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


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