Sunday, October 4, 2009

Week of October 5, 2009

Updated 10/10

Underground RR talk and invasives removal, Oct. 10

WHEN: Saturday, October 10, 9:30am – 12:00pm

WHERE: Underground Railroad Experience Trail, 16501 Norwood Road, Sandy Spring, MD

WHAT: Dr. Jenny Masur of the National Park Service will speak on the history of the Underground Railroad in the DC area. Dr. Masur is the National Capitol Region Manager for the National Underground Railroad Network to Freedom. Dr. Masur will highlight some of the personalities in Montgomery County, locations, and methods of escape through the Underground Railroad system. We will then remove invasive plant species.

RSVP: Jeremy Arling at jeremy.arling[at]



Georgia EPPC annual meeting

The Georgia Exotic Pest Plant Council Annual Meeting to be held at the State Botanical Garden in Athens on Thursday Nov. 5. Time is running out for early registration.

Please go to the GA-EPPC website for online registration or a mail-in registration form.


Toxins tied to fish kill may have hitchhiked

By Don Hopey, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

An invasive toxic algae, blamed for contributing to the massive Dunkard Creek fish kill along the Pennsylvania-West Virginia border, may have hitchhiked to the region aboard equipment used in Marcellus shale drilling.

That kind of transregional travel could put fish and aquatic life in the states' other creeks and watersheds at risk in coming years as thousands of new wells are drilled into the thick and gaseous layer of shale that lies a mile deep under much of Pennsylvania and the northern Appalachians.

It has been more than a month since fish started going belly-up on Dunkard Creek, and officials with federal and state environmental and fisheries agencies have yet to identify what killed the fish or assign blame.

The only official explanation has come from the West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection, which last week blamed alien golden algae for wiping out thousands of fish, mussels and other aquatic life in 35 miles of what had been one of the most biologically diverse creeks in either state.

But the West Virginia agency doesn't know how the algae got into the creek.

"We might never know how it got there," said spokewoman Kathy Cosco. "We are trying to determine if it's present already in other water bodies or has spread."

Investigators also are looking at the possibility that someone illegally dumped drilling wastewater into the creek.

The EPA also is "very concerned" that golden algae could spread throughout the northern Appalachian region where it might devastate other fisheries, Mr. Sternberg said.

Dr. John Rodgers, a professor at Clemson University who has researched invasive freshwater algae, made the initial identification of the algae in Dunkard Creek for Consol. He said its spores could be transported by animals, in boats, on people's shoes, in blown dust or in industrial equipment.

"[Drilling equipment] is certainly something you will want to look at. This is not an organism you want to trifle with," he said, adding that it has been blamed for wiping out bass populations in Texas.

"Certainly you want to think through the pathways it took to that stream and start working on it as fast as you can."

Last week, a long-awaited 18-month state environmental review of Marcellus shale drilling issues in New York said that floating and submerged aquatic plants could be transported by a variety of equipment used in the deep shale drilling and hydraulic fracturing processes to crack the shale layer and release the gas it contains.

"Invasive species may potentially be transferred to a new area or watershed if unused water containing such species is later discharged at another location," the report said. "Other potential mechanisms for the possible transfer of invasive aquatic species may include trucks, hoses, pipelines and other equipment used for water withdrawal and transport."

Read the full story at link.


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