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


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