Monday, May 4, 2009

Week of May 4, 2009

Updated May 8

H.R. 669: Nonnative Wildlife Invasion Prevention Act

H.R. 669 was introduced in January 2009 by Madeleine Bordallo (U.S. Delegate, Guam). The purpose of the bill is to prevent the introduction and establishment of nonnative wildlife species that negatively impact the economy, environment, or other animal species' or human health, and for other purposes. A subcomittee hearing was held on Apr 23. You can watch a video of the hearing here.

The bill would require the Secretary of the Interior to promulgate regulations establishing a process for assessing the risk of all nonnative wildlife species proposed for importation into the United States, other than those included in a list of approved species issued under the Act.

The bill would establish prohibitions on: (1) importation or transportation between states of nonnative species that are not included in the list of approved species; (2) permit violations; and (3) possession, purchase, sale, barter, release, or breeding of such species.

For more information, visit Link 1 and Link 2.

For a view from the Pet Industry Joint Advisory Council (PIJAC), visit Link 3.

For a view from The Nature Conservancy, visit Link 4.

For a view from the National Environmental Coalition on Invasive Species (NECIS), visit Link 5


June 2 workshop: Invasive Plants in the Hudson Valley: A Local Update on Research & Management

mile a minute vineThis workshop will guide participants in a better understanding of how invasive plants establish in forests, parks, rights-of-ways, and other natural areas. Presenters will address ecological conditions that allow for invasion, a framework of strategies for selecting the appropriate control methods, and updates on species of local concern.

Preregistration required through Cornell University Cooperative Extension Dutchess County. $35 includes full day training, educational mateials, and lunch. Space is limited, registration first come, first serve.

Certification Credits Pending for: NYSDEC Pesticide Categories 2, 3a, 10, 25 and 6; International Society of Arboriculture; and Society of American Foresters. LA Credits, pending approval.

Make checks payable to: Cornell University Cooperative Extension Dutchess County.

Send Registration to:

Cornell University Cooperative
Extension Dutchess County
Farm and Home Center
2715 Route 44, Suite 1
Millbrook, NY 12545
Att: Nancy Halas

Registration and payment must be received by May 22, 2009.

Location: Ladson Park & Arboretum, Somers, NY

Hosted by:

• Cornell University Cooperative Extension of Dutchess and Westchester Counties
• Cornell University Cooperative Extension Department of Natural Resources

in cooperation with:

• The Westchester County Department of Parks, Recreation & Conservation
• The Watershed Agricultural Council


New York State Parks adopts sustainability blueprint, including invasive species

ALBANY, NY (05/04/2009)(readMedia)-- Allowing more lawns to return to meadows and using fewer pesticides are key elements of a new sustainability plan aimed at easing the impact that the daily operations of the New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation (OPRHP) have on natural resources, the agency announced today.


The plan recommends OPRHP take an integrated approach to designing and constructing buildings and managing landscapes to minimize impact to the natural environment. A critical component is the goal to eliminate pesticides from parks, especially areas frequented by children, such as beaches, playgrounds, picnic areas, ballfields, campgrounds, and hiking trails. The plan acknowledges areas for which targeted pesticide will continue, most notably in the area of golf course management.

Under the pesticide guidelines, all OPRHP facilities and operations, including those of concessionaires, will eliminate pesticide use wherever possible. In instances where they are needed to protect health and safety or control invasive species, as well as at golf courses and arboretums, State Parks will use least toxic chemicals. All facilities will reduce the use of pesticides through Integrated Pest Management (IPM) techniques, which employs proactive mechanical, sanitary, cultural or biological methods to control pests to the maximum extent possible, with the use of chemicals only as a last resort. Through detailed surveillance, IPM focuses on establishing physical barriers to pests and reducing the food, water and shelter available to them.

To read the full story, visit Link.


Florida FWC officials plan to spray invasive plants in Deer Point Lake

By S. BRADY CALHOUN / News Herald Writer

BAYOU GEORGE — Water hyacinth is a striking weed that must be destroyed, state officials said this week.

water hyacinthThe weed, along with Cuban bulrush, has infested a couple of acres in Deer Point Lake near Bay Head Road, about 4.5 miles north of Deer Point Dam.

Someone introduced the two menaces to the lake, most likely when they dumped out the contents of an aquarium or a water garden, said Matt Phillips, a biologist and invasive plant specialist with the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC).

Phillips, conducting a tour through Deer Point for the media Thursday, showed off the hyacinth, which has a purple bloom and air bladders to keep the weed afloat. The weeds also grow to about 3 feet in height and will continue to grow in wet soil, even if the lake is drained, he added.

"They (hyacinths) can double in weight in about two weeks," Phillips said.

Cuban bulrush is a grassy-looking weed that also floats above the water and does not naturally grow in Deer Point.


The FWC plans to combat the problem weeds by using a herbicide. In about a week, the weeds will be sprayed with 2, 4-D amine. This mild herbicide will not cause pollution or other problems in the lake, Phillips said.

The spray work will cost about $1,000, officials said. Florida officials spend about $2.4 million annually to spray for weeds in state waters, Phillips said.

Read the full story at Link

Photo by ROBERT COOPER © The News Herald.


Retracing the Journey of Two Invasive Species

By HENRY FOUNTAIN, The New York Times

Scientists who study invasive species often start with some basic questions: where and when did the species take hold, and where did it come from? The answers are generally harder to obtain the longer an invader has been around.

toothed wrackSusan H. Brawley of the University of Maine and colleagues have answered those questions for two invasive species, the seaweed known as toothed wrack (Fucus serratus) and the common periwinkle (Littorina littorea), that have been around the coast of northeastern North America for at least 140 years.

Using genetic analyses, ecological data and historical shipping records, the researchers determined that both invaders came from Britain and Ireland to Nova Scotia as a result of the timber trade in that region, which began in the 1770s and peaked after 1815. The species probably hopped the Atlantic on ships’ ballast rock, which was dumped when the ships took on heavy loads of timber. The findings are published in The Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

In the case of the seaweed, the researchers were able to trace the species to two locations: Galway in Ireland and Greenock in Scotland. The source of the periwinkles could not be pinned down as precisely. The researchers suggest that there must be other, less conspicuous species that took the same invasion route in the 19th century.

Read the full story at Link.

Photo by Galice G. Hoarau - Copyright 2009 The New York Times Company


May 7 Finger Lakes PRISM meeting

The next Finger Lakes PRISM meeting will take place this Thursday, May 7th at the Montezuma Audubon Center from 10 am – 1 pm.

Attached is a very general agenda, but please note that this meeting features two speakers. Bin Zhu of Finger Lakes Institute will be presenting on his latest research on aquatic invasive species in the Finger Lakes. And Mark Whitmore, from Cornell University will be presenting on hemlock wooly adelgid, Asian longhorned beetle and emerald ash borer.


Group vetoes chemical treatment of New Hampshire pond

By Eric Parry,

There won't be any chemicals used to treat milfoil in Big Island Pond this summer.

The Big Island Pond Corp. decided at a meeting Tuesday not to use the herbicide 2,4-D to treat the 50-acre pond that stretches across Derry, Hampstead and Atkinson, N.H.

Instead, the lake association is relying on a harvester and a team of divers to clean up the exotic nuisance plant this summer, according to Kevin Magner, president of the lake association.

"We're going to re-evaluate at the end of the year and see how it did," Magner said.

The harvester is a 30-foot pontoon boat fitted with a pump, 4-inch hoses, and a perforated deck that allows volunteers to collect the weed in bags and lets the water flow back into the pond.

A team of divers will pull the milfoil up by its roots and suction the plants through the hose to the boat deck.

Applications of 2,4-D were supposed to start in June. The lake corporation applied for funding through the state Department of Environmental Services to spread the chemical, according to DES limnologist Jody Connor. The chemical treatment was recommended in the first year of a five-year plan designed for the pond, Magner said. The lake association adopted the plan last year, and this summer would have been the first season the plan was put into action.

But just a few months ago, the lake association purchased the pontoon boat with the help of the New Hampshire Lake Association. Since then, a small group of lake residents have been working on the boat and planned to take it out for the first time over the weekend.

Connor said the Big Island Pond Corp. was only one of eight selected from 30 applications to receive some funding from the state to treat invasive aquatic plants. The DES had already committed to spending $7,000 of the $23,490 cost to spread the chemical, he said. Money for treatment comes from boating registrations in the state, according to Connor.

Although it's happened in the past, it's rare that a lake association or municipality would withdraw its request for funding. Removing the plant using just divers and the harvester can be a time-consuming task, Connor said.

"Typically, when someone has a bad exotic plant, they don't want to live with it and they want to deal with it," Connor said. The chemical is widely used in other bodies of water in the state to treat milfoil, but some residents along the pond said they were still concerned about the long-term effects it would have on the pond.

"The less chemicals we use on anything the better," said Patricia Goodridge, one of the board members who voted against using the chemical.

Read the story at Link


New Jersey middle school state finalists with invasive species project

From Green Right Now Reports

Twenty-two teams of U.S. middle school students have been named state finalists in the inaugural Siemens We Can Change the World Challenge, in which the students were asked to “go green” by creating and implementing environmental change in their local communities. Two national winning teams and one grand prize-winning team will be chosen and announced on May 18.

invasive species patrolThe Millburn Mustangs team analyzed the harmful effects of the prevalent Norway Maple tree on their growing community. The team members determined that this non-native, invasive tree was a threat to the ecosystem due to its dominance over other species of trees. The Mustangs teamed up with the town’s forester and through surveys, presentations and direct mailings they persuaded 87% of survey participants to replace their Norway Maple trees with other native trees provided by the city.

School: Millburn Middle School, New Jersey
Students: Brannon, Nils, Erik
Teacher/Mentor: Michelle Cho

Diver Assisted Milfoil Machine – A New Tool for Managing Exotic Aquatic Plants

by Scott Ashley, Jody Connor and Amy Smagula, New Hampshire DES Limnologists in "The Sampler" Spring 2009

For the past two years, limnologists with the DES Biology Section, in cooperation with several individuals including divers and fabrication specialists, have developed a diver-assisted suction harvester device (milfoil machine or DAMM) to assist with managing exotic aquatic plant growth in New Hampshire’s waterbodies.

Exotic aquatic plant managers understand the importance of the integrated approach to provide long-term and more effective control of exotic plant infestations. A combination of scaled approaches is the proven method to manage exotic plants. The DAMM unit is one more tool available for the control of exotic plants in New Hampshire.

What It Is

DAMM The DAMM is essentially an aquatic vacuum cleaner used by divers to remove hand-pulled exotic plants and their roots from bottom sediments. This device is operated by specially licensed divers who hold Weed Control Diver certification through the Professional Association of Dive Instructors. The suction harvester is best suited to physically manage small to moderately sized infestations. However, a suction harvester has been working in large infested areas of Smith Cove, Lake Winnipesaukee, for the past two summers and is making excellent progress at controlling the variable milfoil growth in the cove.

The unit is constructed on a floating platform, such as a pontoon boat, barge, or even a swim platform mounted on pontoons. The deck of the platform is modified by cutting a 2’ x 3’ rectangle in the floor. The floor hole is lined with a plant collection net that retains any plants and roots that are suctioned from the
bottom sediments. Mounted on the deck is a vortex pump to draw plants pulled by the diver. A special low-density, large-diameter hose connected to the pump extends into the water from the vessel is used by the divers to suction the bottom plants. A certified diver works to systematically handremove the exotic plant by the roots and then feeds the plant and the roots up the hose. The plants, water and a small amount of sediment are discharged into the net-lined cut-out in the platform. The water filters through the net fabric while the plants remain in the net.

The deckhand sorts through the net contents to remove and set free any mussels or other aquatic life, then scoops the plants into a 20 gallon bucket or container to measure actual exotic plants and root volumes removed from the system. The material is then bagged for disposal in a landfill or compost site that is located a distance from a surface waterbody.

During the summer of 2008, the DES-operated harvester pulled over 3,000 gallons of milfoil.

For maximum cost effectiveness, the DAMM is best used for small to moderately sized infestations. It is not a technique that can be cost effective when used in a large areas of exotic aquatic plant infestation. The most cost effective method for large area infestations is the use of permitted herbicides by licensed applicators. Also, DAMM is not intended for use in controlling native aquatic plants.

Read the full story at Link


Conference: Invasive Species in Coastal Dunes and Maritime Forests, July 16-17 2009

Georgian Court University in Lakewood New Jersey is joining with the New Jersey Sea Grant / NJ Marine Science Consortium to sponsor a conference on Invasive Species in Coastal Dunes and Maritime Forests that will be hosted at Georgian Court this summer. The conference will be held on July 16-17 with an optional field trip to these habitats on July 15. For details on registration, abstract submission, accommodations etc. please visit the conference WebPages at Hope to see you there!


Conference: Complicating Factors in Invasive Plant Management: Circumstances Beyond Our Control? August 11 and 12, 2009

Register online at

To be held at the University of Pittsburgh at Johnstown, PA

Schedule and Registration Brochure


Pesticide is added to the longhorned beetle battle

WORCESTER, MA — The U.S. Department of Agriculture plans next year to step up its campaign to eradicate the Asian longhorned beetle by chemically treating trees in the city that are susceptible to the arbor-killing insect.

Suzanne Bond, a USDA spokeswoman, told the Telegram & Gazette that the massive federal treatment will most likely begin in the spring of 2010 after experts have a better idea of how widespread the infestation is.

The invasive beetles have been reported in Worcester, West Boylston, Boylston, Shrewsbury and Holden.

Michael P. Gilleberto of the city manager’s office said about 21,000 trees have already been taken down in the Greendale and Burncoat neighborhoods of Worcester in an attempt to prevent the insect’s spread.


Ms. Bond said the treatments will be paid for out of the $24.5 million allocated by the USDA this year to battle the infestation in Massachusetts. That money is also being used for research, surveys, removal of infested trees, public outreach and regulatory programs aimed at preventing the transportation of wood from infested areas.

USDA officials said the treatments will be conducted annually for at least three years.

Similar treatments have been done in Chicago, New York and two regions in New Jersey, the other areas infested by the bug.

In New York City, the USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service has hired certified pesticide companies to treat 26,132 hardwood trees on Staten Island and 39,626 trees in Brooklyn and Queens. In Linden, N.J., 1,096 trees are being treated.

Ms. Bond said the trees are being treated with imidacloprid, the chemical found to be most effective in battling the insect.


Imidacloprid, which is commonly used in the lawn care industry to kill grubs and in treatments to rid pets of fleas, disperses through a tree’s vascular system.

When adult beetles emerge from tree bark during the summer, they munch on twigs and leaves that have become laced with the poison. Larvae feeding within the tree are also killed.

Officials said imidacloprid was used in successful campaigns against the beetles in Chicago and in New Jersey’s Hudson County.

Federal officials said the chemical offers little risk to humans or pets and, as in other places, it will be either injected into tree bark or put deep in the ground around the base of trees.

Read the full story at Link


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