Monday, March 10, 2008

Week of March 9, 2008

Updated March 14

Giant hogweed control technicians wanted in New York, April & May, 2008

Know of anyone interested in a job, starting 2-3 weeks from now, working to control the invasive giant hogweed plant in New York State during April & May?

DEC Forest Health and Protection is looking to hire 8 people to manually control giant hogweed plants (an invasive plant that can pose a serious health threat to humans) throughout the state on private and public lands. This control method involves cutting through the root 5" below the soil which kills the plant completely. Root cutting is recommended for sites with less than 200 plants as a very effective, though labor intensive, control method. These positions are for the months of April and May, as the root cutting needs to be done in the spring before the plants grow too large to work near.

The contact person for further information is Naja Kraus:

The application deadline for submittal of resumes is ASAP, March 25 or when positions are filled.


Program removes half of invasive fish species from Satilla River, Georgia

WAYCROSS, Ga. -- Georgia Department of Natural Resources say they have removed nearly half of the flathead catfish population from the Satilla River as part of a program to help eradicate the invasive species.

A two-man crew and groups of volunteers spent most days from April to October of last year using electroshock fishing gear to catch the fish, dragging in about 4,500 flatheads. The flatheads have decimated native fish like the redbreast and bullhead since being introduced into the Satilla in the early 1990s. Full Article


9th Annual Maine Milfoil Summit Focuses On Prevention

Susan Kimball, reporter

LEWISTON (NEWS CENTER) -- There was a big crowd at USM's Lewiston campus conference room Friday morning. The topic? Invasive Aquatic Plants, and how to stop them for getting more of a foothold in Maine.

There are thousands of lakes, ponds and streams in Maine. Twenty-eight of them are infested with invasive plants like milfoil. Once those plants take hold they can literally choke a lake. Many of the people at the Milfoil Summit were volunteers with various lake associations. Peter Lowell of the Lakes Environmental Association says the infestations that Maine now has are serious--and a reminder that the crucial work being done must continue. Full Article


Maine groups seek funds to fight invasive plants

By M. Dirk Langeveld,

LEWISTON - Six Maine organizations will seek approximately $4 million in funds over the next three years to fight invasive aquatic plants.Representatives from the Lakes Environmental Association, Little Sebago Lake Association, St. Joseph's College, the Maine Volunteer Lake Monitoring Program, Friends of the Cobbossee Watershed, and the Maine Congress of Lake Associations were present Friday at the Ninth Annual Maine Milfoil Summit.

According to Amy Smagula of the New Hampshire Department of Environmental Services, New England has seven native species of milfoil and two non-native invasive species: variable-leaf milfoil and Eurasian watermilfoil. According to the associations, 28 Maine lakes are infested with milfoil, which can lower water quality, form mats that inhibit recreation, and decrease property values. Smagula said New Hampshire has 62 affected lakes.

Scott Lowell, of the Little Sebago Lake Association, said the groups are seeking $2.8 million from federal appropriations, $800,000 from competitive federal grants, $150,000 from a state match, and $250,000 in private funds. Full Article


Seasonal invasive plant intern wanted

The Peconic Estuary Program (Long Island, New York) seeks a seasonal intern, May to September, to assist program staff and partners in implementing their Ludwigia peploides (water primrose) early detection, rapid response monitoring and eradication project.

Specific Intern Tasks will include:

- Kayaking the Peconic River weekly in search of Ludwigia infestations
- Taking GPS coordinates of infestations
- Producing GIS maps to track infestations and document eradication event successes
- Manually removing small Ludwigia infestations
- Assisting in coordinating/organizing volunteer eradication events
- Attending and participating at volunteer eradication events
- Developing educational materials

How to apply:

Please prepare and submit a resume and cover letter. The cover letter should clearly state your interest in seeking a temporary position assisting with aquatic invasive species eradication. Cover letters and resumes should be clearly marked with "Summer 2008" in the upper right hand corner and sent to: Suffolk County Department of Health Services - Office of Ecology, 360 Yaphank Ave., Suite 2B, Yaphank, NY 11980, Attn: Theresa Goergen

For more information contact: Theresa Goergen at 631-852-5750 or Laura Stephenson at 631-444-087


20,000 fish arrive to combat invasive weed in South Florida

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. -- More than 20,000 Asian grass carp were delivered at the North New River Canal in Fort Lauderdale Thursday.

The South Florida Water Management District is using the grass carp to combat hydrilla, an invasive weed that is clogging canals throughout South Florida. The grass carp chew their way through the hydrilla and experts say it is a successful bio-control program that helps reduce the need for more expensive treatments to keep waterways clear. Full Article


Species discovered to help address hemlock pest epidemic

CORVALLIS, Ore. – Forestry researchers at Oregon State University have discovered two likely candidates for biological control of a tiny, invasive insect that is devastating hemlock forests up and down the East Coast, disrupting ecosystems and in some places threatening the very survival of Eastern Hemlock as a tree species.

The findings may provide an important new way to address the growing epidemic of the Hemlock Woolly Adelgid – an insect about the size of a small ant that sucks the juices from tree needles, ultimately killing the tree. More research is needed on safety and efficacy. The findings are being published in Environmental Entomology, a professional journal.

Various other predators have been used in attempted biological control of this pest, so far with no proven success. The Adelgid, first found in eastern United States forests in the 1950s, is affecting trees in a vast area from Georgia to Maine, and is spreading west. It can cause 90 percent tree mortality in heavily infested areas, with major economic and ecological repercussions.

In eastern forests, hemlock is one of the few dominant conifer species in what are mostly deciduous forests. It can provide cover for grouse, turkey and deer, and is a food source, nesting site or shelter for almost 90 species of birds. Some bird species depend on hemlock forest habitats, and the trees’ shade helps cool streams, enhances fisheries, and provides a winter wind break.

The newest candidates for control are two species of Chamaemyiidae flies, which are similar to related species that have successfully been used for biological control of pests in Hawaii and Chile. It appears these flies prey only on Adelgids and have a life history that is closely synchronized with the pest.

“The potential of this species for biological control looks very promising at this point,” said Darrell Ross, a professor of forest science at OSU. “With biocontrol it’s always hard to predict what will work and what won’t, but flies very similar to these have worked well elsewhere.”

The insects previously used in attempted control of the Hemlock Woolly Adelgid have been beetles, Ross said. Some beetles imported from China and Japan have not worked well, and a beetle from British Columbia is now in early testing stages.

Continued study of the host specificity and preferences of the Chamaemyiidae flies will be necessary before they could be released as a biological control agent, Ross said. Full Article


Road salt, sand is hurting roadside wildlife in Maine - With this years' big winter bringing lots of snow and ice to the area, many biologists are becoming increasingly concerned about the impact of road salt on local wildlife. What happens when the salty residue washes into local waterways and soil systems with our spring rains?

Recently, Maine has begun to put more salt on the roads and less sand. Both are bad for the environment, so the question is which is worse? Sand, when washed from roads into adjoining waterways, literally muddies the water. Increased turbidity (cloudiness of water) impacts aquatic communities by blocking light needed by fish and aquatic invertebrates and for photosynthesis by aquatic plants. Fish and invertebrate eggs and vegetation can be covered and killed by sediment deposits. However, these problems pale in comparison with salt contamination. Currently 100,000-120,000 tons of salt are applied to roads in Maine over the course of a normal winter.

Why is salt such a problem? It is a naturally occurring compound. Most of us know that most plants don't like to grow in salty soil, and that a freshwater fish like a perch can't live in the ocean, but why? When soil or a pond or stream get too salty an osmotic (salt concentration) imbalance is created between plants and animals and their surroundings. Plants and animals are adapted to particular conditions, for example, salt marsh plants have evolved to withstand the high salt concentrations of a salt marsh, most have some kind of mechanism that allows them to excrete excess salt. Salt water animals excrete excess salt, through their gills (if they're fish), in their tears (many seabirds and sea turtles) and urine.

The forests, woods, fields and streams along most roads in Maine are home to plants and animals that lack these adaptations to salty conditions. Plants start to lose water instead of taking it up if their surroundings become too salty. Freshwater plants can be displaced by invasive salt-tolerant plants — just look at the increase in the highly invasive common reed (Phragmites) along roadways. Fish eggs don't hatch. Soil bacteria, vitally important to soil ecosystems, start to die at relatively low salt concentrations. This can have long-reaching effects including loss of normal soil structure and increased erosion.

Salt is normally in short supply in nature. A number of studies have shown that both mammals and birds are drawn to the salty snowmelt along roads. In Quebec, ingestion of road salt has been shown to be a major cause of moose-vehicle accidents. Salt is also lethal when over-consumed, both birds and small mammals are particularly vulnerable; a few particles of sodium chloride are enough to cause behavioral changes and death in small birds. Full Article

Sue Pike of York has worked as a researcher and a teacher in biology, marine biology and environmental science for years. She teaches at York County Community College and St. Thomas Aquinas High School.


New York State Museum's plan to control zebra mussels going to market

( - ALBANY, NY --- Marrone Organic Innovations, Inc. ( MOI ) of Davis, CA has been awarded a National Science Foundation (NSF) grant to commercialize technology invented and patented by a New York State Museum scientist that uses a natural bacterium to control invasive mussels that have fouled water supplies across the United States. The NSF has awarded Marrone a two-year $500,000 Small Business Technology Transfer grant for the “Commercialization of an Innovative Green Technology for Controlling Zebra Mussels.” Last year, the State Museum selected MOI as a commercial partner for this microbial biopesticide technology that was invented and patented by Dr. Daniel Molloy, director of the Museum’s Field Research Laboratory in Cambridge, N.Y.

The fouling caused by zebra mussels and their close relatives, quagga mussels, represents billions of dollars in economic damage and has a major negative impact on freshwater ecosystems. To find an environmentally safe control method, Molloy’s lab screened over 700 bacteria before identifying a strain of the common bacterium, Pseudomonas fluorescens, as being lethal to these mussels when ingested. Full Article


Getting to know green invaders in North Carolina

Invasive species are plants, animals or other organisms that are introduced to a given area outside their original range and cause harm in their new home. Invasive species are recognized as one of the leading threats to biodiversity and impose enormous costs to agriculture, forestry, fisheries and other human enterprises, as well as to human health.

At North Carolina Cooperative Extension, we strive to educate the public of the effects of such species and how they can harm our natural environment. Henderson County has an ever-growing list of invasive, non-native plant species that continue to go unchecked or monitored. Often called non-native, exotic, non-indigenous, alien, or noxious weeds, these plants occur as trees, shrubs, vines, grasses, ferns and forbs.

According to Cornell University, non-native plant species are brought into North America for a number of reasons. For example, 98 percent of the United States food supply, including wheat, rice, domestic cattle and poultry, comes from introduced plants and animals. However, one of the biggest ecological problems in North America is the introduction of non-native species that later become weeds or pests. About 10 percent of the non-native species introduced to North America are able to survive and become established. Of these, roughly one in every 10 species that becomes established in a new region becomes a serious pest. These non-native plant species invade gardens, agricultural fields and natural areas such as wetlands, forests, and grasslands.

Alan Mizeras, a master gardener volunteer, is planning an educational lecture for the public. He will discuss some of the invasive plant species we encounter locally and share his list of the 10 most common problem plant species in Henderson County as well as strategies for their control. This program will aid the general public in becoming familiar with invasive plants to help protect our environment from the economic and ecological impacts of these biological pollutants. The program will be held on Monday, March 17 at the Bullington Center. Space is limited. Pre-registration is required, so call 697-4891 to reserve your spot. There will be a $5 cost for each program attendee.

Diane Turner is an agricultural extension agent with the N.C. Cooperative Extension Service in Henderson County. Full Article


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