Monday, May 25, 2009

Week of May 25, 2009

Renewed concerns over invasive beetle in Vermont and New Hampshire

Summer brings renewed concerns about the Asian longhorned beetle. The invasive pest has an appetite for maple trees, and has devastated entire forests in Massachusetts. So far, Vermont and New Hampshire have escaped the invasion.

But the concern is that the bugs will be transported here in firewood carried by campers. As a precaution, New Hampshire next month will ban out-of-state firewood at federal and state-owned campgrounds.

From WCAX News. Link


Madison High School students control invasives at Wildlife Refuge

MADISON, NJ -- It was almost lunchtime on the Madison High School Day of Service and Mark DeBiasse, History Department Chairperson and Service Learning Coordinator, said that his cell phone had not rung once yet to report a problem from any of the more than 40 work sites he was supervising.

Sawing, drilling, measuring, mulching, planting, drawing, painting, digging -- and that's just the beginning, the task list goes on. More than 400 Madison High School students plus faculty members came together to work on service projects that spread lots of cheer and goodwill throughout the school district, the borough and beyond on Wednesday, May 20, during the high school's fifth annual Day of Service.

They formed green teams to test Passaic River water quality and remove invasive plant species at the Great Swamp National Wildlife Refuge, while others organized a blood drive with the American Red Cross.

Read the full story at link.


Saw Mill River Audubon plans “Trees for Tribs” planting

From Saw Mill River Audubon

Sunday, May 31, 9:00 a.m.

Volunteers Invited to Help Plant Native Trees and ShrubsThe last Sunday of May is planting day at Brinton Brook Sanctuary in Croton on Hudson. Everyone is invited to bring a spade, dig a hole, and “go native,” joining Saw Mill River Audubon (SMRA) and the New York State Department of Conservation (DEC) in planting native trees and shrubs to improve streamside habitats in the sanctuary. The restoration is part of the DEC’s “Trees for Tribs” program along tributaries to the Hudson River.

The DEC is providing 100 native plants carefully chosen for this site. The 40 trees and 60 shrubs represent 13 species, including witchhazel, American cranberrybush viburnum, red maple, and sassafras.

Advance preparation by SMRA included scouting the location with the DEC, removing invasive plants from the area, planning the location for each new plant, and preparing labels with plant names.

For information about volunteering, contact:

Ellen Heidelberger
Saw Mill River Audubon


Giant Hogweed confirmed in Butler County, PA

HARRISBURG, Pa., May 22 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture is warning residents of Forward Township in Evans City, Butler County, that Giant Hogweed, a noxious and invasive weed that can cause blistering and scarring on the skin of susceptible people, has been confirmed in their area.

Located along the Pittsburgh/Buffalo railroad tracks at the intersection of Spithaler School and Ash Stop roads, and at the intersection of the tracks and Ash Stop Road, the area with Giant Hogweed has been identified and marked with Department of Agriculture signage.

Citizens with suspected sightings of the plant are asked to call the Giant Hogweed Hotline at 1-877-464-9333. Brochures to aide in identification are available at the Forward Township Municipality Building or online at under "Plant and Animal Health."


PA Gov., PDA Turn Up The Heat on Ash Borer

HARRISBURG, Pa. — Pennsylvania Gov. Edward G. Rendell proclaimed May 17-23 as “Emerald Ash Borer Awareness Week” in Pennsylvania to help draw attention to the devastating, non-native invasive beetle that has been killing trees in six Pennsylvania counties during the past two years.

The governor urged the public to help contain the beetle’s spread to protect trees and also the jobs associated with Pennsylvania’s $25 billion forest products industry.

“The emerald ash borer has already killed tens of millions of ash trees nationwide and its arrival in Pennsylvania could have a damaging affect on our hardwoods industry,” Rendell said.

“Pennsylvania has been proactive in controlling its spread by enacting a firewood quarantine for counties found to have infestations and completing in-depth surveys to determine the extent of the infestations.

“By designating Emerald Ash Borer Awareness Week, we are reminding citizens of the potentially severe impacts this beetle could have on our environment and economy so they can take steps to help stop its spread.”

The Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture (PDA) held a press conference at Bald Eagle State Park in Centre County on Tuesday to recognize Emerald Ash Borer Awareness Week. The conference took place in conjunction with the Pennsylvania Envirothon.

Firewood Transport Spreads Beetle

Firewood is the primary means of long distance movement for emerald ash borer and other invasive forest pests, so this camping season people are reminded to use only locally cut sources of firewood and to burn it completely on site. To help protect Pennsylvania’s forests and urban trees, “burn it where you buy it.”

People who suspect they have seen emerald ash borer should call the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture’s toll-free pest hotline at (866) 253-7189. For more information about the quarantine, contact Walt Blosser at (717) 772-5205, and for more information about emerald ash borer, contact Sven-Erik Spichiger at (717) 772-5229.

Information is also available at


Garlic mustard puts Quarry Hill at risk

By KEITH WHITCOMB JR., Bennington Banner

POWNAL, VT — Timing is everything with garlic mustard, an invasive species of plant that grows on roadsides and in forests. Spotting it before it flowers is difficult, and going after it too late spreads the seeds.

"It's an evil plant," said David McDevitt, the Southern Vermont land steward with The Nature Conservancy. "There is no easy way to get rid of it."

The most effective way, McDevitt said Thursday atop Quarry Hill, where the Conservancy owns a parcel of land, is to pull it out of the ground by hand. McDevitt and a small number of volunteers have been up Quarry Hill three times this year and pulled nearly 100 pounds of the plant.

Ruth Botzow, a volunteer steward for the local Conservancy lands, said she goes up often on her own time to remove the weed.

The Conservancy acres on Quarry Hill are home to a number of rare and unique plants, which the garlic mustard is crowding out.

McDevitt said garlic mustard is widespread across Vermont and other parts of New England. Some areas in Massachusetts, he said, are so infested that pulling the plants by hand isn't an option. He said two days ago in Manchester, he and other volunteers pulled nearly 400 pounds of garlic mustard out of a preserve.

McDevitt said the seed pods can lie dormant for a number of years, meaning areas have to be continuously worked from year to year before progress is made. "If it's a really infested place, you'll be picking that spot for years until you can say you've beaten it," he said, adding the site on Quarry Hill has seem some progress, although last year was an unusually bad year for garlic mustard.

Read the full story at link.


Find of Invasive Zebra Mussels Could Spell Serious Damage

By Ashley Halsey III, Washington Post

The discovery of eight shells no bigger than a fingernail in Maryland waters has signaled the arrival of the exotic zebra mussels that have caused an estimated $5 billion in damage to the Great Lakes.

If they spread, the invasive fresh-water mussels could threaten the less-salty waters of the Chesapeake Bay northward from Annapolis.

The zebra mussels found in Maryland apparently were transported on a recreational fishing boat that was plopped from a car trailer into the fresh waters of the Susquehanna River above Conowingo Dam. Whether that handful can get past the Harford County dam and into the Chesapeake may be a multibillion-dollar question.

"If a bit of debris with a zebra mussel on it gets to the dam, it goes through," said Merrie Street, spokeswoman for Conowingo Dam. "There is no filter."

Read the full story at link.


Adirondack lake stewards try to stop spread of invasive species

By MICHAEL VIRTANEN, Associated Press

ALBANY — When boaters show up this summer to Great Sacandaga Lake in the lower Adirondacks they are likely to be met at public launch sites by stewards asking to check for alien plants or animals.

The stewards, college students, will be looking for aquatic invasive species that have been found so far in about one-quarter of the lakes surveyed in New York’s northern mountains.

They will also ask to check boats leaving the lake, which last fall was the first inland waterway in New York where the spiny water flea was found. They want to keep that small crustacean, native to Eurasia, from spreading to other American lakes and rivers.

“When we move from one waterway to another, we’ve just got go be mindful of what’s hitchhiking,” said Hilary Smith, director of the Adirondack Park Invasive Plant Program. “We need to include cleaning our boat and gear as part of the sport.”

Using hundreds of volunteers, the program has monitored 216 Adirondack lakes, finding 53 with one or more harmful nonnative plants like Eurasian water milfoil, curly leaf pondweed or water chestnut.

“My sense is we’re going to find more uninvaded lakes than invaded,” Smith said.

Read the full story at link.


Maryland sends in goats to save turtles

By Michael Dresser Baltimore Sun reporter

A herd of goats coming to the rescue of a handful of imperiled turtles may sound like the plot of a Saturday morning children's cartoon show, but that's just what's happening in the Carroll County town of Hampstead.

The State Highway Administration has enlisted the help of about 40 goats to devour invasive plant species in wetlands along the path of the soon-to-open, 4.4-mile Hampstead Bypass to protect the habitat of the bog turtle - a species listed as threatened in Maryland.

State highway officials decided to give the goats a tryout as four-legged lawn mowers rather than to attack the unwanted vegetation with mechanical mowers that might have killed the diminutive reptiles or damaged their boggy habitat on the fringe of Hampstead. The goats - leased from a local farmer who prefers to remain anonymous - have been on the job for a week, and highway officials say that so far they seem to be up to the task.

Until now, the bog turtles have been getting all of the attention. Highway and environmental officials have spent years hashing out the details of the $85 million bypass, and finding ways for the road and the reptiles to co-exist. The site where the goats are employed was once right in the highway's path, but officials rerouted it to the ridgeline above to avoid the sensitive wetlands.

William L. Branch, a biologist with the highway agency's Office of Environmental Design, said the decision to use goats to swallow up vegetation at the site - which officials prefer not to identify specifically because of the threat of turtle-poaching for the exotic pet trade - was the result of collective brainstorming by state and federal officials on how to build the road without damaging the local turtle population.

Branch said the Hampstead experiment is Maryland's first use of goats in connection with a state road project. He said officials had heard about previous projects using goats to control vegetation in bog turtle habitats in New Jersey and Pennsylvania - two of the other states in the reptile's range.

Read the full story at link.


No comments: