Monday, February 25, 2008

Week of February 24, 2008

Updated February 29

Water Lettuce: Potomac River’s Floating Salad Bar Has No Takers

Contact: K. L. Kyde

This past summer, US Geological Survey scientists discovered the exotic plant water lettuce (Pistia stratiotes) floating over submerged aquatic vegetation beds in Mattawoman Creek, a large Potomac River tributary in Charles County. They raised an alarm in the aquatic invasive species community, because water lettuce can form dense carpets of vegetation on the water surface, blocking sunlight from reaching submerged plants and reducing the oxygen exchange at the water’s surface. It can also grow to form surface mats impenetrable to boats, swimmers and waterfowl. Although water lettuce is a perennial plant, it would not normally survive Maryland’s winter temperatures, because it has a low temperature minimum of 59°F for growth. Yet it has been found as far north as New York. Questions still exist about its origin, its ability to withstand northern winters, its spread rate and the effects of rising water temperatures on its possible spread north. For this reason, the Maryland Invasive Species Council has named water lettuce the January Invader of the Month. Full Article


New Hydrilla Treatment in Florida

Contributed by Bill Bair

Officials of the South Florida Water Management District are touting a new weapon in the battle against hydrilla, an aquatic weed that clogs many Central Florida lakes. Working in cooperation with the Department of Environmental Protection, SFWMD field crews will apply the chemical Galleon to 4,000-acre Cypress Lake, which is located in the Kissimmee Chain.

A water district release said Galleon has been used a number of times in smaller lakes with great success. It kills the whole plant and does it slowly, limiting any risks to fish. SFWMD aquatic plant expert Mike Bodle. Bodle explained that Galleon also kills the invasive water hyacinth, saving both time and money. The herbicide will be dispersed in a liquid form from airboats, so anglers and other boaters will not be disrupted. Galleon does not require any fishing or fish-eating restrictions.

"Galleon could become a great new tool in our aquatic plant management toolbox in the effort to control hydrilla," said Tina Bond, PhD, with Osceola County, who is working under a U.S. Environmental Protection Agency grant to investigate new ways to control hydrilla in the Kissimmee Chain of Lakes.

Since the late 1980s, the herbicide Sonar has been the primary tool for controlling hydrilla, which if left unchecked would destroy fish and wildlife habitat, compromise flood protection and limit access to the lakes by clogging boat motors. Over the years, hydrilla became resistant to Sonar. Research and small-lake treatments, however, appear to show that Galleon may be as affective as Sonar once was, providing aquatic plant specialists with an important new tool, the release said. Full Article

Cornell, Lake Association Cooperate To Clean Chautauqua Lake, New York

By Jessica Wasmund

In an effort to combat the Eurasian water milfoil, an invasive species that is abundant throughout Chautauqua Lake, representatives from Cornell University and Chautauqua Lake Association are combining forces to fight against further invasion. The CLA has an ongoing six-year contract with the university to continue studying the lake and trying to cut down on the population of the Eurasian water milfoil.

‘‘Every summer the CLA has been very visible on the lake with our machines doing what we do best — assisting the lakefront owners with shoreline cleanup and harvesting weeds to remove them from the lake,’’ said Paul Swanson, CLA general manager. Through numerous dives into the lake, Cornell research ponds manager Robert Johnson has discovered what is happening along the bottom of the lake. Johnson selected test plots for both the upper and lower basins of the lake, and officials from both organizations are hopeful the information he has documented will help provide answers on how to restore the lake to pre-Eurasian water milfoil conditions. ‘‘Cornell provides support to Chautauqua Lake through our contract with the CLA to record yearly changes in aquatic plant growth,’’ Johnson said. ‘‘This natural biological control offers some help in limiting excessive weed growth.’’

As research crews skimmed across the lake, they used a method known as ‘‘rake-tossing’’ to pinch off the top 25 centimeters of each weed stem. The samples were then put into separate bags and frozen. Johnson then dissected each stem to evaulate the same, looking for numbers and types of herbivores found. To better understand the year-to-year changes in plant and insect herbivore abundance in Chautauqua Lake, Johnson then examines the reports by comparing yearly estimates of weevil populations since 2002. Understanding this changeability in plant and herbivore populations from year to year may aid in the overall plant management for the lake, Johnson explained. Since the study first began, there has been a large variation in Johnson’s year-to-year studies, which makes it difficult to predict populations from one year to the next. Full Article

New York Community Fights Invasive Pond Scum

A $40,148 Aquatic Invasive Species grant from the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) will help the City of Newburgh Water Department continue to battle an unwelcome visitor to Brown’s Pond, the city’s secondary water source, in an ecologically sensitive manner. Sterile triploid grass carp will be introduced into the pond, (also known as Silver Stream Reservoir), to combat around 110 acres of curlyleaf pondweed infestation. Link


County opposes use of herbicide to treat Glenmere Lake, Florida

By Matt King
Times Herald-Record

FLORIDA — The Orange County Water Authority has joined environmentalists in opposing a plan to treat Glenmere Lake with herbicide, but village officials say they'll proceed as planned.
"If we don't get funding from the county, we're still going to look to go ahead," Mayor Jim Pawliczek said, adding that he'll ask the towns of Warwick and Chester, which border the lake, for money.

Treating the lake to kill the invasive Eurasian watermilfoil is controversial because the lake is the drinking water supply for Florida and the Orange County Jail.

The state Department of Environmental Conservation has agreed to help pay for the operation if Florida can raise half of the $96,000 cost. Full Article


Donated Venison Sets Virginia Record

By Hannah Northey,

Virginia deer hunters - and the food banks that receive much of the meat they donate - saw record amounts of venison last year, officials say. And, they add, local food banks may set records again this year.

Statewide, Hunters for the Hungry, a wild game donation program, processed and distributed more than 363,000 pounds of deer meat to families and individuals living in poverty in 2007. Locally, the Blue Ridge Area Food Bank Network based in Verona received 5,000 pounds last year, an increase of 2,650 pounds from 2006, said Ruth Jones, the bank's public relations officer. Mercy House, a homeless shelter in Harrisonburg that helps families with young children, also received donations of meat, but officials there could not be reached for comment.

The increase in donations is a result of larger deer populations across the state, combined with hunters' growing awareness of Hunters for the Hungry, said Laura Newell-Furniss, director of the program. The Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries has not yet released the number of deer killed by hunters in 2007 and 2008.

"Every year [Hunters for the Hungry has] grown," Newell-Furniss said. "There were a lot of deer taken, we're a growing program and more people hear about us and get involved in it." Since the program began in 1991, hunters have donated more than three million pounds of venison, Newell-Furniss said. Full Article


New York State DEC Enters Into Agreement With Hess Over Violations: Penalty Includes $300,000 to Help Restore the Hudson River

Hess Corporation will bring 65 gasoline stations and oil storage facilities into compliance with state requirements and fund an important habitat restoration project in the Hudson River Estuary under an agreement announced today by New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) Commissioner Pete Grannis. The consent order also requires a penalty of $1.1 million for storage violations at the facilities, a portion of which will be deposited into DEC's marine resources account, which helps support activities related to the improvement and protection of New York's marine ecosystems.

The order includes $300,000 to be administered by The Nature Conservancy as part of an Environmental Benefit Project (EBP) agreed to by Hess and DEC. The EBP will focus on the restoration and management of rare freshwater tidal wetlands in the Hudson River Estuary.

During a three-year project, The Nature Conservancy will select restoration sites in freshwater tidal wetland sections of the estuary that have been impacted by invasive plants. Biologists will develop invasive species removal plans and monitor the anticipated improvements to the ecosystem. Public and private property owners along the river will also be approached to implement management strategies that will help ensure the continued success of the project. Full Article


Monday, February 18, 2008

Week of February 17, 2008

Updated February 21

There has been an extension of the public comment period for 2008-2012 National Invasive Species Management Plan -- Draft for Public Comment (PDF 143 KB) All comments must be received by close of business on Mar 12 , 2008.


New York State's State’s road, bridge, rail infrastructure grim

COLONIE — The state transportation system will need more than $175 billion in capital investment over the next 20 years, Department of Transportation Commissioner Astrid Glynn told a forum at DOT headquarters Friday.

She painted a gloomy picture of “a system under stress,” with inadequate funding and old infrastructure that is about to produce “a deficient bridge wave” of aging structures needing repair or replacement.

Scott Lorey of the Adirondack Council called for alternatives to road salt and actions to discourage invasive plant species. Full Article


Volunteers needed to eradicate invasive pepperweed at Massachusetts marsh

Essex - Parker River National Wildlife Refuge and Massachusetts Audubon are looking for volunteers to help with their ongoing project to control and eradicate perennial pepperweed in the Great Marsh.

Perennial pepperweed is a recent invader to New England and is threatening its salt marshes. Volunteers are needed to help map, pull and monitor this invasive plant in Essex, Salisbury, Amesbury, Haverhill, Newburyport, Newbury, Rowley and Ipswich.

On Thursday, Feb. 21, 7-8:30 p.m., Parker River Refuge will host a training session on how to identify and map this invasive at the Refuge Headquarters at 6 Plum Island Turnpike in Newburyport. This meeting is open to the public with no obligation to volunteer. Anyone interested in volunteering for this project but cannot make the training is encouraged to contact Sarah Janson (

The goal is to control or eradicate pepperweed before it becomes as pervasive as Phragmites or purple loosestrife. Volunteers are essential to the success of the pepperweed control project. Last year, 80 volunteers treated pepperweed on over 70 sites removing it from 8.5 acres of salt marsh. In 2008, the refuge and Mass Audubon will continue pepperweed control in the entire Plum Island Sound watershed and have teamed up with partners such as Parker River Clean Water Association, Ipswich River Watershed Association, Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts and Plum Island Kayaks. Plum Island Kayaks are training their staff in Newburyport and Salem on pepperweed identification and will help to educate the thousands of people they bring to the marsh each year. Article


Conservation Commission in Massachusetts to discuss herbicide in pond

WAYLAND, MA - Milfoil weeds have grown so invasively in Dudley Pond that some residents say the only way to completely clean up the body of water is to use chemicals. Responding to petitions and requests from residents and town officials, Conservation Commission Chairman Roger Backman said the ConCom may vote next week to sanction the use of an herbicide called fluridone to clean weeds from Dudley Pond. The chemical, also known as Sonar, would rid the pond of weeds faster than residents say it would take to accomplish the same task using water circulators or harvesting weeds mechanically and by hand. Full Article


The 9th Annual National Invasive Weed Awareness Week (NIWAW) reminds us to spread the word, not the weeds

Nearly 200 scientists and invasive plant management stakeholders from industry associations, professional societies, government agencies and private organizations all over North America will gather in our nation's capital to raise awareness about the severe economic and environmental impacts caused by invasive plants during the 9th Annual National Invasive Weed Awareness Week, February 24 - 29 at the Four Points by Sheraton, Washington, D.C.

This special awareness week, hosted by the Invasive Weeds Awareness Coalition, will continue a national conversation about the destructive effects of invasive weeds. The impact of invasive weeds on the nation's agriculture, water quality, wildlife and recreation already costs the U.S. an estimated $34.7 billion annually, according to a recent Cornell University report. PDF News Release


Monday, February 11, 2008

Week of February 10, 2008

Updated February 14

New York poised to join agreement to protect Great Lakes

Posted by Delen Goldberg, the Syracuse Post-Standard

New Yorkers moved one step closer Monday to having our greatest water resource permanently protected. The state Legislature passed the Great Lakes-St. Lawrence River Basin Water Resources Compact, a comprehensive plan for managing and protecting Lake Ontario and the other Great Lakes.

More than five years in the making, the compact is designed to prevent other parts of the country or world from poaching water from the Great Lakes, the world's single largest source of fresh water. It also sets up a conservation plan for states and Canadian provinces that border the Great Lakes.

While the legislation will help shield the Great Lakes from erosion, pollution and the spread of invasive species, it also helps protect New York's farmers, property owners and businesses, all of whom depend on the lakes as economic resources, supporters say. Full Article


March 7, 2008 - Conservation Planning and Deer and Invasive Plant Control Training in NJ

Don’t miss the New Jersey Land Conservation Rally, one of the nation’s largest statewide conservation training programs! The day-long educational event offers more than 20 workshops, plenary sessions, and networking opportunities. On Friday, March 7, 2008 – the day BEFORE the Rally’s classroom style workshops – enjoy a full day of hands-on training in the field! Conservation Planning and Implementation of Deer and Non-native Invasive Plant Control will present a basic but elegant conservation planning framework and teach strategies to combat the dual ecological threats of overabundant white-tailed deer and invasive nonnative plants. Taught by leading conservation land managers in New Jersey, this event will explore practical, cutting edge, low-cost techniques for addressing these significant threats. Full Article


Investigating public preferences for managing Lake Champlain using a choice experiment

Robyn L. Smyth, Mary C. Watzin, and Robert E. Manning, Rubenstein School of Environment and Natural Resources, Aiken Center, University of Vermont, Burlington, VT 05045, USA


The Lake Champlain Basin in Vermont and New York, USA and Quebec, Canada includes a large lake and watershed with complex management issues. A transboundary comprehensive management plan prepared for the lake includes 11 goals across many issue areas. We developed a choice experiment to examine public preferences for alternative Lake Champlain management scenarios across these issue areas. Five ecosystem attributes (water clarity–algae blooms, public beach closures, land use change, fish consumption advisories and the spread of water chestnut, an invasive plant) were varied across three levels and arrayed into paired comparisons. Safe fish consumption was the strongest predictor of choice. Land use pattern and water chestnut distribution were weaker but also significant predictors. Full Article


Ambitious team is restoring Virginia Key


Much of the thick jungle of invasive vegetation that long ago overtook Virginia Key's stunning oceanfront is suddenly gone, just like that, cleared away by the brute power of heavy earth-moving equipment. The demolition has revealed blue water and some unexpected natural treasures: clumps of leather ferns and soaring red mangroves rising from the raw sandy soil, improbable remnants of an ecosystem all but destroyed by years of human abuse and neglect. Full Article


Florida considers herbicide for Glenmere Lake

By Matt King
Times Herald-Record

Environmentalists are outraged over plans to use herbicide in Glenmere Lake, the water supply for the village and the Orange County Jail. "I wouldn't object to it if it wasn't a drinking water supply," said Howard Horowitz, a Warwick resident and professor of environmental science at Ramapo College. "People may say it's very diluted and it's no big deal, but it's poison."

The village intends to use Sonar, a herbicide provided by Allied Biological of New Jersey. Its active ingredient, fluridone, was banned by European regulators in 2003. "That tells us the science is not clear," Horowitz said. "When there's doubt, caution says do the safer thing." If the village receives final approval from the state Department of Environmental Conservation — which has already agreed to split the expenses of the $96,000 project — the chemical would be applied three times beginning in May, and could be applied again in 2009 or 2010. Full Article

[Important note from Bill J: According to the European Commission (EC), most of the 320 chemicals that were targeted under the Agricultural Pesticides Directive (91/414) are going because of economic reasons. The manufacturers no longer want to spend the large sums of money on safety tests to support their products (320 pesticides to be withdrawn in July 2003, press release, European Commission, 4 July 2002, Some 320 pesticide active ingredients were taken off the market as part of the European Commission’s new approach to the evaluation of pesticides. See article at link for more information.]


Bush budget seeks to increase Everglades spending

By WILLIAM E. GIBSON Washington Bureau Chief,

President Bush asked Congress on Monday to spend $215 million for restoration of the Everglades next year as part of a $3 trillion budget proposal. The Everglades request — which would boost spending by $50 million compared with this year — would provide the first federal funding for construction projects underway at state and local expense. First lady Laura Bush plans to visit Everglades National Park on Wednesday to call attention to restoration plans. She will help dozens of children from Florida City plant native trees to replace invasive species that are choking the park. Full Article


Old World climbing fern threatens to choke out Florida's natural areas

Kevin Spear, Sentinel Staff Writer

YEEHAW JUNCTION - Cliff Sullivan's helicopter swept across a vast Florida wilderness Thursday, armed with spray nozzles and weed killer. "When I turn and fly back, you'll see it all," he warned.

As he banked to put the sun behind him, a plant called Old World climbing fern stood out in the swampy greenery with the radiance of emeralds, even as Sullivan unleashed payload after payload of herbicide meant to kill it. Scientists fear that the fast-growing fern, originally imported from Africa and Asia, will march across Central and South Florida like a botanical wildfire. It kills all in its path, strangling mature trees and trapping wildlife, from tortoises to wading birds and deer.

As exotic weeds go, the climbing fern is now public enemy No. 1 in Florida. Scientists predict it will spread across millions of acres of wetlands and forests, spanning from Orange County to the Everglades, in less than a decade. Full Article


PA Forestlands Remain Stable

By Chanin Rotz-Mountz, Fulton County News

A five-year report recently released by the U.S. Forest Service detailing forest regeneration, exotic diseases and the presence of invasive plants in Pennsylvania’s forests indicates forestland is stable here in the commonwealth but continued concern is certainly still warranted.

Department of Conservation and Natural Resources top state forester Dan Devlin noted as a follow-up to the U.S. Forest Service’s findings for 2000 through 2004 that the current lack of understory plants and tree regeneration across the state is “one of the most disturbing findings” in the Pennsylvania Forest Inventory Report.

Buchanan State Forest district forester Jim Smith reiterated many of Devlin’s comments and verified numerous findings released in the inventory report. Smith stated forest regeneration within the Buchanan State Forest that spans Fulton, Bedford and Franklin counties is spotty. Specifically, though, regeneration is most abundant in the Sideling Hill area and least plentiful in Bear Valley.

Smith also touched upon the presence of invasive plants such as tree-of-heaven, multi-flora rose and japanese stiltgrass in the area. These plants are increasingly having a local impact on desirable plant species and communities, Smith said, thereby posing a threat to plant diversity and forest health.

As was witnessed by local landowners, gypsy moths were a significant threat to forestland in 2007. Combined with hemlock wooly adelgid and beech bark disease, these exotic diseases are a threat to the overall health and regeneration of forests. Full Article


Monday, February 4, 2008

Week of February 3, 2008

SUNY Oneonta scientist receives grant to study invasive crayfish

WKTV, Utica, NY

ONEONTA - Dr. Thomas Horvath, Associate Professor of Biology and Director of the Environmental Sciences Program at the SUNY College at Oneonta, has received a grant of $6,910 from the Mid-Atlantic Panel on Aquatic Invasive Species for a project entitled "Current and projected distribution of the invasive rusty crayfish, Orconectes rusticus, in the Upper Susquehanna River basin."

Horvath will use the grant to conduct an intensive survey of Delaware and Susquehanna watersheds to determine the extent and range of the invasive species of crayfish and the threat that it poses to local ecosystems and native biodiversity.

According to Dr. Horvath, crayfish are among the most imperiled animals in fresh waters, with introduced species contributing to declines in biodiversity. Rusty crayfish can be keystone species in aquatic communities, and knowledge of their status is important for the management of this invasive crayfish and other aquatic organisms in thewatersheds. A systematic inventory of crayfish has not been completed in New York State since 1952. Full Article


Laconia City Council (New Hampshire) warned of Milfoil spread


Although City Council members don't want Lake Winnisquam to return to the old days of being green with weeds, they're also leery of contributing municipal money toward what some see as the state's obligation to combat invasive milfoil. That said, the council on Monday nonetheless agreed that it would consider giving $5,000 annually to an ongoing five-year, roughly $30,000 effort to combat milfoil on Lake Winnisquam. That discussion will occur as part of the deliberations on the fiscal 2008-2009 budget, which should begin in March. Jody Connor, who is director of the state Department of Environmental Services' Limnology Center, and Brian Wolf of the Lake Winnisquam Association, told the council that milfoil is headed Laconia's way from Meredith, although some is already here. Full Article [Editor's note: I'm not sure, but I think they're talking about Myriophyllum heterophyllum (Variable-Leaf Milfoil).]