Monday, July 6, 2009

Week of July 6, 2009

Updated July 11

Plant Conservation Alliance general meeting announcement

Wednesday, July 8, 2009
9:30 - 11:30 AM

LOCATION: Conference Room at NatureServe
1101 Wilson Boulevard, 15th Floor
Arlington, VA 22209

The Plant Conservation Alliance (PCA) Bi-Monthly Meeting is an open forum for anyone interested or working in plant conservation. The meeting is held every other month in the Washington DC metropolitan area. There is roundtable for attendees to share relevant events, as well as updates from each of the PCA working groups and committees, including the Alien Plant Working Group. Regular attendees include representatives from the PCA Federal agencies and from cooperating organizations; however anyone is welcome to attend this meeting. Past meeting summaries and selected presentations are available at


Suffolk County "Do Not Sell" List public hearing on June 23

From the Website of the Suffolk County Water and Land Invasive Species Advisory Board.

Ludwigia pull

Photo by: Laura Stephenson, Peconic Estuary Program. Volunteers pull Ludwigia peploides from the Peconic River.

Suffolk County, NY will have a public hearing on the proposed amendments to the "Do Not Sell" list on June 23, 2009, 2:30pm, at Suffolk County Community College Culinary Arts Center, in Riverhead. In Summer 2009, Suffolk and Nassau counties are amending their invasive species lists, as well as including a new clause that would exempt sterile cultivars of banned species from prohibition. Similar to the current invasive species list, the amendments include phase-out periods which were developed in collaboration with green industry members.

The proposed amendments to the “do-not-sell” list were reached through a series of meetings of the Suffolk County Water and Land Invasive Species Advisory Board, based on work conducted by the Scientific Review Committee (SRC)—a subcommittee of the Long Island Invasive Species Management Area (LIISMA) and in conjunction with the expertise and experience of land managers, horticultural industry professionals, and botanists. Plant assessment results are critically reviewed and approved by the LIISMA SRC. Results of these species’ assessments can be found at Members of the LIISMA SRC include botanists, horticulture professionals, ecologists, public land managers, and representatives from Cornell Cooperative Extension, the Long Island Farm Bureau, and the Long Island Nursery & Landscape Association.

In 2007, Suffolk and Nassau counties became the first counties in New York State to take a key step in slowing the spread of invasive species by outlawing the sale, transport, distribution, and propagation of 63 invasive plant species. As part of a long-term invasive species management plan, this law is a major move in the fight against the spread of these species into our lands and waters. The ban on 56 of these species became effective January 1, 2009, but of these, only 9 are widely commercially sold (Table 1). The ban includes each plant’s cultivars.

Table 1. Commercially-sold Species on the “Do Not Sell” List Which are in Effect in 2009

Ampelopsis brevipedunculata - Porcelain-berry
Eleagnus umbellata - Autumn olive
Lespedeza cuneata - Chinese lespedeza
Ligustrum obtusifolium - Border privet
Lythrum salicaria - Purple loosestrife
Ranunculus ficaria - Lesser celandine
Rhamnus cathartica - Common buckthorn
Rosa multiflora - Multiflora rose
Rubus phoenicolasias Maxim. - Wineberry

For More Information:

Suffolk County bill 1508:

Long Island Invasive Species Management Area:

Species’ invasiveness assessments can be found at

For more information about the do-not-sell list, invasive plants, non-invasive alternative plants, and the program in general, please contact:


Zebra mussels infest Massachusetts' Laurel Lake

By Jack Dew, Berkshire Eagle Staff

LEE, MA. -- An invasive species of mussel has been discovered in Laurel Lake, threatening to dramatically alter the ecosystem and spread to other bodies of water in the Berkshires and across the state.

The state Department of Conservation and Recreation has confirmed that zebra mussels -- a hearty species native to the Caspian and Black Sea -- have been found in Laurel Lake, the first documented case in a Massachusetts body of water. The fingernail-sized mussel inhabits a yellowish brown shell with alternating light and dark bands. The razor-sharp shells are usually an inch long but can grow to 2 inches.

An aquatic ecologist with the state Department of Conservation and Recreation has recommended that the public boat ramp at Laurel Lake be closed to prevent the mussels' spread. That decision, however, will be up to the Public Access Board, which governs access to the state's lakes and so far has taken no action.

On Monday, the boat ramp remained open while a lunchtime crowd of anglers tried their luck for trout.

"I've seen zebra mussels in Lake Champlain, and what they do is horrible," said Keith Williman, one of the fishermen. "They cause real big problems." [...]

Anne Roche, a spokeswoman for the state Department of Conservation and Recreation, said the agency is deploying its rapid response plan, which calls for a public education blitz to urge lake users to take precautions.

"The important part is communication and education to stop it from spreading," Roche said. "Once the species is in a lake, you can't eradicate it."

Read the full article at link.


Schumer secures funding to combat ash borer in NY

The Post-Journal

The United States Department of Agriculture has doubled the amount of funding they will provide to New York State through the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, U.S. Sen. Charles Schumer said Monday.

The Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service coordinates eradication and suppression efforts for emerging plant pests, including both emergency funding and technical assistance to states. With APHIS's assistance, New York's Department of Environmental Conservation will be able to survey the state to determine the extent of the infestation, and create and enact a plan to fight the spread of EAB.

Last week Schumer called for USDA to provide emergency funding to NYS to battle Ash Borer, and today he is announcing that they have responded to his request by doubling the amount of funding available to New York state from $100,000 to $200,000. [...]

APHIS can provide both funding and technical expertise in combating and treating this infestation. They routinely provide manpower, experts and equipment to localities that are experiencing invasive species emergencies. [...]

Schumer last week also called on the US Forest Service to accept NYS DEC's application for stimulus funding to improve education on how to stop the spread of Ash Borer and to enforce the ban on the transportation of firewood. Schumer today said that he will continue working with the USFS to obtain those funds as soon as possible.

Read the full story at link.


Request for Nominations for the Invasive Species Advisory Committee

The U.S. Department of the Interior, on behalf of the interdepartmental National Invasive Species Council, proposes to appoint new members to the Invasive Species Advisory Committee (ISAC). The Secretary of the Interior, acting as administrative lead, is requesting nominations for qualified persons to serve as members of the ISAC.

DATES: Nominations must be postmarked by July 23, 2009.

ADDRESSES: Nominations should be sent to:

Dr. Christopher Dionigi, Acting Executive Director
National Invasive Species Council (OS/NISC)

Regular Mail:
1849 C Street, NW.
Washington, DC 20240

Express Mail:
1201 EyeStreet, NW., 5th Floor
Washington, DC 20005


Kelsey Brantley, Program Analyst andISAC Coordinator, at (202) 513–7243,fax: (202) 371–1751, or by e-mail at


Training for Asian long-horned beetle and emerald ash borer

There are a series of trainings in New York coming up over the next few weeks to train people on how to recognize and survey for both Asian long-horned beetle and emerald ash borer. These trainings are scheduled for July 9 (Warrensburg-Adirondacks), July 13 (Albany), July 21 (Woodstock-Catskills), and July 22 (Woodstock-Catskills). All training sessions are scheduled to run from 9am - 4pm. Space is limited and reservations are accepted on a first come / first serve basis. Those interested in identification, survey, and risks of forest pests should consider attending. We hope to provide continuing education credits to certified foresters.

Please contact Troy Weldy at The Nature Conservancy (e-mail:; phone: 518-690-7841) to reserve your space and also feel free to forward this announcement to any interested parties.


Invasive sea squirts in Long Island Sound may indicate climate change

By Andy Bromage,

Sea squirts are smothering Connecticut's shellfish industry. [...]

sea squirtsNon-native sea squirts, also known as tunicate or sea pork, are proliferating in Long Island Sound and elsewhere as water temperatures rise. Marine scientists at the University of Connecticut found that warmer winters are causing the invasive invertebrates to explode in population. Sea squirts reproduce rapidly and compete with shellfish for food and space, threatening Connecticut's shellfish industry. [...]

In 2002, UConn scientists studied whether climate change was to blame for the growth of invasive sea squirts in Long Island Sound. The harmless-looking invertebrates outcompete economically vital shellfish like clams, mussels and oysters and smother other organisms. Left unchecked, they could have a devastating impact on shellfishing in the Sound.

And the warmer the water, the worse they get.

Scientists studied native species against invasive ones from 1991 to 2002 at Avery Point near Groton. They found that in the year after the warmest winter (1991), invasive growth was twice that of native squirts. By contrast, after the coldest winter (1994), the native ones outgrew the invasive sea squirts 5-to-1.

Read the full story at link.


Volunteers Pull Together To Remove Invasive Plant from Mill Pond, Oyster Bay

From The Nature Conservancy

volunteersCold Spring Harbor, NY — July 8, 2009 — Volunteers gathered today at Mill Pond, Oyster Bay and took to their canoes to remove a harmful invasive plant that is overtaking the waterway, according to The Nature Conservancy, Friends of the Bay and the United States Fish and Wildlife Service. The plant, water chestnut, is a concern to both people and nature. Over 35 cubic yards of water chestnut have been removed from Mill Pond in the last two years. [...]

“The best time of year to remove this harmful plant is in late spring or early summer before it sets seed. The seeds are viable for up to 10 years so control efforts must be conducted for many years, but luckily this plant has only been found in two locations on Long Island,” said Kathy Schwager, invasive species ecologist for The Nature Conservancy on Long Island. “Pulling this weed is a win-win situation for both the environment and the community.”

“According to Mill Pond neighbors, they first noticed the invasion of this aquatic plant between 2005 and 2007 and were astonished at its prolific expansion each year. Each individual seed can produce 10 to 15 rosettes, and each rosette can produce 15 to 20 seeds. So each seed can produce 300 new seeds in one year! The Refuge confirmed the infestation in June 2008 and acted rapidly to remove as much water chestnut as possible that summer season. If left uncontrolled, it will cover the entire pond within a few years,” remarked Azucena Ponce, refuge biologist for the Long Island National Wildlife Refuge Complex.”

Michelle Williams, refuge manager added, “We would like to thank the Town of Oyster Bay for their generous support in providing a location for the plant material. Additionally, we would like to thank the many volunteers who have worked so hard on making this project a success.”

Invasive species damage the lands and waters that native plants and animals need to survive. They hurt economies and threaten human well-being. The estimated damage from invasive species worldwide totals more than $1.4 trillion – five percent of the global economy.

The Nature Conservancy is working to prevent and control the spread of invasive species in all 50 states and across more than 30 countries around the world. Together with our partners we are focusing on prevention and early detection as the most effective strategies to combat invasive species. [...]

Also joining the event were students from The Nature Conservancy’s Internship Program for City Youth, a unique partnership that couples environmental school learning curricula in urban nature with real world conservation work through paid internships on nature preserves across the Northeast. The program, launched in 1995, is a partnership with the Friends of the High School for Environmental Studies and the Brooklyn Academy of Science and the Environment. This partnership has helped underserved urban youth gain critical life and workplace skills, provided continuous and sustained exposure to both rural and urban nature, and helped a diverse array of students pursue higher education opportunities and career paths in environmental fields.

Read the full story at link.

Photo © Evelyn Chen/TNC


Senate hearing focuses on diseases, invasive species threatening native wildlife

By MATTHEW DALY, Associated Press

WASHINGTON - From a mysterious fungus attacking bats in the Northeast to the emergence of Burmese pythons in Florida, native wildlife is facing new threats throughout the country.

Protecting wildlife from new diseases and invasive species is a top challenge facing state and federal officials. Experts and public officials will talk about the threats — and ways to combat them — at a Senate hearing Wednesday.

Two Senate Environment and Public Works subcommittees are conducting the hearing, which will feature testimony by experts from Maryland, Michigan, Rhode Island and Florida.

At least 185 aquatic invasive species have been detected in the Great Lakes, including the zebra mussel and Asian carp, and snakehead fish have been found in the Chesapeake Bay watershed.



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