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


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