Monday, March 9, 2009

Week of March 9, 2009

Updated 3/13/09

Hemlock woolly adelgid workshop in the Finger Lakes region

An insect pest newly arrived in the Finger Lakes region, NY -- the hemlock woolly adelgid – was recently discovered in the Cornell Plantations area of Cascadilla Gorge and in the Beebe Lake natural areas and is threatening hemlock trees and the biodiversity they support. This Asian species has decimated hemlock populations across the eastern United States, where altered habitats – due to the loss of the hemlocks – have caused a cascade of environmental changes for some amphibians, fish, invertebrates and plants in response to increased light and warmer temperatures.

The hemlock woolly adelgid (Adelges tsugae) causes nearly 100 percent mortality in the native eastern hemlock (Tsuga canadensis). The small, aphid-like insects feed on the sap at the base of individual needles on the trees; eventually needles yellow and drop, branches die, and trees succumb in about four to 10 years.

Hemlock woolly adelgids were first reported in the central Finger Lakes region in mid-2008, and they now inhabit at least 19 local sites. Early detection of new sites of infestation is now a high priority, and local conservation groups are organizing volunteer surveys as a critical first step in managing this devastating invasive species.

Cornell Plantations, Cornell Cooperative Extension, the Cornell Department of Natural Resources, the Finger Lakes Land Trust, and the Finger Lakes Native Plant Society are organizing three workshops aimed at training volunteers to identify and report new hemlock woolly adelgid infestations. Each two-hour session will feature a presentation by Mark Whitmore from the Cornell Department of Natural Resources on the adelgid’s biology and the threat it poses to local hemlock forests. Participants will visit Beebe Lake to observe hemlock woolly adelgids firsthand and gain experience in detection and survey protocols. Participants will also have the opportunity to volunteer in the "Adopt-a-Hemlock" program to conduct surveys and report new infestations in local hemlock forests.

The training workshops will be held at Cornell Plantations’ Lewis Education Center, located at One Plantations Road on the Cornell campus, on Friday, March 13, at 1 p.m.; Saturday, March 21, at 10 p.m.; and Monday, March 23, at 3 p.m. To register for the training workshops, or for more information on the hemlock woolly adelgid, visit Additional information and instructions on reporting new infestations can also be found at the New York Invasive Species Research Institute website


Workers attack invasive plants on Thousand Islands

By Jim Waymer,

COCOA BEACH, FL -- The Aussies must go.

Tall Australian pines fell this week along Fourth Street to clear way for natives.

Brevard County's estimated $400,000 plan will remove the exotic pines and other invasive species along Fourth Street and the nearby Thousand Islands to replace them with trees and plants that belong here.

The city stands to lose a little slice of Australia, and, for the time being, some spots in the shade. But biologists say the gains in wildlife, erosion control and rekindled natural heritage should far outweigh the temporary sentimental loss.

"Our children and our grandkids will have a much healthier group of islands out there to enjoy forever," former Cocoa Beach City Commissioner Tony Sasso said. He pushed for years to protect the cluster of tiny islands south of Minutemen Causeway in the Banana River Lagoon.

The felling of the exotic pines marked a milestone in a multiyear battle to restore the islands to their previous pristine glory.

The trees' downfall also echoed the controversial removal of Australian pines from Melbourne Causeway in 2005, when the Florida Department of Transportation removed about 200 Australian pines that had lined the causeway, some more than 50 years.

Biologists say Australian pines, introduced in the 1800s, harm the ecology because they create "monocultures" that crowd out native trees. They worsen erosion, as they displace deeper-rooted native plants. They also limit bird nesting and can be toxic to native wildlife.

The city of Cocoa Beach and conservationists pushed for years to get Brevard County to buy the islands to preserve them for paddlers, osprey and egrets, instead of dream homes.

Continued at Link


Hemlock-killing adelgids invade Tompkins County, NY

By Liz Lawyer,

ITHACA, NY - Cornell University is taking steps to identify new infestations of invasive insect species that destroy tree populations and have encroached on New York's borders.

The Emerald Ash Borer, Hemlock Woolly Adelgid and Asian Longhorned Beetle, tree-killers with a taste for maple, ash, hemlock and willow, have been discovered in new locations all over the Northeast. The Hemlock Woolly Adelgid (pronounced uh-DEL-jid) is already known to be within Tompkins County. The infestation was first reported in July 2008.

Woolly adelgids were found around Cornell Plantations two weeks ago and last Wednesday in the Finger Lakes National Forest, for a total of 19 natural areas around Cayuga and Seneca Lakes, said Mark Whitmore, an entomologist with Cornell Cooperative Extension. The university has announced volunteer training sessions to help identify and report new infestations around Cornell and in Ithaca's gorges.

"The infestation is more widespread than we thought," Whitmore said. "We're doing the trainings basically because we want to know how widespread it is, so we can plan our response appropriately. This is a potentially devastating insect to the region's forests, and especially to hemlocks, which are a valuable resource in the region."

Part of the problem is that early stages of infestations by woolly adelgids are difficult to detect, so by the time they are found they have already been established for several years, Whitmore said.

"It's happening so fast," Bittner said. "Literally in the last week there have been two more places it's been found."

Continued at Link


Summer jobs in the Adirondack Park

Please be advised that there are paid summer positions currently open for the Adirondack Watershed Institute's Watershed Stewardship Program, sited at Paul Smith's College. These full-time positions involve educating the public about invasive species, inspecting boats for invasive organisms, collecting recreation demographic data and conducting field research, monitoring and service tasks. Applicants with backgrounds in the natural sciences, parks and recreation, environmental policy, and environmental studies are encouraged to apply, although all applications are welcome. To apply, visit this link:


Odum Conference 2009: reduced fee, new deadline

Odum Conference 2009, "Understanding and managing biological invasions as dynamic processes: integrating information across space and time,"
will be held April 30 – May 1, 2009.

Venue: The E.N. Huyck Preserve & Biological Research Station, and the Rensselaerville Meeting Center, both in a lovely, rural setting in Rensselaerville, New York, 25 miles from Albany.

This event will feature, as invited speakers, many of the most prominent figures in invasion ecology, management. For the speaker list, visit:

Additionally, the conference will include a poster session and field workshops. For a complete conference program, visit:

Theme: This conference will focus on: 1) incorporating a long-term perspective into invasion ecology and management; 2) developing specific mechanisms to assemble and evaluate the needed data; and 3) fostering a collaborative research-management approach in which broad patterns are used to yield specific management recommendations.

Poster Submissions: We are calling for abstracts for posters addressing one or more of the following themes: a) invasive species monitoring and database initiatives; b) collaborative undertakings between invasive species ecologists and managers; c) invasive species management activities that incorporate a dynamic aspect (e.g., climate change, natural enemy acquisition, interactions of multiple invasive species); and d) basic research on dynamic aspects of invasions. The deadline for abstract submission is now March 31, 2009. For submission procedures please visit:

Reduced-fee packages: In order to make this conference available to potential participants from agencies and institutions who now have severe financial constraints, we have arranged for new, reduced fee conference packages, as well as low-cost student housing at the E. N.
Huyck Preserve & Biological Research Station.

New deadlines: We have postponed both the registration and abstract submission deadlines to March 31 to give potential participants ample time to take advantage of this new opportunity.

To see the professional credits now available for attending the conference, visit:

For any other conference information go to: or contact us at:

Thank you very much,

Jonathan Rosenthal and Radka Wildova, Conference Co-Chairs Holly Menninger, Conference Coordinator


Mistaken Identity: Invasive Plants and Their Native Look-Alikes

Have you ever wondered how to tell the difference between native and invasive phragmites? How about native vs. invasive honeysuckles? Here is an excellent guide on invasive plants and their look-alikes for the mid-Atlantic states.


Town of East Hampton Cost of Grants Assessed

Board weighs outlay against needs of environment

By Joanne Pilgrim, The East Hampton Star

(03/12/2009) The status of environmental projects in East Hampton Town (Long Island, NY), for which the Natural Resources Department has obtained grants totaling $295,000, is under review by the town board, which, in light of a budget crisis, must determine “which grants we want to work on, and which are not worth pursuing,” according to Town Councilwoman Julia Prince, the board’s liaison to the department.

Two grant agreements that expired in 2001 and in 2003 were recently renewed by the State Department of Environmental Conservation at the town’s request “because of delays in the construction or implementation of the project,” according to a town board resolution.

To receive a $75,000 grant from the D.E.C. for aquatic habitat restoration, the town was to have completed $150,000 worth of work by Dec. 1, 2003. The tasks, some of which have been completed, included salt marsh revegetation, re-establishing eelgrass beds, damming ditches in tributaries for marsh water management, and clearing streams in Northwest to allow alewives to access breeding areas. The project also includes clearing 15 acres of phragmites growing in various harbors, creeks, and ponds, which has not yet been tackled.

The town has spent approximately $74,000 so far on the project. The new deadline for completing the tasks is Dec. 31, 2010. But town board members, discussing the issue at a meeting on Tuesday, questioned whether the “tremendous job” of removing 15 acres of phragmites could be accomplished.

A $15,000 grant for habitat restoration at Lake Montauk, which requires the town to spend $30,000 on phragmites removal and restoration efforts focused on alewives and eelgrass before the D.E.C. will kick in half, expired in October of 2001, but has been extended until the end of 2010. Link


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