Monday, December 29, 2008

Week of December 29, 2008

Happy New Year!

Blog updated 12/31

Rhode Island town to control sand sedge

The Associated Press, Published: December 29, 2008

MIDDLETOWN, R.I.—Middletown is planning to eradicate a species of invasive beach grass from Sachuest Beach that could cause erosion and weaken dunes.

Town Administrator Shawn Brown tells The Newport Daily News that the areas affected by sand sedge will be sprayed with a herbicide in the spring, well before the start of beach season.

Brown says the sand sedge [likely to be Carex kobomugi] has choked out the native species in some areas.

The sand sedge was discovered earlier this year by a researcher working on an unrelated project. Town officials and experts have been investigating various potential solutions since then.

Officials are not sure how the Asian species arrived in town.

The town received approval for the removal plan from the Coastal Resources Management Council. Link


Zebra mussels found in lower Susquehanna

By Karl Blankenship, Chesapeake Bay Journal

Zebra mussels, the infamous invader from the Caspian Sea that has infested the Great Lakes and other water bodies, have finally made their way to the fringes of the Chesapeake Bay.

Maryland environmental officials confirmed in December that a thumbnail-size mussel was found attached to a boat at Glen Cove Marina on the Susquehanna River in Harford County, less than 10 miles from the Bay.

In November, Pennsylvania environmental officials confirmed the discovery of a zebra mussel at the Conowingo Dam in Maryland; the first time Driessena polymorpha had been found in the lower Susquehanna River. Shortly thereafter, they were also found in Muddy Run, a Susquehanna tributary in Pennsylvania, just north of the state line.

Tom Horvath, a scientist with the State University of New York's College at Oneonta, who has monitored zebra mussels since they were discovered in the Susquehanna headwaters, said populations in New York lakes have "really taken off."

The typical pattern, he said, is for the mussel to invade a lake and rapidly expand its population until it ultimately spills out into the river below the lake, where the creatures often "carpet the bottom" for several hundred yards.

"Then they peter out and you just find them hit-or-miss the rest of the way down," he said. But when the zebra mussels, or their larvae which float with the current, find another lake or slow patch of water, they can produce a new "seed" populations that help infest downstream areas.

"I think the hydroelectric dams in Pennsylvania will start creating new source populations for further seeding of the downstream sites, sort of the hopscotch model," Horvath said. Link


Overview Paper: Impacts of White-tailed Deer Overabundance in Forest Ecosystems (Jun 2008; PDF 307 KB)

USDA. FS. Northeastern Area State and Private Forestry.Land managers, especially in southern New England, need to recognize that deer are exacerbating invasive plant problems, while also seriously degrading native forest vegetation. Integrating aggressive deer population control measures into land management programs holds great promise in restoring these forests.

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