Monday, April 27, 2009

Week of April 27, 2009

Updated May 1

NYSDEC confirms presence of didymo in Esopus Creek

Aquatic Algae Discovered in Popular Recreational Waterway

didymoNew York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) Commissioner Pete Grannis today announced that didymo, an invasive species, has been confirmed in the Esopus Creek in Ulster County.

This is the first known presence of this aquatic algae, also called “rock snot,” in the Esopus and the third confirmed location in New York State. The Esopus is a popular recreational waterway for fishing, kayaking and tubing, and is a drinking water source for New York City.

DEC collected samples and confirmed the presence of didymo in the vicinity of several public access sites along a 12-mile stretch of the Esopus from the “Shandaken Portal” (which transfers water to the Esopus from Schoharie Reservoir) to New York City’s Ashokan Reservoir.

Didymo Impact

Unlike many other aquatic invasive plants, didymo (Didymosphenia geminata) grows on the bottom of both flowing and still waters. It is characterized by the development of thick, gooey mat-like growths – which can last for months – even in fast flowing streams. In addition to making footing difficult, didymo can impede fishing by limiting the abundance of bottom dwelling organisms that trout and other species of fish feed on.

There are currently no known methods for controlling or eradicating didymo once it infests a water body.

Didymo mats look like brown or white fiberglass insulation or tissue paper (photo at: While didymo appears slimy and stringy, it feels rough and fibrous, similar to wet wool and does not fall apart when handled.

Previously, didymo had been confirmed in the Batten Kill in Washington County near the Vermont border and in the East and West branches of the Delaware River. [...]

Water recreationists are urged to use the “Check, Clean and Dry” method to limit the spread of invasive species.

Check - Before leaving a river, stream or pond, remove all obvious traces of algae and look for hidden clumps and leave them at the affected site. If any is found later, it should be disposed of in trash receptacles, not washed down drains.

Clean - Treatment varies. The solution needs to completely penetrate thick, absorbent items such as felt-soled waders and wading boots.

For non-absorbent items, try these methods:

-- Detergent or salt: Soak or spray all surfaces for at least one minute in a 5% solution (by volume) of dishwashing detergent or salt (7 ounces of detergent or salt added to a gallon of water).

-- Bleach: Soak or spray all surfaces for at least one minute in a 2% solution (by volume) of household bleach (3 ounces of bleach per gallon of water).

-- Hot water: Soak for at least one minute in very hot water (140 degrees F – hotter than most tap water) or for at least 20 minutes in water kept at 115 degrees F (uncomfortable to touch).
For absorbent items, longer soaking times are required. Use these methods:

-- Hot water: Soak for at least 40 minutes in water kept above 115 degrees F.

-- Hot water plus detergent: Soak for 30 minutes in hot water kept above 115 degrees F, containing 5% dishwashing detergent.

Dry – If cleaning is not practical, after the item is completely dry to the touch, wait an additional 48 hours before contact or use in any new waterway. Check thick, absorbent items closely to assure that they are dry throughout. Equipment and gear can also be placed in a freezer until all moisture is frozen solid.

NOTE: If cleaning, drying or freezing is not practical, restrict equipment use to a single water body. DEC encourages anglers to consider alternatives to felt-soled waders such as rubber studded boots.

ALSO, it is especially important that any gear used out of state be treated before use in New York waters.


Filming new Forest Service invasives video in Florida

The United States Forest Service would like to film a video this summer (July/August) in Florida that focuses on invasives and recreation. The video's intent is to showcase invasive species that impact recreational activities and make a connection to what recreationist can do to prevent the spread of invasives and aid in prevention/control (EDRR, mapping, monitoring, vehicle washing, gear cleaning, etc).

FS videoThe USFS has already produced a video that focuses on invasive species and hunting/fishing.

This video intends to cover other recreational activities such as :

Hiking and camping, rock climbing, caving, watchable wildlfie recreation, horseback riding, off highway vehicles, water sports etc.

We are looking for good filming locations and individuals that we can interview (non-governmental if possible) to better connect with the audience. Folks who are actually connected with the recreational activity (trail riders, hikers who kill weeds etc.). We are looking for a wide
diversity of issues (plant, animals, terrestrial, aquatic), recreational activities and ethnically and culturally diverse interviewees.

All videos made will be available for future work and can be shared (free) with participating organizations ( videos will all be in High Definition video and sound.)

I am assisting in coordinating this effort so please send me any suggestions you may have.


Tony Pernas, Coordinator
National Park Service
Biological Resources Management Division Florida/Caribbean Exotic Plant Management Team
18001 Old Cutler Road, Suite 419
Palmetto Bay, Fl 33157-6422
Phone: (786) 249-0073
Fax: (305) 253-0463


Capital Mohawk PRISM meeting

The next meeting of the Capital Mohawk PRISM will be held at NYS Dept of Ag and Markets on May 15 at noon.

Peg Sauer


Adirondack Park Invasive Plant Program earns top EPA award, gears up for field season

Keene Valley, NY — April 30, 2009 — The Adirondack Park Invasive Plant Program (APIPP) was one of 26 projects across New York state to receive the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s highest honor: the Environmental Quality Award. The award ceremony was held last week in Manhattan in conjunction with Earth Day.

“These exemplary environmental stewards have gone above and beyond for environmental change in local communities across New York,” said EPA Acting Regional Administrator George Pavlou.

APPIPFounded in 1998 and housed by The Nature Conservancy in Keene Valley, APIPP is leading the charge to protect Adirondack natural resources from the damaging effects of invasive species by engaging partners and finding solutions through a coordinated, strategic, and integrated regional approach. Unlike many places, the opportunity exists in the Adirondacks to hold the line against invasive species and prevent them from wreaking havoc on natural resources and economic vitality.

Read the full story at Link
Photo © The Nature Conservancy


People in the news: He len Hamilton

He len Manilton, president of the John Clayton Chapter of the Virginia Native Plant Society, has been recognized as an "Armed and Dangerous: Destroying Virginia's Invasive Species with Volunteers" award winner by the Virginia Cooperative Extension. Hamilton was recognized for her work in protecting native Virginia plant species from invasive species. Link


Carnivorous lionfish threaten eastern habitats

by Emily Coakley

Overfishing usually hurts underwater ecosystems, but researchers are hoping it can control an invasive species that is wreaking havoc off the East Coast of the United States.

The fish are reproducing "at a pace unlike anything scientists have ever seen from an invasive fish species in this part of the world," reports the Raleigh News & Observer.

"They’re eating everything. They could wipe out entire reefs," Lisa Mitchell told the N&O. She leads the Florida-based nonprofit Reef Environmental Education Foundation, which is working with Caribbean islands on the lionfish issue.

Read the full story at Link


Bat mortality rate catastrophic

By: Ryan Burgess,

Bats CHESTER, Mass - "That's spreading really quick," said Massachusetts Natural Heritage and Endangered Species Program Director Tom French.

He's studying a fast spreading disease that's killing thousands of bats in the northeast. It's called White-Nose Syndrome and experts still don't fully understand it.

Chester mine in Hampden County use to house 10,000 bats. But in just two winters, all but 100 are dead.

"I think in the past two winters, we've lost a half a million bats in New England and New York," said French.

Read the full story at Link


Invasive species in Western New York: the battle continues

From the New York Flora Association Blog

Eighteen enthusiastic volunteers from SUNY-Fredonia and the Nature Sanctuary Society of Western New York visited the Alexander Preserve in Zoar Valley on April 25th to remove several invasive species within the Preserve in honor of Earth Week. Target species of choice for removal were daylily and bush honeysuckle. Link


Air pollution, invasive species threaten Smokies environment

By Nancy Bompey,

CATALOOCHEE – Little Cataloochee Valley still holds evidence of the more than 1,200 people who once called the remote section of what is now Great Smoky Mountains National Park home.

Visitors walking through the area might see an old church, a log cabin, or a stone wall amid the thickets of multiflora rose shrubs.

Red maples and tulip poplars have overgrown old settlements like Little Cataloochee Valley since the park's creation in 1934, as has the Japanese ornamental species once planted around cabins.

A park crew now spends whole days in the valley cutting down the shrubs along with combating dozens of other nonnative species that have made their way into the park.

“We're making a lot of progress, but to say will there be a day when they will be completely gone and not an issue anymore, I don't think that day will ever come,” crew member Kristin Glover said. “There are always new exotics. It's a never-ending cycle. We have no idea what could be around the bend.”

Exotic, invasive plants are just one threat the Smokies face as it celebrates 75 years as a national park. Invasive pests like the hemlock woolly adelgid are killing trees, air pollution has changed ecosystems and altered views, and the park is preparing for the effects of climate change on native species.


Native species suffer

While air pollution may be the most widespread threat to the park, nonnative plants, pests and animals also pose a major menace to the Smokies.

These species that occur outside of their native range came to the area through the deliberate or accidental introduction by humans, and it is part of the park's mission to manipulate and eradicate them if they threaten native resources.

“A lot of people don't realize what all is affecting the park,” Linzey said. “The park has limited resources, and I think they are doing as good a job as they can with what they have.”'

One of the most destructive nonnative species has been the wild hogs that found their way into the park in the 1950s from surrounding areas. The animals' rooting and wallowing threatens many native ecological communities in the park.

Read the full story at Link


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