dillon) Lamprey spawn in rivers and a chemical pesticide is used to kill their larvae in the streams. In the lake, lamprey attach to trout and suck out their blood. The state is reconsidering how much pesticide to use. In announcing the decision, Natural Resources Secretary George Crombie called the lamprey "an invasive nuisance" that needs to be controlled.

But while lamprey may be a nuisance, they are not invasive, according to scientific studies. The research looked at DNA evidence that shows the lamprey became landlocked in Lake Champlain when glaciers retreated about 11-thousand years ago. A book on Vermont fishes published last year by the state also describes the lamprey as native to the lake.

Continued at