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