Sunday, February 15, 2009

Weeks of February 15 and February 22, 2009

Updated 2/24

TNC's Global Invasive Species Team closing shop due to budget cuts

From: Barry Rice, TNC
[Reprinted from the GIST listserv]

As a result of budget cutbacks announced last week, The Nature Conservancy's Global Invasive Species Team (GIST) is being disbanded and will close down much of its work over the next few weeks and months.

Ramifications of this closure are the following:

A)The GIST ilistserve will be closing in early March.

B)The GIST web site ( will no longer be supported as of March 6: after that date it will merely coast without updates. It may disappear entirely after August.

C)We hope that portions of the site can be relocated to other web sites--see messages 3-5 below if you can support the content.

D)Our new wiki ( will no longer be monitored or supported, and so will be removed unless another organization offers to house and manage it (see message 5, below).

If you are interested in supporting some of the GIST web site resources on your own web site, please contact me immediately.

Meanwhile, TNC's Forest Health work focused on preventing and containing forest pests and pathogens has several years of secure funding and will continue; see its web site at

Bill's comment: I'm stunned! No group of people anywhere on Earth has done more to advance the fight against invasive species. I'm sure that nearly every person in the country who manages invasives has used GIST resources at one time or another, and often many times. Hopefully a foundation or donor will step forward, or new TNC CEO Mark Tercek will wake up and see that this is a HUGE mistake!


APIPP 2008 Invasive Speciesr Annual Reports Available

The Adirondack Park Invasive Plant Program's (APIPP) 2008 Annual Report is now available online at , (795KB). Check it out for a snapshot of accomplishments from 2008, including aquatic and terrestrial monitoring and management stats, planning initiatives, species distribution alerts, and more!

In addition, the Adirondack Aquatic Nuisance Species Committee produced its 2008 summary report, which is also available online at . Note that in the future, APIPP will prepare a comprehensive PRISM annual report that integrates the progress of the ANS Committee.


Avalon, NJ, Prepares Strategy to Tackle Japanese Black Pine on Dunes

AVALON — The viability of borough dunes could be at risk, Environmental Commission Chairman Dr. Brian Reynolds told council at its meeting Feb. 11.

To that end, the borough is preparing strategies to tackle Japanese Black Pine, a non-indigenous species categorized by the U.S Fish and Wildlife Service as “mildly invasive.”

Avalon Environmental Commission is working with Joseph Lomax of Lomax Consulting Group in Court House to reduce the pines’ impact on the dunes’ natural maritime forest.

Lomax Consulting Group will prepare and file an application for an Association of New Jersey Environmental Commissions (ANJEC) 2009 Smart Growth Planning Grant for $18,000, of which the borough will match $9,000.

Lomax was also awarded a professional service contract to develop Forestry Management Plan at a total cost of $4,500. The group will communicate between the borough’s environmental commission and representatives to submit the plans to the NJ Forest Service Community Forestry Program.

The borough will apply its 2009 Green Communities Grant for $3,000 from the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) towards the consulting services, leaving a balance of $1,500; Administrator Andrew Bednarek said the services value $17,500.

At a cost of $14,750, the Lomax Group will also prepare a Dune Vegetation Management Plan and design management standards with the Environmental Commission and create a pilot program in a half-beach block area at 74th Street to test which approach works best. Link


Efforts underway in Arlington County to remove invasive species

Arlington County invasive-plant-removal events have started for 2009. The program is coordinated by Virginia Cooperative Extension.

Volunteers meet monthly at a number of locations to rescue parks from alien plant invaders.

Participants should come dressed for work, wearing long pants and long sleeves and perhaps a hat. Participants also will want to bring along water and, if possible, garden tools. Other tools will be provided.

Removal efforts take place on the second Saturday of each month from 10 a.m. to noon at Lacey Woods Park; on the third Saturday from 10 a.m. to noon at Tuckahoe Park; on the second Saturday from noon to 2:30 p.m. at Gulf Branch Nature Center; and on the third Sunday from 2 to 5 p.m. at Long Branch Nature Center. Link

For information, call (703) 228-7636 or e-mail jtruong@vt.ed.


Funding freeze might negate phragmites removal from Marion Lake, Long Island

By Erin Schultz, Suffolk Times

Just months after the Marion Lake Restoration Committee moved forward with phase one of its pricey phragmites removal project, Lori Luscher got stonewalled by the state.

Ms. Luscher, the founder of MLRC, worked for years to obtain proper permits and a $100,000 matching grant from the Department of Environmental Conservation to remove the phragmites, invasive plants that have been suffocating the five-acre lake for over a decade. The part-time East Marion resident of 30 years also organized fundraisers and has been able to collect over $80,000 to match the DEC.

But last month, DEC representatives told Ms. Luscher that, due to a statewide funding freeze, the restoration committee won't receive a promised partial reimbursement check for $60,000 -- at least not in time for the second phase of the project.

This, Ms. Luscher said, could mean certain death for her beloved inland lake.

"We're doing this in stages," she said. "The timing has to be exactly right, or else the whole project is a waste."

Ms. Luscher said the MLRC was "desperately" relying on the reimbursement to start the second "wicking" phase of the project this spring, in which an environmentally-friendly chemical is hand-applied to each stalk, killing the weed without disturbing any other vegetation. Delaying the second phase, she said, would completely negate the work involved in phase one, and the chances of getting anyone else to donate would be "very unlikely."

"This would set our project back to its initial starting point," she said. "The people who have made donations would feel cheated."

Never one to back down, Ms. Luscher, The Suffolk Times Civic Person of the Year for 2008, has already embarked on an aggressive letter-writing campaign, telling public officials "how bad it would be to be out of money."

Suffolk County Legislator Ed Romaine has already written to DEC Commissioner Peter Grannis, urging the DEC to unfreeze the $60,000 partial reimbursement that was promised. Southold Town Supervisor Scott Russell said he also intends to weigh in.

Lori Severino, a spokeswoman for the DEC, said the organization has every intention of getting the committee its money -- just not right now.

"The state does intend to meet these obligations," she said. "However, it will take a little bit longer than usual due to the current budget situation. But they're not targeting one particular project."

Ms. Luscher said she understands state's current financial crisis, but this particular project simply cannot be postponed. She said she'd like to explain all this to Commissioner Grannis and Governor David Paterson -- in person.

"I'll take the trip up to Albany if they'll listen," she said. "It would be a huge injustice to the community if we were to lose it all now." Link


Georgia Aquarium to display invasive lionfish

By Leon Stafford, Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Because lionfish, which are native to the South Pacific, have no natural predators in Georgia waters, their population is exploding, researchers said. And their presence is having a negative impact on native species, including small grouper, crustaceans and anything else lionfish can swallow whole.

The aquarium will put more than 40 lionfish in the tank in an attempt to educate visitors about invasive species and discourage the practice of dumping unwanted fish in oceans and streams. The fish will be about 5 inches to 9 inches long. Link


2009 Aquatic Weed Control Short Course

Aquatic, Upland and Invasive Weed Control; Aquatic Plant Identification May 4-7, 2009

Coral Springs Marriott Hotel, Golf Club and Convention Center Coral Springs, Florida

-------------------------------------------------------- A Web Site About the Wild Parrots of Brooklyn


Arctic char need help to keep swimming

By Bob Mallard, Kennebec Journal

Maine is home to one of the rarest fish in the country. Maine's arctic char, a member of the salmonid family, which includes salmon, trout, char, freshwater whitefish and grayling, is now facing its darkest hour.

Formerly referred to as blueback and Sunapee trout, the arctic char has been called "a grievously imperiled race" and "desperately in need of Endangered Species Act protection" by nationally known angler and writer Ted Williams.

Why? This rare fish faces threats from introduced baitfish, state-sponsored stocking and politics.
Maine's populations of char are the last in the 48 contiguous states. Once abundant in the Rangeley Lakes where they served as the food source for a population of giant brook trout, char were extirpated by the introduction of landlocked salmon, who outcompeted the char for food and preyed on them.

The few populations left in New Hampshire and Vermont succumbed to hybridization with introduced lake trout.

Next to habitat degradation, invasive species introduction -- when live bait is used and released into the water -- is the biggest threat to the fish. The restrictions imposed by the proposed legislation should have been acceptable to even the staunchest supporter of live bait and fish stocking. Link


Home gardeners can uproot invading plants

A fractured leg bone (I slipped on ice and fell) has given me more time to read.

The just-finished roster includes “Bringing Nature Home: How Native Plants Sustain Wildlife in Our Gardens,” by Dr. Doug Tallamy, chairman of the entomology and wildlife ecology department at the University of Delaware. It’s a pretty quick but concise read and makes suburbanites think twice about the sterile lawns surrounding their homes. Tallamy’s research has shown the important link between native plants and healthy ecosystems.

My wife and I started our native plant gardening soon after we moved to Conyngham. The first things to go were non-native Japanese yew bushes and two very weedy honey locust trees.

Then came the lawn-reduction program (spread tarps or plastic sheets over the turf to remove it without using toxic chemicals!) and the planting of dozens of butterfly, bee and songbird favorites like black-eyed Susan, three milkweed species, elderberry and spicebush shrubs, a couple of pawpaw trees (the host plant for the beautiful zebra swallowtail) and a hackberry tree (another important host plant for butterflies).

Much of what landscapers offer new homeowners today consists of plants that have little to no value to wildlife. And replacing the native forest that stood where a house and lawn now sit has severe detrimental effects on wildlife populations, not the least of which is the replacement of native trees, wildflowers and shrubs with alien and oftentimes invasive species.

Walking around Conyngham has convinced me that the most common tree in town nowadays is the Norway maple. Guess where this species is a native? Norway maples produce thousands of seeds which can quickly mature into dense shady stands, displacing native trees, shrubs and herbs and the wildlife they sustained.

There are many, many other examples highlighting the impact of non-native and invasive species on native plants and animals. Drive slowly over the Susquehanna River bridge between Berwick and Nescopeck around mid-summer and view the riparian areas below now clothed with purple loosestrife. Edge of the Woods Native Plant Nursery in Lehigh County (the only area nursery we know of that deals only in native plants) says this about purple loosestrife on its Web site: Replaces “native grasses and wetland plants, reducing food supply and habitat for native waterfowl and plants, including some federally listed endangered orchids.”

Another aquatic-habitat invasive we’re familiar with (having lived near some of the waters it now infests, including Lake Champlain), is the Eurasian milfoil.

“Native to Europe, Asia, and northern Africa, this plant was introduced to the United States around 1940, and has spread throughout much of North America from Florida to Quebec in the east, and California to British Columbia in the west,” notes the University of Pennsylvania’s Morris Arboretum. “Eurasian milfoil is common in lakes, ponds, and rivers throughout Pennsylvania.”

Like hundreds of other alien plants and critters (the gypsy moth, Asian longhorned beetle, zebra mussel, European starling, English house sparrow, the list goes on and on), the Eurasian milfoil can easily and quickly take over, harming fish populations as well as plants that are supposed to be in a given water body.

Throughout our corner of Pennsylvania the list of exotic, invasive species is endless. Some are sold by nurseries to naive landowners while others arrive in imports or are moved from one pond, lake or stream to another on fishing gear or boats. Near home, the long list includes Bradford pear (another aggressive seeder), autumn olive (there used to be a huge stand of this species near Lake Frances at Nescopeck State Park that formed such dense stands that nothing else could get a toehold), English ivy, Japanese barberry, Japanese honeysuckle, Russian olive, Norway spruce, Japanese knotweed. Link

Read Alan Gregory’s conservation news at He is a former reporter and Outdoors editor for the Standard-Speaker.


Asian longhorned beetle reemerges on Staten Island

by Staten Island Advance

A tree-killing bug has been detected in 13 maple trees on Staten Island, prompting a federal agency to remove the infested trees this month.

The Asian long-horned beetle was discovered when the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service -- in cooperation with city and state agencies -- surveyed an undeveloped tract of land on Dec. 31 and found the insect in 12 trees, according to Rep. Michael McMahon (D-Staten Island/Brooklyn). The area, which is owned by the state Department of Environmental Conservation and the city Parks Department, is located in Mariners Harbor.
One maple, on an adjoining property, was also found to be infested.

The pesky critter first winged its way to Staten Island in the spring of 2007 when 41 infested trees were found on Prall's Island and three were found on the former GATX industrial site in Bloomfield.

As a result, federal and state pruners cut down and chipped 7,900 trees and chemically treated another 6,400 on the West Shore.

Because of the latest discovery, a quarantine area implemented in 2007 was expanded from a 7.8-square-mile zone on the North and West shores to 10 square miles. Inspectors will survey trees in private and public areas. That will add about 8,200 trees to the 17,900 trees were treated last year. Numerous residential properties lying east of South Avenue and west of Willow Road East will become part of the expanded quarantine area.

"Some of the trees on the [Department of Conservation] property had the perfectly round, 3/8 inch in diameter exit holes that indicate beetles have emerged from the trees in past summers, and all the trees had egg sites indicating beetles have laid eggs," said Christine Markham, director of the national ALB program. "A growth ring analysis determined the infestation is four years old."

The infested trees will be removed this month, before any adult beetles can emerge. In addition, 25 high-risk, exposed host trees located in close proximity to the infested trees.

"The Asian longhorned beetle poses a serious threat to Staten Island," McMahon said. "It kills its host trees within a matter of years and has been found throughout the city. If not controlled, this will quickly become an issue of national importance. I remain confident that the early detection programs instituted by the federal, state and city agencies involved will lead to the swift eradication of this invasive species."

Host trees, or tree species where the beetles thrive, include gray birch, red maple, hackberry, ash, poplar, elm and willow trees. Link


Biologist opposes Howland fish bypass

Move could bring pike to Piscataquis River

By Diana Bowley,

DOVER-FOXCROFT, Maine — A retired and well-respected Moosehead Lake region fishery biologist warned Tuesday the Penobscot River Restoration Trust’s proposal to install a bypass channel around the Howland Dam could have some unintended and “very undesirable” consequences.

Paul Johnson, who is retired from the Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife, told the Piscataquis County commissioners that the proposal could allow northern pike — an invasive, non-native species that preys on soft-grade fish such as salmon, trout and suckers — to invade
about 40 percent of the Piscataquis River drainage. Where pike have been introduced, they have decimated cold-water fishing, he said.

“I feel as a biologist there are significant problems” with this proposal, Johnson said Tuesday. “The threat is real. My concern is this threat has not been widely publicized.” He said there is a public process under way and the public should be aware there is a threat associated with the benefits of the project.

The bypass channel is part of a series of changes planned over time by the Penobscot River Restoration Trust to restore anadromous species to the Penobscot River without sacrificing energy production, according to Johnson. The membership of the trust, a nonprofit organization, includes the Penobscot Indian Nation and several conservation groups, including Maine Audubon and Trout Unlimited. The trust is working in collaboration with state and federal agencies and hydropower company Pennsylvania Power and Light Corp.

Other elements of the trust’s plan to restore Atlantic salmon, river herring and sturgeon, among other sea species, to the Penobscot watershed include removal of the Veazie Dam and the Great Works Dam — the first two dams on the Penobscot River — and improvement of the fish passage at the Milford Dam in Old Town, ac-cording to Johnson.

Johnson said he is troubled that the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, whose duty it is to stop the spread of invasive species, is a signatory of the trust and as such is promoting the opportunity for pike to enter the Piscataquis River.

“The unintended consequences of allowing northern pike to increase their distribution in Maine in the Piscataquis drainage, sanctioned by the state and federal government, and private nongovernmental organizations, is ecologically irresponsible, contrary to public policies and, most importantly, unacceptable,” Johnson said.

Officials of the Penobscot River Restoration Trust declined Tuesday to rebut Johnson’s arguments.

But in an OpEd column in the Bangor Daily News last week, Ray B. Owen Jr. of Orono, a former commissioner of the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife, said that “one of the best ways to reduce any negative impacts of these invasive fish is to restore the abundance of native fish in the river through the full implementation of the Penobscot project.”

He said he does not believe that the project “should be jeopardized by the threat of invasive species. Where appropriate, safeguards can be put in place as the risk is further assessed.”

Johnson said the trust did consider alternatives at the Howland Dam but has remained with the fishery bypass.

“There is an alternative. I just think the alternative needs to be heard,” Johnson said. He said he hopes the trust will reassess the project and replace the bypass with a fish lift. The bypass is estimated to cost $5 million compared with $3.5 million for a fish lift.

“You build a dam, you can take it down; you build a fishway, and something changes in the future, you have an alternative course. But if you allow pike into the Piscataquis and they get here, it’s forever,” Johnson said. Link


Invasive beetles stir worries in Maine

By Julia Bayly,

MADAWASKA, Maine — Two species of invading beetles are causing some serious concern among federal officials and creating some headaches for St. John Valley residents looking to purchase firewood from Canada.

At a public forum to be held Friday night on the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s ban on importing firewood, two local legislators hope to shine some light on the issue and why the emerald ash borer and Asian longhorn beetle have forced the ban.

“Around election time in November, I was at Fraser [Paper] and found out how many people in Madawaska get their firewood out of Canada,” said state Sen. Troy Jackson, D-Allagash. “It really astonished me how many people this ban could affect.”

As it stands, all firewood imported from Canada must be heated to 71 degrees Celsius (159 degrees Fahrenheit) before it can enter the United States.

“Many of the smaller firewood operators don’t have the means to do this,” Jackson said. “It would make the cost of buying the wood prohibitive for a lot of people.”

Jackson said many homeowners in Madawaska turned to wood heat over the past year in the wake of rising oil prices.

“This could open up some demand for firewood on the U.S. side,” Jackson said. “But I’m just not sure the supply is there in the Madawaska area.”

At Friday’s forum, slated for 7 p.m. at the Madawaska High School Library, Theriault and Jackson will be joined by representatives of U.S. Sens. Olympia Snowe and Susan Collins and
U.S. 2nd District Rep. Michael Michaud, and officials with the USDA.

“We wanted to get information to those people who have concerns,” Jackson said. “We want to get everyone in the same room, hear what they have to say and go from there.” Link


Dunkirk Harbor (NY) Commission discusses weed problem

By Joel Cuthbert,

With warm weather and the prospect of boats on Lake Erie on the horizon, weed control in the Dunkirk harbor topped discussions of the waterfront.

During a brief Greater Dunkirk Area Harbor Commission meeting Wednesday, members discussed a number of issues relating to problematic weed growth in the harbor as well as plans, and now resources, to address the problem this coming summer.

"Those weeds can be detrimental to boat motors and result in some costly repairs for boaters," Chairman Kurt Warmbrodt said after the meeting.

Earlier this month, $10,000 in occupancy tax money was allocated to the city of Dunkirk for aquatic weed control in the harbor, money which harbor commission members are eager to use to maximize benefits to the Dunkirk harbor. Although members decided to approach the Cassadaga Lake Association in order to use their weed harvester to remedy the problem, they were left to decide when they would need it and what areas they would focus their efforts on since, they all agreed, $10,000 won't go far.

After the meeting, Warmbrodt said they'll mainly be looking at clearing weeds from areas where the boats come up to the docks and Zen Olow said maintaining clear access to the main channel was the biggest priority. Link


Invasive plants on Long Island talk

Clark Gardens in Albertson will be starting their fabulous Chats on Sunday, March 1st at 1 p.m. This will be on "Invasive Plants on Long Island" by Jane Jackson. Following the presentation and a question and answer period, refreshments will be served. The fee is $8 for members and $10 for non-members. The Garden is located at 193 I.U. Willets Road in Albertson.

Courtesy of the Garden City News online at


UConn efforts help curb spread of invasive plants in state

by Elizabeth Omara-Otunnu, UConn Advance

You see them in the parking lots of retail chain stores and fast food outlets – neat shrubs with glowing scarlet leaves in fall and bright crimson berries in winter.

Burning bush is beautiful but, as many people now know, it’s one of a growing number of invasive plant species that are threatening indigenous ecological systems

In Connecticut, that public awareness owes much to the efforts of UConn’s Les Mehrhoff and Donna Ellis.

“Euonymus – burning bush – is planted everywhere,” says Mehrhoff, director of the Invasive Plant Atlas of New England (IPANE) in the ecology and evolutionary biology department.

“There’s not a McDonald’s or Burger King without them. The plant’s a money maker – it’s easily grown, resists pests, and it’s beautiful.”

The problem is that birds love the fruits, which are high in energy and fats. They fly off and spread the seeds, and now the plant is growing in numerous unmanaged habitats.

Mehrhoff says he became aware of invasives in the 1990s, while working on endangered species.
“I started seeing a lot of habitats being encroached by invasive species,” he says.

In 1997, he and Ellis, a senior extension educator in the plant science department, established an advocacy group to focus on the issue. The Connecticut Invasive Plant Working Group (CIPWG) began with about 30 members, including faculty from UConn and other colleges, and representatives of The Nature Conservancy, the Connecticut Agricultural Experiment Station, municipalities, state and federal agencies, and garden clubs. It now has a listserv of more than 500.

UConn is also represented on a state-mandated council, the Invasive Plants Council, a nine-member group that is currently chaired by Professor Mary Musgrave, head of the plant science department.

“There are a lot of people in the state who care,” says Mehrhoff.

During the past 10 years, Mehrhoff and Ellis have played a leading role working with these two groups to identify invasive plants, and take action to address the problem.

An official list has been compiled of 96 non-native plants considered invasive or potentially invasive in Connecticut, 81 of which are now banned by law from being sold, purchased, transplanted, or cultivated in the state. These include Japanese barberry, Asiatic bittersweet, purple loosestrife, and other, less showy plants, such as garlic mustard and mile-a-minute vine, newly recognized as invasive.

The work is sometimes controversial. Not everyone agrees on all the species that are invasive, Mehrhoff says. In addition to ecological considerations, there are economic issues at stake.
“Some are big money plants for the nursery industry or the aquatic trade,” he says. “Some aquatic species are sold in every pet store.”

One of the primary reasons efforts in Connecticut have succeeded, according to Mehrhoff, has been the involvement of UConn faculty and staff.

“The imprimatur of professionalism and academics that comes from this work being conducted at the University has been key to its success,” he says. Link


Monday, February 9, 2009

Week of February 9, 2009

Updated 2/12

Exotic fish pose threat to native species in Everglades

By Curtis Morgan, Miami Herald

The small pond six miles deep in Everglades National Park suddenly began bubbling like a pot aboil -- a telltale sign of air-slurping walking catfish.

Dave Hallac, the park's chief biologist, dipped a net into the muddy commotion and hauled up a mess of wriggling slime so hefty it surprised even him. He counted out 56 fish from a single scoop.

Walking catfish, along with other species originally imported for somebody's tank or table, outnumbered natives in this shallow, shady bayhead by an unhealthy margin. Unlike giant python, the Glades' most notorious invader, these dinky denizens don't draw attention to their presence by, say, swallowing an alligator and exploding. But for park scientists, their spread is no small concern.

''This is a problem that is 10 times worse than the python, but it's all under water, so nobody knows about it,'' Hallac said. Link


Insect killing Pennsylvania's hemlocks

By Dan DiPaola, Daily American

RICHLAND (PA) TOWNSHIP - The hemlock population around the Quemahoning Reservoir is under attack by an invasive insect that could wipe out the tree within four years, according to Cambria Somerset Authority officials.

A harvester working in a large stand of hemlock along Que Dam Road found the hemlock woolly adelgid, an aphid-like insect from Asia, in downed trees in November, said manager Thomas Kakabar.

“We've been keeping an eye out for it and now we have it,” he said. “It's going to claim most of the hemlock in Pennsylvania.”

The small soft-bodied insect feeds on young branches, which results in premature needle drop and branch dieback, according to the state Department of Conservation and Natural Resources.

The insect was first reported in the state in the late 1960s and has been reported in 44 counties as of 2005, according to the site. “East to west, it's been moving this way for a while,” said authority Chairman James Greco. Link


Invest in restoration, not Asian oysters

The Virginian-Pilot

EVERYONE AGREES on the need to restore the Chesapeake Bay's oyster population, both for the ecological effects and commercial possibilities. The disagreement - raging for years now - is over what restoration should look like and what its goal should be.

Maryland, Virginia and federal officials are now considering whether to introduce a foreign oyster species into the Bay in hopes of saving an industry that has been dying since the parasitic diseases Dermo and MSX arrived in the watershed.

Many of the remaining seafood processors want an oyster that will allow them to stay in business and provide jobs. The Asian oyster has shown significant potential. Watermen are more divided; some are already growing native oysters they fear would be crowded out by a foreign species.

Aside from the commercial considerations, there are ecological ones. The decline of the Bay's oyster population has coincided with the decline in its water quality. Restoring any oyster - along with the menhaden and other struggling species - could do much to make the Bay healthier.

The Bay's primary environmental watchdogs, after years of relative neutrality on the subject, are now lobbying to keep out the Asian oyster, preferring instead a greater effort to restore the native species. There have been encouraging signs, particularly in the Lynnhaven watershed, that the native species have potential to rebound if enough effort is put into restoration. Link


Economics of Invasive Species

Oregon Invasive Species Council. Prepared for the Oregon Invasive Species Council by Oregon State University. Link


Beach Vitex Task Force symposium

The Carolinas Beach Vitex Task Force will hold its annual symposium on Friday, March 13 at 10:00 a.m. at the North Carolina Aquarium at Fort Fisher, 900 Loggerhead Rd., Kure Beach, NC (near Wilmington). The symposium is open to the public. Link


Tennessee Governor Proclaims Invasive Weed Awareness Week

Governor Phil Bredesen has issued a state proclamation declaring Feb 22-28, 2009, as Invasive Weed Awareness Week (IWAW) in Tennessee in conjunction with the 10th Annual National Weeds Awareness Week in Washington, D.C. The Tennessee Exotic Pest Plant Council (TN-EPPC), an all-volunteer, nonprofit organization, is working closely with various local, state and federal organizations and agencies to promote public education on the harmful impacts of nonnative, invasive plant species through several "pest plant removal events" around the state. Link


Waccabuc Cove, NY, Brazilian water-weed removal plan presented

By Matt Dalen,

Four months after discovering a highly invasive aquatic plant in Lake Waccabuc, the Three Lakes Council is planning drastic measures to remove it. A plan presented at the Tuesday, Jan. 27, meeting of the Planning Board would essentially remove the top layer of the lake bottom over an area of nearly two acres, in hopes of capturing every fragment of Egeria densa, also known as Brazilian waterweed or Brazilian elodea. The plan would cover the entirety of Waccabuc Cove, a small cove on the north shore of the lake. So far, the plant has only been found in that cove.

“I want to start this as soon as possible,” said Janet Andersen, who represented the council before the board. “If this thing is out somewhere else, the game’s over.”

The proposal is likely to go to a public hearing in March before the Planning Board rules on the permit.

Because only male specimens of Brazilian elodea have been brought to the United States, the weed cannot reproduce with seeds. However, a fragment of the weed can grow into a full plant, and it grows at an extremely fast pace, which makes it one of the worst aquatic invasive species.

“This is something which, certainly, it appears we have one attempt to hopefully eradicate,” said town wetlands consultant Bruce Barber. “I’m not sure you have a real good second attempt at it if it starts to spread out in the lake area. We want to make sure we get this right the first time.”

The proposal would close off the cove and use “suction harvesting” to suck the lake bottom into containers, which would then be disposed of. It’s the hope of the council that this type of suction would be able to capture every fragment of the plant in the cove. This may be possible because the weed appears to be contained to just the cove, and wind and water currents both run into the cove, potentially isolating it.

Ms. Andersen said that an alternative — aquatic herbicide — had been considered, but that had run into several problems, the largest of which was residents of the lake community who use the lake for drinking water. At least 14 homes get their water supplies from the lake, according to Ms. Andersen, several of whom live on that cove. Aquatic herbicide would cut off the use of the water to those homes for at least two months, not only for drinking but also for showering and other uses.

The suction harvesting plan, which requires state approval in addition to town approval because the state owns the lake bottom, would cost at a minimum about $15,000 per acre just for the suction itself, Ms. Andersen said. Additional costs, which have not been measured, would be incurred for obtaining a 400-foot net to block off the cove during the work and capture any fragments of the weed that drifted away, educating the public on what the work entails, and disposing of the material harvested from the bottom of the lake. The money would likely be obtained by the council through a fund-raiser, Ms. Andersen said.

Assuming all of the permits are received and the council can find an experienced manager to oversee the harvesting, the hope is to complete the work before the Fourth of July and before extensive boat traffic begins on the lake.

Board members asked about the potential impact on the cove’s ecosystem. Ms. Andersen said that previous experience had shown that, after this kind of project, water plants repopulated the area quickly. She also said that, while a small number of fish might be caught in the suction harvest, they would likely flee from the commotion, and that there were no endangered or threatened fish in the lake. Link


New aquatic invaders info available at the Central NY Boat Show

By David Figura, The Post-Standard

Boaters interested in how they can prevent the spread of fish diseases and aquatic invaders such as zebra mussels and water chestnuts that disrupt the food chain, clog waterways and cost millions of dollars annually in control measures across the country can check out a new exhibit this week at the CNY Boat Show at the NYS Fairgrounds.

The show begins at 1 p.m. Wednesday and continues through Sunday.

The Finger Lakes Partnership for Regional Invasive Species Management will be providing fact sheets and other resources for dealing with invasive species on the Great Lakes, inland waters (streams, ponds and lakes) at a booth in the Toyota Building.

The boat show this year will feature more than 500 power and sail boats, yachts, water recreation equipment and marine accessories on display. The show runs from 1 to 9 p.m. Wednesday, Thursday and Friday; 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. Saturday and 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday. Cost is $9 per person; children under 12 free. Free parking. Link


To battle phragmites, Assateague calls in the torches

By Charlene Polk,

ASSATEAGUE ISLAND, DELAWARE -- The National Park Service intends to use controlled burns on Assateague Island to help control the spread of the invasive plant phragmites next month.

The park service plans to burn about 200 acres during one week sometime between March 10 and April 1 to remove the above-ground remains of Phragmites australis (common reed) that have been sprayed with herbicide. It will be the first time the park's staff has chosen to fight the rapacious cattail-like plant with fire.

"The goal is to reduce the biomass, the phragmites deadened down by aerial spraying," said Ted Morlock, chief ranger at Assateague Island National Seashore. "This will help re-vegetate areas." Link


Invasive insects in our woods

7 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 24, at the Thayer Memorial Library, Lancaster, MA. The news is full of stories about insects with exotic-sounding names we never heard about years ago — Emerald ash borer, Hemlock woolly adelgid, and right here in Worcester, the Asian long-horned beetle. Who invited these pests in and how are they able to cause so much damage once they arrive? Program presenter Laura Marx is the forest ecologist for the Nature Conservancy’s Massachusetts Chapter and an adjunct professor of environmental biology at Westfield State College. Laura will tell stories of invasive insects and describe how all of us can have a part in controlling these insects. Everyone will leave with the information needed to be a set of “eyes on the ground” and a better understanding of how important it is to work to prevent these outbreaks in the first place. Age 10 through adult. Link


Thursday, February 5, 2009

Week of February 2, 2009


WeedUS is a database of information about plants that invade natural areas in the U.S. (including Hawaii). It is intended as an informational and educational tool and is compiled from a wide variety of sources including published and unpublished lists, reports, surveys, and personal observations from experts in the field. Sources include the National Park Service, other federal, state and local agencies, Exotic Pest Plant Councils, Invasive Species Councils and related organizations, The Nature Conservancy, and others.

This website is a collaborative project between the Plant Conservation Alliance's Alien Plant Working Group and the University of Georgia - Center for Invasive Species and Ecosystem Health. The project will eventually expand to allow volunteers to provide distribution information on infestations of species in the database. Link


Odum Conference 2009

Understanding and managing biological invasions as dynamic processes: Integrating information across space and time

Rensselaerville, NY - April 30-May 1, 2009