Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Week of September 14, 2009

The following article refers to a lake in Indiana, but I thought it was informative for us folks in the east.

Invasive plant battle appears won at one lake

The invasive Brazilian elodea, a plant commonly used in home aquariums, appears to have been eradicated from Griffy Lake, a 109-acre impoundment near Bloomington, Indiana after a multi-year battle waged by the Department of Natural Resources, pointing to chance for success elsewhere in the state.

"The last Brazilian elodea observed at the lake was at the beginning of the 2007 treatment season," said Doug Keller, aquatic invasive species coordinator with DNR's Division of Fish and Wildlife. "We've performed extensive searches on numerous occasions each year since the plant was last seen, and we have not been able to locate any sign of it again.

"With all the work and money put into this project to eradicate an invasive plant species new to Indiana, it is exciting to be able to claim a victory."

The suspected source of Brazilian elodea establishment in Griffy Lake was an aquarium dump likely done in the early 2000s. Cost of the project was approximately $150,000 ($1,400 per acre), including herbicide and its application, and intensive monitoring and surveys.

The DNR applied whole-lake herbicide treatments in 2006 and 2007, an aggressive plan that initially depressed the entire plant community of the lake, and that some feared might cause permanent damage to both native plant life and the fishery. Signs are that plant and fish communities are now as healthy as before the invasive plant's proliferation.

"Fortunately there is a native plant seed bank in the sediment that was just waiting to explode once the controls ceased," Keller said. "Prior to the eradication project there were typically six to seven native aquatic plant species in the lake. In the three plant surveys performed this year there were six and seven plant species again observed and they were well spread through the available habitat."

Water clarity has also improved dramatically, from 8 feet of visibility before the eradication to 13 feet this year.

Reducing aquatic vegetation, often using herbicides, is a fisheries management tool commonly employed to improve growth of panfish as a result of increased predation by bass. Dave Kittaka, DNR fisheries biologist, recently surveyed the fish community at the lake and found positive signs.

"Bluegill and redear sunfish growth and size structure increased dramatically compared to an earlier survey performed in 2004," Kittaka said. "The likely reason for the improvement was the reduction in vegetation coverage in 2006 and 2007."

The DNR will do occasional monitoring of Griffy to detect if the plant returns or other undesirable species are introduced and continue the fight elsewhere, as needed, both with treatment and education.

DNR has also eliminated Brazilian elodea from a number of smaller bodies of water, mostly in Southern Indiana, where the plant was introduced before DNR implemented regulations banning outdoor use of the plant.

"There remain a few bodies of water with Brazilian elodea we have yet to tackle but fortunately we have found tools that appear to successfully put an end to this very aggressive plant," Keller said.

The plant remains a popular species for indoor aquarium use, and that's where it needs to stay in order to prevent future costly eradication projects.

"Aquarium owners must realize the damage they can cause as a result of a seemingly innocent act such as releasing plants and fish that they have nurtured for so long," Keller said. "When no longer wanted, aquarium plants should be disposed of in household trash and unwanted fish should either be given to others who have the ability to care for them or else euthanized.

"They should never be dumped in any body of water."

Otherwise, an apparently successful, but long and expensive process may have to be redone at Griffy Lake or started at another body of water.

Read the story at link.


Volunteers needed in Massachusetts

Volunteers are needed NOW to assist the Massachusetts Department of Agricultural Resources with ALB tree surveys in the Boston and Springfield areas. The surveys are being held to train volunteers and to raise awareness about the beetle in parts of the state where ALB is more likely to show up (but hasn't yet!):

- Boston: THIS THURSDAY, Sept. 17, 12pm-1:30pm, Boston Public Garden
- Springfield: Saturday, Sept. 26th, 10am-11:30am, South Springfield, meeting location TBD

No experience necessary, we'll train you on site! RSVP by calling 617-626-1735 or email jennifer.forman-orth[at]state.ma.us.


New invasive plant emerges

BY BETTY JESPERSEN, Morning Sentinal

Those eye-catching, tall, magenta-colored perennials growing near ditches, along lakes and in wetlands may be pretty enough for a fall wild flower bouquet.

Don't even think about it, say plant experts. The plant is among the most aggressive, invasive species to spread its seeds and roots in Maine.

Purple loosestrife was introduced from Europe into the United States and Canada in the 1800s for ornamental and medicinal uses. It is now growing throughout Great Britain, across central and southern Europe to Asia, China and India and in the United States, is considered to be an invasive species.

"It is quite adaptable and can live in climates from northern Ontario to Texas, and it has tremendous potential for reproduction," said Lois Stack, a horticulture specialist with the University of Maine Cooperative Extension.

Read the full story at link.


Preventing Hurricane Havoc: Environmental Teams Tackle the Invasive Plants and Weeds that Impede Flood Control during Massive Storms

Yahoo News

Invasive plants and weeds can wreak havoc during a hurricane by jamming storm-water pumps, blocking water flow and promoting devastating floods. The Weed Science Society of America recommends a proactive, integrated approach for managing the problem and keeping any overgrowth under control.

Lawrence, Kansas (PRWEB) September 14, 2009 -- When a hurricane roars inland, most low-lying coastal states rely on a network of pumps and canals to dissipate the storm surge and protect both lives and property. But add invasive plants and weeds to the mix, and you have a recipe for a disaster. Overgrown vegetation can wreak havoc and promote flooding by jamming pumps and blocking water flow.

According to the Weed Science Society of America, common culprits include floating water hyacinth (Eichhornia crassipes), water lettuce (Pistia stratiotes), submersed hydrilla (Hydrilla verticillata) and other fast-growing water plants.

The problem is especially pervasive in Florida, where public lakes are connected by creeks, rivers or constructed canals that ultimately lead to the Gulf of Mexico or the Atlantic Ocean. Some of the largest pumps in the world are used to manage storm runoff and keep the surrounding areas from flooding.

"Invasive plants tend to coalesce at flood control structures in lakes and canals and at bends in river channels," says Jeffrey Schardt, environmental administrator for invasive plant management with the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission. "If left unmanaged, they can clog pumps, impede water flow and make flooding much, much worse. It's imperative to have the overgrowth under control before a hurricane barrels inland."

Schardt says problems associated with invasive plants like water hyacinth and water lettuce reached crisis proportions along Florida's waterways during the 1960s. But officials learned from that experience and have adopted routine maintenance controls to help prevent a recurrence.

"We've found a single patch of water hyacinth can double in size in as little as two weeks during the growing season - forming large rafts that can be carried by wind and water currents, clog pumps and cause flooding," Schardt says. "Time is not our friend, so we concentrate on frequent, small-scale control operations to prevent large-scale problems from developing."

In addition to water hyacinth and water lettuce, invasive plants and even some native, emergent plants can form dense floating mats - called "tussocks" by aquatic plant managers. These floating weed rafts are a worldwide phenomenon found in places such as Argentina, Australia, Finland, India, Japan and Kenya. Emergent plants like primrose willow (ludwigia) "tie" the rafts together with their roots, stems and branches to form larger masses.

Florida environmental teams use boats to patrol shorelines and conduct regular monthly or bimonthly inspections for invasive species that can form tussocks, and herbicides are applied to control small patches as they emerge. The herbicides selected take into account how the body of water is used and any native plants that may be comingled with the invasive species.

Read the full story at link.


Invasive bugs threaten ash trees in New York State

By PAUL POST, The Saratogian

SARATOGA SPRINGS — Bill Steele wants to know how big league hitters such as David Ortiz, Joe Mauer and Chipper Jones are doing because he makes their bats.

This year, however, he’s also keeping a close eye on a fast-moving insect that threatens to destroy the Northern White Ash tree supply that baseball bats are made from.

The emerald ash borer was first detected near Detroit in 2002 and has spread to numerous states, killing millions of trees in the process. It’s already been found in western New York and the state has begun testing for its presence in the Adirondacks as well.

“It’s going to affect everybody who’s working with ash,” said Steele, of Rawlings Sporting Goods in Dolgeville, Herkimer County. “They get under the bark and kill the tree. Who knows what’s going to happen?”

Rawlings’ factory in Dolgeville makes about 30 percent of the bats used by major league players. Wood comes from a 200-mile radius from the Adirondacks to Pennsylvania.

Read the full story at link.


Invasive Species Biologist (regular, full-time)
The Nature Conservancy

Albany, New York State

This position is with the New York Natural Heritage Program (NYNHP) in Albany, New York.



A new hemlock pest arrives in Maine

KENNEBUNKPORT — Only a year after hemlock woolly adelgid was detected in Kennebunkport forests, a second destructive exotic pest of hemlocks -- elongate hemlock scale -- has been found within the same neighborhood.

Combined, these two pests are more than just double trouble for hemlocks -- their impacts are synergistic, according to Maine Forest Service entomologists.

The latest bug invader also can be a threat to spruce and fir trees, they warn.

“We're extremely concerned about the arrival of this pest,” said Allison Kanoti, a Maine Forestry Service entomologist.

“Scale populations tend to show up and grow more rapidly in the presence of hemlock woolly adelgid, which already is in the immediate area, and they cause a more rapid decline in tree health.”

Surveys of the affected neighborhood are under way, Kanoti said, and treatment of the infestation is planned.

Late last month, a landowner in Cape Porpoise noticed his planted hemlocks weren't growing well and submitted a sample of blighted foliage to the University of Maine Cooperative Extension.

Insect specialist Clay Kirby identified the problem as the scale insect Fiorinia externa, known more commonly as elongate hemlock scale, or Fiorinia scale.

The pest most likely arrived in Kennebunkport with the planted trees and may not yet have spread to the forest.

The Maine Forest Service will be taking measures to contain the pest and keep it from spreading, Kanoti said.

Elongate hemlock scale, which moves on the wind and by birds, was first found in the U.S. in 1908 in New York; it has since spread south to Georgia and South Carolina, west to Ohio, Michigan and Minnesota and, in this region, had until recently only been found in southern New York and New England.

Last year, New Hampshire forest health staff found it in a forest in southern New Hampshire.

The site in Kennebunkport is the only known occurrence of elongate hemlock scale in Maine.

Read the full story at link.


Neighborhood Watch: Early Detection and Rapid Response to Biological Invasion along US Trade Pathways

This 2009 report offers recommendations to improve biosecurity measures at U.S. ports, as well as a possible funding mechanism based upon the “polluter pays” principle.

Neighborhood Watch


Connecticut Invasive Species Program, September 30

An invasive species educational program will be be held in Torrington, CT on Sept. 30. We will be discussing mile-a-minute vine, Asian longhorned beetle, and emerald ash borer, focusing especially on recognition of each species and procedures to follow if they are found.

Conservation/Inland Wetland Commissions, Public Works Department staff, forestry personnel, and the general public are encouraged to attend this free event. Forestry CEU credits will be available. This event is sponsored by the University of Connecticut, the City of Torrington Conservation Commission, and the Northwest Conservation District.

Please contact Kim Barbieri, City of Torrington Wetlands Enforcement Officer (860-489-2220) or the Northwest Conservation District (860-626-7222) if you have any questions about this event. The workshop will be held at the UConn Torrington campus on Sept. 30 from 7-9 pm.


Aquatic Invasive Species in New York: An Environmental Forum, September 25

Friday, 1:30 - 5:00

Biological session begins at 1:30 - Policy session begins at 3:00
University at Buffalo – North Campus
Center for the Performing Arts – Screening Room

Free and open to the public.

Aquatic invasive species have had profound impacts on the aquatic ecosystems in New York State. Join us to learn more about the biology of some of these invasive species and the policy issues involved in managing and preventing the spread of these exotics.

Panel discussion with question & answer period will follow presentations.

  • Kit Kennedy, Special Deputy Attorney General for Environmental Protection, NYS Attorney General’s Office
  • Dr. Alexander Karatayov, Great Lakes Center, Buffalo State College
  • Dr. Christopher Pennuto, Buffalo State College
  • Charles O'Neill, Coordinator, Cornell Invasive Species Program
Refreshments will be served.

Off-campus guests will need a parking pass. For more information or to request a parking pass, contact: New York Sea Grant, Great Lakes Program – SUNY Buffalo, (716) 645-3610, e-mail: sgbuffal[at]cornell.edu.


Disease of unknown origin killing Japanese stiltgrass

By Russ Richardson, Hur Herald

During the past fifteen years the introduced weed Japanese Stiltgrass has spread across the region to become one of the most serious problems impacting the long term health and productivity of our native woodland.

Late this summer, a still unidentified Stiltgrass disease has become more widespread and it was recently confirmed by researchers at Indiana University.

So far, the disease has been confirmed in Calhoun, Roane and Lincoln Counties, West Virginia.

Stiltgrass grows very thickly and produces a heavy thatch when it dies in the fall. It is extremely flammable and very slow to rot.

It is a very coarse grass that is not very palatable, not sought after or eaten by deer, cows, horses, sheep or goats.

Because of the rapid growth and spread of stiltgrass and the combination of environmental problems that follow an invasion, it has become one of the most studied weeds in the country.

There is increasing evidence that Stiltgrass plants may change forest soils in ways that benefit stiltgrass survival.

It is now viewed as a very serious threat to the long term health and productivity of our natural hardwood forest.

Japanese stiltgrass control is very difficult, producing heavy amounts of seed with rapid spreading.

The stiltgrass disease has an unknown origin and it is yet to be found whether it is related to any known illness or disease in our native plants.

Samples of diseased plants have been sent to both WVU and Indiana University and researchers are working to identify the disease. Because so little is known about the disease and its origin and whether it is a virus, fungus or bacteria, or whether it has the potential to become valuable as a tool in Stiltgrass control.

However, the discovery and confirmation of something killing Japanese Stiltgrass has excited botanists, conservationists and ecological researchers across the country.

If local property owners have noticed stiltgrass plants dying they are encouraged to call the WV Department of Agriculture in Charleston at 304-558-2212 to report the mortality.

Read the story and view photos at link.

Update: The disease will be the subject of a meeting of the Maryland Invasive Pest Council on September 23. The meeting will be held at the USDA national Agricultural Research Library. It looks like the disease could be a fungus. Additional samples have been sent out for study.


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