Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Monday, November 16, 2009

Week of November 16, 2009

Hand-writing on the wall for kudzu?

kudzubugATHENS, GA - Researchers at the University of Georgia and Dow AgroSciences have identified a kudzu-eating pest in northeast Georgia that has never been found in the Western Hemisphere.

Unfortunately, they say, the bug also eats legume crops, especially soybeans... a major cash crop in Georgia.

The bug has tentatively been identified as the bean plataspid (Megacopta cribraria), a native to India and China. It is pea-sized and brownish in color with a wide posterior, said Dan Suiter, an entomologist with the UGA College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences.

“It kind of waddles when it walks on a surface, but it flies really well,” he said.

It’s also commonly called lablab bug and globular stink bug. Like its distant cousin the stink bug, when threatened, it releases a chemical that stinks.

Suiter and CAES diagnostician Lisa Ames first saw the pest when samples were sent to them in mid-October from UGA Cooperative Extension agents and pest control professionals in Barrow, Gwinnett and Jackson counties. Samples have since arrived from Clarke, Hall, Greene, Oconee and Walton counties.

Homeowners first reported the pest after finding large groups of the bugs lighting on their homes.

“At one home in Hoschton, Ga., we found the bugs all over the side of a lady’s house,” Suiter said. “There is a kudzu patch behind her home that provides food, and they were attracted to the light color of the siding. At this time of year, the insects are most active in the afternoon when it gets warm.”

In addition to homes, the bug is attracted to light-colored vehicles. [...]

Suiter says the pest’s populations are, for now, contained to northeast Georgia.

It’s an “invasive species feeding on an invasive species.”

Read the full story at link.

Photo courtesy Photo by Dan Suiter.


Predator Beetle To Battle Hemlock Pest

ScienceDaily (Nov. 13, 2009) — Hemlock woolly adelgids (HWA) -- aphidlike insects that have destroyed stands of hemlocks throughout the East Coast -- were first identified in hemlocks in the central Finger Lakes in summer 2008 and then in trees in Cornell Plantations' natural areas in early spring 2009.

Laricobius_nigrinus"To battle the hemlock-killing insects, a team of entomologists has released one of the adelgids' natural predators as a local case study. Specifically, researchers from Cornell, the U.S. Forest Service (USFS) and University of Massachusetts-Amherst released 900 Laricobius nigrinus beetles into a stand of adelgid-infested hemlocks on Cornell Plantations land near Lansing and at two other sites on Seneca Lake.

L. nigrinus beetles are native to the Pacific Northwest, where the black, 3-millimeter-long beetle keeps HWA in check by preying on them. As HWA spread through the Northeast, the insects flourished and decimated hemlocks, since no natural predators lived in the region. HWA avoid predators by growing in the winter. But L. nigrinus beetles have synchronous life cycles with the HWA, and they feed and grow during winter.

"It's important to reassure people, the release of this beetle is not haphazard," said Mark Whitmore, a Cornell forest entomologist in the Department of Natural Resources. "People have been studying L. nigrinus for a long time and have established that it will feed only on adelgids and successfully reproduce only on a diet of HWA."

The Lansing site was ideal for the case study, the researchers said, since the hemlocks there are only lightly infested with HWA, and there are many hemlocks to sustain a long-term study.

Volunteers trained to identify adelgids by Whitmore and Cornell Plantations staff discovered the Lansing site last spring. The site will be left untreated with pesticides for 10 years to study how well the L. nigrinus beetles become established, said Todd Bittner, director of natural areas.

If the experiment proves successful the researchers expect the population will take two to three years to build to levels where they can be readily detected.

Cornell natural areas staff will continue to survey Cornell Plantations, train volunteers and research strategies for stopping the spread of adelgids, Bittner said.

Read the story at link.

Photo of Laricobius nigrinus by Ashley Lamb, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University


Seaway official dispels 'myths'


WASHINGTON — Expansion of the St. Lawrence Seaway is never going to happen, but neither will the ban that some environmentalists seek for ocean-faring ships on the waterway, the system's U.S. administrator said.

St. Lawrence Seaway Development Corp. Administrator Collister Johnson sought an interview this week to dispel what he called "urban myths" perpetuated in the special election for the 23rd Congressional District, including Seaway expansion, winter navigation and the Seaway's approach to invasive species released by ocean vessels.

He dismissed as "absolutely absurd" the assertion that a proposal in Congress to create a power marketing agency on the Great Lakes — most likely the Seaway Corp. — could provide funds to expand locks and channels for bigger ships. And he described himself as "frosted" at Save the River, the Clayton environmental group, for suggesting as much in a recent newsletter to members.

The proposal, passed by the House this summer, is "not a devious federal plot to widen or deepen the Seaway. It's never going to happen," Mr. Johnson said.[...]

Mr. Johnson also sought to tamp down speculation that the Seaway Corp. supports winter shipping through the system, another practice that Save the River and other groups say would cause environmental damage and possibly interfere with hydroelectric production at the St. Lawrence-FDR Power Project because of disruption of the ice cover.

"Winter navigation will never happen," Mr. Johnson said.

Mr. Johnson also defended the Seaway's record on management of invasive species and said measures already in place — dumping of ballast water outside the system, saltwater flushing of ballast tanks to kill organisms, and inspections of ballast tanks at Montreal — are working well.

Since 2006, he said, no new species have been introduced to the system by ships, the longest such period since the 1960s.

He said the Seaway Corp. supports additional controls sought by the U.S. Coast Guard, ballast treatment systems on ships and saltwater flushing.

"That is effective and realistic and keeps stuff out," Mr. Johnson said.

On the other hand, the National Academies of Science has questioned whether exchanging ballast and flushing ballast tanks with salt water is enough to kill all potential aquatic invaders. While the method is highly effective at reducing their numbers, the National Academies reported last year, most ships were not designed for that purpose and tanks may have "dead zones" that are not fully washed out.

Read the full story at link.


Asian longhorn beetle

By Staff reports
GateHouse News Service

Weymouth, MA —

This article is written by a Weymouth resident, Neil Russo

Mom & Pop: sighting of Asian longhorn in South Weymouth false alarm.

Mom: Well, I must say that a cup of Earl Grey and an éclair hits the spot. Eb should have his own program on TV - his expertise in baking is phenomenal. I'm putting the last two back into the fridge. We can have them after supper. More Earl Grey… certainly, but no more éclairs - you've had two; you know… I worry about your health, and no amount of sweet-talking will make me give you another éclair.

Besides, I know you were as surprised as I was when we got our copy of the Smithsonian magazine and spotted the article about the Asian longhorned beetle. Thank heavens that the sighting of what was thought to be an Asian longhorn in South Weymouth turned out to be a false alarm. It was wonderful though that the concerned mother called about a possible sighting. That's how most invasives are first found, by alert citizens.

In the article by Peter Alsop, 'Invasion of the Longhorns', in the November issue, that's how the longhorn was first spotted in Worcester, MA. Alert citizen, Donna Massie, first noticed one on her car, and then two days later while hosting guests at a barbeque noticed a large number of beetles, including one covered with sawdust at the bottom of a maple tree, its head submerged in a dime-sized hole on the tree trunk.

The following day, Donna searched the Internet and began leaving messages with various agricultural sites. Eventually Patty Douglas, who works for the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) as plant health director for Conn., Ma., and Rhode Island, was contacted and Donna sent her a photo taken with her cell phone.

Within twenty-four hours, Patty Douglas and invasive species ecologist Jennifer Forman Orth were in Massie's backyard, staring at the trees. Their greatest fears were realized - the longhorns had invaded Worcester!

Pop: The Asian Longhorn had originally occupied a small niche in the forests of China, Korea, and Japan… and not considered a serious pest. Unfortunately, as the Chinese government began to plant enormous windbreaks of millions of trees in its northern provinces to cut down erosion, they planted mostly poplar trees which grow quickly and tolerate the arid, cold climate of northern China. [...]

Read the full story at link.


Arlington County (VA) teaming With AmeriCorps on invasive-plant removal

Arlington government officials hope a new partnership with AmeriCorps will put a dent in the county’s growing problem of non-native, invasive plants.

County Board members have approved receipt of a $62,823 state grant to help fund the work of six part-time workers - all recent high school graduates - who will be tasked with removing invasive plants from the Four Mile Run watershed and restoring a more natural habitat in the area.

The grant funding will be augmented by $27,590 in county funds to pay for a combined 10,000 hours of work from the six AmeriCorps program participants. Each of the students will receive $11,400 in the coming year for 1,700 hours of work.

Currently, there are 156 AmeriCorps members serving across Virginia.

Read the story at link.


Candlewood Lake (CT) drawdown to be shallow this year

By Robert Miller, Staff Writer

The ribbon of mud flats around Candlewood Lake, CT will be only half as wide this winter as last winter, as the lake will have a shallow, rather than a deep, drawdown this year.

"It will be in the 5-foot range,'' Larry Marsicano, executive director of the Candlewood Lake Authority, said Monday.

The owners of the lake, FirstLight Power Resources, drop the lake level every year, letting it stay down through the winter before bringing back to its summer operating level of 427 feet above sea level.

As in the past, when Northeast Utilities and its subsidiaries owned the lake, the strategy has been to alternate deep and shallow drawdowns.

Marsicano said despite the deep drawdown's success last year in killing the noxious Eurasian watermilfoil, an non-native invasive species that some years totally clogs the lake, FirstLight will stick to that pattern and not hold a deep drawdown two years in a row.

"It's consistent with what we've done in the past,'' he said.

The drawdowns expose the long strands of watermilfoil to freezing winter temperatures and cold winds. With luck, it kills them, leaving the lake's shallows watermilfoil free. That happened this year.

But as Marsicano has pointed out in the past, some drawdowns work better than others. If there's a lot of snow and ice early in winter, they may act as a protective blanket, allowing the plants to survive until spring. If it's a mild winter, the plants may not be killed off.

Marsicano has said, no one has ever studied whether repeated deep drawdowns may damage the lake's flora and fauna. Until that's known, he said, the safer path is to alternate deep and shallow drawdowns. [...]

Read the full story at link.


Air potato taking the wind out of local ecology in Florida

For Highlands Today

air_potatoSEBRING - The air potato, an invasive exotic plant, is attacking Highlands County's native plants and animals, and a few local super heroes are needed to fight it off.

Highlands County resident Clara Wyatt said that her mother has it growing on her backyard fence.

At first she liked the way it looked and didn't mind having it around, but now it has just become a nuisance.

"I mow her grass, and I will pull them up. You pull them up, and they come right back," she said.

Like Wyatt, county residents may have seen this vine that produces little warty potato-like tubers, not knowing what it is.

But those who know about it better be warned, said Corine Burgess, natural resource specialist at the Highlands Soil and Water Conservation District.

The air potato has become a serious threat to the county's native species, she said.

"It is an invasive exotic plant that is growing out of control pretty much everywhere you look," Burgess added.

"Unless someone puts a stop to it, it will take over every piece of vegetation in its path. It is like a blanket. The plants underneath it can only survive so long without sunlight."

Burgess wants to start a neighborhood group with residents in the county to fight invasive species, with emphasis on the air potato.

The group will map out areas in the neighborhood with air potato plants and report them.

Burgess will get permission for volunteers to pull up the vines and pick up the air potatoes.

"All it will really cost you is some of your time and labor," she added.

The air potato has no natural enemies, and nothing can eat it.

This poses a threat to animals because it is killing off the plants they eat, Burgess said.

"It is a food-chain thing," Burgess said. "If there is nothing at the bottom of the food chain, everything will eventually be affected."

According to the University of Florida Center for Aquatic and Invasive Plants' Web site, the plants are very toxic and should not be consumed.

They can grow up to roughly 8 inches a day.

Many Florida counties are recruiting volunteers to help protect and conserve Florida's natural areas through the removal of air potato.

During the air potato roundup, citizens, organizations and local businesses get together to collect vines and bulbils.

"I think the air potato roundup is an excellent idea and provides a nice tool for a teaching people about invasive species in general," said Bill Overholt, chairman of the air potato task force at the Indian River Research and Education Center in Fort Pierce, a branch of the University of Florida.

The air potato task force put together and repaired a management plan, which can be accessed on the Florida Exotic Pest Plant Council Web site under Invasive Species Management Plans.

It has background and biological information on the plant, answers questions about where it grows, where it came from, what it looks like and how to manage it.

"We hope to have a biological control another year down the road," Overholt added.

The Highlands Soil and Water Conservation District will have the third of four free workshops on Florida's invasive and exotic plants and animals from 1-3 p.m. Friday, Nov. 20 at the Bert J. Harris Jr. Agriculture Center. The last workshop will be Dec. 18 at 1 p.m.

The workshops are leading up to air potato exchange day on Jan. 9.

Every person who brings in one bag or more of air potatoes will receive one free native plant.

Those who have questions about the workshops or are interested in starting or joining a neighborhood group to fight invasive exotic species should e-mail cburgess[at]


Invasive plant management tutorials

Here is a link to PA's invasive plant management tutorials for land managers. There's a lot of good information here.


Monday, November 9, 2009

Week of November 9, 2009

Invasive plant species threatens shore plants, animals, dunes

Gannett New Jersey
November 10, 2009

An invasive foreign plant is rapidly making inroads in New Jersey's critical dune systems, and Louise Wootton wants to stop it in its tracks.

Asiatic sand sedge (Carex kobomugi) — a "scruffy little plant" — threatens to take over the habitat of endangered and threatened species, such as the piping plover, according to Wootton, a biology professor at Georgian Court University in Lakewood.

The sedge also can result in lower dunes, lessening their ability to protect communities from flooding, Wootton said.

"It changes the ecosystem completely," she said.

The Brick resident has enlisted about 25 students from Georgian Court, Marine Academy of Science and Technology on Sandy Hook and Brookdale Community College in Middletown to help study the sedge, map its extent and study ways to get rid of it.

She wants government permission to begin eradicating the invader, which is rapidly making inroads on Sandy Hook, at Island Beach State Park and in some other beach areas.

The plant has no known predators or diseases here, she said.

"Delay is expensive," she said. "It's ecologically expensive and it's economically expensive, and that's a message we want to get out to the townships, too, because they are really good stewards of their dunes."

Wootton, who has studied invasive species for 12 years, is not alone in asking for the green light to fight Asiatic sand sedge. The yellow-green plant was first spotted in the United States in Island Beach State Park in 1929 but has mushroomed in recent years, according to Wootton.

The Asiatic sand sedge has out-competed, or is threatening to out-compete, native plants in areas where endangered and threatened species live or may live, according to a recent U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service letter to the state Department of Environmental Protection.

Such species include the piping plover, an endangered beach-nesting bird.

Meanwhile, the large-headed sedge, another invasive plant, has also been found in New Jersey, according to the Fish and Wildlife Service.

The federal agency wants the DEP, at a minimum, to allow the removal of invasive plants in threatened and endangered species habitat through herbicide spraying, hand-pulling or other methods.

DEP spokeswoman Elaine Makatura had no comment on the letter.

"Aggressive invasive"

The Asiatic sand sedge is a perennial plant with deep roots that grows on coastal dunes and the upper areas of beaches, according to the Fish and Wildlife Service letter.

It forms a dense mat and drives out native plants, such as American beach grass and beach panic grass. It also invades the habitat of the piping plover, the threatened sea beach amaranth plant and other species.

The plant is "invading sites in New Jersey at a rapid rate," the Fish and Wildlife Service says. It occupies more than 90 acres in Island Beach State Park and on Sandy Hook.

Asiatic sand sedge populations also have been found in Sea Bright, Monmouth Beach, Long Branch, Manasquan, Harvey Cedars, Long Beach Township, Edwin B. Forsythe National Wildlife Refuge and other locations.

"It's a very aggressive invasive," Wootton said. "It's one of the top 25 most unwanted species in New Jersey."

Digging and pulling out sedge plants by hand has been successful in controlling small infestations, according to the Alien Plant Working Group. But that method may not be feasible for larger efforts.

Wootton said the plant's roots are 3 to 4 feet deep, and hand-pulling is very labor-intensive and does not eliminate it.

Herbicides such as Rodeo kill the sedge down to its roots and are much more effective, she said.

"The damage that's done by the sedge is so much greater than responsible use of . . . Rodeo," she said. "We find that we're able to use very, very low amounts because we're using it with a backpack applicator, which allows us to be very specific in the application."

The National Park Service is looking into whether there are better alternatives than Rodeo, she said.

Science lesson

Alex Kloo of Manasquan, a 16-year-old junior at M.A.S.T., is performing tests to find the lowest effective level of Plateau, another herbicide, to kill Asiatic sand sedge with the least environmental damage. The park service does the spraying at Sandy Hook, he said.

Kloo got involved in the project because "it's so close to home for us," and he thought it would be "a great chance to make a big difference in the fight against" the plant.

"I love the beach," he said. The environment is "such a huge problem now" and environmentalism "should be a top priority and in a lot of people, it's just pushed to the wayside."

Read the article at link.

Photo by PCA Alien Plant Working Group.


New Jersey lags on plan for combating invasive species

STAFF WRITER, Asbury Park Press
November 9, 2009

New Jersey is more than four years behind schedule in finishing a plan to combat invasive plants, animals and other organisms that threaten our environment.

But the plan should be ready within a few weeks or so, said John S. Watson Jr., deputy commissioner of the state Department of Environmental Protection.

"We believe (invasive species are) a problem that needs our attention,'' Watson said. "We do see significant forested areas that are impacted and we do need to make sure that we pay attention to it."

Some areas are "probably too far gone, but then we're going to be focusing on areas where we can really have an impact in eradicating those species,'' he said.

More than five years ago, then-Gov. James E. McGreevey signed an executive order creating a New Jersey Invasive Species Council. The council was charged with submitting a New Jersey Invasive Species Management Plan to the governor by June 2005.

The idea was to come up with measures to "combat these dangerous invaders and protect the state's biological diversity," according to a 2004 statement. [...]

Watson said the invasive species plan will list species believed to be most invasive.

It will recommend that retailers and landscape growers "reduce the availability of those species,'' he said.

Asked why the plan has taken this long to complete, he said "the short answer is there was a lot more work than was anticipated in getting the report done and our job was to get the report done right," not rapidly.

Read the article a link.


“Invasive Species: Change and Dollars” Conference

A broad coalition of agencies and organizations will host a lively, high-profile summit on Jan. 10-14, 2010 in Washington, DC, to:

Call attention to invasive species issues – targeting Congress and Federal agencies
  • Generate action – empowering new policies and adequate funding
  • Build a national grassroots network – working together to limit the impacts of invasive species

Titled “Invasive Species: Change and Dollars,” the conference will be organized thematically and in the context of securing adequate resources to address invasive species in a time of global change. The three inter-related themes are:

  • Climate Change
  • Energy (including biofuels)
  • The “Green” Economy
Organizers: The event is organized by a national, bi-partisan coalition of groups representing private citizens, local and state natural resource and agriculture agencies, academia, professional scientific societies, environmental organizations, and businesses such as nurseries and the pet industry that are affected by non-native, invasive species.

Attendees: Notable spokespersons, Federal agency and Congressional leadership, and leading experts in climate change, energy, and the “green economy” will be invited to present information, recommendations, and responses. It is expected that several hundred people from across the U.S. will attend this inaugural event. Broad media coverage will be arranged.

Invasive species (harmful non-native species) are one of the most significant drivers of global change. Consequently, they can have substantial impacts on the economy, infrastructure, and human health. Thus far, funding, legal authorities, and personnel have been inadequate to address the problem. For the U.S. “green agenda” to be successful, the government must address invasive species as a priority.

Visit the North American Weed Management Association website for more information.


Coast Guard wants to toughen ballast water controls

Standards could be 1,000 times more strict by 2016

By Rona Kobell
Chesapeake Bay Journal

More than 20 years after the first zebra mussels hitched a ride into the Great Lakes, the United States still doesn't have a requirement to treat ballast water coming into the nation's ports from ships.

Officials with the U.S. Coast Guard are thinking about changing that. The agency has proposed a rule that would require ship owners to install treatment systems to reduce the number of organisms released into the water.

The current proposal calls for an initial phase that would match the International Maritime Organization standard, which has been in place since 2004, limiting the number of organisms allowed in the ballast tanks to 10 per cubic meter. But, beginning in 2012, the Coast Guard is calling for the phase-in of a new standard that would be 1,000 times stricter, allowing for only one organism per 100 cubic meters of water for all ships.

Both environmentalists and shipping companies welcome some form of standard, although they don't agree on how strict it should be, said Cmdr. Gary Croot, chief of the U.S. Coast Guard's environmental standards division. Environmentalists and regulators want the stricter standard to be implemented right away, while shipping companies would like more time.

Dealing with ballast water has been a murky issue since 1972, when it was initially regulated, then exempted, by the Clean Water Act.

Ocean-going cargo ships typically draw in water while in ports to stabilize their vessels at sea, then let out the water when they arrive at their destination. During the long journey, many of the organisms living in the ballast tank die. But hardy invaders live on, and they bring reproducing populations into new bodies of water that can devastate native species. [...]

Scientists at the Smithsonian Environmental Research Center in Edgewater, MD, have identified more than 170 nonnative species that have established self-sustaining populations in the Bay, many of which are believed to have arrived in ballast water. Because of such concerns, a Bay Program task force in 2001 issued a report that called for federal action to regulate ballast water. [...]


Deer culling operation in Connecticut

By Robert Miller
Staff Writer,
Updated: 11/07/2009 01:16:10 AM EST

RIDGEFIELD, CT -- The plot of open space is tucked between big new homes. The neatly trimmed fairways of Ridgefield Golf Course lie nearby.

But in the early hours of the morning, and again as the afternoon turns to dusk, a hunter sits in a deer stand high above the ground, compound bow and arrows at the ready.

When deer cross the open space -- lured by corn used as bait-- it's fair game.

The spot is one of 11 that hunters have chosen in the town-sanctioned effort to knock down Ridgefield's white-tailed deer herd by at least two-thirds -- from levels of about 60 deer per square mile to no more than 20 deer per square mile.

It's a take-no-prisoners operation.

"This isn't a hunt,'' said Stefano Zandri, the hunt master. "It's a deer culling operation.''

That is, it's an organized attempt to kill as many deer as possible using a dedicated core of hunters and feed as a lure to bring deer within range of the hunters' arrows.

And judged by that criteria, it's a success.

More deer were killed by bow hunters in Ridgefield than in any other town in the state in 2008. In 2009, it's in the lead again, with Redding second and Newtown third. No other towns in the state come close.

But at least one group of neighbors -- while not opposed to hunting deer per se -- find this year's move to expand the hunt to the Lynch Brook Lane subdivision much too close for comfort. They have asked the Board of Selectmen to suspend the hunt in their neighborhood until they have a chance to make their case in public.

"My daughter's swing set is 6 feet away from where they are hunting,'' said Madalyn Dyott, one of the Lynch Brook neighbors who oppose the hunt on the 18 acres of land that borders their homes. "I'm at a loss to understand this. It cannot be what was intended.''

In response, Tom Belote, chairman of the town's Deer Committee, said the Lynch Brook Lane neighbors are exceptions in their objection to the hunt, which is entering its third year, expanding from one site to 11 in the those years. Once people understand what the hunt is about, he said, they want it to happen.

"We haven't had any incidents or accidents and we haven't lost any deer,'' he said.

Ridgefield isn't alone in trying to sort out these issues.

Throughout the region, the same thing is happening in Brookfield, in Redding, in Wilton and at the Devil's Den Nature Preserve in Weston.

Newtown is considering establishing its own hunt.

The premise is simple. There far too many deer in the landscape and no predators to keep the herd in check.

That throws the environment out of whack -- the deer damage the forest ecosystem through over-browsing and play a major part in the spread of Lyme disease, hunting proponents say. When drivers hit them on the roads, it can total the car as well as the deer.

And because humans largely created this imbalance, they say, they have a responsibility to do something to reverse it.

"People talk about being good stewards of land, as it's humans over here and nature over there,'' said Patricia Sesto, co-chairman of the Fairfield County Municipal Deer management Alliance. "But humans are part of the environment.''

"The overpopulation is so severe that it will take an intense and ongoing culling,'' Belote said.

There are people who oppose hunting on principal. For them, the expansion of the hunt within individual towns, and to new towns -- is disheartening.

"It's very disturbing,'' said Priscilla Feral, president of Friends of Animals. "It makes me incensed.''

For Feral, such "deer culling operations'' are nothing more than an effort by the state Department of Environmental Protection to make money by peddling hunting licenses.

That's because all the deer hunt will do, is create better, less grazed habitat, Feral said. That means the deer that do survive will have more offspring, and quickly repopulate the area.

"I think it's a knee-jerk sign,'' said Laura Simon, field director of the urban wildlife program of the Humane Society of the United States. "People think doing something is better than doing nothing.''

But Simon said these hunts won't really change the imbalance of nature that now exists -- especially in the reduction of Lyme disease.

"It's really deceiving people,'' she said, pointing out that other animals -- especially white-footed mice -- play as large a part in the life cycle of the ticks that spread Lyme disease.

The reason for opening even relatively small parcels of town-owned open space up to deer hunts is simple: that's where the deer may be hanging out. If towns really want to make a serious reduction in the size of the herd, said Michael Gregonis, a wildlife biologist with the state Department of Environmental Protection, they have to be willing to let hunters on that land. Where towns have allowed intensive hunts, deer numbers are going down, he said.

That's the key,'' he said. "Hunters have to have access.''

In Ridgefield, there have been few complaints prior to those registered by the residents of Lynch Brook Lane. But when the Board of Selectmen voted in September to expand the hunt from 7 sites to 11 -- including Lynch Brook Lane -- she became so angry she contemplated quitting her post.

Manner said she opposes hunting in general. But she said the Lynch Brook Lane neighborhood is so residential that it makes no sense to have hunters -- even bow hunters shooting down from stands -- use the land.

"This isn't winter,'' she said. "It's fall, people are out walking.''

One of the objecting neighbors, Suzie Scanlon, said no one in the neighborhood knew that the selectmen had opened the space to hunting until they read about it in the newspapers.

"I think we should have received notice and had a chance to express our safety concerns.''

"My daughter is in pre-school,'' said her neighbor, Rajal Young. "The open space is in our backyard. I just don't think it makes sense here.''

In response, Belote said the Deer Committee has agreed to limit the hunt to the half of the Lynch Brook open space area that's a less trafficked wetland. Since that's the portion of the open space that butts up against Madalyn Dyott's land, that change probably won't mollify the neighbors.

And the basic issue -- how to control an out-of-control deer herd in a suburban town -- remains.

"A lot of people think 'Hunting is great,'" Stefano Zandri said. "'Just not in my backyard.'"

Read the story at link.


Essex County (NJ) executive gains unanimous support for proposed 2010 deer management program

By Office of the Essex County Executive

Essex County (New Jersey) Executive Joseph N. DiVincenzo, Jr. announced that the six municipalities where the Essex County Deer Management Program will be conducted have approved resolutions supporting the 2010 program. [...]

"Culling deer from our reservations is a very controversial and emotional issue and we thank the governing bodies from the six municipalities for allowing us the opportunity to explain our program and for providing their support. The local elected officials understand continuing our Deer Management Program is essential to protect our open space and prevent our reservations and forests from being destroyed by deer overbrowsing," DiVincenzo said. [...]

Read the full story at link.


New Brochure: "Alternatives to Ornamental Invasive Plants: A sustainable solution for Long Island horticulture"

Long Island, New York is one of many locations throughout the U.S. that has taken progressive steps towards improving the environment by reducing the spread of invasive plants. Invasive plants have damaged Long Island’s unique woodlands by replacing native flora, and in turn, negatively impacting wildlife and natural ecosystem processes. Invasive species are among the top causes of biodiversity loss across the globe.

You can be part of the solution, by growing and planting alternatives to ornamental invasive plants! These plants were selected based upon their similar ornamental characteristics and cultural requirements compared to the invasives.

Alternative plants may be native or non-native, but are not invasive. Alternative plants are well adapted to Long Island, and many are readily available at Long Island nurseries. You can help make the future of Long Island greener by growing these “native-friendly” plants!

A new brochure entitled "Alternatives to Ornamental Invasive Plants" was recently developed by Cornell Cooperative Extension of Suffolk County. Download a pdf copy of the brochure at link.

There is an additional brochure entitled "Invasive Plants: Frequently Asked Questions for Long Island’s Horticulture Professionals" that is available for download at link.

For more information, visit:


New woodland invasive species subject of Elmira, NY talk

Learn about the history and diversity of invasive species and how the Asian Longhorned Beetle and Emerald Ash Borer will affect the area in the years to come at a presentation next month.

Cornell Cooperative Extension of Chemung County, New York will present a talk on New Invasive Species at 5:30 p.m. Dec. 3 in Conference Room 110 of the Human Resource Building, 425 Pennsylvania Ave. in Elmira.

This event is free and open to the public. RSVP by calling (607) 734-4453.


Forest program on biological control of invasive plants set by Rutgers Extension

By Terry Wright
Somerset Reporter
November 10, 2009

A forest management/stewardship program called “Biological Control of Invasive Species in New Jersey” will be held Thursday, Nov. 19 at 7 p.m. in the Rutgers Cooperative Extension Office of Hunterdon County, 6 Gauntt Place (off Route 31), Raritan Township.

It’s designed for woodlot owners and anyone with an interest in forestry and/or wildlife management.

Dr. Mark Vodak, forestry extension specialist, Rutgers Cooperative Extension, and Mark Mayer, supervising entomologist, N.J. Department of Agriculture will speak. Topics to be discussed include a brief overview of the mission of the Phillip Alampi Beneficial Insect Laboratory; biological controls for hemlock woolly adelgid, mile-a-minute weed, purple loose-strife, and gypsy moth; and current and future biological control projects.

Why these particular species are of concern, how to identify them, the management or control practices developed by the Lab, and the success of these practices will be the focus.

There will be ample opportunity for questions and discussion.

Pre-registration is required. To do so, or if you have any questions, call Rutgers Cooperative Extension Office of Hunterdon at 908-788-1339. Registration deadline is Wednesday, Nov. 18.



Monday, November 2, 2009

Week of November 2, 2009

Updated November 6. The latest news is at the bottom of the post.

More than $1 Million for projects to improve the health of Long Island Sound

Funds awarded to control perennial pepperweed

pepperweed(Waterford, Conn. – Oct. 29, 2009) – Gathering together on the shores of Long Island Sound, top federal and state environmental officials announced 33 grants to state and local government and community groups under the Long Island Sound Futures Fund. The $1,011,878 will be leveraged by $1.92 million contributed by the recipients, providing a total of nearly $2.94 million for on-the-ground conservation in Connecticut and New York. [...]

This year’s grant program funded 21 large grants (grants greater than $10,000) totaling $943,755. Five grants were awarded for water quality; four for habitat restoration; one for watershed planning; one for invasive species control; seven for education; and three for stewardship projects. [...]

The grants include $38,538 to control perennial pepperweed (Lepidium latifolium) at West Meadow Beach, Town of Brookhaven, New York. EEA Inc. assisted the Town of Brookhaven with their grant application and perennial pepperweed control plan.

EEA scientists discover perennial pepperweed in 2006

EEA scientist Denise Harrington discovered New York State's only known infestation of perennial pepperweed at West Meadow Beach in 2006. Numerous plants were found occupying the upper edge of the salt shrub zone, immediately landward of marsh elder. This year, Kathy Schwager of The Nature Conservancy and EEA scientist Bill Jacobs returned to the site to map the plant's current extent. The infestation appears to be spreading.

Perennial pepperweed poses a serious threat to native maritime ecosystems by creating large, dense, monospecific stands that displace native plants. Infestations at West Meadow Beach are scattered, covering a total area of approximately one acre in size.


Photo by PCA Alien Plant Working Group


Invasives still a major concern in Great Lakes

By Chuck Quirmbach, Wisconsin Public Radio

zebra_musselsMILWAUKEE (WPR) Even with new clean-up money on the way, scientists continue to worry about invasive species in the Great Lakes.

Congress has agreed to spend $475-million on a Great Lakes restoration plan over the next year. But some worry the money won't be as effective as it could be without tougher federal controls on ballast water discharges from ships in the Great Lakes. Contaminated ballast is believed to be a key source of invasive species in the waters.

This week, an Obama administration panel held a hearing to look at new policies for the Great Lakes and the Pacific and Atlantic oceans. University of Notre Dame biologist David Lodge described some of harm invasives are causing for great lakes whitefish, who have become increasingly skinny and not as valuable to commercial fisheries.

The federal task force is supposed to make specific policy recommendations within a few months. Those could influence how some of the new money is spent.

Information from Wisconsin Public Radio,

Read the story at link.


Help the Great Lakes

President's boost in budget proposal should be backed fully by Congress

The Buffalo News: Opinion

Having a Chicago politician as president of the United States — and another as his chief of staff — has some scary implications that should never be completely ignored.

But one good thing about a White House with connections on The Loop is that there is likely to be a healthy amount of concern for the Great Lakes.

That concern was reflected in President Obama's budget proposal, which included a helpful $475 million for projects to clean up the five lakes that provide drinking water, transportation routes, recreational opportunities and so much other support for the economic and environmental spheres that include Buffalo.

The lakes and their tributaries are so large, and so seldom catch fire any more, that the problems can be hard for non-experts to see. But problems there are — as well as opportunities.

The lakes are polluted, and becoming more so every day. Invasive species, brought in by ocean-going vessels that are key to the regional economy, are becoming an ever-greater problem. Bordering wetlands are also polluted and gummed up in many ways. That's no way to treat the source of one-fifth of the planet's surface fresh water supply, water source for 35 million people, and the reason why cities from Rochester to Toronto to Detroit to Chicago to Milwaukee were founded in the first place.

The president's budget proposals will go a long way to address all those problems. They will help municipal sewage treatment facilities and other sources of pollution clean up their acts, restore damaged wildlife habitats and restore more of the lakes' bays, coves and shores to the kind of ecosystem that can sustain wildlife and human habitation.

And, in the bargain, the money will provide productive employment for many people at a time when such opportunities are in short supply.

In the long process of reviewing the budget, the Senate went along with Obama's full $475 million request. The House cut it to $400 million. The difference will be resolved on conference committee and then voted on again by both bodies.

The lesser amount would be an improvement over past years' funding. But the whole request would do a lot more, for projects that have been too long delayed already, employing people who will have something very great indeed to show for their work. Congressional delegations from the Great Lakes state should take note — and get to work.

Read the article at link.


President signs legislation to benefit Great Lakes

By Ducks Unlimited

ANN ARBOR, Mich. – November 2, 2009 –President Obama signed historic legislation aimed at the restoring the Great Lakes, Friday, after the House and Senate approved the measure. According to Ducks Unlimited, the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative will provide $475 million for a comprehensive program to restore and protect the Great Lakes. Ducks Unlimited stands ready to turn this financial commitment into cleaner water and better habitat for waterfowl, wildlife and citizens of the Great Lakes and beyond.

“Congress and the President have delivered on their promise to help protect and restore one of our national treasures,’ said Robert D. Hoffman, Director of Ducks Unlimited’s Great Lakes/Atlantic Region. “We are grateful to all of the Great Lakes partners and Congressional and Administration champions for making this funding a reality.”

The Great Lakes Restoration Initiative (GLRI) was proposed by the President to address the most serious issues that face the Great Lakes. Loss of habitat, invasive species, nonpoint source pollution, and toxic sediments threaten the health and economic well being of residents and damages the United States largest fresh water resource. Program administrators have a valuable document in the Great Lakes Regional Collaboration Strategy, a blueprint developed by more than 1,500 people representing governmental, industry, and nonprofit groups to set priorities and identify needs, which will receive funding for its most pressing programs.

Read the full story at link.


Lake weeds the top topic at two Natick, MA meetings this week

By Charlie Breitrose/Daily News staff
The MetroWest Daily News
Posted Nov 02, 2009

NATICK, MA — The Board of Selectmen and the Conservation Commission this week will each discuss the ongoing negotiations about using herbicide to control weeds in Lake Cochituate, Massachusetts.

Selectmen tonight will hear from Carole Berkowitz, spokeswoman for Protect Our Water Resources. POWR opposes a plan by the Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR) to use chemicals to fight milfoil, a non-native weed infesting parts of the lake. The meeting begins at 7 p.m. in Town Hall.

POWR and the Natick Conservation Commission have both appealed a state Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) decision allowing the DCR to use herbicide. In the decision, DEP officials stripped many conditions set by the Conservation Commission when it agreed to let the DCR use the herbicide diquat on five acres of the lake near the public beach and boat ramp.

The conditions removed from the commission's ruling included: monitoring the amount of the chemical in the lake water; posting warnings of the chemical use; and requiring the DCR to run a pilot project to study how well a diver-assisted suction harvester (DASH) boat removes the weeds.

A hearing is scheduled for Dec. 15, and Berkowitz said witness statements and reports for the hearing will soon be available.

Natick Conservation Agent Bob Bois said there is still a chance the hearing will not be needed. He and other town officials recently met with representatives from DCR to try to come to an agreement.

"There was a good discussion. We looked for common interests and we agreed to meet again," he said. "Our hope is we can reach a settlement between DCR and the Conservation Commission, which includes restoring the original order of conditions."

The lake weeds will also be the topic of discussion at the Conservation Commission's Wednesday night meeting, Bois said. Officials from the DCR will give an annual report on Lake Cochituate starting at 7:15 p.m. in Town Hall.

Bois said he hopes they will tell the commission about how well a DASH boat fared in a test run on Lake Cochituate during the spring.

"We're hoping it's one of the things DCR will talk about - the effectiveness of the DASH boat used in April," he said. "It would be nice to share that information with the board."

Berkowitz said POWR want to use a DASH boat to control the milfoil in the lake. She said she had a professional diver, who may be interested in bidding to run the DASH boat, come out to look at the lake last week.

The DCR used the boat to clear a channel in Snake Brook Cove, which lies between North and Middle ponds.

"The diver looked at it and it's good," Berkowitz said. "It was clean (of weeds). He was very impressed."

Other items likely to be covered by DCR officials are the harvesting of water chestnut plants in Fiske Pond, and the management of milfoil in Lake Cochituate's South and Middle ponds, Bois said.

Read the story at link.


New funding for milfoil in Maine

DASHSTANDISH, Maine (AP) — The Maine Milfoil Consortium, a group that addresses the threat of invasive aquatic plants in the state's lakes, has been awarded $500,000 in federal funds.

The money will be used to mitigate and control invasive milfoil in seven "test bed" lakes, which pose a high risk of spread to other waters.

The mission of the consortium is to address the milfoil infestation threat through a program of prevention, research, management, mitigation, and eradication through the application of "best practices."

The consortium says 26 Maine lakes are infested with variable-leaf milfoil, which disturbs the ecology of lakes vital to recreational boaters, homeowners and businesses.

Photo: Little Sebago Lake Association's modified pontoon boat sucks up and filters the plant fragments gathered by divers.


Connecticut targets invasive plants

HARTFORD, Conn. - Connecticut authorities are hoping that new projects in four towns will help stop the spread of fast-growing invasive plants.

The state Department of Environmental Protection says the invasive plants threaten other plants and animals in the native ecosystems.

The biggest project is a $78,000 effort to fight the aggressive fanwort plant in the Bantam River system in Litchfield and Morris. If it's left to grow, it could harm Bantam Lake, which is Connecticut's largest natural lake.

Smaller projects are targeting the fast-growing "mile-a-minute" vine in New Milford and Newtown, and water chestnut plants that took hold in a Hartford flood control pond after getting into the Connecticut River.

Read the story at link.


Mountains as Model Systems for Understanding Drivers of Plant Invasion

For more info contact directly:

Claudia Drexler, Communication Manager
Greg Greenwood, Executive Director
The Mountain Research Initiative
c/o Institute of Geography,
University of Berne
Erlachstrasse 9a Trakt 3
3012 Bern



Invasive plant removal volunteer event in New Jersey

November 7, 2009 - November 7, 2009
9 am - noon
Free, Pre-Registration Requested


Non-native, invasive plants pose enormous threats to native plant communities and the associated wildlife communities. Come lend a hand in helping to remove these intruders from the Richard J. Sullivan Natural Area near the Interpretive Center. Gloves, tools and snacks will be provided. This event is co-sponsored by the Friends of Liberty State Park and Bayonne Nature Club


JOB OPENING: Executive Director, National Invasive Species Council in WASHINGTON, DC

Open Period:
Friday, October 30, 2009 to Friday, November 06, 2009

If selected for this positon you will serve as a key contact and coordinator for the NISC, representing the perspectives of its member departments and agencies, and ensuring the Council’s effectiveness in meeting the duties of the Executive Order 13122. If selected you wll have full responsibility for coordination the development of the Invasive Species Management Plan, updating the plan biennially, reporting on success in achieving the goals for the plan to the Office of Management and Budget and assisting the NISC in performing the duties outlined in Executive Order 13112. Works on policy aspect of invasive species to support the NISC activities across a variety of disciplines and agencies.



Invasive Beetle Found in Juniata County, Pennsylvania

ABC27 News

EABHarrisburg, Pa. - A tree-destroying insect first discovered in Pennsylvania two years ago has been found in Juniata County.

An infestation of Emerald Ash Borer beetles was discovered along Route 333 near the Mifflin County border, in Milford Township, according to the state Department of Agriculture (web | news) . The invasive beetle has been found in 10 other counties since first appearing in Pennsylvania in 2007.

The state has imposed a quarantine on the 11 counties where the beetle was found. The quarantine restricts the movement of ash nursery stock, green lumber and any other ash material, including logs, stumps, roots and branches, and all wood chips. Because ash is difficult to identify from other tree species, all hardwood firewood and wood chips - including oak, maple and hickory - are considered quarantined.

The Emerald Ash Borer has also been detected in Allegheny, Armstrong, Beaver, Butler, Indiana, Lawrence, Mercer, Mifflin, Washington and Westmoreland counties. [...]

n addition to Pennsylvania, the beetle is attacking ash trees in Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, New York, Ohio, Virginia, West Virginia and Wisconsin, and is responsible for the death and decline of more than 40 million trees.

There is no known practical control for the insect other than destroying infested trees.

Read the story at link.


Connecticut funds mile-a-minute vine fight

By Robert Miller
Staff Writer

Mile-a-minute vine, the kudzu of the North, may be less troublesome in 2010.

The [Connecticut] Department of Environmental Protection last week announced it will give New Milford $14,000 and Newtown $11,000 to fight the fast-growing and highly invasive weed.

"That's fantastic news,'' said Kathleen Nelson, who has led New Milford's fight against the vine and who had not expected the funding. "Now we have to come up with a new game plan.''

The state is paying for four invasive species projects with $115,000 from Supplemental Environmental Project payments made to DEP as part of the resolution of enforcement actions.

DEP fisheries biologist Peter Aarrestad said the DEP had to cancel some environmental grants to municipalities this year because of the state's budget crisis.

But the money received in enforcements, which the DEP can't use for its own staff or projects, was available for grants.

"We thought it was a good creative use of the money,'' Aarrestad said.

The state also gave a $78,000 grant to control fanwort -- an invasive aquatic plant -- in the Bantam River and Bantam Lake in Litchfield and a $6,000 grant to get ride of water chestnuts growing in a flood control pond in Hartford. [...]

Read the full story at link.


Lake Hickory, North Carolina, weed problem clearing up

By Dianne Whitacre Straley

Lake Hickory is having fewer problems with aquatic weeds and algae, according to state water quality studies.

An invasion of parrotfeather weed, which limited boating and threatened the supply of drinking water six years ago, is under control, a state water quality staff member says. And algae is no longer causing complaints of foul odors and bad-tasting water, said Kevin Greer, assistant public services director for the city of Hickory.

Greer credited better efforts at reducing the amount of runoff heading to Lake Hickory as an important step in reducing algae. Runoff may be carrying fewer nutrients, which feed algae growth, he said.

Erosion control in Catawba County and counties upstream from Lake Hickory has helped, said Greer, who reported recently to the Hickory City Council on the state studies.

The construction of more low-lying areas called rain gardens has slowed the rush of storm water, allowing it to soak into the ground rather than pour into the reservoir. Rain gardens, like one built behind Lowe's home improvement store in the Viewmont section of Hickory, are important in controlling runoff from large parking lots that cannot absorb rainwater.

Nutrient levels in Lake Hickory have not worsened, even through the area is becoming more developed with homes, where the fertilizers used on lawns end up in the lake. "I think people are getting smarter and are using less fertilizer," Greer said.

Lake Hickory has not had a problem with the invasive aquatic weed parrotfeather in two years, Greer said. The plant is a native of South America and is sold for use in ornamental fish ponds. No one is knows for sure how it got into the lake.

Duke Power biologists spotted a 2- to 3-acre growth of parrotfeather in Lake Hickory in 2001 and alerted the state. By 2003, the weed covered 125 acres.

The weed was so thick near the U.S. 321 bridge in 2003 that boaters could not reach the nearby marina. Hickory was concerned the acres of weeds would clog the pipe that carries water from Lake Hickory to the city's water treatment plant. Dense growth of parrotfeather can provide breeding grounds for mosquitoes and worsen water quality and fish habitat.

In 2004, 2006 and 2007, the city and the state shared the cost of spraying the herbicide Komeen, which has been successful in stopping parrotfeather, said Rob Emens, an environmental specialist in the weed program of the N.C. Division of Water Resources.

"It was amazing we could get it under control so quickly," Emens said.

Some weeds have washed downstream and rooted in Lookout Shoals Lake, where they have been largely controlled with sterile grass carp that were introduced by the state. The carp eat the weed.

Emens says there is a potential for parrotfeather to return to Lake Hickory. It and other weeds are spread by boaters, who could bring it from other lakes on their trailers or propellers. In an attempt to halt the spread, the state has posted signs at boat launching ramps urging boaters to throw away any "hitchhikers" - aquatic weeds.

Aquatic plants will quickly outgrow ornamental ponds, and owners should dispose of the extra in a compost pile or garbage can. Do not toss aquatic weeds into the lake, Emens said.

Read the story at link.


Invasive plants choking Griswold, Connecticut ponds

Norwich Bulletin

Griswold, Conn. — Studies of three major ponds in Griswold — Ashland, Hopeville and Glasgo/Doaneville — show they are infested with invasive aquatic plants that in some cases have clogged the area between shoreline and open water.

“Fanwort is particularly prevalent in all of the lakes, and it’s a particularly nasty plant because it grows very prolifically, especially in shallow water,” said George Knoecklein, who was contracted by the town to evaluate the three bodies of water along with Pachaug Pond. “By and large, most of the shallow coves are choked with this plant.” [...]

Read the story at link.


New York calls on U.S. Coast Guard to expedite action to stop invasive species

Stricter Standards for Ballast Water Discharge Can Curb Invasive Species Pathways

Looking to stop the rapid spread of invasive species, New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) Commissioner Pete Grannis today urged the U.S. Coast Guard (USCG) to expedite new restrictions on the ability of ships to discharge ballast water in America's waters.

"The establishment of a strong, environmentally protective, national ballast water discharge standard is a critical and necessary component of the nation's invasive species programs," said Grannis.

One of the principal ways that aquatic invasive species move around the globe is by figuratively hitchhiking in the ballast tanks of ships. Most of the 180 known species that have invaded the Great Lakes arrived via ballast water from international shipping. Some of the well-known species include zebra and quagga mussels, round gobies, spiny and fishhook waterfleas, and bloody red shrimp.

The USCG is currently accepting public comments on draft regulations on the treatment standards for ballast water used by ships ("Standards for Living Organisms in Ship's Ballast Water Discharged into U.S. Waters") through Dec. 4.

"New York State and its many partners are striving to put effective prevention measures in place for all invasive species," said Grannis. "We do this one pathway at a time - by understanding the ways plants and animals are moved around the globe by humans and then finding practical ways to shut off those pathways. Ballast water has been long-recognized as a major conduit for an ever-growing list of aquatic invasive species and we must constrict the flow as soon as we can.

New York has supported a federal proposal to require ships to treat ballast water before it is discharged (a standard known as "1000 X IMO" or one-thousand times the International Maritime Organization standard). New York issued a water quality certification making this standard appliable for all vessels traveling in New York Waters. However, Commissioner Grannis raised concerns that the time frame for implementing the standard set forth in the Coast Guard draft regulations is too long - for some ships, it wouldn't be fully phased in until 2025 - to adequately protect our waters.

Currently, New York is one of three states to enact a ballast-water standard that is more protective than federal standards. In the submitted testimony, Commissioner Grannis said that to ensure uniformity across the board, ballast water should be regulated under a strong federal program and not on a state-by-state basis. The establishment of a national discharge standard equivalent to the most stringent state standards currently in place would result in a consistent national regulatory framework for vessels that navigate in U.S. waters. In addition, the establishment of a strong, environmentally protective standard will result in the development and production of advanced technology to meet product demand, the commissioner said.

DEC has worked collaboratively with the state Attorney General's Office, as well as other states, especially the Great Lakes states and California, in efforts to influence federal actions to address the risks and dangers associated with ballast water and the need for stricter federal regulations.

Additional information about these regulations is available at on the USCG website.


"Great Invaders" workshops in Florida

By MARK ESTES, Correspondent

Great_InvadersMore than a dozen concerned local residents came to Gamble Rogers Memorial State Recreation Area at Flagler Beach on a recent Saturday to learn about a growing problem -- the invasion of non-natives into Florida.

No, it wasn't about snowbirds. The program, called "The Great Invaders," was a free five-hour workshop for homeowners on dealing with invasive exotic plants.

"Invasive plants are an ongoing problem for us, so we decided to promote education on the subject," park service specialist Terri Newmans said. "We want to encourage volunteers to help us clean exotics out of the park and at home."

According to Newmans, the Recreation Area's biggest invasive problem involves the Brazilian pepper and lantana, although there are other invasive plants present.

"We have some air potato and others, but Brazil pepper and lantana are the big problems," Newmans said.

Maia McGuire, Florida Sea Grant Extension agent, opened the program with a discussion of what invasive plants are and how they are designated invasive. She passed around samples of a number of invasive species. A plant is native if it was growing in Florida prior to the arrival of Europeans. All others are considered non-native or exotic.

"Non-native or exotic is not necessarily bad, it simply means they were introduced to this area," McGuire said. "However, if they have a negative impact, then they can become classified as invasive."

The Florida Exotic Pest Plant Council updates the list of problematic plants every two years. Category I plants are invasive exotics that are altering native plant communities by displacing native species, changing community structures or ecological functions, or hybridizing with natives.

Category II invasive plants have increased in abundance or frequency but haven't yet altered Florida plant communities to the extent shown by Category I plants. [...]

Repeat performance

WHAT: A second presentation of "The Great Invaders" workshop on invasive plants

WHEN: 10 a.m. to 3:30 p.m., Saturday

WHERE: Gamble Rogers Memorial State Recreation Area at Flagler Beach.

FOOD: Participants are encouraged to bring a picnic lunch.

HOW TO REGISTER: Call park service specialist Terri Newmans at 386-517-2086 or e-mail her at terri.newmans[at]

Read the story at link.

Photo by N-J | Mark Estes.


Residents in New Hampshire rally behind proposal for milfoil control funding

by Erin Plummer

MOULTONBORO — Town residents are rallying behind the formation of a new committee and the proposed creation of a reserve fund to control milfoil.

Peter Jensen with Conservation Commission Chair Bob Clark and other residents made a presentation to the Board of Selectmen on a proposal for addressing milfoil infestation in Lake Winnipesaukee and other town water bodies.

Jensen said Amy Smagula, Exotic Aquatic Species Coordinator with the Department of Environmental Services, mapped out around 200 acres of milfoil in the 68 miles she examined.

Jensen said that of the properties on the town's current $2.85 billion valuation, 71 percent are on the shoreline and 16 percent have water access. The properties that are not located on the water have owners that still utilize the lake's resources. Studies have shown that valuations in towns with milfoil infestation can go down between 10 and 20 percent. A drop of 7 percent in the property value due to milfoil could mean a reduction in revenue of $1 million, with that figure tripling if revenue drops 13 percent.

Clark helped form a milfoil committee to address the management of milfoil in Moultonboro and around Lake Winnipesaukee. Jensen said the committee is asking that a milfoil reserve fund be formed in 2010 and money be deposited for the treatment and management of milfoil. The typical cost of a state-approved method of treatment is between $80,000 and $91,000. The committee is requesting that $100,000 be put into the fund to support the effort at the town level. [...]

Jensen said the money in the reserve fund can be used for a greater town effort but can also be available to smaller control projects that need it. The funds would also go toward control and prevention of re-infestation, as total eradication is near impossible.

"The cost of not doing it seems to be much higher than the cost of doing it," Jensen said.

Karin Nelson of the Lee's Pond Association said the hope is to have a plan of attack and perhaps a vacuum so that milfoil starts being removed from the pond, which has a heavy infestation. [...]

The fund's creation will need to be an article on the 2010 town warrant, an article selectmen said should be a petition article. Board members said including an item that size in the budget would likely not be the best course, especially with economic constraints and concerns over the future of the town's role in school funding. Board members said they would support the article.

Other associations have or have expressed interest in turning in petition articles for milfoil control and the matter of having a blanket article for all areas was discussed.

Read the story at link.


Lower Hudson PRISM meeting on November 19

The next Lower Hudson PRISM meeting is scheduled for Thursday November 19th from 1-3:30 at the DEC Region 3 Office in New Paltz. The meeting will follow the mile-a-minute project meeting (see below), so people can attend both.


Ed McGowan

Here are the final details for the next Mile-a-Minute project of the Hudson Valley meeting:

Date: Thursday, November 19, 2009
Time: 9:30 am - 12:30 pm
Location: NP Conference Room 126B-Catskill (name of room)
DEC Region 3 Office
21 South Putt Corners Road
New Paltz, NY 12561

The meeting will consist of a few organized presentations and end with open discussion. Agenda coming soon. Unfortunately we will not be visiting a weevil site as previously mentioned - there won't be much to look at.

This meeting will serve as a wrap-up/re-cap of the season and provide guidance for those interested in preparing for management of mile-a-minute next season. Think of it as a mini workshop on how to get weevils for biocontrol - this will be explained in detail and there will be experienced and knowledgeable people there to answer questions regarding weevils.

Bring lunch.

Stephanie Stanczak


Invasive Plant Inventory and Survey Methods for Land Managers: A Web Seminar Series, scheduled for January-February 2010

Center for Invasive Plant Management, USDA Western Integrated Pest Management, Montana State University, University of Idaho, Utah State University, Michigan State University

Project Summary

CIPM received a grant from the Western IPM Center to develop and present a series of six interactive web seminars on invasive plant inventory and survey methods. The FREE seminar series will be based on chapters from the publication Inventory and Survey Methods for Nonindigenous Plant Species (L.J. Rew and M.L. Pokorny, editors, 2006, Montana State University Extension). CIPM coordinated and funded the development and printing of the publication, which presents practical inventory and survey methods that are successfully applied over large areas, and provides guidance on selecting methods to best meet the objectives of an integrated pest management strategy. Six chapters from the publication will be presented. Presenters are indicated in bold and are the chapter authors except where noted.

* Getting Started: Fundamentals of Nonindigenous Plant Species Inventory/Survey
Monica L. Pokorny, Steven A. Dewey, and Steven R. Radosevich
Erik Lehnhoff of CIPM will be presenting.

* Landscape-Scale Wildland Inventories/Surveys: Utah State University Methods
Steven A. Dewey and Kimberly A. Andersen

* Digital Aerial Sketch-Mapping for Early Detection and Mapping
Jason W. Karl and Mark Porter

* Stratified Random Sampling Method
Lisa J. Rew and Bruce D. Maxwell

* Adaptive Sampling Design
Timothy S. Prather

* Remote Sensing for Detection of Nonindigenous Species
Timothy S. Prather and Lawrence W. Lass

The six-week web seminar series is scheduled for January-February, 2010. There is no fee but advanced registration is required. If you would like to be notified when registration opens, please email the project coordinator at mmcfadzen[at]



EPA Proposes New Pesticide Labeling to Control Spray Drift and Protect Human Health

Release date: 11/04/2009
Contact Information: Dale Kemery kemery.dale[at]

WASHINGTON – The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has rolled out proposed guidance for new pesticide labeling to reduce off-target spray and dust drift. The new instructions, when implemented, will improve the clarity and consistency of pesticide labels and help prevent harm from spray drift. The agency is also requesting comment on a petition to evaluate children’s exposure to pesticide drift.

“The new label statements will help reduce problems from pesticide drift,” said Steve Owens, the assistant administrator for EPA’s Office of Prevention, Pesticides and Toxic Substances. “The new labels will carry more uniform and specific directions on restricting spray drift while giving pesticide applicators clear and workable instructions.”

The new instructions will prohibit drift that could cause adverse health or environmental effects. Also, on a pesticide-by-pesticide basis, EPA will evaluate scientific information on risk and exposure based on individual product use patterns. These assessments will help the agency determine whether no-spray buffer zones or other measures – such as restrictions on droplet or particle size, nozzle height, or weather conditions – are needed to protect people, wildlife, water resources, schools and other sensitive sites from potential harm.

In addition to the draft notice on pesticide-drift labeling, EPA is also seeking comment on a draft pesticide drift labeling interpretation document that provides guidance to state and tribal enforcement officials. A second document provides background information on pesticide drift, a description of current and planned EPA actions, a reader’s guide explaining key terms and concepts, and specific questions on which EPA is seeking input. These documents and further information are available in docket EPA–HQ–OPP–2009–0628 at

In a second Federal Register notice, EPA is also requesting comment on a petition filed recently by environmental and farm worker organizations. The petitioners ask EPA to evaluate children’s exposure to pesticide drift and to adopt, on an interim basis, requirements for “no-spray” buffer zones near homes, schools, day-care centers, and parks. EPA will evaluate this new petition and take whatever action may be appropriate after the evaluation is complete. For further information and to submit comments, please see docket EPA-HQ-OPP-2009-0825 at

More information: Link.


Invasive Asian carp one flood away from Great Lakes

Jennifer Janssen

Advocates for the Great Lakes at the National Wildlife Federation are worried that all of the work to restore the Great Lakes could come to nothing if immediate action is not taken to keep Asian carp from invading Lake Michigan.

Only a narrow floodplain lies between Asian carp in the Des Plaines River and the Chicago Sanitary and Ship Canal that leads directly into the Great Lakes. In September, researchers found the first evidence that the carp may be present in the Des Plaines dangerously far north of an electric barrier in the canal.

One flood is all it will take to merge the waters of the Des Plaines and the nearby Chicago Sanitary and Ship Canal -- allowing the invasive carp direct access to the Lakes. This is not a far-fetched scenario — flooding merged the two waters in 2008 and 2007. [...]

Great Lakes advocates are urging that a barrier must be built immediately on the low, narrow strip of land between the potentially carp-infested Des Plaines River and the Chicago Sanitary and Ship Canal. Temporary fixes, including sandbags or an earthen berm are necessary to keep Des Plaines waters and carp out of the Great Lakes in the coming weeks and months.

Fortunately, Congress just approved funding and authorization for the Army Corps of Engineers to take emergency action to protect the Great Lakes from invasive species. However, that is no guarantee that a barrier will be constructed in time - before the next flood.

To learn more about the Asian carp and invasive species solutions, visit the Great Lakes Regional Center.

Read the full story at link.


AMERICORP OPPORTUNITY starting November 16

We are looking for anyone interested in nature, conservation of natural resources, and the protection of urban woodlands. AmeriCorps is dedicated to helping local people solve pressing community problems.

Location: Arlington, VA (housing and relocation costs are not provided)

Anticipated Start Date: November 16, 2009

The time allocation for position will be approximately as follows:

1. Invasive plant removal under the immediate, direct supervision of either County staff, or the staff of partner organizations (75%)

2. Environmental rehabilitation activities, including planting, stream clean out, and stream bank stabilization (15%)

3. Training activities related to invasive plant removal, environmental rehabilitation, and local ecology (10%)

To apply: send cover letter, resume/CV, and three references to mortega[at]


Garlic farmer uses compost harvested from invasive plants at Carding Mill Pond

By Nancy Hershfield/Special to the Town Crier

SUDBURY, MA - While others are completing their harvesting, Sudbury resident Michael O’Connor is just beginning to get his crop in the ground. Fall is planting season for garlic, and O’Connor is planting his new garlic field off Dutton Road (the field runs along the northwest side of Carding Mill Pond). He expects to have 15,000 cloves planted by Veteran’s Day, which he hopes will result in close to a ton of garlic next July.

Under a license from the town to farm the field, O’Connor is looking to supply area gardeners and farmers with localized, acclimated, organically grown hard-neck seed garlic in a limited amount by next summer. His garlic farm, Old Sudbury Garlic Farm, plans to distribute its handcrafted garlic through local farmers markets and online.

What’s special about his farm, explains O’Connor, is its sustainable cycle of local fertilizer and farm fields. To help grow his fields, O’Connor is composting invasive plant species harvested in August from adjoining Carding Mill Pond for "good use" in his garlic beds.

Invasive weeds, like water chestnuts, duck weed (Lemna), Hydrodictyon and Elodea canadensis, have been overrunning Carding Mill Pond behind Wayside Inn for years, causing fish to die from lack of oxygen and forcing many birds and waterfowl to leave during the summer because they can’t swim through the overgrowth. For the past six summers, the Hop Brook Protection Agency (HBPA) has been spearheading a harvesting project to rid the pond of the weeds so more wildlife can return to the pond.

Harvesting Carding Mill Pond

Every summer, HBPA borrows an aquatic plant harvester and conveyor from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Great Meadows National Wildlife Refuge (GMNWR) to cut the weeds. The harvester looks like a large floating lawnmower, and has underwater blades that cut the weeds and a conveyor belt that collects the vegetation. The vegetation is then transferred onto a shore conveyor belt, which transfers the weeds into a dump truck the Sudbury Department of Public Works provides. This year the harvester took out 57.5 truckloads of vegetation from the pond (nearly half the amount compared to last year).

"There is a real beauty in using the harvested material from the mill pond as composted organic matter for the neighboring farm field," said O’Connor. "It is a sustainable cycle of local material that is inexpensive, organic, abundant and very beneficial to the soil. Along with the re-mineralization of the fields, I believe that it will dramatically boost the strength and activity of the soil web, the result of which I hope will be exceptionally nutrient dense vegetables." [...]

Read the full story at link.


Pembroke, MA pond treatment could affect endangered species

By Steve Annear
Pembroke Mariner & Reporter
Thu Nov 05, 200

Pembroke, MA - Treatment of invasive plant growth in Oldham Pond will be delayed following the discovery of an endangered species of mussel in the pond.

The Pembroke Watershed Association received word from the Natural Heritage and Endangered Species Program (NHESP), part of the Massachusetts Division of Fisheries and Wildlife, on Oct. 22 that the copper sulfate used to treat the invasive plants could have “short and long-term damage” on the species.

“They found the Eastern Pond Mussel, they are saying the copper sulfate can’t be used in the pond because it could effect it,” said Ray Holman, president of the PWA.

According to the NHESP, the proposed treatment would result in interference with eating, breeding, and migratory behavior and poses a risk of harming the rare mussels.

Holman said the PWA would have to come up with some other way to treat the pond, now that a copper sulfate treatment is not an option.

Aquatic Control Technology Inc., the company hired by the PWA to treat the pond, was scheduled to begin pond treatment last summer. The company had to hold off while a mussel biologist investigated the pond to see if two rare species were living there. Only one was discovered, the Eastern Pond Mussel.

The PWA will hold the $12,660 reserved for treatment, which was approved by Town Meeting voters last May.

According to Holman, they will hold onto the money until an alternative option is offered.

“Some money has already been spent for all these different things being done between Aquatic Control. We just have to wait and come up with something,” he said.

Read the story at link.


Great Lakes get $475 million funding boost

Environmentalists laud additional federal funding

By Jerry Zremski
News Washington Bureau Chief
Updated: November 06, 2009

WASHINGTON — The Great Lakes will get an unprecedented boost in federal funding now that President Obama, almost unnoticed, has signed bipartisan legislation.

Obama approved the $475 million, one-year infusion of funding for the lakes last week when he quietly signed an annual spending bill for the Interior Department and environmental programs, which include his Great Lakes Restoration Initiative. [...]

The funding greatly enhances the odds that Buffalo will receive federal funding for a $60 million project to remove contaminated sediments from the Buffalo River, said Julie O’Neill, executive director of the Buffalo Niagara Riverkeeper.

It also boosts the chances of winning local funding for a habitat rehabilitation project on the Niagara River, O’Neill said. Buffalo is in a better position than many communities in bidding for federal money for such projects because matching local funds already have been specified, she said.

The $475 million represents nearly a doubling of the previous annual federal commitment to the lakes.

In addition to funding the cleanup of contaminated sediments, the money will help to restore wetlands and other wildlife habitats and to prevent flooding. It also will be used to try to stop invasive species such as the Asian carp, which is threatening to invade Lake Michigan from the Illinois River. [...]

Sen. Charles E. Schumer, D-N.Y., said the money will provide a long-term boost to the region’s economy. “Cleaning up the Great Lakes will allow the region’s fishing and tourism industry to grow, providing much-needed jobs and millions of dollars in revenue,” he said.

Rep. Steven C. LaTourette, R-Ohio, said on the House floor last week that the money was the first major federal commitment to the Great Lakes since he came to Congress in the mid-1990s.

But support for the measure was not unanimous among the region’s congressional delegation. Rep. Chris Lee, R-Clarence, voted against the spending bill that included the Great Lakes money.

Lee said that he supported the Great Lakes effort and had signed letters lobbying for it but that he could not vote for the legislation that included the money because the $32 billion measure was 17 percent bigger than the previous year’s spending bill for the same programs.

“I’m all for supporting the environment, but this bill was spending money we didn’t have,” he said. “It was excessive in its nature.”

The Interior Department spending bill probably won’t be Lee’s only opportunity to vote for increased Great Lakes funding. In February, Obama is expected to propose a budget for the next federal fiscal year that will include another increase.

“The fact that this is just the beginning of a five-year, $5 billion commitment is a very exciting thing,” O’Neill said.

Read the story at link.


Kudzu-eating pest found in northeast Georgia

By Sharon Dowdy
College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences University of Georgia

Researchers from the University of Georgia and Dow AgroSciences have identified a kudzu-eating pest in northeast Georgia that has never been found in the Western Hemisphere. Unfortunately, the bug also eats legume crops, especially soybeans.

The bug has tentatively been identified as the bean plataspid (Megacopta cribraria), a native to India and China. It is pea-sized and brownish in color with a wide posterior, said Dan Suiter, an entomologist with the UGA College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences.

“It kind of waddles when it walks on a surface, but it flies really well,”
he said.

It’s also commonly called lablab bug and globular stink bug. Like its distant cousin the stink bug, when threatened, it releases a chemical that stinks.

Suiter and CAES diagnostician Lisa Ames first saw the pest when samples were sent to them in mid-October from UGA Cooperative Extension agents and pest control professionals in Barrow, Gwinnett and Jackson counties. Samples have since arrived from Clarke, Hall, Greene, Oconee and Walton counties.

Homeowners first reported the pest after finding large groups of the bugs lighting on their homes.

“At one home in Hoshton, Ga., we found the bugs all over the side of a lady’s house,” Suiter said. “There is a kudzu patch behind her home that provides food, and they were attracted to the light color of the siding. At this time of year, the insects are most active in the afternoon when it gets warm.”

In addition to homes, the bug is attracted to light-colored vehicles.

The week the bug samples arrived at Suiter’s lab, Joe Eger was visiting. The Dow AgroSciences field biologist has 35 years of experience studying the bean plataspid insect and has named new genera and species and identified the insect for museums across the world.

Eger’s identification was confirmed by David Rider at North Dakota State University and Tom Henry at the Smithsonian Institution.

Suiter believes the bug arrived here by accident.

“We do have the world’s busiest airport here, but we’ll never know how the bug first got here,” he said. “When it found kudzu here, it found a food source, and it doesn’t have any natural enemies here that we are aware of.”

Suiter says the pest’s populations are, for now, contained to northeast Georgia. It’s an “invasive species feeding on an invasive species.”

“We have no idea what the long-term impact on kudzu will be, but we also have to consider the fact that it feeds on crops, too,” he said. “It’s kind of a double-edged sword. It eats kudzu, which is good, but it also stinks and gets on homes. The ominous threat is that it eats soybeans and other legume crops.”

“We will be working with the University of Georgia and USDA to find the best way of dealing with this insect,” said Georgia Commissioner of Agriculture Tommy Irvin. “At this time, there is not enough information to determine its current range and what its potential as a pest may be.”

Representatives of each agency met this week to form an action plan. Information has been sent to Extension agents and pest control companies across the state.

County agents are asked to look for the bug, scout kudzu patches and report any findings to Suiter. Homeowners who find the pest should call their local Extension office at 1-800-ASK-UGA1.


Aquatic Invasive Species Vector Management: A Prevention Solution, December 2, 2009 workshop - update

If you are planning on attending the Mid-Atlantic Regional Panel of the Aquatic Nuisance Species Task Force and Maryland Sea Grant's one-day workshop:
Aquatic Invasive Species Vector Management: A Prevention Solution, December 2, 2009 in Baltimore, Maryland at the Admiral Fell Inn, note that the special conference hotel rate ends November 8. If you are thinking of attending, it would be a good idea to make a reservation before Sunday November 8.

For registration and full details visit:

Hope to see you there, further details below.


Fredrika Moser and Jonathan McKnight

Workshop Details

This one-day event will bring regional attention to aquatic invasive species introduction pathways.

The Mid-Atlantic region has an important and timely opportunity to move beyond managing individual species and toward a more holistic approach – managing the pathways or vectors for invasions. The workshop will focus on preventing the introduction of non-native aquatic species through vector management. The workshop outcome will provide recommendations on strategies states, local governments, NGOs, legislatures, the Chesapeake Bay Program, the Mid-Atlantic Panel, and other groups and individuals can pursue to manage vectors and prevent unwanted introductions of non-native species.

Please come to this workshop ready to participate and contribute to developing recommendations for advancing invasive species vector research and management.

See you there!

Workshop steering committee: Jonathan McKnight (MD DNR), Fredrika Moser (MDSG), Lisa Moss (USFWS), Read Porter (ELI), Greg Ruiz (SERC) and Mario Tamburri (UMCES, ACT).