Wednesday, January 2, 2008

Week of December 30, 2007

Happy New Year!

Invasive plants and animals taking hold in Rhode Island waters

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP) —Invasive plants and animals that can damage the environment and cost millions of dollars to control have increasingly taken hold in Rhode Island waters. A survey by the state Department of Environmental Management found that 79 percent of the state's freshwater bodies have been tainted by at least one invasive species. "This was just a survey to find out the distribution of invasive species, and they're everywhere," said Katie DeGoosh, a freshwater biologist at the DEM. There are other signs of problems, too. Last year, the Rhode Island Country Club in Barrington spent $6 million on dredging and reconstruction as it removed reed phragmites, an invasive species. State officials say they expect new invasive species from other states to continue to stream into Rhode Island's lakes, rivers and other bodies. Full Article


2008-2012 National Invasive Species Management Plan -- Draft for Public Comment (PDF 143 KB) (Dec 20, 2007) All comments must be received by close of business on Feb 11, 2008 -- see Federal Register Notice for more information.


The Noble, Gentle Swan Is Anything But, to Some

By THOMAS KAPLAN, New York Times

NEW HAVEN, Connecticut — Known for gliding along local waterways with statuesque grace, the mute swan is rarely thought of as an environmental hazard. But wildlife experts say that the swan’s elegant facade conceals an ecological menace that devours shoreline vegetation, scares away other waterfowl and can even attack humans. The bird is now a target of a campaign to reduce its numbers in Connecticut's delicate coastline habitats. The leaders of the effort are conservationists, including the Connecticut Audubon Society, which in the coming months will intensify a campaign to urge state officials to control the swans’ population, which stands at about 1,100. Full Article


Kudzu may be a major air polluter

By Brian McNeill,

The vine that ate the South has a nasty case of gas. 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


Montgomery County, MD Plans to Expand Eradication Efforts in Parks

By Lori Aratani Washington Post Staff Writer

It sounds like the title of a bad B-movie: Alien Plant Invaders. But in Montgomery County, Maryland, and communities across the country, the problem of alien plants -- also known as nonnative invasive species -- is one that is being taken seriously.

County officials have allocated an increasing amount of money to help combat the problem of nonnative invasive species, which crowd out or kill native plants in local parks. Since 2006, the county has almost doubled the amount it spends on efforts to get rid of the pests. In fiscal 2008, the county will spend $125,000 on eradication efforts. But a significant gap remains. That funding level enables workers to tackle only 350 of the estimated 33,000 threatened acres of county parkland. Full Article


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