Monday, June 29, 2009

Week of June 29, 2009

Updated July 4 - Happy 4th!

Accord herbicide approved to control swallow-wort in NY

The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation has approved the use of Accord (EPA Reg. No. 62719-324) to control the unlabeled pests black swallow-wort and pale swallow-wort in non-crop areas. The FIFRA 2(ee) recommendation labeling must be in posession of the user at the time of application.


Stewards help stem spread of invasive water fleas

By Jason Subik,

GREAT SACANDAGA LAKE, NY — Many college undergraduates spend their summers working at part-time jobs or internships. Broadalbin native Kleigh Orzolek is spending her summer fighting the spread of the invasive spiny water flea on the Great Sacandaga Lake.

For 30 hours a week at $11.50 an hour, Orzolek, an undergraduate at Paul Smith’s College majoring in forestry recreation and management, is informing lake users at the Broadalbin boat launch how to spot the spiny water flea.

“They kind of look like snot at the end of your fishing pole,” Orzolek told Galway fisherman Bob Kozolwski. “They don’t seem to come up on boats much; we’re more concerned about fishing lines. They’re bottom feeders, so if you’ve got down lures or heavy bait or lures, they’ll come up on that.”

The spiny water flea is a crustacean similar to a tiny shrimp, with a straight tail, prominent tiny, dark eyespots and a bulbous egg brood patch. A native to Europe and Asia, it has no natural predators in North American lakes, thus nothing to slow its population growth. The water flea feeds on other tiny crustaceans and zooplankton, putting it in direct competition with fish.

Orzolek said she and the other lake stewards get paid through Paul Smith’s watershed program. She first learned about invasive species at Paul Smith’s during her introduction to wildlife management class, where she studied the history of Lake Champlain and its struggle with invasive species.

The Great Sacandaga Lake is the only inland lake where the spiny water flea has been found to date, according to the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation.

The Great Sacandaga Lake Advisory Council helped organize the lake steward program this summer, modeling it after a successful program on Lake George. GSLAC Chairman Bob Monacchio said he manages the lake stewards and they are paid from an $18,000 donation the GSLAC made to Paul Smith’s. The lake stewards are positioned at the public boat launches, and since the program started June 16, the water flea has been found at every one of them except in the town of Day.

Orzolek hands out “Stop Aquatic Hitchhikers” stickers, which have pictures of the spiny water flea and the fishhook water flea, and another sticker with a number on it to help stewards track boats. She said she records how many times boats come into the water and ask people what other bodies of water they take their boats to.

Read the full article at link.


New York gears up to battle emerald ash borer

By Steve Orr,

EAB For the thousands of western New York residents whose property is home to millions of now-endangered ash trees, the advice from Albany is to sit tight.

"The best thing to do is for people to take a deep breath," said Robert K. Davies, the New York state forester. "We are not advising people to go out and start chemically treating their ash trees, or to start cutting down their ash trees."

State officials have received official verification that, for the first time, emerald ash borers had been found in Empire State trees. The beetles, an invasive species from east Asia, infest and kill white, black, blue and green ash trees.

Since they were first observed in southeastern Michigan in 2002, the borers have spread to 13 states from Missouri to Maryland plus the Canadian provinces of Ontario and Quebec. They have been blamed for the demise of some 70 million ashes.

The beetle larvae live and feed underneath the bark, sapping enough nutrients and water that over the course of several years the tree almost invariably dies.

The borers' discovery in a stand of three dozen ashes in Randolph, Cattaraugus County, is a reminder of the threat facing the 900 million ash trees in New York.

But Davies cautioned that ash-tree owners should wait for state officials to determine whether the Randolph discovery is an isolated infestation. [...]

If it turns out the Randolph infestation is widespread there, or if ash borers turn up in some of the 6,000 traps that state officials set out this spring, then officials will know the beetle is here for the long term. At that point, officials will work to slow their spread by doing such things as enforcing the existing restrictions on the movement of firewood within the state.

Though it may be possible to save valued individual trees through application of insecticides, officials said, the environmental and financial costs of widespread treatment make it unlikely that all ash trees in the state would survive. The beetle has no natural predators in North America.

If the borers become firmly established in New York, Davies said, the plan is to slow their progress in the hope that new, more effective treatments can be developed to halt or wipe out the beetles. New biological and chemical treatments are currently under study, he said.

Read the full story at link.


Invasives putting parks officials in PA on alert


Environmental stewardship is second nature for borough parks commission chairwoman Nancy Fales.

The moment she hits the Trillium Trail along Squaw Run Road, Fales is pointing out the varied foliage, such as geraniums and May apples, but she is also — unwittingly — plucking the barrage of invasive weeds sprouting up.

"It just gets to be second nature," Fales says, laughing. "You get to know what they look like, and you want to get them out of there."

Invasives is the term used for species such as garlic mustard and Japanese knotweed, which prove a significant threat to native plants.

But the Fox Chapel Parks Commission is trying to thwart their invasion.

"By learning to recognize some of these plants, people can remove them from our green spaces and from their own property," Fales said

Read the full story at link.


War being waged in GA against destructive foreign plants

By LEE SHEARER - Athens Banner-Herald

ATHENS, Ga. -- The foreign invaders still are winning - but humans are beginning to fight back in the war against exotic invasive plants.

Mel Cochran, the greenways coordinator for Athens-Clarke County, is training an army of volunteers - this past weekend in a program she dubbed "Invasion of the Forest Snatchers" - to identify and kill plants like privet, English ivy, honeysuckle and bamboo in their own backyards. Cochran hopes some of them will return to the North Oconee Greenway to help rid Athens-area parks and natural areas of such plant pests.

"It's bad. Our floodplain is completely infested with privet everywhere. The whole upland forest is not bad, but we have a problem there with honeysuckle. But along the riverside, biodiversity is just gone," said Heather Alley, a program coordinator at the State Botanical Garden of Georgia.

"We're just trying to tackle what we can with volunteers," on the greenway and in Athens-Clarke parks, said Cochran, greenways and riverside parks facilities supervisor for the Athens-Clarke Department of Leisure Services.

Read the full story at link.


The value of federal 'earmarks' in Central NY

By Cornelius B. Murphy and Linda M. LeMura
The Post-Standard

We write to provide local context and details regarding Congressionally Designated Projects, also known as "earmarks." Our campuses are currently tracking CDP projects that we see as community-focused, capacity-building, economic vitality tools. The record shows that when elected officials partner with responsible local organizations, significant benefits do result for the entire community and region. Clearly, when substantive projects are openly advanced for review and advocacy, much good can result from the CDP system.

Central New York has many pressing needs, and our elected officials have proven to be aware of and responsive to those needs, consulting regularly with constituents and effectively and honorably marshaling federal resources on our behalf.

Our region has been fortunate to receive demonstrable, significant gains from CDP-funded projects... [One] recent example is the acquisition of sophisticated equipment to strengthen the SUNY-ESF Technology to Combat Asian Long Horned Beetles in New York Forests Project.

The invasive Asian beetle is a real danger to hardwood forests, which are critical to tourism and recreation, and sustain over 77,000 jobs from the forest products industry. They are a source of renewable energy and water.

Dr. Stephen Teale secured decades of private funding from the Alphawood Foundation to support critical research and development, including testing in the beetle's natural home of China, and proved he had a technology to attract and kill or neuter this potentially devastating species.

To fund timely and strategic demonstrations, SUNY-ESF sought CDP funding. Based on the existing high-quality research and the nature of the threat, SUNY-ESF earned the support of seven Central and Western New York sponsors. Today, this CDP is moving forward in the House Agriculture appropriations bill as a model of the recently reformed and transparent CDP process. Next spring, this technology should be in the field countering the threat.

Readers are well aware of the organizations and individuals that work to address Central New York's urgent needs each day. We also are deeply fortunate to have such committed elected representatives, who are willing to advocate on our behalf in order to connect federal resources with community needs.

Cornelius B. Murphy Jr. is president of the SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry; Linda M. LeMura is provost and academic vice president of Le Moyne College.

Read the full story at link.


Save the Sound awarded $1.5 MM federal stimulus grant for environmental projects

By Connecticut Fund for the Environment

Save the Sound and members of the state’s Congressional delegation were pleased to receive news today that two salt marsh restoration projects coordinated by Save the Sound would get a big boost from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) portion of the federal stimulus package. NOAA will be awarding $1.5 million through their Coastal and Marine Habitat Restoration Grants to two Save the Sound projects, the West River tidal gate replacement in New Haven and the Bride Brook culvert replacement at Rocky Neck State Park in East Lyme. [...]

The West River tide gate project in urban New Haven is the longer running of the two projects with a start date of July 2009 and an anticipated end date in the summer of 2010. Originally built to protect upstream infrastructure from flooding, these outdated and degrading colonial-era tide gates now protect Memorial Park for the many residents and park visitors. West River’s gates allow water flow in only one direction which creates marsh stagnation, a thriving habitat for invasive grasses, and poor quality water that cannot readily sustain marine life. The NOAA grant will allow construction workers and scientists to replace the existing gates with self-regulating tide gates that will allow water from Long Island Sound to flush the marsh, freshening the habitat, restoring the original ecosystem balance, and allowing fish easier passage to breeding grounds.

The Bride Brook project will restore a salt marsh system and spawning ground for alewives and herring by replacing a collapsing and occluded culvert with an open channel and large box culvert that is more hospitable to fish and marsh wildlife. The Bride Brook project is of a larger scope - in addition to the culvert replacement, over 20 acres of dune habitat will be replanted with native vegetation, and a new pedestrian and emergency vehicle passage will allow access to the eastern part of the park. [...]

Read the full story at link.


Indian River Lagoon will get federal stimulus money

By Jim Waymer,

The Indian River Lagoon will get a $6.7 million federal stimulus, of which $1.1 million will go toward restoring marshes in the Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge. [...]

The $2.7 million that will go to the St. Johns River Water Management District includes: — $1.1 million to restore impounded coastal wetlands at Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge by scraping down at least 12 miles of mosquito impoundment dike.

The project will restore more than 105 acres of spoil areas and borrow ditch to important coastal wetlands. The work will improve the function of nearly 900 more acres of wetland by removing dikes and spoil material.

St. Johns officials say the project will benefit commercially and recreationally import fish and other marine species, improve habitat for wetland wildlife and eliminate invasive plants from the area.


PATHOGEN ALERT: Late Blight of Potatoes and Tomatoes

From Massachusetts Pathogen Alert Outreach Project

Late blight, a destructive disease caused by Phytophthora infestans, is a pathogen of tomato and potato plants that has recently been found in several states in the Northeast, including Maine, New York and Pennsylvania. The late blight has been identified on tomato transplants sold in big box stores and other garden centers under the brand name Bonnie Plants, and has also been found in a potato field in Pennsylvania. Because a few instances of late blight have now been detected on tomato plants in our state, the Massachusetts Department of Agricultural Resources (MDAR) is asking anyone growing tomatoes or potatoes to monitor them for signs of the disease, in order to prevent its further spread.

Late blight, the disease that was responsible for the Irish potato famine in the mid-19th century, is caused by a fungus-like pathogen that spreads through splashing rain or wind currents. Spores can disperse from one to several miles from the point of origin, with the infection spreading most efficiently in conditions of high moisture and temperatures ranging from 60° to 80°F.

Symptoms of late blight include small olive green or brown lesions on the upper surface of the foliage or the stems. Under moist conditions, there is a white, fuzzy growth on the underside of the leaves where the lesions occur, but the absence of this growth does not rule out late blight. Eventually the lesions turn black, leaves start to die, and then the entire plant dies.

This is a serious, destructive disease that can spread quite rapidly when conditions are right, infecting an entire field within days. Any gardeners who suspect they have tomato or potato plants infected with late blight should dig them up, place them in plastic bags, and dispose of them in the trash. Commercial growers wishing to control late blight should begin spraying fungicide immediately, even before symptoms are spotted. Spraying must continue regularly, using a product containing chlorothalonil, a state restricted fungicide which requires certification to use. Growers should be prepared to destroy the plants if the late blight starts to become severe.

For more information about late blight of potato and tomato, including diagnostic images, see the following websites:

Breaking Info from UMass Extension
Fact sheet from Cornell University Extension
Photos for identification of Late Blight
Information about systemic fungicides from UMass Extension

If you think you have seen late blight of potato and tomato, you can report it on our website, or call the MDAR Plant Pest Hotline at 617-626-1779.

To sign up for pest and pathogen alerts from the Massachusetts Introduced Pests Outreach Project, visit this page.


Havard, Mass. water chestnut weed pull

By Julia Quinn-Szcesuil, The Harvard Post

Harvard, Ma. - A water chestnut weed pull, from an outsider’s view, sounds like a fun, quaint way to clear weeds from a local pond.

But for the Bare Hill Pond Watershed Management Committee and the people who know about invasive water species, a weed pull is serious, necessary business. In fact, it is only one of a list of strategies of an entire watershed management plan being used to help keep Harvard’s Bare Hill Pond healthy.

Bruce Leicher, chairman of the committee, spoke with the Harvard Post recently about the perils facing the pond and how they are being addressed. The plans are trickier than just pulling weeds — they involve debates about using chemical herbicides or environment-altering winter drawdowns, in which the water level of the pond is reduced in winter to kill weeds by freezing them.

It also involves a lot of trust between town committees and a holistic approach to the pond’s health. In addition, the committee must make sure the drawdowns are working and that whatever methods they bring to the pond are not going to cause harm to the ecosystem.

The next Water Chestnut Weed Pull is Saturday, July 8 from 9 am to 1 pm. [Blogger's note: Given that July 8 is a Wednesday, the correct date may be July 18.] Volunteers are needed. Call Leicher at 978-456-8151 for more information.

Read the full story and interview at link.


Schumer to speak on ash borer in Belmont

By Brian Quinn, Daily Reporter

BELMONT, NY - Sen. Charles Schumer, D-N.Y., plans to be at the Cornell Cooperative Extension Wednesday (July 1) to talk about trees and beetles — specifically, ash trees and the emerald ash borer (EAB).

He will be there from about 1 to 2 p.m., said Max Young of Schumer’s press office.

Young said Schumer has a three-point plan to assist the state Department of Environmental Conservation with funding and some other things. He didn’t elaborate further Monday.

“We’re going to be announcing it on Wednesday. This is something we’re very concerned, about not just because of the environment,” Young said. “This affects businesses. He’s going to be discussing the invasive species problem that’s going on all over the state, and methods of prevention.”

The EAB reportedly is generally transported with firewood.

According to the Web site, the EAB’s larvae (the immature stage) feed on the inner bark of ash trees, disrupting the tree's ability to transport water and nutrients. The beetle was found in Minnesota and New York this spring, according to the Web site. Since its discovery, EAB has killed tens of millions of ash trees in southeastern Michigan alone, with tens of millions more lost in Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Minnesota, Missouri, New York, Ohio, Ontario, Pennsylvania, Quebec, Virginia, West Virginia, and Wisconsin, according to the site.

Read the full story at link.


Monitoring the emerald ash borer

A new monitoring method for EAB detection was part of the Mark Whitmore Emerald Ash Borer webinar presentation on 06-25-09, available at

There is an effort underway by a few folks to conduct biosurveillance for EAB using the Cerceris wasp. Volunteers who would like to help out are welcome. This involves survey for this specific wasp species, placement of monitoring traps, routine inspection and data collection. The window for 2009 participation is limited by duration of EAB flight life cycle. Any interest from Cattaraugus or Chautauqua County near ground Zero would be well received.

Due to the time and other constraints please contact me directly if any Western New York PRISM folks have interest in receiving training and conducting wasp nest surveys.

Paul Fuhrmann
ecology and environment, inc.
368 Pleasantview Drive
Lancaster, New York 14086
Tel 716 684 8060 ext 2876
Fax 716 684 0844


Vital marine habitat under threat

Destruction of seagrass on a par with loss of rainforests and coral reefs.

By Daniel Cressey, Nature News

While the world has focused on the destruction mankind has brought to coral reefs, the massive loss of an equally important ecosystem has been widely ignored.

Now the first comprehensive assessment of the state of seagrass meadows around the world has revealed the damage that human activities have wrought on these economically and biologically essential areas.

"Seagrass loss rates are comparable to those reported for mangroves, coral reefs and tropical rainforests, and place seagrass meadows among the most threatened ecosystems on earth," write the authors of the synthesis, which is published this week in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. "Our report of mounting seagrass losses reveals a major global environmental crisis in coastal ecosystems, for which seagrasses are sentinels of change." [...]

Study author Frederick Short, a researcher at the University of New Hampshire, Durham, admits that there is "not that much data" available on seagrass, so the total loss is difficult to pin down exactly.

Still, he says, "It is looking quite bleak for many parts … we are abusing our coastal systems."

The vast majority of this decline, say Short and other experts, is attributable to human activity. Nutrient and sediment pollution from nearby human activities and the introduction of invasive species are both contributing to their decline. [...]

Read the full story at link.


Schumer's plan to combat emerald ash borer in NY

By Kristen Johnson, The Post-Journal

EAB trapChautauqua County is on the front lines of a war being waged against the invasive emerald ash borer and the stakes - the 900 million ash trees across New York - are high.

That was the message Wednesday from U.S. Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-New York, who came to Crawford Furniture to talk about the borer's impact on the state and its furniture manufacturers.

''The ash borer is not yet a problem in Chautauqua County - but if we do nothing, it will be,'' Schumer said. ''That's why we've got to act. The ash here in New York is the best ash in the United States.

The ash tree is one of our most abundant and economically beneficial trees. We can't stand by and do nothing.''

During his remarks, Schumer unveiled a three-point plan he said will help fight the spread of the ash borer.

He urged the federal Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, a division of the U.S. Department of Agriculture, to release emergency money and provide the technical assistance necessary to fight off the borer.

''APHIS coordinates eradication and suppression efforts for emerging plant pests,'' he said. ''With their assistance, the state Department of Environmental Conservation will be able to survey the state to determine the extent of the infestation and create and enact a plan to fight the spread of the ash borer. They have an obligation to provide this state with help to fight the infestation - the ash borer will have a devastating impact on the state's economy if we don't act.''

Schumer also urged the U.S. Forest Service to approve and release funding to fight the ash borer. He said the state DEC has applied for economic recovery funds that can be used for its invasive species early detection and rapid response project - funds that will be made available through the U.S. Forest Service.

''They requested $3.1 million not too long ago,'' Schumer said. ''If they get this money, they'll be able to put 60 people on the ground in campgrounds, parks and in the woods around the infected trees. We need that money and we need those people.''

Public education is an important part of fighting the ash borer infestation, Schumer said. He said he supports the DEC's recent application for another $2.5 million in funding from the U.S. Forest Service that will be used to help enforce firewood regulations, enact public education campaigns and improve infrastructure at campgrounds to help prevent the spread of the ash borer.

''The good news here is that we don't need legislation to get at this money,'' Schumer said. ''It's already been appropriated and the state agency has applied for it. In this case, the state is on the ball and it's the federal government that has to step up to the plate.''

Read the full story at link.

Above photo of purple trap, part of an effort by the state DEC to map the ash borer infestation. Post-Journal photo by Kristen Johnson.


Maine DEP Divers Try To Prevent Milfoil Spread

BELGRADE (NEWS CENTER) -- Divers from the Maine Department of Environmental Protection are in a race against time and nature as they try to remove a destructive invasive species from Salmon Lake in Belgrade. [...]

Only two outbreaks have been detected in Maine., one at a small private quarry in Scarbrough and the other in Salmon Lake.

Its presence is major concern. The lake flows into the entire Belgrade Lakes system.

"Eurasian Milfoil is a high priority for us, because it is a tenacious grower, it spreasds very quickly and you combine that with finding it in the Belgrade Lakes system, which is a gem of a lakes system in Maine, we treat this very seriously," said Paul Gregory, an environemtnal specialist with the DEP.

In five previous dives this summer, 260 plants were removed.

More than a hundred were found in the most recent dive, which is a sign that the plant is spreading.

Read the full story at link.


Victory is declared on Long Island in fight against invasive water plant

BY MICHAEL WHITE, The Riverhead News-Review

Ludwigia signRepresentatives of an amalgam of government and environmental groups announced Tuesday the "successful eradication" of an invasive South American plant that was choking off Peconic River fish habitats.

The speakers on the riverfront in Calverton credited not only inter-agency cooperation and grant money, but also 350 volunteers and 1,500 man-hours in the triumphant, three-year-long effort to clear Long Island's longest river of Ludwigia peploides, also known as water primrose.

The state's Department of Environmental Conservation's Long Island director, Peter Scully, kicked off the celebratory press event by noting what a rare occasion it was to declare victory over an invasive species.

He also thanked those involved, including DEC staff, The Nature Conservancy, Peconic Lakes Estates Civic Organization, Freshwater Anglers of Long Island and Long Island Bassmasters.

"This successful eradication program shows how, when organizations and volunteers work together toward a common goal, a seemingly impossible challenge can be overcome," he said.

But constant work is needed to keep the plant from again overtaking the river, officials said. And to keep other invasive species at bay.

"This is a real success story. But this is not over," said Rick Balla of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's New York City office. "There are lots of other plants and animals that are just waiting to get into the river and the watershed."

One of five DEC signs that outline the ongoing battle against the aquatic plant also was unveiled at the event. Each of the signs, all placed at access points to the river, shows pictures of the brightly colored, lush green plant -- ludwigia spreads like a blanket over slow-moving water -- and explains how swimmers, kayakers and anglers can identify and remove the weed.

"We've really knocked the weed back so that it's just a sprig here and a sprig there, but if those sprigs are left, it will come back," said DEC fisheries manager Charles Guthrie, explaining the idea behind the signs. "We didn't want to be in the business of planning major weed pulls every year. So what we thought we could do is recruit the other users of the river to help pull the weed whenever they saw it."

The movement to remove the plant from the river was launched in 2006, DEC officials said.

And while it's unclear why the aquatic plant began showing up in the river in 2003, one theory traces it to its ornamental use in landscaped ponds, said Laura Stephenson, the DEC's Peconic Estuary Program coordinator. "And it reproduces by fragments," she said. "So if you have a fragment and it breaks off and you put it somewhere else, it can form a whole new infestation. It can even get stuck on somebody's boat propeller, and then you put the boat in another body of water and there you go."

Although the spread of ludwigia currently is contained, maintenance harvesting events still are necessary throughout the river to prevent its return, DEC officials emphasized.

Two "weed pulls" are scheduled for this summer, the first July 11 and the second Aug. 8. Those willing to volunteer should contact Laura Stephensen at 631-444-0871.

Read the full story at link.


Phragmites: Good for Something

By Erin Schultz, The Suffolk Times

Be it a roof in Ireland, placemats in Michigan or an ink pen in New Hampshire, people around the globe are finding sensible uses for the stalk of the phragmites -- an invasive weed that's been an omnipresent nuisance on the North Fork for decades.

But in Southold [New York], the plants are being disposed of like any other garbage.

"If someone has a use for these things, I'd be happy to supply them," said Steve Marino, a wetland biologist from upstate who worked every day last week to finally clear the shoreline of Marion Lake of the harmful weed.

"It can be used," he said, adding that Europeans have been building thatched roofs out of phragmites stalks for hundreds of years.

Three years ago, New Hampshire resident Dave Kellam also picked up on the idea of recycling the invasive plant. He started a business venture called "Phragwrites," manufacturing ink pens from the stalks and selling them online at [...]

On Sunday and Monday, local Boy Scouts cut approximately 40,000 square feet from a phragmites-riddled area at Peconic Landing in Greenport. Their effort was part of an herbicide-free eradication effort by Cornell Cooperative Extension and the Department of Environmental Conservation.

Art Leudesdorf, supervisor of construction and projects at Peconic Landing, said that the stalks will be taken to the Southold landfill as "agricultural matter."

"We're disposing of them as best as we can," he said. But he added that a project focusing on recycling the reeds -- like building a thatched cottage -- would have been nice for the scouts.

"We just didn't have anything lined up," he said.

Back in East Marion, Ms. Luscher said she didn't have any "terrific ideas yet" on what to do with the dead phragmites from Marion Lake, but said she thought the concept of "Phragwrites" was "real cute."

Though last year was the first year "Phragwrites" made a profit, Mr. Kellam said he "could never make enough pens to use all of the phrag. Unfortunately, there is plenty for all of us."

Read the full article at link.


Phrag, for thatching : 7/2/2009

My company has thatched several roofs in NY, including 2 on Long Island using phragmites imported from Holland. It would be great to use local material. Cut in the winter months this would be an ideal project for a landscaping crew who are usually slow that time of year. 1-888-842-8241.


Destructive Asian longhorned beetle may already be in Rhode Island

By Ethan Shorey, The Valley Breeze

Buying local has taken on a whole new level of exigency.

If you fail to purchase your firewood from a local merchant this summer season, say those in the know, northern Rhode Island could quickly become a breeding ground for one of the most destructive pests North America has ever seen, one that could cause thousands of trees to be felled and devastate the nursery industry.

The matter is so urgent, they tell The Valley Breeze, in part because the Asian longhorned beetle may already be here.

"The likelihood of them being in Rhode Island is real because of our close proximity to Worcester (Mass.)," said Elizabeth Lopes-Duguay, spokeswoman for the Division of Agriculture with the Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management. "They may be here, but we just haven't found them yet."

The cost of eliminating this invasive species has run into the millions of dollars in cleanup, eradication and replanting efforts in past outbreaks across the nation, according to media accounts. Last summer the bug caused millions of dollars in damage to the Worcester area and the loss of thousands of trees, decimating the environment there.

The Asian longhorned beetle can't travel far on its own - only about 400 yards to find a new host tree - say officials, but a comfy ride on the back of a pickup truck can give the bug just the help it needs to spread like wildfire. [...]

The potentially catastrophic beetle situation in Rhode Island is so serious that it prompted dual bills in the Rhode Island Senate and House of Representatives this year that would declare the beetle a nuisance and make it a crime punishable by a $25,000 fine for bringing the species into the state.

According to a news release from the North Smithfield Conservation Commission, "Worcester's landscape has been drastically altered due to the more than 20,000 trees that have been removed during eradication."

"These tree-killing insects have no known predators in North America and the only way to stop their spread is to cut down and incinerate the wood of host trees," states the release.

Rhode Island has received a significant amount of financial assistance from the federal government to combat a potential outbreak, according to Duguay. The U.S. Department of Agriculture is attempting to eradicate the long-horned beetle due to the threat it poses to the nation's natural forests, according to multiple news reports.

Last fall, after the longhorned beetle was discovered in Worcester, representatives for the Rhode Island DEM removed and destroyed a half cord of firewood suspected of carrying insect larva from a home in Cranston. The homeowners there had received the wood from property they own in Worcester. [...]

Asian beetles emerge during the summer months, feeding on leaves and twigs, but may also be spotted around yards, patios, decks, on car hoods, or climbing the side of a house. The hardwood-loving beetle typically infests maple, birch, horse chestnut, poplar, willow and elm trees.

One misperception is that the adult beetle is responsible the major destruction of a tree. Instead, the adults lay their eggs just below the bark surface and then when the eggs hatch into larvae, the baby beetles then make their way down through the tree to emerge only near the end of their life cycle next summer. Even after the first heavy frost this fall kills off the adult longhorned beetle, said Duguay, the larvae will continue the damage through the winter months. Residents will know they have a beetle problem if they observe perfectly round, two-centimeter holes in their trees and "frass," or what looks like sawdust and is made up of tree shavings, sap, and insect excrement.

Rhode Island residents are encouraged to report any suspicious tree damage or potential insect sightings by calling a hotline number, 866-702-9938.

Read the complete article at link.


Monday, June 22, 2009

Week of June 22, 2009

Updated June 27

Program on alien plants to be held at Five Rivers Center, NY

Five Rivers CenterA program on the natural history of the common reed, or phragmites, will be conducted Tuesday, July 14, 7 PM, at Five Rivers Center, 56 Game Farm Road, Delmar, NY.

Phragmites is an invasive species that is threatening Five Rivers' wetlands. Join Center naturalists in a "plant posse" as we try to eradicate these plants near our pond by clipping them back. Bring gloves and clippers and dress for the outdoors.

This program is open to the public free of charge. Participants are urged to dress for outdoor activity. Water-friendly footgear is suggested. In the event of inclement weather this program may be canceled. For more information, call the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation's Five Rivers Environmental Education Center at (518) 475-0291.

Laurel Remus
Director of Public Affairs and Education


Milfoil discovered in Lake Placid, NY

VLMThe Board of Trustees of the Lake Placid Shore Owners' Association (LPSOA) today reported that a strain or strains of milfoil have been discovered at three sites on Lake Placid. Over the past week, two separate samples were removed from Paradox Bay and one from East Lake. Biologists working with the Adirondack Park Invasive Plant Program (APIPP) have tentatively identified two of the samples as Variable Leaf Milfoil (VLM).

The University of Maine Cooperative Extension describes Variable Leaf Milfoil as "an aggressive aquatic plant that can form dense mats that congest waterways and crowd out native aquatic plants. Thick growth of this plant can impair recreational uses of waterways including boating, swimming and fishing. Dense growth of variable-leaf milfoil degrades the native habitat of fish and other wildlife, and may also provide breeding areas for mosquitoes. The main method of dispersal of this plant appears to be fragmentation. Plant fragments are moved around by people, animals and water currents."

APIPP has not yet listed VLM as an aquatic invasive species, but has placed it on an invasives watch list. Locally, VLM is the dominant milfoil growth on Lake Flower in the Village of Saranac Lake, and is found on Long, and Raquette Lakes among others.

Lake Placid Shore Owners' Association President Mark Wilson released the following statement:

"The discovery of this potentially aggressive plant in our waters marks a significant moment in the natural history of Placid Lake, as well as a turning point for the broader Lake Placid/North Elba community and communities throughout the region. The threat posed by invasive organisms to our environment, and ultimately to the economic livelihood of our region is serious and advancing. The Village of Lake Placid, Town of North Elba, Shore Owner's Association, NYS Department of Environmental Conservation and other state and local agencies need to act quickly to contain any existing colonies of VLM and work to prevent any further introduction of aggressive aquatic plants into our lake."

State agencies, local governments and private boat launch owners throughout the northern Adirondacks must take responsibility for preventing the export of invasive or nuisance aquatic organisms by boats and trailers leaving their launch sites."

On Friday, June 26 and Sunday, June 28, APIPP personnel and LPSOA volunteers will be mapping outbreak locations on Paradox Bay and on East Lake in the vicinity of the Lake Placid Marina and the adjacent DEC boat launch site. Boaters operating in these areas are urged to do so with utmost caution and to avoid driving through any aquatic weed patch visible beneath the lake surface.

Posted by Mark Wilson
Adirondack Almanac

Illustration from the


2009 Southeast Herbicide Applicator Conference

September 22-24, 2009
Edgewater Beach Resort
Panama City Beach, Florida

Registration is now open for the 2009 Southeast Herbicide Applicator Conference.

The registration fee, combined with funds contributed by the generous sponsors, provides each attendee the educational program, course materials, a Book of Presentations, morning, mid-day and afternoon refreshments, the Tuesday evening networking social and Wednesday's welcome reception.

Early Reduced Registration Fee (By July 31, 2009) $225.00

Guest Fee (10 years of age and older) $75.00

Click here to view the agenda.

For additional information and updates on the conference, please bookmark and visit our website

Jhanna Gilbert, Conference Coordinator
University of Florida, IFAS
UF Leadership & Education Foundation, Inc.
Office of Conferences & Institutes


WEBINAR Announcement – Emerald Ash Borer in New York: The Insect, The Impact, and Your Options

The emerald ash borer (EAB) was detected in western New York on June 14, 2009. Although the insect was anticipated, its presence will result in significant changes in both rural and urban woodlands throughout the state. In other states, infestation by EAB resulted in significant losses among all ash species and unexpected stress on rural and urban owners, communities and businesses.

An Internet webinar will be offered on Thursday June 25 at 10:00 AM (eastern). Participation in the webinar requires a high-speed Internet connection and speakers to listen. The webinar will address the insect, its potential impact in New York, options for management, and identify sources of information. The webinar will be interactive and presented by Mark Whitmore of the Cornell University Department of Natural Resources. The webinar is free, but participants must register through to receive the URL to connect. More information about webinars is available at the ForestConnect website. The webinar will be recorded and available for subsequent viewing. Webinar technology is made available through Cornell University Cooperative Extension. More information about the emerald ash borer in New York is available at

If you have previously registered for webinars through ForestConnect, you do not need to re-register.

Peter J. Smallidge
NYS Extension Forester and Director, Arnot Teaching and Research Forest
Cornell University
116 Fernow HallIthaca, NY 14853


EAB Webinar available online

Great effort by Peter Smallidge, Mark Whitmore, Holly Menninger and others to make available the 06-25 EAB webinar. 06-25-09 Emerald Ash Borer presentation by Mark Whitmore-Cornell is available at

One of many archived resource PPTs from

Re: Monitoring or reporting suspected occurrence: EAB Incident Command System contact is Russ Biss, DEC Region 9 Natural Resources Supervisor. He can be reached at the command post at 716-938-6181. He may refer callers to others, depending on the nature of the call.

Paul Fuhrmann
ecology and environment, inc.


Handling eco-squatters in Kentucky

By JOHN FRIEDLEIN, The News-Enterprise (

As the saying goes, when a butterfly flaps its wings in China, a hurricane is created somewhere else in the world.

Well, what if a gypsy moth flaps its wings in Kentucky?

All sorts of things we’d probably never guess would happen are happening as invasive species overrun this region.

Those purple traps dangling from more than 100 trees in Hardin County, for instance, are part of a larger battle that may help keep the baseball bat industry from striking out.

Also, the proliferation of non-native species may even lead to more crime, said Songlin Fei, a University of Kentucky professor who has spent a lot of time mapping and monitoring invasives.

He called the situation created by their spread “critical.”

This state could play a crucial role keeping them in check. Because of its unique geographical position, it’s one of the key areas for stopping or slowing the assault, according to UK’s Invasive Species Working Group.

Emerald ash borers – whose spread is monitored by the purple traps – are just one of many invasive species wreaking havoc in the state. Fire ants are marching across the Tennessee border. Gypsy moths — which, like the borers, defoliate trees — are tramping into the northeastern part of Kentucky. Kudzu — well, don’t lie down too long outside. [...]

Read the full story at link

John Friedlein can be reached at (270) 505-1746 or jfriedlein@ His Stories from the Heartland column appears Mondays in The News-Enterprise.


Invasive species impact Pennsylvania's 2009 bass forecast

By Mike Bleech, Pennsylvania Game and Fish

The biggest news in Pennsylvania bass fishing over the past few years has been problems with smallmouth bass recruitment in the Susquehanna River. However, this should not mislead bass anglers into thinking that the outlook for 2009 is anything less than very good. Bad news makes better headlines than good news. There are plenty of good stories to tell.


However, before the good news there is an important message for Keystone State bass anglers about measures they can take to protect our bass resources. Largemouth bass virus has been documented in Pennsylvania since about 2005, most notably at Francis J. Sayers Lake, a lake in the central part of the commonwealth, which is extremely popular among bass tournament anglers.

More recently another virus, viral hemorrhagic septicemia, was detected in the Great Lakes. Regulations have been adopted in all Great Lakes states to prevent its spread. Guidelines for anglers are about the same as those for preventing the spread of largemouth bass virus, but there are specific regulations governing the movement of fish.

"I think prevention and awareness are important among anglers," said Bob Lorantas, Warmwater Unit leader for the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission. "It's best not to move bass around because you could potentially be introducing something you really don't want. And certainly if you fish out of state a lot, or fish a lot of different waters, using the sterilization techniques that are effective for zebra mussels would be a good procedure to avoid harming your favorite bass water."

Lorantas said that anglers should check the boat, motor and trailer for hitchhikers including weeds when they remove their boat from the water.

"Wash the boat hull with hot water or a high-pressure spray," he advised. "Drain the livewell, bilge and other compartments, and drain all standing water from the boat. Do not dump leftover bait into the water where you are fishing unless you collected the bait there.

"You may want to refrain from moving fish from Point A to Point B anywhere in the state because you run the risk of transporting harmful creatures that you really don't want to move around: microorganisms, disease organisms in particular, things that may actually do more harm than good," Lorantas said.

Anglers have done great damage to countless fisheries because they introduced nuisance invasive species. Sometimes this has been accidental, but in many cases, it has been intentional.

Often, anglers have introduced fish into waters because they wanted to create new fisheries for their favorite fish. In many cases, the results have been disastrous. A classic case is the carp, which was brought to America centuries ago by colonists. In Europe this species had been, and still is, highly prized, but in America it's still considered a "trash fish" that muddies the water, ruins habitat and devours the eggs of more popular species. [...]

Read the full article at link.


Microbes may be answer to invasive mussels


An eco-friendly bacteria that kills invasive mussels will be tested for the first time in Canada at the Decew Falls hydro plant.

Ontario Power Generation will monitor the specialized microbe's ability to kill zebra and quagga mussels, which threaten power production at the combined 170-megawatt power stations on Twelve Mile Creek in St. Catharines.

Normally, the power producer uses up to 20,000 litres of chlorine every year to control the tiny mussels at its Niagara generators, said Tony Van Oostrom, a senior environmental adviser for OPG.

"If we don't treat it, our cooling systems get plugged and the plant shuts down," Van Oostrom said of the fast-multiplying mussels, which are notorious for plugging water-intake pipes, ruining underwater machinery and coating the underside of boats.

Chlorine kills mussels, but it can also poison fish, plants and other aquatic life.

Van Oostrom said OPG has managed to cut down its total chlorine use from 100,000 litres a year over the last decade. "But if this works, we could stop using it completely," he said.

It has worked incredibly well in smaller-scale tests so far, said Daniel Molloy, a scientist with the New York State Museum who discovered the potential of Pseudomas fluorescens.

"We tested this bacteria in many small-scale trials," Molloy told a crowd at the announcement at Decew Falls Generating Station Tuesday. "It kills zebra and quagga mussels, but even more importantly, no other aquatic organism died. This is extraordinary."

Molloy has teamed up with a California company, Marrone Bio Innovations, to market the bacteria as a product. "This is not only the first Canadian trial for my little bacterium, but the first worldwide trial ... on this scale," he said.

The mashed-up microbes are introduced into the water as a food source for the bacteria-loving mollusks, which won't clam up to protect themselves as they do with chemical killers.

"They eat the stuff, they're happy and then they're dead," said Van Oostrom, who plans to have a full-scale test of the bacteria running by August.

Read the full story at link.


Maryland: Commissioners consider changes to weed-control ordinance

By HEATHER KEELS, The Herald-Mail

WASHINGTON COUNTY — As they considered potential changes to the county’s weed-control ordinance Tuesday morning, the Washington County Commissioners heard feedback from people with two very different visions for the future of residential subdivisions.

One side values the suburban tradition of neat, weed-free lawns with carpets of 2 1/2-inch grass.

The other, promoted by Washington County Soil Conservation District Manager Elmer Weibley, predicts a future in which tall, native grasses are not only permitted, but could be required in parts of new residential subdivisions as an environmental management strategy. [...]

Read the full story at link.


Popular or not, Maryland DNR is doing the right thing

Gail Mackiernan, Silver Spring

I want to respond to June 17 letters relative to the Department of Natural Resources' decision to eliminate exotic mute swans from the Chesapeake Bay. I continue to wonder why the writers express so little concern for the plight of the native species directly and indirectly harmed by mute swans.

These range from threatened water birds to blue crabs and other animals that depend on submerged vegetation for survival. (And make no mistake, mute swans eat a lot of Bay grasses, as has been shown in numerous peer-reviewed studies. These data are easy to find but some choose to ignore it.)

It is unfortunate that many are vocal in seeking protection for this voracious and aggressive bird while showing no concern over its impacts on our many beautiful native creatures or on the Bay environment itself.

Have they ever seen our native tundra swans flying in like white ghosts, to land in the autumn Bay after their long journey south from the Arctic? And, have they then seen the larger mute swan attack, drive off and even injure their smaller cousin, leading to continuing declines in their numbers? Those of us who spend time on the Bay can relate numerous instances.

And what about the summer grass beds eaten out by flocks of mute swans? Or the native birds that have been driven off by aggressive nesting mutes? Are these not also worthy of our concern?

Keep 500 mute swans? It only took a flock of 50 molting mutes to completely wipe out the only black skimmer colony in Maryland. In 1989 there were 500 mutes in the Bay; by 1999 these has exploded to almost 4,000! Mute swans can live 30 years and have high reproductive rate; only complete removal of the adults will halt their damage to the Bay's ecosystem.

Obviously humane methods should be used but the state needs to continue with its well-researched control efforts.

Popular or not, DNR is doing the correct thing — invasive, non-native species are one of the greatest threats to aquatic ecosystems worldwide and they should be eradicated wherever possible. For this reason Bay scientists and environmental groups such as the Chesapeake Bay Foundation, National Audubon Society, American Bird Conservancy as well as the Maryland Ornithological Society, all supported the state's 2003 decision to eliminate mute swans from the Chesapeake. The reasons for their support have not changed. [...]

Read the full letter at link.


War on milfoil resumes in New Hampshire's lakes

By Donna Rhodes,

LAKES REGION — A growing problem in N.H. is again drawing attention as crews set out to tackle milfoil problems in the lakes.

Spring is an opportune time to begin the task of eradication of this noxious weed as plants have not yet grown to their full potential. The state Department of Environmental Services has targeted areas like Jay's Marina in Tilton to address through a five-year plan of weed eradication.

2-4d, a chemical component known to not just defoliate but spread to the roots of the plant, was sprayed at the marina's dock area earlier this month. It is the first step in attacking the problem when it grows out of control.

"It's a process," said state limnologist Jody Connor. "They sprayed on Friday and will go back and spray again later when they can move some of the boats out of the way to get underneath them, too."

The chemical disperses in the water column quickly, heading into the root system of the milfoil. Although bass have nested in the area, they leave when disturbed by the spraying and return later. Connor assured that the chemical does not affect them as a part of the food chain.

"This chemical (2-4 d) is an herbicide and we use such a low concentration of it in the spraying," Connor said. "It's taken up through the root system of the plant very quickly and kills it, especially the crowns."

Following the spraying, Connor said a crew would most likely be sent in to hand harvest some of the remaining plants.

Read the full story at link.


Rocky Horror

By Jennifer Forman Orth, Invasive Species Weblog

A guy in New York is celebrating today because his ginormous, so-ugly-its-cute pet snakehead fish, named "Rocky," has been given a reprieve by the NY Department of Environmental Conservation. As long as he applies for a permit (and pays the $500 permit fee), he can keep Rocky in a tank.


Georgia panel suggests using fish to clear weeds from river

By Rob Pavey,

If you can't kill the weeds, maybe you can hire fish to eat them.

That was the consensus Monday of an Augusta Port Authority subcommittee working to find a solution for aquatic weeds that have all but closed off portions of the Savannah River.

"The grass carp is what the committee, apparently, wants to pursue," authority Chairman Frank Carl said. "But before we do anything, we need to get more specifics on how many carp, when and where to put them in, and all the details we need to build a budget."

Aquatic weeds in the river include dense mats of Brazilian elodea -- an invasive exotic -- that are choking shallow areas around homes and docks. The weed beds also trap litter and silt, causing the channel to gradually shrink or fill in.

Though control options include investing in a mechanical harvester or herbicides, the use of sterile grass carp that feed voraciously on the unwanted vegetation is probably the best idea, committee member Bill Bricker said.

Read the full story at link.


New York State DEC: Tangling with new invasive species

EABBy John Hopkins, Niagara Gazette

Another invasive species has arrived in Western New York, and state officials are taking up arms to eradicate the creatures.

Although it doesn’t pose a threat to humans, the emerald ash borer, a type of beetle native to Asia, has the potential to wipe out the ash tree population — on a grander scale than what Dutch elm disease did to urban landscapes in the 1960s and ’70s.

It would also, state officials say, have an impact on the state and national economies. The eastern U.S. produces $25 million in ash timber a year. When you factor in other businesses that benefit from ash wood, the economic losses nationwide could be more than $20 billion.

Officials say it was only a matter of time before the insect arrived in New York state.

“It is not surprising,” said state Agriculture Commissioner Patrick Hooker. “This beetle has been detected on either side of Lake Ontario for several years now and there is little that can be done to stop the natural spread of this devastating pest.”

Since its 2002 detection in the U.S., the beetle has migrated from where it was first found — the Detroit area — to 13 states and at least two Canadian provinces.


The adult beetle leaves behind a D-shaped hole that is difficult to notice at first.

Signs that a tree is infected by the beetle include the canopy dying off; a yellowing, extensive sprouting from the roots and trunk; and browning of leaves. Infested trees may also exhibit woodpecker damage.

Read the full story at link.


Lake Zoar, CT to be treated for Eurasian watermilfoil

MONROE-NEWTOWN-OXFORD-SOUTHBURY, CT. - Selected areas of Lake Zoar will be chemically treated Wednesday, July 1, with the USEPA/CT registered aquatic herbicide Reward.

This chemical treatment targets control of invasive and non-invasive Eurasian watermilfoil weed.

Approximately 41 acres of this 900 acre lake will be treated. Only specific treatment areas will be closed to all water uses, including swimming, fishing and boating, on the day of treatment only.

A map showing the specific treatment areas will be posted at the State Boat Ramp, at other public access sites to the lake and at the town offices in each of the four communities of Monroe, Newtown, Oxford and Southbury.

Prior to treatment, the lake shoreline in the treatment areas and at public access sites will be posted with printed signs, warning of the temporary water use restrictions.

In addition to the aforementioned restricted water uses, additional restrictions include no use of the lake water for watering livestock for five days (i.e. cattle, horses, etc., which does not apply to pets and wildlife that may drink the lake water); no use for irrigation for five days (watering lawns, shrubs, gardens or plants of any kind); and no use of the treated lake water for drinking for five days.

The Authority has engaged an independent, professional lake consultant who will monitor the effectiveness and results of this treatment. The chemical treatment will be performed by Aquatic Control Technology, Inc., of Sutton, Mass.

Aquatic Control is a leading lake management company that performs chemical treatments on more than 150 ponds/lakes each year in Connecticut alone. It has used this same herbicide previously at Bantam Lake and Lake Lillinonah with good success.

Those seeking additional information about this treatment may call Bernie Litzner at 203-736-6894.

Read the full story at link.


St. Lawrence Seaway's 50th anniversary soiled by invaders

By Dan Egan of the Journal Sentinel

Fifty years ago Friday, President Dwight Eisenhower and Britain's Queen Elizabeth II walked down a red carpet, climbed aboard a "floating palace" of a yacht named Britannia, and ceremoniously sailed through the St. Lambert lock near Montreal to hail the opening of the St. Lawrence Seaway.

The $470 million system of channels, locks and dams was built to open the Great Lakes to the rest of the world.

And it did, for better and for worse.

The Seaway has turned out to be something of a boutique regional transportation route for two primary commodities, inbound foreign steel and outbound domestic grain.

Yet, opening the once-isolated freshwater lakes to the rest of the world brought more than dollars. The invasive species that arrived with the foreign cargo have wrought ecological and economic chaos.

Zebra and quagga mussels are only two of about 60 foreign species that have arrived as hitchhikers aboard oceangoing vessels since the Seaway opened. And these little mollusks alone have cost us billions of dollars by plugging industrial water intakes, starving fish populations and triggering algae outbreaks that have trashed treasured shorelines.

"The damage invasive species have caused to the Great Lakes is astounding," said Dennis Schornack, former U.S. chair of the International Joint Commission. "But, what's most frustrating is that we still haven't closed this door."

A coalition of 50 organizations is marking Friday's anniversary with a renewed demand for changes in the shipping industry to protect the world's largest freshwater system. It has outlined seven principles it wants the industry to embrace in the coming years.

The principles call on the industry to stop dumping its biological pollution in harbors, drop any designs to expand the Seaway, minimize its ice-breaking activities in sensitive areas, and reduce air emissions, among other things.

Conservationists point to President Barack Obama's plan to pump new dollars into Great Lakes restoration efforts as reason to lean on the shipping industry to do more to protect the lakes.

"If the Obama administration is going to be investing nearly a half-billion dollars into restoration in the next year, then we have to ensure that shipping doesn't undo all that," said Jennifer Nalbone of the conservation group Great Lakes United.


The lakes are now home to more than 185 non-native species. In the past nine years, a new species has been discovered, on average, about every eight months - among the latest being a tiny red shrimp found in Lake Michigan in late 2006.

Conservationists want federal legislation requiring ship owners to install ballast tank treatment systems to kill freshwater invaders, though Congress has been working unsuccessfully on the issue for years.

Frustrated by the inaction, Great Lakes states have begun taking matters into their own hands. Michigan and New York have passed their own ballast regulations, which have successfully withstood legal action from the shipping industry. [...]

Read the full story at link.


Monday, June 15, 2009

Week of June 15, 2009

An Unsightly Algae Extends Its Grip to a Crucial New York Stream

By ANTHONY DEPALMA, The New York Times

SHANDAKEN, N.Y. — The Esopus Creek, a legendary Catskill Mountain fly fishing stream that is an integral part of New York City’s vast upstate drinking water system, is one of the latest bodies of water to be infected with Didymosphenia geminata, a fast-spreading single-cell algae that is better known to fishermen and biologists around the world as rock snot.

Although officials had been on the lookout for spreading Didymo, as it is also called, since it was first confirmed in New York two years ago, they had not found it in the Esopus when they canvassed the area last fall. A fly fisherman told state biologists a few weeks ago that he thought he had seen the telltale gray tendrils of Didymo clinging to rocks on the bed of the Esopus here, about 120 miles northwest of Manhattan.

Investigators later confirmed that Didymo had spread along 12 miles of the Esopus from Shandaken to the Ashokan Reservoir. Biologists believe it is being transported by sport fishermen. [...]

Read the full story at link.

Photo by Kelly Shimoda for The New York Times.


Canada and U.S. agree to renegotiate Great Lakes pact


NIAGARA FALLS, Ont. -- Canada and the U.S. have agreed to renegotiate their pact on protecting the Great Lakes.

In her first trip to Canada since becoming the U.S. Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton met with Foreign Affairs Minister Lawrence Cannon on Saturday to announce the reopening of the Great Lakes agreement, which was created in 1972 and last amended 22 years ago. The move is being cheered by environmentalists and politicians who say the Great Lakes agreement is in desperate need of an overhaul to deal with growing and new threats such as invasive species and climate change.

Read the full story at link.


Invasive plants on the way out at Fort Hill

EASTHAM, MASS. - Members of the National Park Service Northeast Exotic Plant Management Team arrived at Fort Hill in Eastham Wednesday for a week of working on control of exotic plant growth there. While the work is under way, said George Price, superintendent of Cape Cod National Seashore, some minor trail detours may be in effect.

“The Fort Hill areas is a significant ecological and cultural resource within the park,” Price said. “Over the past few years neighbors and visitors have seen the results of our efforts to restore this important landscape to what it once was – a native grass and shrub land with a sweeping view of Nauset Marsh. Our efforts to control non-native plans in this landscape continue.”

This special team, based at the Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Areas, travels around the Northeast assisting parks with exotic vegetation problems. This is the third year the team has come to Fort Hill to eradicate exotic shrubs and vines that are choking out native species and altering the normal structure and functioning of the ecosystem. The team will conduct spot applications of the herbicide Garlon 3A and Garlon 4, which affects broadleaf species and not grasses. The active ingredient in Garlon has been classified by the Environmental Protection Agency as “practically nontoxic” to mammals, fish, insects and invertebrates. The team members are licensed professionals “who take extreme care in applying herbicides so that only the target foliage is coated.”

Read the article at link.


Root Of The Problem: Curly Pondweed Should Be Gone By Fourth Of July

By Nick Dean,

The aquatic vegetation lining much of Chautauqua Lake's (NY) shoreline should be gone by July 4, according to officials.

Weeds to most, the water plant life presently prevalent in the lake is not Eurasian Milfoil, a weed which has been a problem in past years.

According to Rick Constantino, Chautauqua County Watershed Coordinator, the non-native weed is Curly Pondweed - an annual species which does not reach nuisance levels during the summer.

Read the story at link.


"Invasive Plants in the Northeast of Asia and America: Trading Problems, Trading Solutions."

Dates: 10-12 August 2009, at the University of Connecticut, Storrs, CT

Symposium sponsored by the New England Invasive Plant Center

For more information, the symposium agenda & schedule, and to register

This symposium will have open sessions with invited speakers and panel discussions, plus contributed presentations and posters. One objective of the symposium is to develop potential international research collaborations of mutual interest on the broad problem of biological invasions.

The invited participants will include scientists with interests in both pure and applied research related to invasive species biology from the U.S., Japan, South Korea, China and far eastern Russia. We have also invited selected scientists and policy makers from the U.S. and Asian government agencies. If you are interested in attending the symposium, or contributing talk or poster presentation go to:


Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Week of Jun 8, 2009

Updated June 14

N.Y. setting traps for invasive beetles

Dave Henderson, Ithaca Journal

New York is targeting another potential invasive species, a tree-eating beetle named the Emerald Ash Borer.

eabThe Department of Environmental Conservation will be deploying the purple prism traps in treelines throughout the state in an attempt to trap the beetles. There will also be a concentration in areas adjacent to neighboring states and Canadian provinces that have already detected this potentially devastating invasive species.

The main route that enables this insect, as well as other invasive species, to spread is from moving firewood from one place to another. That is why in 2008, New York adopted regulations that ban untreated firewood from entering the state and restricts intrastate movement of untreated firewood to no more than a 50-mile radius from its source (

New York has more than 900 million ash trees. Many communities are at particular risk because ash was widely planted as a street tree after Dutch elm disease killed many urban trees.

DEC's approach to monitoring for the insect is twofold: First, traps to attract and catch the EAB are being hung in ash trees within a 100-mile radius from previously documented EAB locations in Ontario and Quebec, Canada, and central Pennsylvania.

This month traps will be placed in Western New York areas including Chautauqua, Cattaraugus, Allegany, Erie, Wyoming, Niagara, Orleans, Genesee, Livingston and Monroe counties, and in Jefferson, St. Lawrence, Franklin, and Clinton counties along our northern border.

The DEC will also be monitoring "high-risk sites" such as campgrounds, major highway corridors, wood industries and locations with large ash populations. Nearly 6,000 traps will be deployed.

The bright purple, prism-shaped EAB traps are made of sticky-coated corrugated plastic and contain scented lures. After 45 days, the traps will be inspected and samples collected. After 90 days, the traps will be collected and removed from the trees.

Read the full article at link.


NYSDEC to track emerald ash borer

Adirondack Almanac

The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) is setting baited traps in ash trees across upstate New York in an effort to search for possible infestations of the Emerald Ash Borer (EAB), a tree-killing beetle. You will soon be seeing the purple prism traps deployed in treelines throughout New York, with a concentration in areas adjacent to neighboring states and Canadian provinces that have already detected this potentially devastating invasive species, including several Adirondack counties.

Research has shown that a main way EAB, as well as other invasive species, spread is from moving firewood from one place to another. That's why in 2008, New York adopted regulations that ban untreated firewood from entering the state and restricts intrastate movement of untreated firewood to no more than a 50-mile radius from its source.

According to the DEC, New York has more than 900 million ash trees, representing about 7 percent of all trees in the state, and all are at risk should EAB become established. Many communities are at particular risk because ash was widely planted as a street tree after Dutch elm disease killed many local elms.

Read the full story at link


Invasive red algae causes snarls for South Carolina shrimpers

The Island Packet & Beaufort Gazette

Biologists are monitoring red algae that has popped up around the Lowcountry, including in Beaufort County, and will be checking its possible spread to other parts of the South Carolina coast.

The seaweed, known as gracilaria, is growing quickly in the Charleston Harbor, said David Whitaker, a biologist with the S.C. Department of Natural Resources.

Fishermen traveling the coast have heard that shrimping nets have been tangled in and destroyed by the invasive plant.

"It's pretty bad from Charleston to Rockville," said Donald Jordan of Georgetown County, who owns the shrimp boat, Kelly Ann. "From Charleston on south is where it seems to be worse. I heard it was tearing some nets up."

Read the full story at link.


Brazilian peppers devour carbon dioxide, study finds

DOUG SWORD, Sarasota Herald-Tribune

SARASOTA - No one is suggesting that "Save the Brazilian Pepper" societies should start cropping up, but it turns out there is more to the noxious, invasive plant than its good looks.

Long decried as a weedy kin to poison ivy and a threatener of endangered species, the fast-growing pepper literally sucks carbon out of the atmosphere, according to a study.

Because of concerns over climate change, reducing the carbon footprint for a person or a community has become a cause celebre in environmental circles, perhaps positioning the pepper tree for a kinder public image.

But probably not.

The pepper has taken over an estimated 1 million acres, mainly in Florida's southern half. It endangers wildlife by replacing habitat that supports hundreds of species of birds while supporting only a handful itself. It costs governments and businesses millions to remove it from shorelines, highway medians and utility lines. And it is one of the factors stalling Everglades restoration.

Whatever benefit the plant may provide when it comes to carbon, the "negatives far outweigh the positives," said Kenneth Langeland, a professor at the University of Florida's Center for Aquatic and Invasive Species.

The new research was conducted by New College professor Meg Lowman in conjunction with Colorado State University.

Lowman acknowledges that the findings run counter to the generally murderous view toward the pepper.

"I'm not recommending any policy as a scientist. I'm just presenting the facts," she said. And it appears the fact is that the pepper is "an amazing storer of carbon."

Read the full article at link.


Japanese knotweed replacing purple loosestrife in New Hampshire

By CHELSEA CONABOY, Concord Monitor

JAPANESE KNOTWEED is replacing purple loosestrife as one of the most pervasive invasive species in the state. Knotweed came to the United States from Japan in the 1800s to be used mostly as a landscaping plant. It grows in thick clusters, similar to bamboo, and has no known predators here.

Unlike loosestrife, a pretty but insidious plant that can choke wetlands if left unchecked, there is no known biological means of controlling knotweed. For more than 10 years, the state has been battling loosestrife by shipping in a kind of beetle that eats the plant, weakening it and controlling its spread.

Doug Cygan, invasive species coordinator with the Department of Agriculture, said that plant is now under control, but the calls to his office regarding knotweed are increasing.

So far, Cygan said, there's no good biological means of controlling knotweed. He recommends using herbicide.

"Do not mow it," he said.

Mowing along highways has largely contributed to the spread of the plant. Each plant has several hundred nodes, or joints. When the plant is chopped up by a lawnmower, each node can sprout into a new plant. Cygan said the state has stopped mowing areas of knotweed and is removing populations of the plant that occur in areas of road construction.

For more information about controlling knotweed, call Cygan at 271-3488.


Position Announcement

Position: Invasive Plants Coordinator

Location: University of Georgia, Tifton, Georgia USA

Appointment: Grant-funded full-time position (salary $28,716 - $33,023 with benefits). The position is currently funded for one year with renewal contingent upon availability of continuing grant funds and satisfactory progress of employee

Available: Closing date for receipt of applications is June 26, 2009. Position could be available as early as July 15, 2009.

Position Description: This position will be the Invasive Plants Coordinator for the Center for Invasive Species and Ecosystem Health ( at the University of Georgia Tifton Campus.

Interested persons must complete official online University application at:; Select Search Postings, Enter Position Number:

Printable version of this e-mail at:

Please direct any and all questions to:
Dr. G. Keith Douce, Dr. David J. Moorhead or Chuck Bargeron
Phone: 229-386-3298
Center for Invasive Species and Ecosystem Health
Fax: 229-386-3352
The University of Georgia, Tifton GA


Connecticut's Moosup Pond being treated for slimy, invasive weed

By EMILY GROVES, Norwich Bulletin

Plainfield, Conn. — For more than six years, a slimy, green invasive species has been growing in Moosup Pond, sticking to swimmers, boats and fishing lines.

“It will take over the entire pond if it’s not dealt with,” Jeff Megin, president of the Moosup Pond Association, said of the weed known as Variable-Leaf Watermilfoil.

But Monday will mark the beginning of the end of the weeds’ growth. The pond will be treated with a herbicide to kill the weeds.

Funded by a mix of town and grant funds, the treatment, which will be conducted by Aquatic Control Technology Inc. of Sutton, Mass., will cost $15,000.

First Selectman Paul Sweet said the town had budgeted $5,000 for the procedure in the 2008-09 fiscal year, and the additional costs will be paid for by a $5,000 state Department of Environmental Protection grant and $5,000 from the town’s contingency fund. The town had planned to use another state DEP grant for the treatment, but the money was rescinded last month.

Megin said the treatment needs to be done in early June, and without the additional town funds, they would have had to wait until next year.

The pond will be closed Monday during treatment, but will reopen for fishing, swimming and boating Tuesday, Megin said. He said the herbicide, which is granulated pellets designed to kill the weeds at the root, will not harm the pond’s fish.

Megin said the only lasting effect of the treatment is that the water cannot be used for irrigation until further notice.

Megin said the treatment is 70 to 90 percent effective, but the town will likely need to do another smaller scale treatment in two years, to mop up any remaining weeds.

Read the full story at link.


Mass. students tackle invading pepperweed

Mish Michaels, TV38

pepperweedEver heard of Pepperweed? If so, you have trouble. This foreign invader or invasive species came in over the years with other seeds from Europe and Asia. Now these weeds are taking up residence in the Northeast, locally choking out native plants in salt marshes on the North Shore.

"This is one of the northern most points where Pepperweed is being found," said Liz Duff, Mass Audubon's Education Coordinator. I met up with Liz and several students from the Sparhawk School in Salisbury to tackle thick patches of Pepperweed, one root at a time.

"Pepperweed is pretty easy to recognize. It grows on the upper edge of a salt marsh and is visible from the road. The tall, skinny plant grows 1 to 3 feet tall and has alternating leaves. The roots smell like horseradish. The seeds travel in the tides and can spread rapidly that way," Liz explained to me and the students. "Our job is to pull the plants and our aim is to get as much of the root out as possible."

This weeding can be done from May to July before the plants flower. The students went to work -- yes, me too -- pulling and bagging the invaders. Last year, volunteers removed 3,000 pounds of Pepperweed. All of it incinerated to prevent any further spread.

Pepperweed is a threat to biodiversity and wetland habitats.

"The invasive plants are also a threat to agricultural lands which is another economic factor," stated Liz. "It's only been the past decade that we have been seeing it here in the Great Marsh region stretching from Salisbury down to Gloucester."

The students were enthusiastic and eager to change the landscape. "You're out in the field pulling the weeds and feeling like you are actually doing something great," said Sparhawk student Allison Lord. "It just shows that the average person can really make a difference," added Patrick O'Connell.

"Invasives like Pepperweed are threatening biodiversity of our native ecosystems. We need to fight back," concluded Liz. If you would like to volunteer, there are plenty of opportunities to tackle invasive species including Pepperweed.

Great Marsh Pepperweed Eradication Project

Read the story and watch the video at link.


Update of Noxious Weed Regulations

June 9, 2009

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) is proposing to make several changes to the regulations governing the importation and interstate movement of noxious weeds. We would add definitions of terms used in the regulations, add details regarding the process of applying for the permits used to import or move noxious weeds, add a requirement for the treatment of niger seed and add provisions for petitioning to add a taxon to or remove a taxon from the noxious weed lists. These changes would update the regulations to reflect current statutory authority and program operations and improve the effectiveness of the regulations.

Read the full story at link.


Emerald Ash Borer Found in Westmoreland County, PA; Quarantine Imposed

HARRISBURG, Pa., June 10 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Emerald Ash Borer beetles have been found in Allegheny Township, Westmoreland County, bringing to seven the number of counties where the ash tree-destroying pest has been identified, Agriculture Secretary Dennis Wolff announced today.

The invasive beetle was first detected in Pennsylvania in the summer of 2007 in Butler County, and subsequently was found in Allegheny, Beaver, Lawrence, Mercer and Mifflin counties. To help slow the spread of the beetle, the state-imposed quarantine for those six counties is being expanded to include Westmoreland County.

State and federal Emerald Ash Borer quarantines restrict the movement from the quarantine area of ash nursery stock, green lumber and any other ash material, including logs, stumps, roots and branches, and all wood chips.

This summer, 20 crews -- 15 in Western Pennsylvania, one in Mifflin County, and four in the eastern part of the state -- and two regional coordinators have been deployed to assess the spread of the beetle. The Westmoreland County crew detected the new infestation.

"Our survey crews are assessing the extent of the infestation in Westmoreland County and surrounding areas," said Wolff. "We remind consumers to heed the quarantine when traveling and camping this spring and summer -- not just in the quarantined areas but throughout Pennsylvania -- to prevent any further spread of the beetle."

Due to the difficulty in distinguishing between species of hardwood firewood, all hardwood firewood -- including ash, oak, maple and hickory -- are considered quarantined.

Read the full story at link.


Vermont lake group considers fees to fund treatment

By Tom Mitchell,

CASTLETON — A private group is looking into the possible creation of a special services district on Lake Bomoseen that could impose fees on docks and boats to help pay for a herbicide to kill Eurasian water milfoil."

There is … a proposal by the water-quality committee of the LBA to seek to establish the lake as a separate specials service district," Michael Rosen, president of the Lake Bomoseen Association, said recently.

The plan or model now being presented by the water-quality committee to LBA directors involves in part the use of herbicides to kill Eurasian water milfoil, Rosen said. Creation of the services district would allow the body to charge fees that could support a treatment, Rosen said. Creation of a district would require approval by the Legislature, he added.

Funds raised by formation of such a district could also be used to pay for other long-term methods of managing the weed problem in the lake and other nuisances like zebra mussels that already invade the lake, Rosen said.

Bonding, grants and donations could help finance management projects, officials said. "Unfortunately, it appears the (Eurasian water) milfoil is fairly extensive, depending on the season and summer, year and weather," Rosen said.

LBA has begun looking at a special service district on Lake George as an example of what could be done on Bomoseen, he said.

A commission on the lake levies a $25 fee on docks for example, Barbara Woodard, an LBA director, said. The district also imposes fees for stickers on boats using the lake, she said. "You'd pick one up if you were going out for the day," Woodard said. The funds are used to pay for marine patrols, she said.

Read the full storyh at link.


Albany Pine Bush Preserve is looking for volunteers

The Albany Pine Bush Preserve is looking for volunteers of all ages for a tree girdling event to help native plants on Sat. June 17 from 9:00 - 12:00. For more information, go to and click on volunteer opportunities in the right hand column -or - sign up with


Online reporting form for wavyleaf basketgrass

To all land stewards and those concerned about invasive species,

Just wanted to let you know that an online reporting form for wavyleaf basketgrass locations is now up and operating on DNR's WLBG website:, on the Get Involved page. Information that comes in via this form (plus phone calls, FAX and email) will be ground-truthed and shared with the folks at the Center for Invasive Species and Ecosystem Health at the University of
Georgia, for the WeedsUS mapping effort. Over the course of this summer, we will be adding already reported sites to a master map, which will be posted both at WeedsUS and the DNR site.

Please make use of this method of reporting WLBG sites! And let me know of any difficulties you have with the form, or suggestions you may have for improving it.

Thank you,

Kerrie L. Kyde
Habitat Ecologist/ Invasive Plant Specialist
Wildlife and Heritage Service
Maryland Department of Natural Resources
11960 Clopper Road
Gaithersburg, MD 20878