Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Week of December 15, 2008

Teacher finds ‘destructive’ weed in Pembroke pond, Mass.

Braintree - William Glover, an East Middle School science teacher, has made “a remarkable discovery,” according to Dianne Rees, director of science for the Braintree public schools.

Glover has found and identified hydrilla, an invasive aquatic weed, in Hobomock Pond in Pembroke.

“This is only the second time that hydrilla, which is mainly a southern plant, has been identified in Massachusetts,” Rees said.

She described hydrilla, which is able to grow an inch a day and reproduce in three different ways, as “extremely invasive and destructive.”

The state Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR) will now take responsibility for a cleanup to try to save the pond where Glover discovered hydrilla, Rees said.

Michelle Robinson, an aquatic biologist with the DCR, explained in a published report why she was impressed with Glover’s work.

“Hydrilla is very easily misidentified, and he was very, very thorough,” she said. Link

Lagoon resident leads fight for mangroves


NEW SMYRNA BEACH, Florida -- Amber Thompson has planted 17 trees over the years, but there's one species on her waterfront property that she's likened to a monster that just won't die.

It's a Brazilian pepper-tree cluster and she's tried everything she knows to get rid of it. For the seven years she's owned the property, Thompson has watched the invasive plant push out the mangroves on the shore. She's tried to eradicate it several times.

"Each time it seems to come back stronger," she said. "Instead of just being a single plant, now it's just spread. It is a monster."

In hopes of a solution, Thompson is turning to the Marine Discovery Center for help to restore the shoreline back to native habitat. She is one of hundreds of property owners along the Indian River Lagoon the organization hopes to help through a restoration project.

Stephanie Wolfe, a biologist and restoration coordinator, said the goal is to restore four miles of shoreline with native vegetation, such as mangroves, which provide a natural defense against erosion, filter water and provide habitat for aquatic wildlife. The program for shoreline from New Smyrna Beach to Oak Hill is funded by a $40,000 grant awarded by the Florida Department of Environmental Protection. Link


NYS to Adopt Tough New Policies to Stop Devastating Aquatic Invasive Species Introductions

ALBANY, NY (12/18/2008; 0930)(readMedia)-- Great Lakes and St. Lawrence River advocates today applauded New York State's latest effort to shut the door on aquatic invasive species introductions. Later this month, a new set of rules from the New York Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) will begin a countdown to requiring stringent ballast treatment on-board ships transiting the state's waters. Ship ballast is the primary pathway for aquatic invasive species introductions into the Great Lakes-St. Lawrence River system and the state's strong ballast treatment standard makes New York State a world leader in stopping aquatic invasive species noted the groups.

New York State's new rules, which will go into effect on December 19th, are among the strictest ballast treatment rules in the country. Per the rule, all ships traveling state waters will be required, by January 1, 2012, to have ballast treatment technology on board. Treating ballast water will prevent further introductions of aquatic invasive species.

"In the absence of strong federal ballast clean-up legislation, we are pleased that New York State has stepped up to create strong ballast rules," noted Jennifer J. Caddick, Save The River Executive Director. "Stringent technology requirements for ships operating throughout the Great Lakes-St. Lawrence Seaway will be key in stopping more devastating aquatic invasive species introductions." Link


Massive Hydrilla Treatment Planned for Lake Tohopekaliga, Florida

The South Florida Water Management District (SFWMD) and the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) are preparing for a massive effort to control invasive hydrilla growing over more than 6,000 acres of Lake Tohopekaliga.

Working in cooperation with the FWC Bureau of Invasive Plant Management, the SFWMD Vegetation Management Division will apply Aquathol, a liquid herbicide, over affected areas of the lake. The treatment is scheduled to begin December 15 and is expected to take four to five days.

Aquathol is approved for lake use by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and is considered the most effective and environmentally friendly method of controlling hydrilla in Lake Tohopekaliga. Link


NY Guv's budget plan hits Long Island environmental programs


Local environmental programs that rely on a helping hand from the state could be left scrambling for money under Gov. David A. Paterson's proposed budget, which reduced a key state environmental fund by 19 percent and entirely eliminated some categories such as Long Island waterfront revitalization and aid to aquariums and zoos.

There would also be fewer people at the Department of Environmental Conservation to watch polluters, regulate hazardous waste and enforce wildlife and state lands laws. A hiring freeze and proposed $91.8 million budget cut would eliminate 240 positions from the DEC next year, even as it tries to recover from staff cuts in the 1990s.

Advocates fear the economic climate will jeopardize advances in regulating polluters, improving water quality and acquiring open space. "The cuts are more than dramatic. They're crippling," said Adrienne Esposito of Citizens Campaign for the Environment, citing Paterson's proposal to cut the Environmental Protection Fund from $255 million to $205 million.

Over the past two years, that money helped Island municipalities fight invasive species, buy farmland development rights and upgrade sewage treatment plants. Under Paterson's budget, the first two funding categories would be cut 70 percent and 41 percent, respectively, and waterfront revitalization money that paid for the upgrades would no longer be available on the Island. Link


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