Monday, April 20, 2009

Week of April 20, 2009

Updated 4/23

Invasive Species Workshop at ALLEGANY STATE PARK - Thursday May 7th

From New York Outdoors Blog

Forests, streams, lakes and fields are being degraded or irreparably damaged by alien invasive species. The cost to eliminate or mitigate the effects from these species will be vastly higher the longer we wait. The economic damage suffered by other parts of the country will happen here unless we are vigilant now. Emerald Ash Borer is confirmed just south of Cattaraugus County; Asian Long-Horned beetles have been found in the Long Island Region; Mile-a-Minute Vine and Giant Hogweed are in Cattaraugus County.

Learn how to properly identify the invasive species and then what to do in response to help eradicate the problem. This workshop will be covering everything from Rock Snot to Emerald Ash Borer; Mile-a-Minute to Hogweed. The three main topics at the workshop are aquatics, plants and insects.

We are unable to provide lunch so please bring one with you. Just a reminder that the closest restaurant or store is approximately a 10 minute drive.

Please pre-register by May 1 by calling Cassie Wright at (716) 354-9101 ext 236 or email

Space will be limited so make sure you register early.


Ash-killing insect threatening bats' future

Emerald ash borer nearing Louisville Slugger's harvest area

By Bobbie Dittmeier,

An Asian insect that has been destroying ash trees from the Midwest to Maryland poses a threat to the future of ash bats used by many Major Leaguers, according to a report in the April edition of Men's Journal.

The emerald ash borer, a bug about the size of a small paper clip, was first discovered in Michigan in 2002 and has ravaged forests from there to Ohio, Indiana and Maryland, killing tens of millions of white ash trees, according to the report.

Louisville Slugger, which produces the official bats for Major League Baseball, harvests its ash from an area along the border of Pennsylvania and New York that has remained uninfected, but the ash borers have migrated to within 100 miles of that site.

"We've been harvesting wood for over 100 years," Louisville Slugger vice president Rick Redman said. "We've survived floods, fires, a lot of other issues. Now we're trying to survive insects."

The beetle is native to China and eastern Asia and is believed to have arrived in North America in wood packing materials commonly used to ship consumer goods, according to the Louisville Slugger's web site.

There is little chance of halting its progression, said Nature Conservancy spokesman Frank Lowenstein.

"Non-native pests harm our trees in ways native insects do not," Lowenstein said. "Trees have no resistance, and predators don't feed on them, meaning they cannot be wiped out. ... Of 16 species of ash in North America, we're looking at the loss of all 16. Anywhere in the country you are looking at an ash tree, those will be gone," possibly within 30 years.

The bat-maker says on its Web site that it could import ash from China, or use other woods to make bats. Maple, for example, became popular among players during the past decade, but its tendency to break into shards led MLB and the players association to institute safety measures beginning this season.

"Louisville Slugger is confident that it will find alternative sources of timber for MLB bats in the event the worst-case scenario would become reality," the company said on its site. "Our company is always looking at other species of wood for potentially making baseball bats."

But ash has long been a highly popular choice.

"Ash is perfect for making bats," Redman said. "It's a hard wood with good grain structure, so when it breaks it doesn't explode, it just cracks. Players who migrated to maple are coming back to ash."

To try to quarantine the insect, the Department of Agriculture has urged people to burn firewood only near its origin and not to transport it to other locations.



Finger Lakes PRISM meeting

The next Finger Lakes PRISM meeting will be on May 7th, from 10 – 1 pm at the Montezuma Audubon Center. It has been a while since we last met so there is much to discuss. If you have agenda items or topics please forward them to me.


Gregg Sargis

Program Stewardship Ecologist
The Nature Conservancy, Central & Western NY Chapter



Rhode Island pet shop dreads 'Invasive Species' bill

By Beth Hurd, Johnston Sun Rise

For more than 28 years, the Parisella family of Johnston, Rhode Island, has been selling such exotic animals as birds, degus, chinchillas and hedgehogs, reptiles such as snakes, lizards, frogs and turtles, plus tropical fish at their store, Pure Paradise Pets, located on Putnam Pike.

But if legislation now under consideration is passed, the store may no longer be carrying any non-native species. Storeowner Domenic Parisella, who runs the store with his parents Domenic Sr. and Arlene Parisella, is trying to get the word out, asking pet owners to contact their state representatives.

As it reads now, the legislation (HR 669) requires the government to assess all imported species to determine which “will cause or are likely to cause economic or environmental harm or harm to other animal species’ health or human health.” It says pet owners would also be breaking the law by purchasing or owning non-native species prohibited as a result of the review process.

The Pet Industry Joint Advisory Council is strongly opposing the bill and has published literature urging people to lobby against the legislation.

“On April 23, 2009, the House Natural Resources Committee of the United States Congress will hold a hearing on a resolution that, if passed, will ban the import, export, transport, breeding, and private ownership of virtually every bird, mammal, reptile, and fish species currently kept as pets,” reads the literature in part.

Called the “Non-native Wildlife Invasion Prevention Act," the bill (according to the literature) is being supported by the Humane Society of the United States and The Nature Conservancy.

“These people are extremists to the max – they want to try to ban everything, but they hope to get half of what they want,” said Domenic. “They really want to outlaw the pythons, because of the python problem in the Everglades in Florida. [But] they’re going after all non-native species, sold in pet stores and bred by pet owners; if you have a pair of hamsters and they breed, if this passes, you just broke the law.”



Virginia statewide battle against invading species to take place May 2

BLACKSBURG, Virginia — Virginia Cooperative Extension, the Virginia Native Plant Society, and Virginia Master Naturalists, a program with which Virginia Tech's College of Natural Resources partners, announced the first statewide Invasive Plant Removal Day. The program will take place at locations all over the state May 2.

Details for the event can be found at Residents are encouraged to participate and at this site can find events in their own city they can sign up for; contact information for each city also is included.






Delray Beach Marriott

Discounted room rates available to conference attendees. Please request the FLEPPC Conference group rate or use the group code (FEPFEPA) or (FEPFEPB) when booking online.

10 North Ocean Boulevard
Delray Beach, Florida 33483
USA Phone: 1-561-274-3200
Fax : 1-561-274-3202
Toll-free: 1-877-389-0169


Will Renovate be safe for Cazenovia Lake, NY?

By Doug Campbell,

If the town’s application is approved, the herbicide triclopyr (trade name Renovate) will be used to aggressively stop the growth of Eurasian water milfoil in Cazenovia Lake. But some have voiced concerns: Is this chemical safe? Is this the best option?

According an intermunicipal council of town, village, and lake association officials, the answer to both questions is yes.

The EPA classifies Renovate as “practically non-toxic,” the lowest possible toxicity classification for an herbicide. This rating comes after over 20 years of testing.

“It’s a very rigorous process,” said Town of Cazenovia Supervisor Liz Moran. “All those tests have to be done using very specific protocols and laboratories that are certified and audited.”

According to a document on the town’s website, the EPA requires pesticide registrants to submit more than 100 different scientific studies and tests.

The document states that strict testing standards must be maintained by the EPA. This “helps ensure quality results in the way data is conducted, recorded and documented with appropriate quality control. These studies can also be audited by the EPA at any time to ensure data was generated and documented to support the results obtained.”

Triclopyr affects the growth of dicots, or broad-leaf plants. Of the plants most common in Cazenovia Lake, a minority are dicots. Of those dicots, one species besides Eurasian water milfoil, water marigold, is highly susceptible to the herbicide.

“The water marigold is distributed throughout the lake, so I think it will recolonize itself,” Moran said.

At several town and watershed council meetings, officials have said that native plants will grow to fill the niche vacated by the milfoil. Eurasian water milfoil is currently taking space and resources from native plant life.

The second most abundant dicot in the lake, coontail, has low susceptibility to Renovate.

The particular dilution of Renovate allowed by the EPA (2.5 parts per million) has resulted in no verified cases of toxicity to fish when triclopyr is used, according to the town’s Draft Environmental Impact Statement.

According to a document on the town’s website addressing submitted questions regarding triclopyr, the herbicide will not be harmful to humans.

“Triclopyr is not considered to be a cause of cancer, birth defects, or genetic mutations. Nor is it considered likely to cause systemic, reproductive, or developmental effects in mammals at or near concentrations encountered during normal human use,” the document states. “However, Washington State Department of Health considers it prudent public health advice to minimize exposure to pesticides regardless of their known toxicity.”

Possible alternatives:

The town of Cazenovia’s Draft Environmental Impact Statement lists several alternatives to herbicide and their reasons for not using them.

No action

If no action is taken, Eurasian watermilfoil will continue to dominate aquatic plantlife and recreational use will become increasingly impaired. This would damage the economy of the town as lake front properties lose value.

Mechanical harvesting

This solution provides a temporary reduction, but can actually spread the species as fragments become new plants in new areas of the lake.

Grass carp

While a sterile form of grass carp can be used to eat aquatic vegetation, this plant-eating fish prefers other native plants to Eurasian watermilfoil. This could result in a reduction in all plants in the lake, not just invasive species.

Suction dredging

This method, while practical for small areas, is slow, labor-intensive and prohibitively expensive for use in the entire lake. This option is still a valid possibility for lakefront property owners.

Benthic barriers

These barriers prevent light from reaching the sediment surface and crush vegetation underneath, preventing and stopping the growth of plant life. This is another method that individual homeowners might employ.


Hootie and the Parakeets, Round 2

By Corey Kilgannon, New York Times

When last we left Hootie, the battery-powered owl, he was freshly installed atop a high-voltage electrical device on 11th Avenue in Whitestone, Queens, to scare off a group of wild monk parakeets intent on nesting on the device.

Well, Hootie proved no match for the parakeets – who promptly built a nest on the device, a 24,000-volt feeder reclosure.

But despite reports that the fake owl has been fired, Con Edison technicians are giving him another chance, turning to something else known to deter parakeets: the color orange.

“We put an orange cape on Hootie, and now he’s Super Hootie,” said Sam Maratto, a Con Ed technician who is leading his troops in the ongoing battle against the wild parakeets that are colonizing overhead electrical equipment and causing damages and power outages in Whitestone.

An article in The Times on Saturday described how the parakeets kept building their nests on that 11th Avenue feeder reclosure, which kept causing the devices to short-circuit and break. One after another, Con Edison workers kept replacing the $20,000 reclosures and finally bought the plastic owl to serve as a scarecrow last year. It worked for a stretch but after its batteries died, the parakeets were back. Con Edison again replaced the reclosure this month and installed a new owl on it. But by Monday, the parakeets returned and built a new nest on the device, apparently hip to this fake owl’s limited skills — its head swivels slowly and it emits a manufactured hoot, activated by a motion detector.

Photo by Corey Kilgannon/New York Times

Read the full story at Link


When You’re Invaded,You Need a Response

By Victoria Weber, The Herold of Randolph, Vermont

The first Vermont statewide “Invasive Plants Networking Meeting” was held in Montpelier on April 8. The working session brought together 39 individuals representing state and federal agencies, forestry and conservation associations and citizens, each of which is concerned about the rapid spread of invasive ... Link


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