Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Week of May 25, 2008

Updated May 29

Monk parakeets' fate in judge's hands

Animal lovers call them a colorful part of the urban ecology, but the United Illuminating Co. wants a state judge to declare Connecticut's monk parakeet population a tenacious threat to public health and safety.

The utility claims the company's most-effective way to deal with the stick nests that some parrot colonies build on utility poles was the capture-and-slaughter program that sparked controversy, protests and worldwide interest in fall 2005.

During the first two days of a Superior Court trial in New Haven last week, a UI lawyer asked Judge Trial Referee Anthony V. DeMayo to rule that the regional utility can resume the kill tactics.

An animal rights group, which brought the lawsuit against UI more than two years ago, wants DeMayo to issue an injunction so the eradication, which claimed about 185 monk parakeets in 2005, stops permanently. Full Article


Ash borer survey begins in PA this week

HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) — Bright purple boxes will be hanging from ash trees as Pennsylvania officials begin a survey after Memorial Day to assess the spread of the ash borer.

Agriculture Secretary Dennis Wolff says the invasive beetle was discovered in Butler and Allegheny counties western Pennsylvania last summer.

Quarantines were imposed on the movement of ash nursery stocks, green lumber and firewood in those counties and neighboring Beaver and Lawrence counties.

Wolff says 10,000 three-sided traps will be hung in trees in 35 counties this summer to see whether the bettle has spread to new areas.

The emerald ash borer is a wood-boring beetle native to China and eastern Asia. It has killed more than 30 million ash trees in Michigan since 2002 and millions more in Ohio and Indiana. Article


Native phramites discovered in Rhode Island after fire

Warren, RI — A saltmarsh fire last month in Warren, which caused thousands of dollars of damage to the Audubon Environmental Education Center boardwalk just over the town line in Bristol, has stoked the progress of a habitat restoration project designed to save it from phragmites, an aggressive, non-native plant that has overwhelmed the marsh's natural vegetation.

"The fire to us — and I feel bad saying this because of the boardwalk — was fascinating. Fascinating because we were able to get into areas of the overgrown marsh that hadn't been accessible before," said Wenley Ferguson, Save the Bay's restoration coordinator. "Now we can see tidal creeks and elevations of land that weren't previously visible and survey the damage" caused by the invasive plant.

Save the Bay is working with Warren Land Conservation Trust, a non-profit organization that owns the land, to bring the saltmarsh back.

"It opened your perspective to what the marsh really looked like," she said.

The marsh at Jacob's Point extends 47 acres along the Warren River and is bordered by the East Bay Bike Path and the Audubon Society's education center. The plant's dense root system and tall, willowy stands are destroying the ecosystem by preventing tidal flow into the marsh's further reaches, choking off the once abundant and diverse populations of fish and wildlife that lived there.

"The marsh has one of the largest varieties of flora in the state," said Marilyn Mathison, president of the land trust. A rare specimen of native phragmites was discovered after the fire in a small area of marsh near the Oyster Point Condominiums. The only other documented-finding of the plant is on Block Island. "It was very exciting," said Ms. Mathison, of the discovery. Full Article


No comments: