Monday, December 20, 2010

Week of December 20, 2010

Efforts to kill invasive plant worry beekeepers

www.syracuse.com

Associated Press

DETROIT (AP) — An effort to fight an invasive plant with insects that eat it has drawn opposition from beekeepers who worry it will leave them without an adequate source of nectar and pollen for their honeybees.

Researchers in Michigan released bugs that feed on spotted knapweed earlier this year. Western states and big honey producers, such as Minnesota and Wisconsin, previously used so-called biological control to help restrain the flowering plant, which produces chemicals that deter the growth of other plants and crowds out native vegetation.

It's not clear why Michigan beekeepers are so worried about knapweed control when those in other states haven't been as much. Some in the industry speculated Michigan beekeepers may rely on knapweed more for nectar and pollen than those in other states. Regardless, Michigan is among the nation's top 10 honey producers and the home of beekeepers who ship hives as far as Florida and California to pollinate orchards and fields. Beekeepers argue that if they're hurt, the farmers who rely on them will suffer too.

"If it wasn't for this plant, we wouldn't even be here," said Kirk Jones, the 57-year-old founder of Sleeping Bear Farms in the northwest Lower Peninsula community of Beulah. If knapweed control efforts prove successful, he said: "It could be detrimental to the future of the beekeeping industry."

The dispute between the state and its beekeepers is happening amid a massive die-off of bees nationwide. Colony collapse disorder has killed about 30 percent of the nation's bees each year since it was recognized in 2006, according to a report the U.S. Department of Agriculture released Friday. The bees are crucial for the production of 130 crops worth more than $15 billion a year, it said.

Michigan officials said they're keenly aware of the importance beekeepers place on knapweed, which blooms in late July and early August when many other plants aren't flowering. As part of the knapweed fight, they're looking at what kinds of native flowers could be planted to replace it — both to sustain bees and improve the diversity of wildflowers statewide.

"It's not an attempt to take away a resource that beekeepers find valuable, but to replace it with one that might have more functionality," said Ken Rauscher, director of the pesticide and plant pest management division for the Michigan Department of Agriculture, which worked with federal officials to oversee the release of knapweed-eating bugs.

Beekeepers, however, are skeptical about other flowers' ability to do the job.

Spotted knapweed, also known as starthistle, was introduced in the U.S. from Europe in the late 1800s. It was brought over accidentally, either in contaminated seed or ships' ballast water, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture. The plant has been seen in Michigan for at least a century but has spread more vigorously in the past two decades. It thrives in sandy soils, such as dunes, and in former farm fields, along roads and in prairies.

Many beekeepers have set up shop near large expanses of knapweed, said Roger Hoopingarner, president of the Michigan Beekeepers Association. Its loss, and a subsequent loss of bees, would hurt honey production, but the bigger effect would come from not having bees to pollinate fruit and vegetable crops, he said.

Michigan is second only to California in the diversity of crops it produces and is among is among the nation's leaders in the production of red tart cherries, apples and blueberries — all of which need pollination.

"If spotted knapweed goes away and there is nothing that will replace it, then some of these beekeepers . . . will just leave the state," Hoopingarner said. "They go now to California or other states for pollination, and they won't come back because there will be no incentive to come back."

Two knapweed-eating flies were released in Michigan in the 1990s, but those don't appear to have curbed its spread, Rauscher said. So in August, researchers released two types of weevils on state land in five counties. Scientists in other states have found success in killing off knapweed with a combination of flies and weevils.

Michigan officials don't expect to wipe out knapweed; the hope is to pare it back. Doug Landis, a Michigan State University professor who specializes in biological control, is working with the state on the project. He said replacing knapweed with other flowers is a must because of the way Michigan beekeepers use the plant.

"That will maintain the nectar flow," Landis said.

Terry Klein, 70, of TM Klein and Sons Honey in St. Charles, has about 1,000 colonies of bees in central Michigan. He said he fears the economically-troubled state won't have the resources needed to fully replant areas where knapweed is killed off. The burden will be on beekeepers, who will have to raise the prices they charge Michigan farmers for pollination, he said.

"To me, it's a double-whammy," Klein said. "Costing Michigan jobs. Costing our status as a fruit-growing state."

The pilot project will be evaluated over the next year or two, and Michigan officials don't expect to release more insects until that is done, Rauscher said. Even if the project is expanded, it could be 10 to 15 years before the bugs have a substantial impact on the presence of knapweed, leaving time for beekeepers to adjust, he said.

And, the Michigan Beekeepers' Hoopingarner added, even if Michigan doesn't introduce more bugs, they could eventually spread there from surrounding states where they're used to control knapweed.

Read the article at link.

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Thursday, December 16, 2010

Week of December 13, 2010

Invisible invasive species altering ecosystems

EAST LANSING, Mich. — While Asian carp, gypsy moths and zebra mussels hog invasive-species headlines, many invisible invaders are altering ecosystems and flourishing outside of the limelight.

A study by Elena Litchman, Michigan State University associate professor of ecology, sheds light on why invasive microbial invaders shouldn’t be overlooked or underestimated.

“Invasive microbes have many of the same traits as their larger, ‘macro’ counterparts and have the potential to significantly impact terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems,” said Litchman, whose research appears in the December issue of Ecology Letters. “Global change can exacerbate microbial invasions, so they will likely increase in the future.”

The public and scientists seem to be well-informed of the spread of Asian carp, zebra mussels and gypsy moths – all invasive macroorganisms. But what about exotic cyanobacteria, also called “blue-green algae,” which have found their way into North American and European lakes? Or a nitrogen-fixing rhizobium, a soil microorganism that has emigrated from Australia to Portugal?

In the Great Lakes, a brackish diatom (a microscopic alga), has colonized Lake Michigan probably via ballast-water discharge and is now the largest diatom in the waterways. How will it change the ecosystem? What changes has it caused already?

While many people have a working knowledge of the American chestnut blight, which was caused by a pathogenic parasitic fungus, most invasive microbes fly beneath the radar of the public and scientists alike. Virtually nothing has been published on the potential of nonpathogenic microbes on a large scale, according to Litchman.

“From scientific research, we know that the chestnut blight dramatically altered forests and how the spread of West Nile virus is associated with significant bird die-offs,” she said. “Currently, there are no published examples of the impacts of invasive nonpathogenic microbes, but there is growing evidence that they could change ecosystems in equally dramatic fashion.”

The lack of attention to microbial invasions compared to macroorganisms is due, in part, to their cryptic nature and the difficulty of detection. Lack of detection combined with climate change could potentially exacerbate these microbial invasions, which could continue to grow as the earth’s weather patterns change, Litchman added.

“Increasing air temperatures have been implicated in the spread of malaria and other pathogenic microbes into higher altitudes and latitudes,” she said. “Likewise, climate change could stimulate invasions by tropical and subtropical nonpathogenic microbes into temperate latitudes.”

Litchman’s research is funded in part by the National Science Foundation.

Read the story at link

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Weed Final Rule APHIS 2007-0146-15 effective December 10, 2010

APHIS is amending the regulations governing the importation and interstate movement of noxious weeds by adding definitions of terms used in the regulations, adding details regarding the process of applying for the permits used to import or move noxious weeds, adding a requirement for the treatment of Niger seed, and adding provisions for petitioning to add a taxon to or remove a taxon from the noxious weed lists. These changes will update the regulations to reflect current statutory authority and program operations and improve the effectiveness of the regulations. We are also adding seven taxa to the list of terrestrial noxious weeds and to the list of seeds with no tolerances applicable to their introduction. This action will prevent the introduction or dissemination of these noxious weeds into or within the United States.

For details see this link.

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Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Week of November 8, 2010

Invasive Species Threaten Future of N.Y. Forests

The spread of Asian insects kills key American species in Northeast

By A. Drew Muscente

Published on The Cornell Daily Sun (http://www.cornellsun.com)

It is illegal to transport some firewood across the state of New York — doing so may lead to consequences.

On March 29 of last year, the N.Y. Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) instituted a series of regulations, strictly limiting the movement of firewood. Its import is prohibited unless the firewood is first treated with insecticides; local wood may not be transported more than 50 miles from its natural source; and all firewood must be accompanied by a receipt.

These regulations represent the response to invasive insect species, particularly the emerald ash borer, the hemlock woolly adelgid and the eastern longhorned beetle. One anonymous source characterized these species as “the holy trinity of invasive species” — a powerful trifecta of Asian insects capable of drastically altering the natural American landscape.

The emerald ash borer, Agrilus planipennis, originally immigrated from Asia to southeastern Michigan in 2002, probably by hitchhiking in wood packing material bound for Detroit’s industrial district. The species uses ash trees for reproduction, laying larvae in the inner-bark of the tree. Each larva feeds on the wood, creating intricate tunnels as it eats. Located below the bark, each tunnel obstructs the movement of water and nutrients, eventually killing the ash tree.

Infested ash trees can be identified by distinctive D-shaped spots — holes through which the mature insects exited the inner bark. In addition, these trees are frequently covered with patches of leaves, dead branches and white flecks, caused by woodpeckers, digging into the wood for the larvae.

Consequently, the invasion resulted in the destruction of ash tree populations throughout Michigan state.

Ash trees are not a significant component of Michigan forests, which are already fragmented due to midwestern agriculture. In contrast, local forests are contiguous across the state and have relatively more ash trees per unit area — this creates a superhighway for the spread of the insect.

“The issue in all of Pennsylvania and New York is that they are more heavily forested,” said Prof. John Vandenberg, entomology.

Vandenberg studies the emerald ash borer in Michigan. While returning to Ithaca last summer, Vandenberg discovered the symptoms on an ash tree at a rest stop in New York state. He explained that a traveler with firewood likely carried the ash borer to that tree.

Since then, the emerald ash borer has appeared in separate regions throughout the entire state.

According to Mark C. Whitmore, an extension associate in the department of natural resources, ash trees constitute only 10 percent of local forests. However, in conjunction with other insects, the emerald ash borer poses a serious threat to the natural diversity of forests.

The hemlock woolly adelgid, Adelges tsugae, first entered the U.S. from East Asia in 1924, and it is now found throughout the eastern states. It is responsible for the widespread mortality of hemlock, a group of pine tree species. This insect sucks the nutrient-rich sap from the hemlock wood, reducing the overall transport of necessary materials in the plant.

The eastern longhorned beetle, Anoplophora glabripennis, is native to China, but surfaced in New York City during the 1990s; in recent years, the beetle has invaded regions of Massachusetts, forcing the state to implement multiple quarantine strategies. Thus far, these efforts have successfully contained the insect.

Like the emerald ash borer, the Asian longhorned beetle reproduces in the wood of northeastern trees. However, this insect also kills poplar, willow, elm, chestnut, birch and maple trees.

“It’s hard to think about the northeast without sugar maple,” Mark Whitmore said. After all, the combined potential of the three insects is extensive — ash, hemlock, birch and maple trees represent significant portions of local forests. This leaves only oak, hickory, and beech trees, as well as some less dominate groups of plants, unthreatened by invasive species.

The trifecta makes forests increasingly vulnerable to further insect invasions. In addition, as they reduce the number of ash, hemlock and other trees, natural processes that emerged over thousands of years may also change.

For instance, hemlock trees are confined to moist, cool regions, typically on higher slopes and along bodies of water — this includes the northeastern side of Beebe Lake. Consequently, hemlock branches frequently shade lakes, ponds and streams, cooling the water.

The destruction of Hemlock stands by the adelgid could drastically alter the ecology of waterways, particularly the behavior of trout fish.

Similar, the ash borer and the longhorned beetle could potentially impact local economics. Ash trees are common sources of wood for high-quality electric guitars, drum and baseball bats. Ash trees are also common street trees.

“When those trees die, it’s going to be a significant health hazard,” explained Mark Whitmore. “Hopefully by planning, I think communities will be able to minimize the economic impact that will occur.”

Cornell extension services is currently working to reduce the spread of the insects, particularly the emerald ash borer. These efforts include mapping the distribution of ash trees throughout the state, educating the public about the risks of moving firewood, and working with scientists to introduce resistance genes from Asian trees into populations of the local Ash species.

Insecticides are an effective solution to save pet trees in backyards, but because insecticides must be used repeatedly in large quantities, it is not a practical solution to end the statewide infestation. Insecticides also pose significant health risks and will inevitably harm other plants.

“I think the only hope we have is to slow it down,” Whitmore said. “Communities need to start acting now; they have no time to wait.”

“Sometimes it’s the scientist who finds the species, but usually, it’s Joe Public who finds something in his backyard,” related Holly Menninger, coordinator of the N.Y. Invasive Species Research Institute at CALS. “We need as many eyes and ears on the ground to find these things.”

Communities can reduce the impact of the insect by taking inventory of their local ash trees, reducing the spread of contaminated firewood and communicating with state agencies. Scientists hope that they may eventually produce resistant ash trees, capable of dealing with the insect. This work, however, is still only in its infancy.

“People like to compare it to the loss of chestnut and elms … They just disappeared real quickly,” Mark Whitmore explained.

Dutch elm disease and chestnut blight — two diseases caused by fungi of Asian origin — obliterated populations of elm and chestnut trees during the 20th century. Elm trees actually adorned University property until they were killed by the disease. Both species survived.

Immature chestnut trees can be found in the wild. Because their roots are fairly resistant to the fungus, they survive, but produce only limited growth of shoots.

The difference is this: chestnut and elm tree genes remain in the stunted offspring of both species. When ash trees, hemlock and other species die due to the activities of this invasive trifecta, they will likely disappear forever — their genes will just simply be gone.

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Tuesday, October 26, 2010

A Tribute to Steven M. Flint

APIPP’s fall/winter 2010 newsletter features a tribute to Steve Flint.

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Monday, October 11, 2010

Week of October 11, 2010

Groups join forces to combat invasive species in Eightmile River

River
Published in The Day (www.theday.com)

The committee in charge of programs in the Eightmile River watershed, which extends into Salem, Lyme and East Haddam [Connecticut], signed an agreement Monday to take a regional approach to combating invasive species.

The agreement is the first of its kind in Connecticut, the Eightmile River Coordinating Committee said in a news release, although there have been others in watersheds in Massachusetts, New York, New Hampshire and elsewhere. The agreement establishes the watershed as the Eightmile River Invasive Species Management Area, with priority given to early detection of new populations of invasive species such as Japanese Stiltgrass and Pale Swallowwort. In 2008, the Eightmile watershed was designated as part of the National Park Service's Wild and Scenic Rivers program. "There is remarkable diversity of life forms in the oasis called the Eightmile River watershed," David Bingham, president of the Salem Land Trust, said in a news release. "This agreement is an important step toward education and cooperation, so that by working together we can prevent and mitigate the significant threats from invasive species and keep our oasis healthy."

Groups signing the agreement included the coordinating committee; the Nature Conservancy; the Town of Lyme; the land trust of Lyme, Salem and East Haddam, and the National Park Service. The U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service is also expected to sign on as a partner. Part of the watershed management plan written for the wild and scenic program includes providing education to landowners about controlling invasive species and other efforts to stop their spread.

"The Eightmile River watershed has a significant amount of protected open space," said David Gumbart, assistant director of land management for the Nature Conservancy's Connecticut chapter.

For information about invasive species, visit www.hort.uconn.edu/cipwg. For information about the Eightmile watershed invasive species management area, call Gumbart at (203) 568-6290.

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Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Week of October 4, 2010

Dear Friends of the Adirondack Park Invasive Plant Program,

On Friday, October 1, our friend Steven Flint died peacefully in the presence of family at Hospice in Dayton Ohio after a courageous battle against cancer. The service will be held on Saturday, October 9th, 2-4, at Littleton and Rue Funeral Home, 830 North Limestone Street, Springfield, Ohio 45503. Remembrances and condolences can be sent to his family at 122 Owners Drive Tremont City, OH 45372.

Steven's "can-do" spirit lives on in countless partners, landowners, volunteers, interns and students whom he mentored and inspired throughout his 15 years in conservation with The Nature Conservancy.

Steven's influence reached many and his contributions to stewardship are witnessed each day in Adirondack lands and waters.

Hilary Smith
Director, Adirondack Park Invasive Plant Program
The Nature Conservancy - Adirondack Chapter

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Friday, August 20, 2010

Week of August 23, 2010

Emerald Ash Borer (EAB) in New York State

What is Known, Predictable, and Expected in Western New York

The news is not good!

EAB Update and Informational Meeting
August 31st 2010 - 2:00 pm
Woodlawn Beach State Park
3580 Lake Shore Road (Rt. 5) at Rt. 179 Interchange, Blasdell NY

Sponsored by Western New York Partnership for Regional Invasive Species Management (WNY PRISM)

Presenters will address EAB identification, physiology, habitat, surveillance and monitoring, known occurrences, EAB damage visual keys and descriptors followed by a question and answer period.

Co-Sponsors and Presenters include:

• NYS Office of Parks Recreation and Historic Preservation
• NYS Department of Environmental Conservation Region 9
• NYS Department of Agriculture and Markets
• USDA Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS)
• Erie County Environmental Education Institute (ECEEI)

EAB is on the move across NYS. How will this impact the eight county region of WNY? Can’t attend this meeting and meet the experts? Find current information on EAB occurrence and quarantine areas in NYS:

NYSDAM CAPS
NYSDEC
NYS IS Clearinghouse

Point of Contact: Paul Fuhrmann - WNY PRISM pfuhrmann@ene.com 716 684 8060

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Monday, August 16, 2010

Week of August 16, 2010

Invasive Species Survey Discovers First European Marine Shrimp to Invade North America

From Judith Pederson, Ph.D.
MIT Sea Grant College Program

Cambridge, Mass. ~ The first European shrimp to invade North America has been found in Salem, Massachusetts, 17 miles north of Boston, according to scientists participating in a "rapid assessment" survey of invasive species along the New England coast.

The shrimp was discovered on July 31 while scientists were searching for another invader, an Asian shrimp recently discovered in Long Island Sound. The new European shrimp, known as Palaemon elegans, which is edible, can reach 2½ inches in length. The shrimp was found in Salem's Hawthorne Cove Marina. A team of scientists returned on August 9 to Salem and found a large population, collecting over 70 shrimp at Hawthorne and at near-by Palmer's Cove Yacht Club. The shrimp's identity was confirmed by Dr. Sammy De Grave of Oxford University's (Oxford, England) Museum of Natural History.

"This is a major discovery," said Dr. James T. Carlton, Director of the Williams College – Mystic Seaport Maritime Studies Program (Mystic CT), and a survey participant. "This is a well-known and well-studied shrimp in Europe, which will help us make predictions as to what the impact of this species may be in America," he said.

"The fact that ballast water has been released from Europe into New England harbors for over 100 years and that this is the first shrimp from the eastern Atlantic Ocean to invade suggests that environmental changes either in Europe or North America may have led to this introduction," stated Dr. Carlton.

The shrimp was most likely introduced by the release of ballast water from commercial overseas vessels from Europe, according to Dr. Judith Pederson, of the MIT Sea Grant Program (Cambridge MA), one of the survey leaders,

Known as the "Rock Pool Prawn" in England, Palaemon elegans is a carnivore, consuming large numbers of smaller crustaceans. "Recent studies in Sweden revealed that this shrimp can eat so many smaller animals that green algae growth is no longer controlled, and the increased mass of algae in turn may smother eelgrass beds" noted Dr. Carlton.

Studies are now being planned to examine what impacts the Rock Pool Prawn may have in America, including competition with native shrimp, and whether climate change in a now-warmer Gulf of Maine may play a role in its successful invasion.

"Eradication of this shrimp is not likely to be possible," said Dr. Pederson, "emphasizing all the more the need for continued vigilance in monitoring the vectors that bring in new invasions that could have major ecological or economic impacts to our coastal resources. It is exactly these types of much-needed surveys that permit us to detect new invaders and launch studies to understand what effects they may have."

Involving scientists from North and South America and Europe, this is the fourth survey since 2000 that has documented marine invasive species in New England. The week-long Rapid Assessment Survey focuses on the marine life found in harbors, ports, and marinas, in order to provide a baseline for biodiversity change and to detect new invasions. The Massachusetts portion of the 2010 survey was supported by the Massachusetts Bays Estuary Program, the Massachusetts Office of Coastal Zone Management, MIT Sea Grant, and The Northeast Aquatic Nuisance Species Panel.

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Fly Fishers Serving as Transports for Noxious Little Invaders

By Felicity Barringer
The New York Times

For fly fishers who pride themselves on a conservationist ethic, it hurts to discover that they may be trampling on that ethic every time they wade into a trout stream.

Blame their boots — or, more precisely, their felt soles. Growing scientific evidence suggests that felt, which helps anglers stay upright on slick rocks, is also a vehicle for noxious microorganisms that hitchhike to new places and disrupt freshwater ecosystems.

That is why Alaska and Vermont recently approved bans on felt-soled boots and Maryland plans to do so soon.

“If you were trying to design a material to transport microscopic material around,” said Jack Williams, an expert on invasive species with the environmental group Trout Unlimited, “felt on the bottom of someone’s boots in a stream would be as close to perfection as you could find.”

The response among fishermen threatened with the loss of soles that cling to slippery rocks parallels the five stages of grief.

There is denial (the science is wrong), anger (why should I fall on my tail for the good of the planet?), bargaining (I will wash them, I will disinfect them, I will dry them), depression (I cannot afford new boots) and, finally, acceptance (I will go feltless if I must). ...

Read the full story at link.

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Adirondack Mountain Club (ADK) urges hikers to brush off invasive species

From the Adirondack Almanack

The Adirondack Mountain Club (ADK) is urging hikers to give their boots a good brushing after each hike to remove any seeds of invasive plant species and help prevent their spread to other wild areas.

“Because of the rapid spread of invasive species such as garlic mustard, Japanese knotweed and wild parsnip, hikers should include a whisk broom or brush as part of their hiking gear,” said Neil Woodworth, executive director of the Adirondack Mountain Club. “By giving your boots or shoes a good brushing before leaving the area, you can help prevent seeds from spreading to the next trail you hike.”

Hikers should also clean their clothing, backpacks and equipment before going to a new area to hike. Campers should shake out their tents before breaking camp to dislodge invasive seeds.

Invasive plants tend to push out native species and disrupt natural habitats, and some pose serious health threats for humans. The sap of giant hogweed, when combined with moisture and sunlight, can cause severe skin and eye irritation, painful blistering, permanent scarring and blindness. If you see it, don’t touch it. Information on identifying and controlling giant hogweed is available on the Department of Environmental Conservation website. If you find giant hogweed growing in the wild, call the DEC hotline, (845) 256-3111. Information about the health effects of exposure to giant hogweed is available online....

Read the full story at link.

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Pennsylvania gets help to combat invasive pests

The Tribune-Democrat

Pennsylvania’s ongoing efforts to control destructive forest pests and invasive vegetation in state forests and parks received an infusion of funds through the recent approval of more than $350,000 in federal grants, the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources announced Monday.

Five USDA Forest Service grants are earmarked for DCNR’s bureaus of forestry and state parks for tracking and control of the emerald ash borer, hemlock woolly adelgid and Asian longhorned beetle, as well as the suppression of invasive plants and restoration of native species.

“This invaluable financial support also is a real testament to the effectiveness of programs planned and already in place to protect the health of our state forests and state parklands,” said Daniel Devlin, Bureau of Forestry director. “All of these grants were competitive, meaning other states also were vying for funding.”

The largest federal grant, $125,000, will enable the bureau’s Forest Pest Management section to implement and demonstrate various management techniques for controlling the emerald ash borer, a non-native invasive forest pest killing all species of ash that has been detected in 16 Pennsylvania counties.

Lesser funding amounts are earmarked for the tracking and suppression of the hemlock woolly adelgid, another non-native invasive forest pest proving deadly to Pennsylvania’s state tree, the Eastern hemlock.

Also, transfer of firewood – directly linked to the spread of the Asian longhorned beetle and emerald ash borer – will be monitored closely in state campgrounds as well as visual surveys under a newly funded plan.

Meanwhile, Pennsylvania’s state parks and forests, some sections of which are overrun with barberry, purple loosestrife, common reed (Phragmites) and other invasive vegetation, will be targeted with new suppression efforts, as well as plantings of native species.

For more information on forest insect pest management, invasive vegetation and native plant species, go to www.dcnr.state.pa.us.

Read the story at link.

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Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Week of August 9, 2010

TREE-KILLING BEETLE DETECTED IN THE CATSKILL FOREST PRESERVE

Separate Detection in Livingston County;
Firewood Outreach Planned for Watkins Glen Race Week


New York State Department of Environmental Conservation Commissioner Pete Grannis announced the discovery of a well-established Emerald Ash Borer (EAB) infestation in northern Ulster County that includes land within the Catskill Park’s Forest Preserve. EAB is a small but destructive beetle that infests and kills North American ash tree species, including green, white, black and blue ash
.
The discovery comes as a result of surveying efforts by DEC, the New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets (DAM) and the federal Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) after the initial discovery of an adult EAB specimen in Saugerties on July 15.

“This latest discovery of EAB is particularly troubling because it occurred within the boundaries of one of the state’s two constitutionally protected forest preserves,” Commissioner Grannis said. “This should be a wake-up call for everyone who enjoys New York’s forests and woodlands. We know that the transportation of firewood causes the spread of this destructive pest, so everyone should do their part to protect our trees: Don't transport firewood. Buy your wood locally.”

Staff from DEC, APHIS and DAM have begun further investigative surveying of the initial site and the surrounding area. Evidence of EAB has since been found at a total of 19 sites spread over an area of approximately 15 square miles, encompassing the Ulster County towns of Saugerties, Ulster, Kingston, Woodstock and Hurley. Infested trees are now estimated to be in the hundreds and the center of the infestation appears to be in the vicinity of the hamlet of Ruby.

EAB has also been confirmed in two new counties. A specimen on private land in Catskill, Greene County, was confirmed this week and is likely an extension of the Ulster County infestation. The agencies confirmed the presence of EAB in a federally-deployed trap on a public right-of-way in Caledonia, Livingston County. Staff are continuing surveys to delineate the EAB presence in those and surrounding areas.

“New York State and our partners are evaluating the options available to us and learning from the experiences of other states that have battled EAB,” said Director of DEC's Division of Lands and Forests and New York’s State Forester Robert K. Davies. “Our strategy will focus on measures that have been shown to slow the spread of EAB infestations. Meanwhile, in order to protect our forest resources, we want to re-emphasize that the public can help by complying with our restrictions on firewood movement.”

It is suspected that the spread of EAB is primarily due to the movement of infested firewood and wood products from one place to another. The recent discovery of EAB within the Catskill Forest Preserve is a reminder that many of New York State's forests and parklands are high-risk areas due to firewood movement by campers. Identification of dead and dying ash trees, especially within popular campgrounds and parklands, may require additional measures to ensure the safety of campers and other visitors.

New York has more than 900 million ash trees, representing about 7 percent of all trees in the state.

DEC is receiving significant cooperation from the state Department of Transportation and Office of Parks Recreation and Historic Preservation and numerous other educational and not-for-profit partners. In response to the new EAB detections, DEC has also requested assistance from the state’s Forest Products Industry in restricting the movement of ash.

Public Awareness

In 2008, the state established firewood regulations that prohibit out-of-state transport of untreated firewood and intra-state movement of untreated firewood more than 50 miles from its source (http://www.dec.ny.gov/animals/28722.html). Visitors to campgrounds in New York should get firewood at the campground or from a local vendor. Ask for a receipt or label that has the firewood’s local source.
In an effort to further increase awareness, DEC and APHIS staff will be conducting an extensive outreach and education effort for campers attending this weekend’s NASCAR racing event at Watkins Glen International. DEC Environmental Conservation Officers will also set up roadside check stations along certain routes leading into the race track to inspect firewood and provide information about state and federal restrictions in place to slow the spread of invasive species.

For those choosing to transport firewood within New York, it must have a receipt or label that has the firewood's source and it must remain within 50 miles of that source. For firewood not purchased (i.e., cut from personal property) one must have a Self-Issued Certificate of Source http://www.dec.ny.gov/docs/lands_forests_pdf/selfisscert.pdf, and it must be sourced within 50 miles of your destination. Only firewood labeled as meeting New York's heat treatment standards to kill pests (kiln-dried) may be transported into the state and further than 50 miles from the firewood's source.

DEC, DAM and APHIS ask the public to be aware of signs of infestation in ash trees on their property and in their community. If someone suspects an ash tree could be infested by EAB, go to the websites below for more information. If damage is consistent with the known symptoms of EAB infestation, report suspected damage to the state by calling 1-866-640-0652 for appropriate action as time and resources allow.

For more information, visit the following web pages: www.aphis.usda.gov/plant_health/plant_pest_info/emerald_ash_b/index.shtml http://www.agmkt.state.ny.us/CAPS/pdf/Emerald%20Ash%20Borer%20Poster.pdf
http://www.dec.ny.gov/animals/7253.html

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Hitchhiking Bacteria Can Go Against the Flow

ScienceDaily (Aug. 10, 2010) — A new study co-authored by professor Kam Tang of the Virginia Institute of Marine Science reveals that tiny aquatic organisms known as "water fleas" play an important role in carrying hitchhiking bacteria to otherwise inaccessible lake and ocean habitats.

The article, "Bacteria dispersal by hitchhiking on zooplankton," appeared in the June 29 issue of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. It was co-authored by scientists from the Leibniz-Institute of Freshwater Ecology and Inland Fisheries in Stechlin, Germany.

Bacteria and other microorganisms are key components of aquatic ecosystems, nurturing the base of the food web and recycling organic matter into carbon, nitrogen, and other elemental constituents of global biogeochemical cycles. Some, like Vibrio, can cause disease. Vibrio is responsible for cholera and other water- and shellfish-borne illnesses....

Aquatic hitchhikers

The team's study, says Tang, clearly shows that "bacteria, including pathogens, are able to travel and cross aquatic boundaries by hitchhiking on migrating organisms, thus facilitating exchanges between separate microbial communities and allowing access to otherwise inaccessible resources."

The authors note that "unlike slowly sinking aggregates and other detritus that mostly transport bacteria downward, mobile and migrating hosts can cover long distances rapidly and disperse bacteria in all directions repeatedly and effectively." [...]

Although the team conducted their study in freshwater lakes and with freshwater organisms, Tang says their findings likely pertain to ocean ecosystems as well. "Many species of marine zooplankton migrate long distances vertically on daily or seasonal time scales, or during different stages of their life cycle," he says. "They may therefore transport and disperse bacteria over long distances, affecting the ecology and physiology of even deep-sea microbes."

Read the full story here: Link

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Emerald ash borer may devastate lumber industry

Pennsylvania expands wood quarantine

By Cliff White - www.centredaily.com

The forestry products industry stands to lose up to 10 percent of its business if a pest with an appetite for ash trees is not deterred.

The emerald ash borer, a green beetle originally from Asia, is eating its way through the state’s 300 million estimated ash trees. Since its first sighting in Pennsylvania, near Pittsburgh in 2007, it has spread into 17 counties, including Centre County, where it was first spotted in June.

Pennsylvania Forest Products Association Executive Director Paul Lyskava said the state’s forestry products industry, which employs 60,000 people, could take a “substantial” hit if the rapid spread of the bug isn’t stopped.

“Losing that species is something that, from an economic standpoint, would be disastrous,” Lyskava said.

This week, the state Department of Agriculture expanded a quarantine restricting the movement of ash and firewood to 43 Pennsylvania counties. The quarantine requires ash to be treated through one of several processes before it can leave the quarantine area.

Pennsylvania ash trees account for between five and 10 percent of the hardwood lumber produced and sold in the state, he said. That adds up to an annual hit of tens of millions of dollars to the industry and the potential loss of hundreds or thousands of jobs if ash trees disappear entirely within the state.

Read more at link.

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Coordinated effort needed in battle with invasive species

By JEFF MEYERS Staff Writer, PressRepublican.com

PAUL SMITHS (New York) -- Non-native plants and animals have been spreading into new communities for centuries and likely will continue to do so for a long time.

But never before have invasive species met with such opposition from a growing number of people who are determined to understand, control and eliminate nuisance species from their environment.

Nearly 150 people attended a two-day workshop at Paul Smith's College this week to take a look at the impact non-native species have had on the ecology and economy of the northeastern United States and discuss ways to improve the community's response to the invaders.

NOT HOPELESS

"Sometimes this issue is assessed as being so big, so complicated and so hopeless," said David Strayer, freshwater ecologist for the Cary Ecosystem Studies and keynote speaker for opening-day presentations, held at the rustic Student Services building.

Those assessments sometimes prevent people from truly getting involved in efforts to reduce or eliminate existing populations of nuisance species or in preventing the spread of new unwanted species, he said.

It is not a new problem but one that has impacted the nation for centuries.

"Invaders arrived a long time ago with well-established and widespread populations," Strayer said. "We had nearly 125 (invasive) species by the mid-19th century."

PROS AND CONS

The complexity of dealing with those non-native species is that they have offered both beneficial and harmful impacts, he added.

"Some species are pests and cause large amounts of economic problems," he said, noting that estimates have suggested that dealing with invasive species costs the United States around $138 billion annually.

However, non-native species have also had positive impacts, he added, mentioning largemouth and smallmouth bass and other species of sports fish that are not native to America but play major roles in fishing circles.

Each species needs to be dealt with individually, Strayer said. There is no simple means for reducing or eliminating all invasive species, and good impacts have to be weighed with the bad.

"We have to assess the actual impacts. We have to decide if control is desirable, if control is possible."

Officials, communities and individuals all have to be more proactive in the battle against invading species, he suggested, using the example of what would happen if officials working on the oil spill in the Gulf decided to take 20 years to assess the problem before taking steps to reduce the leak by one-half.

LISTING INVASIVES

Steve Sanford, director of the Office of Invasive Species Coordination for the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation, gave an overview of the state's efforts to expand its invasive-species policies, noting that 10 new species have entered the state since his department was created in 2008.

The state is attempting to develop an official list of invasive species to help develop regulations in how we deal with unwanted pests, he said, adding that the purple loosestrife is a commonly recognized nuisance but is still being sold in nurseries.

OPTIMISTIC

Hilary Smith, director of the Adirondack Park Invasive Plant Program, offered information specific to the battle against invasives in the Adirondacks.

Due to its success, the program has been used as a template for other regions across the state where non-native species have caused considerably more problems than within the park.

"Some invasive species are gaining ground," she cautioned the attendees. "But there are opportunities for protecting the Adirondacks. This is a lot of land that is still intact."

GET INVOLVED

Dan Spada, supervisor of the Natural Resource Analysis for the Adirondack Park Agency, wrapped up the opening-day presentations with a look at the future of invasives, calling for the public to get involved in helping to prevent the introduction of new species, limit the spread of existing species and reduce the impact invasives have on the environment and economy.

Read the article at link.

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Thursday, July 22, 2010

Week of July 19, 2010

EMERALD ASH BORER DETECTED IN STEUBEN AND ULSTER COUNTIES

Additional Investigation Planned After Invasive Beetles Found in Traps

New York State Department of Environmental Conservation Commissioner Pete Grannis and state Agriculture Commissioner Patrick Hooker today announced the discovery of the Emerald Ash Borer (EAB) on private properties in the Town of Bath, Steuben County, and Town of Saugerties, Ulster County. The EAB is a small but destructive beetle that infests and kills North American ash tree species, including green, white, black, and blue ash.

The first detection of EAB in New York was in the town of Randolph, Cattaraugus County, in June 2009 (http://www.dec.ny.gov/animals/56774.html). Since the Randolph find, state and federal officials have implemented an extensive monitoring effort that includes the deployment of approximately 7,500 EAB purple traps in ash trees in high risk locations including major transportation corridors.

The Steuben County discovery occurred on July 12 when a state Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) staff member inspected one of the state’s EAB purple traps. The traps are sticky and contain a chemical lure that attracts adult EAB. The detection was confirmed this week by Cornell University. The Ulster County discovery occurred on July 15 after USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) staff member check of a federally-deployed EAB trap and confirmed by USDA APHIS. Each EAB trap had one confirmed EAB specimen.

Commissioner Grannis said: “DEC, the landowners, and our federal, state and local partners will work closely to study the extent of EAB’s presence in the newly-confirmed area and take the appropriate steps to protect the state’s ash resources. We have reason to believe that the movement of EAB to these new areas was due to the movement of firewood, and as summer is now in full swing, we again remind campers throughout the state that they too can help prevent the spread of harmful invasives by not hauling firewood to campgrounds and instead buying firewood locally.”

Commissioner Hooker said: “As we continue to find EAB it is important for us all to recognize the challenges we face from this pest and other invasive species. We are currently working to contain EAB, however, in spite of our best efforts, science and some models suggest that EAB is nearly impossible to contain and will likely spread into other areas of the state in the next several years. The Department of Agriculture and Markets is administering a quarantine designed to slow the spread of this pest. Residents can assist the state by being aware of how to identify and report unusual bugs.”

New York has more than 900 million ash trees, representing about seven percent of all trees in the state, and all are at risk. This is just the latest in a series of terrestrial and aquatic invasive species detections across New York State, including the Asian Longhorned Beetle, Sirex woodwasp, didymo, zebra mussels, and Eurasian water milfoil. They have prompted the state to strengthen regulations, increase educational outreach, and encourage ways of limiting the unintentional spread of these potentially devastating pests throughout the state.

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 (http://www.dec.ny.gov/animals/28722.html). This was done as a precaution against the introduction and spread of EAB and other invasive species because of the documented risk of transmission by moving firewood. DEC’s firewood regulations prohibiting out-of-state transport of untreated firewood and intra-state movement of untreated firewood more than 50 miles remain in effect and are extremely important tools. After more than three years of outreach and education efforts about the risks of moving firewood and the state’s regulation, DEC is increasing its enforcement efforts to prevent the movement of untreated firewood into and around New York.

Yvonne DeMarino, State Plant Health Director for USDA APHIS, said: “We are working in cooperation with the state to detect, control and prevent the human-assisted spread of this pest. This is a huge undertaking and therefore we also need the support and cooperation of every New Yorker to promise not to move firewood.”

New York State has been actively surveying for EAB since 2003, inspecting declining ash trees and setting detection tools statewide.

THE EMERALD ASH BORER:

The EAB has metallic green wing covers and a coppery red or purple abdomen; it is small enough to fit easily on a penny (photos: http://www.agmkt.state.ny.us/CAPS/pdf/Emerald%20Ash%20Borer%20Poster.pdf and http://www.dec.ny.gov/animals/7253.html). Damage is caused by the larvae, which feed in tunnels called galleries in the phloem just below the bark. The serpentine galleries disrupt water and nutrient transport, causing branches, and eventually the entire tree, to die. Adult beetles leave
distinctive D-shaped exit holes in the outer bark of the branches and the trunk. Other signs of infestation include tree canopy dieback, yellowing, extensive sprouting from the roots and trunk (called "epicormic shoots"). Infested trees may also exhibit woodpecker damage from larvae extraction.

Since its discovery in southeastern Michigan in 2002, the EAB is responsible for the death and decline of tens of millions of ash trees in the U.S. Today the beetle has been detected in 14 states and two neighboring Canadian provinces. The primary way this insect spreads is when firewood and wood products are moved from one place to another. Many of New York State’s forests and parklands are high-risk areas due to firewood movement.

WHAT IS BEING DONE NOW:

A cooperative effort among USDA, New York State, Cornell and SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry will conduct a thorough delimiting survey of trees to assess the extent of beetles in both areas. Information from this survey will help determine the response strategy.

The New York Invasive Species Council and DEC’s Office of Invasive Species Coordination were established in 2007 to help detect new invasive species outbreaks and rapidly respond to such incidents. Further follow-up to slow the spread of this very destructive forest insect will depend on funding made available. New York is working with state and federal legislators and agencies to inform them of the recent finds and the urgent need to identify additional funding sources to address these new occurrences.

WHAT OTHERS CAN DO:

New Yorkers are urged to take the following steps to keep EAB from spreading to other areas of the State:

• Leave all firewood at home - please do not bring it to campgrounds or parks.
• Get your firewood at the campground or from a local vendor - ask for a receipt or label that has the firewood's local source.
• If you choose to transport firewood within New York State:
o It must have a receipt or label that has the firewood's source and it must remain within 50 miles of that source.
o For firewood not purchased (i.e., cut from your own property) you must have a Self-Issued Certificate of Source, and it must be sourced within 50 miles of your destination.
o Only firewood labeled as meeting New York's heat treatment standards to kill pests (kiln-dried) may be transported into the state and further than 50 miles from the firewood's source.
• Watch for signs of infestation in your ash trees. If you suspect your ash tree could be infested by EAB, go to the websites below for more information. If damage is consistent with the known symptoms of EAB infestation, report suspected damage to the state by calling 1-866-640-0652 for appropriate action as time and resources allow.

For more information, visit the following web pages: www.aphis.usda.gov/plant_health/plant_pest_info/emerald_ash_b/index.shtml
http://www.agmkt.state.ny.us/CAPS/pdf/Emerald%20Ash%20Borer%20Poster.pdf
http://www.dec.ny.gov/animals/7253.html

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Emerald Ash Borer and Asian Long-horned Beetle Identification and Survey Workshop

Tuesday, August 3 – Thursday, August 5, 2010

The Catskill Regional Invasive Species Partnership (CRISP) will be hosting a 3-day emerald ash borer and Asian long-horned beetle identification and survey workshop from Tuesday August 3rd through Thursday August 5th. The workshop will be held in Newburgh, NY and transportation will be provided from pick-up locations along Rt.
28. Lunch will also be provided.

Tuesday morning will be devoted to classroom instruction with speakers from NYS Dept. of Ag and Markets and the USDA CAPS program. Tuesday afternoon and Wednesday and Thursday will be hands-on field surveys of industrial hubs around Newburgh. These hubs are likely introduction points for the region and are important places to survey.

More information and the agenda for the instructional portion of the workshop will be posted on the CRISP page
(http://www.catskillcenter.org/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=56&Itemid=92
)
shortly. Keep an eye out for other upcoming events on this page too.

It is important that CRISP members and Catskills residents are trained in the latest survey techniques so that we can mount an early detection effort for these dangerous forest pests. If you can not commit to the full 3-day training, please consider coming for Tuesday's instructional portion.

Spaces are limited so please RSVP soon. For any questions feel free to email Meredith Taylor at mtaylor[at]catskillcenter.org or call 845-586-2611. Please share the flyer with anyone who may be interested.

Meredith Taylor
Catskills Educator
The Catskill Center for Conservation and Development PO Box 504
43355 Route 28
Arkville, NY 12406

ww.catskillcenter.org
Healthy Ecosystems - Vibrant Communities

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Thursday, June 17, 2010

June 2010

Gone fishing. Be back soon. :-)

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Week of May 17, 2010


Vermont Cities Marathon Run for Steven Flint and Cancer Survivors


Urgent message from Kyle Williams, NYS Department of Transportation, APIPP Partner, and friend...

For the better part of the last decade, Steven Flint, employee of the Adirondack Chapter of the Nature Conservancy in Keene Valley, NY, has been a stewardship leader in the battle to protect the Adirondack Park and surrounding Regions from the environmental, economic, and societal harm caused by invasive plants. Through the Adirondack Park Invasive Plant Program (APIPP), I have personally known Steven to be passionate in his dedication and a sincere friend to everyone involved with the management of invasive plants. Whether your particular interest rests in the back country areas, at public campgrounds or along the highways, byways, streams or lakeshores of the Northcountry, Steven has been your unsung advocate. As many of you know, Steven continues to wage a fierce personal battle against the ultimate invader - cancer.

During this incredibly difficult time in Steven’s life, he could use our support and help in covering his mounting medical costs as his cancer continues to spread. To help raise money for Steven’s on-going treatment, and to increase awareness of the plight of all cancer survivors, I’m asking you to consider participating in this special event.

On the morning of May 30, 2010, I’ll have the honor of running the KeyBank Vermont Cities Marathon in Burlington, VT and dedicating this effort to Steven Flint and cancer survivor awareness. Throughout the 26.2 mile race, I’ll be attired head-to-toe in cancer survivor awareness “Livestrong” clothing (think of 160 pound banana), bearing a special tribute to Steven. Race information and official results can be found at www.runvermont.org/ In the Marathon Spirit, I’m asking that you consider a monetary donation towards Steven’s medical costs on a per mile basis. For example, a donation of $0.50 per mile X 26.2 miles equals $13.10; $1.00 X 26.2 = $26.20; $2 X 26.2 = $52.40, etc. and a flat fee donation is also fine.

Please send your thoughts of support and contributions by June 10, 2010 directly to:
Steven Flint, 1039 Green Street, Ausable Forks, NY 12912.

Also, on the morning of May 30th, or anytime, please go to www.livestrong.org/ to learn more about surviving cancer. Thanks for your assistance and Godspeed.

Sincerely,

Kyle Williams
NYS Department of Transportation


"Humanity shines brightest during difficult times"

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Status and Trends in State Invasive Species Policy: 2002-2009


Status and Trends in State Invasive Species Policy: 2002-2009 reviews developments in state laws and regulations governing invasive species in eleven states. It finds that invasive species laws and regulations are often fragmented and incomplete and have developed primarily on a species-by-species basis in response to crisis. As a result, they often fail to address potential future invaders or close off known invasion pathways. Fortunately, states have begun regulating invasion pathways and identifying species that may become invasive in the future due to climate change or other factors. States are increasingly creating interagency councils and management plans to coordinate these novel invasive species responses.

Authors: Author: Read D. Porter, Susan Graham, and Akiva Fishman

Environmental Law Institute

Download the report for free here.

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Invasive Species Awareness Week in the Adirondacks

Adirondack communities and organizations will celebrate the 5th annual Invasive Species Awareness Week on July 11 through July 17, 2010. Participants will learn about the issues surrounding invasive species (both plant and animal, aquatic, and terrestrial) and about the importance of native biodiversity in the Adirondacks by attending workshops, field trips, lectures, and control parties.

Go here for more information.

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Thursday, April 8, 2010

Week of April 5, 2010

Unwanted, unloved, and living in New York

If it slithers, stings, eats, or just grows, the state wants invasive species gone


By BRIAN NEARING, Staff writer
Times Union

ALBANY, NY -- The state is compiling a hit list of invasive plants, animals and insects -- from exotic invaders like a voracious Chinese fish to ornamental shrubs available at the local nursery.

A report by the state Invasive Species Council recommends the creation of a ranking system to judge the danger presented by a particular species, and a complementary set of state fines against anyone possessing the most risky specimens.

The proposed system would be New York's first comprehensive approach to prohibiting or regulating commerce in invasive plants and animals to slow or reverse their spread, said Steve Sanford, chief of the Office of Invasive Species at the state Department of Environmental Conservation.

Based on regulations already in place in such states as Minnesota, Wisconsin, Connecticut and Massachusetts, the proposal -- required under 2007 state law -- is aimed at discouraging commerce in invasive species, he said.

"We are looking at trade as a pathway, and we want to constrict this pathway and ultimately shut it down, where people are purposefully introducing plants and animals in the pet, nursery stock and live food trades," Sanford said.

"There are real costs to society for invasive species," he said. "Unlike other forms of pollution, these do not diminish over time. They reproduce themselves and get larger and larger." [...]

The proposal would also give the state the power to charge anyone found to have willfully introduced a dangerous invasive for the state's cost of eradicating it. [...]

Deciding what invasive species are dangerous enough to be prohibited statewide will be up to the council, which includes nine state agencies: Environmental Conservation, Agriculture and Markets, Transportation, Parks and Recreation, Education and State, the Thruway Authority, the Canal Corporation and the Adirondack Park Agency.

The council could decide that a species should be prohibited, regulated or unregulated.

Read more at link.

Comment on the Report


The state invasive species report is available at link. Public comment can be made through May 14 via email at invasivesreport@gw.dec.state.ny.us, or by writing NYS DEC-Office of Invasive Species Coordination, Fifth Floor, 625 Broadway, Albany, N.Y. 12233.

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Friday, March 26, 2010

Week of March 29, 2010

Updated 4/1/10
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Invasive fish hunted by woman armed with bow and arrow leaps out of the water to smack her in the face

fish_face
A carp hunted by a woman armed with a bow and arrow has got his own back – by delivering a well-aimed slap to the face of his pursuer.

The bizarre shot was caught on the reservoirs of the Illinois River, where the population of Asian carp, an invasive species, has exploded.

The fish, who have habit of jumping out of the water when boats approach, are regarded as a nuisance, which has led to the sport of hunting them.

By providing participants with bows and arrows, Chris Brackett and his team have coined the term ‘extreme aerial bowfishing’ – conducted from a moving speedboat.

But while the sport is rapidly catching on, it is fraught with danger – for the hunters as well as the hunted. Indeed Brackett’s fiancĂ©e, Jodi Barnes, was pictured being hit in the face by a flying carp as she prepared to take aim and fire an arrow at it.

While Barnes’ prey managed to score a direct hit against his assailant, it is not known if the flying carp managed to leap back to the safety of the river following the daring move.

Read more at link.

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Insect to fight Japanese knotweed released in UK


By Rebecca Morelle
Science reporter, BBC News

A tiny Japanese insect that could help the fight against an aggressive superweed has been given the go-ahead for a trial release in England.

Since Japanese knotweed was introduced to the UK it has rapidly spread, and the plant currently costs over £150m a year to control and clear.

But scientists say a natural predator in the weed's native home of Japan could also help to control it here.

The insect will initially be released in a handful of sites this spring.

This is the first time that biocontrol - the use of a "natural predator" to control a pest - has been used in the EU to fight a weed.

Wildlife Minister Huw Irranca-Davies said: "These tiny insects, which naturally prey on Japanese Knotweed, will help free local authorities and industry from the huge cost of treating and killing this devastating plant."

Alien invaders

Japanese knotweed was introduced to the UK by the Victorians as an ornamental plant, but it soon escaped from gardens and began its rampant spread throughout the UK.

It grows incredibly quickly - more than one metre a month - and rapidly swamps any other vegetation in its path.

It is so hardy that it can burst through tarmac and concrete, causing costly damage to pavements, roads and buildings.

But removal is difficult and expensive; new estimates suggest it costs the UK economy £150m a year.

However, in Japan, the plant is common but does not rage out of control like it does in the UK, thanks to the natural predators that keep it in check.

Scientists at Cabi - a not-for-profit agricultural research organisation - used this as their starting point to track down a potential knotweed solution.

They looked at the superweed's natural predators - nearly 200 species of plant-eating insects and about 40 species of fungi - with the aim of finding one with an appetite for Japanese knotweed and little else.

After testing their candidates on 90 different UK plant species, including plants closely related to Japanese knotweed such as bindweeds and important crops and ornamental species, they discovered a psyllid called Aphalara itadori was the best control agent.

The little insect feeds on the sap of the superweed, stunting its growth.

Dr Dick Shaw, the lead researcher on the project from Cabi, told BBC News: "Safety is our top priority. We are lucky that we do have an extremely specific agent - it just eats invasive knotweeds."

Read more at link.

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Adirondack Park Invasive Plant Program recruiting IS Project Coordinator

The Adirondack Park Invasive Plant Program (APIPP), a partnership program protecting the Adirondack region from non-native invasive species, is now recruiting for a full-time 6-month position for a Terrestrial Invasive Species Project Coordinator (Job ID 11873). The main responsibilities will be surveying, mapping, and managing terrestrial infestations and facilitating community-based inventory and control efforts. The position is posted online at www.nature.org/careers, with a start date in May and end date in October. Applications are due by April 2, 2010. All applications must be made online via nature.org/careers. EOE

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From the New York Flora Association Blog...

Invasive Plant Identification Workshop in CT

workshopDistinguishing between invasive plants from native lookalikes in late winter/early spring: a 1-day Workshop in Connecticut.

Date & time: Saturday, April 10, 2010, 8:30 AM – ~5:00 PM. Tuition: $75.00.

There are a number advantages to doing invasive plant control outside of the growing season, (e.g., no disturbance of breeding birds, student volunteers more available, less disturbance of native vegetation). But it requires more advanced field identification skills to avoid throwing native babies out with the bath water, when working at sites with a significant native plant component, e.g., especially, “early intervention” sites with intact natural communities. This workshop focuses on field identification of woody invasive plants in late winter/early spring, prime season for pulling invasives but a difficult time to identify many woody plants using guides and manuals, as many are somewhere between dormant and leaf-on state. The venue is presently planned to be White Memorial Conservation Center, a 4000-acre preserve in Litchfield, CT, and at least one riparian site in Torrington, CT. The venue may be relocated northward 20-30 miles, if we have an unusually warm early spring. The workshop will run from 08:30 to ~17:00. The running of the workshop is conditional upon a minimum enrollment of 15 people. Final decision as to whether or not the workshop will run will be made on April 3nd. Enrollment is limited to 20 people, so those who are sure they want to take the workshop should register as soon as possible as possible to reserve their space. In the event of extremely unfavorable weather conditions for field work all or part of the day, all or part of the workshop will be changed into a lab/classroom session, using collected specimens.

For more information contact the instructor, Bill Moorhead (860-567-4920, whmoorhead@optonline.net) or John Anderson, Executive Director, Aton Forest Inc. (860-542-5125, contact@atonforest.org)

Photo of instructor Bill Moorhead

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Invasives discussed in Lake Placid

By CHRIS KNIGHT
Senior Staff Writer
Adirondack Daily Enterprise

LAKE PLACID, NY - Representatives of several watershed protection groups and experts in the management of aquatic invasive plants met with the village Board of Trustees Monday to discuss how to prevent another infestation of invasives in Paradox Bay on Lake Placid.

The panel discussion, which was requested by Lake Placid Shore Owners Association President Mark Wilson, focused on steps the village could take to prevent the spread of invasives through the village boat launch on the lake. The invasive plant variable-leaf milfoil was found in Paradox Bay last summer.

Read more at link.

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SE-EPPC-SERI meeting reminder

Join us May 11th through 13th for the first joint meeting between the Southeast Exotic Pest Plant Council and the Southeast Chapter of the Society for Ecological Restoration International

Submit those abstracts and take advantage of the early registration rate now!

This will be an exciting meeting that brings together practitioners and researchers from the fields of restoration and invasive plant species management. Take this unique opportunity to network and learn together. The meeting will be held at the historic Sheraton Read House Hotel in the heart of downtown Chattanooga, Tennessee.

For more information about the meeting and instructions on abstract submittal, go to the meeting web site at http://www.se-eppc.org/2010/.

Abstract submission deadline extended to April 1.
Early registration available through April 2.
Conference room rates available through April 16.

Terri Hogan
Ecologist
Stones River National Battlefield
Murfreesboro, TN 37129

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Cooperative Weed Management Area (CWMA) Workshops

There are a few seats available if you would like to come to a workshop to learn about Cooperative Weed Management Areas (CWMAs) on April 6 (Hadley, MA) or April 8 (Augusta, ME) and discuss the opportunities and benefits of starting one of these partnerships. The U.S. Forest Service and the Silvio O. Conte National Fish and Wildlife Refuge are collaborating on offering these workshops, with the Forest Service providing funding. See below for more information about CWMA’s and the focus of each workshop. See registration information at the end of this message. Space is limited; please register by 4pm Friday, April 2.

DATE: April 6, 2010
PLACE: Hadley, MA, Northeast Regional Office of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
FOCUS: The "what, how and why" of forming a CWMA with a focus on collaborations in
the Connecticut River watershed

DATE: April 8, 2010
PLACE: Augusta, ME, Pine Tree Arboretum
FOCUS: The "what, how and why" of forming a CWMA with a focus on collaborations
in New England with a focus on Maine and New Hampshire

TIME (for Both Workshops): 9am -- 3:45pm

TO REGISTER:
Please send the following registration information to:

Kate Howe, Midwest Invasive Plant Network
howek@purdue.edu
317-829-3812

Choice of April 6 (MA) or April 8 (ME):
Name:
Employer/Affiliation:
City/State:
CT River subwatershed name (for April 6th workshop):
Email:
Phone:
Lunch order *($10 - see below): Vegetarian or Carnivore

*Lunch will be provided for $10.00 (pay at workshop) or please bring your own. Coffee will be provided.

*** Please call or email to cancel if you cannot attend.***


If you need details on agenda or directions or to cancel at a late date:

For April 6:
Cynthia Boettner
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
Phone: 413-548-8002 ext. 115
Email: Cynthia_Boettner@fws.gov
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
For April 8:
Florence Peterson
U.S. Forest Service
Phone: 603-868-7714
Email: fpeterson@fs.fed.us

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Invasive Plant Council of New York State disbanded

The Invasive Plant Council of New York State has disbanded. The baton is now passed to the eight Partnerships for Regional Invasive Species Management (PRISMs): http://nyis.info/PRISM/Regional_Partnerships.aspx

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Second Edition of the Federal Noxious Weed Disseminules of the U.S. announced

CPHST announces the release of the second edition of Federal Noxious Weed Disseminules of the U.S. (FNW E2), a tool for the identification or verification of plant disseminules (seeds and fruits) of taxa on the U.S. Federal Noxious Weed List, Federal Noxious Weed Disseminules of the U.S., Edition 2.0

http://keys.lucidcentral.org/keys/v3/FNWE2/

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Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Week of March 1, 2010

Greetings. The Eastern Invasives blog will be down for a week or two. I may be able to post a few news items, but not many for a couple of weeks.

Thanks,

Bill

Monday, February 22, 2010

Week of February 22, 2010

Venerable New York IPM Program On the Ropes

Southern IPM blog, "IPM in the South"

The New York IPM Program, one of the first state IPM programs and a model for many others, faces extinction. After three decades of impact developing crop protection methods and teaching farmers how to use them, enhancing environmental protection, human health AND profitability, the program faces the budgetary axe of Governor Paterson, whose new budget zeroes it out.

Read more at link.

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Welcome to NEON


The National Ecological Observatory Network (NEON) will collect data across the United States on the impacts of climate change, land use change, and invasive species on natural resources and biodiversity. NEON is a project of the U.S. National Science Foundation, with many other U.S. agencies and NGOs cooperating.

NEON will be the first observatory network of its kind designed to detect and enable forecasting of ecological change at continental scales over multiple decades. The data NEON collects will be freely and openly available to all users.

For more information, go to NEON, Inc.

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New paper on evaluating ecological impact of alien plant species

Magee, T., Ringold, P., Bollman, M., & Ernst, T. (2010). Index of Alien Impact: A Method for Evaluating Potential Ecological Impact of Alien Plant Species. Environmental Management DOI: 10.1007/s00267-010-9426-1

Link

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Feds outline plan to nurse Great Lakes to health

By Associated Press on Feb 21st, 2010

TRAVERSE CITY, Mich. (AP) — The Obama administration has developed a five-year blueprint for rescuing the Great Lakes, a sprawling ecosystem plagued by toxic contamination, shrinking wildlife habitat and invasive species.

The plan envisions spending more than $2.2 billion for long-awaited repairs after a century of damage to the lakes, which hold 20 percent of the world’s fresh water. The Associated Press obtained a copy of the document, which Lisa Jackson, head of the Environmental Protection Agency, was releasing at a news conference Sunday in Washington.

Read more at link.

View the Action Plan at the Great Restoration Initiative website.

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Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Week of February 15, 2010

Invasive snail may damage diet of rare Everglades bird

February 4, 2010 by Tom Nordlie
Physorg.com

snailKnown as the island apple snail, it could threaten an endangered bird, the Everglades snail kite. The kite normally feeds on native apple snails the size of a golf ball. But in recent years, those snails have declined in historically important kite habitat and the birds have fled.

Many kites now dwell at Central Florida’s Lake Tohopekaliga, which is filled with the invasive snails. The mollusks grow larger than a tennis ball and kites have difficulty holding them. Researchers warn that young kites there may be malnourished.

The study was published in the current issue of Biological Conservation.

Read more at link.

Photo by: Tyler Jones/University of Florida/IFAS

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Closing the carp highway

NY Times Editorial

The Asian carp, a large and ravenous invasive species, has been making a so-far-unstoppable migration up the Mississippi River. It now has come to within a few miles from the Great Lakes. Unless serious measures are taken — soon — it looks as though the carp will likely break through, using canals that connect the river to Lake Michigan.

To stop the carp, the federal government has announced plans to spend $78.5 million for more waterway monitoring, flood prevention, electric barriers and fish-killing chemicals. It also plans to limit the carp’s access to the Great Lakes by opening the canal locks less often to industrial barges.

The governor of Michigan and other officials in Great Lakes states say the plan does too much to protect Illinois’s barge industry and too little to protect the lakes. They say that the Great Lakes’ ecology — and the $7 billion fishing industry that depends on the lakes — already have been damaged severely by invasive species like mussels. They warn that it could be ravaged by an exploding carp population.

Will the carp make the leap and destroy the Great Lakes? It’s hard to know, but the risk isn’t worth taking.

History shows that it never pays to underestimate the ability of aggressive, opportunistic creatures to outhustle competitors. That’s what Chicago did on its way to becoming a great city — by forcing the Chicago River to reverse its flow, carrying sewage and industrial waste away from its water supply, Lake Michigan, and into the Mississippi, never mind the outrage it caused downstream. And that’s the highway the Asian carps are using to flow the other way.

We hope the federal plan works but sympathize with Michigan’s attorney general, who called it a collection of “half-measures and gimmicks.” The problems and pain that canal closings will pose can be fixed or eased if necessary with Washington’s financial help. If the carp takes over the Great Lakes, that can’t be undone.

Read more at link.

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Aquatic Invasive Species Workshop

March 30, 2010
9:00 am to 4:00 pm
Location: 7770 Green Lakes Rd., Fayetteville, NY 13066

Presentations include:

1. Introduction to Aquatic Invasive Species and Oneida Lake Issues. Presented by Ed Mills, Professor Emeritus, Cornell University, and former Director of the Cornell Biological Field Station at Shackelton Point on Oneida Lake.

2. Invasive Aquatic Macro Fauna. Presented by Tom Hughes, Natural Resource Steward Biologist for New York State Office of Parks Recreation and Historic Preservation.

3. Invasive Micro Fauna. Presented by Geof Eckerlin, a PH.D student at SUNY Environmental Science and Forestry.

4. Invasive Aquatic Plant Species. Presented by Kate Haggerty and Chase Chaskey from the Office of Parks Recreation and Historic Preservation.

5. Prevention and Management. Presented by Tyler Smith with the Adirondack Park Invasive Species Program.

6. Restoration and Monitoring. Presented by Carl Schwartz with the US Fish and Wildlife Service in Cortland, NY.

Registration Fee: $25. Please make checks out to: Sisters of St. Francis.

Lunch is included in price of workshop.

Mail to: Sisters of St. Francis
c/o Sr. Caryn Crook
7770 Green Lakes Road
Fayetteville, NY 13066

Any questions email Sr. Caryn Crook at caryncrook[at]yahoo.com

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Monday, February 8, 2010

Week of February 8, 2010

Updated 2/12. Latest news is at the bottom of this week's blog.
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Today: Friday 2/12 Asian Carp meeting via live web stream

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, on behalf of the Asian Carp Regional Coordinating Committee, will hold a meeting in Chicago on Feb. 12 to discuss plans and get recommendations on Asian carp control efforts. The committee will answer questions and listen to comments from the public.

When: 3:00 – 6:00 p.m., Friday, Feb. 12
The meeting will be available via live web stream at:
http://www.epa.gov/greatlakes/live

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Invasive Species Thriving in Period of Climate Change

February 5, 2010
EIN PRESSWIRE

According to a study by Harvard University scientists, invasive species appear to thrive during times of climate change, meaning the species could become more prevalent and more destructive.

The study suggests that the invasive species are more apt to thrive because they're better able to adjust to the changing timing of annual activities such as flowering and fruiting.

"These results demonstrate for the first time that climate change likely plays a direct role in promoting non-native species success," says study author Charles C. Davis, assistant professor in organismic and evolutionary biology at Harvard.

One of the control elements for the study was a dataset from author Henry David Thoreau, who cataloged the plants of Walden Pond in the 1850s. His meticulous notes, including flowering times and species occurrences, were compared to present-day conditions at Walden Pond, where plants now bloom as much as three weeks earlier due to early spring thaws.

"In the United States alone the estimated annual cost of invasive species exceeds $120 billion," says Davis.

Read more about this story at Environmental News Today:

Latest Invasive Species news - link

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Government Weighs Costs of Fighting Invasive Species

1/30/2010, 12:58 p.m. EST
Juliet Eilperin
The Associated Press

(AP), The Washington Post

Which is worse? Closing two locks on a critical waterway that's used to ship millions of dollars' worth of goods from the Great Lakes to the Mississippi basin? Or allowing a voracious Asian carp to chow down on the native fish sustaining a Midwestern fishing industry that nets $7 billion a year?

And how do you put a price tag on the damage caused by the Burmese python and other constrictor snakes that are strangling the precious ecology of the Everglades? [...]

Read more at link.

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Obama proposes steep cut in Great Lakes initiative

By LARRY BIVINS
Press-Gazette Washington Bureau
bivins@greenbaypressgazette.com • February 7, 2010

WASHINGTON — The Great Lakes Restoration Initiative would lose more than one-third of its designated funding under President Barack Obama's 2011 budget proposal.

The president's budget would provide $300 million for the initiative — $175 million less than what Congress approved and Obama endorsed in the Interior Department spending bill for the current fiscal year. That's a 36.8 percent reduction from the original $475 million.

In his explanation of the reduction, Obama pointed out that because the program, which is being administered by the Environmental Protection Agency, is new, most of the money for 2010 had not been obligated and likely won't be spent until 2011.

Read more at link

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How Mapping Helps Us Manage Invasive Species, Feb. 21, 2pm


Mapping is fundamental for planning control projects, tracking management efforts and identifying new introductions. Nearly 300 invasive plant species occur in the mid-Atlantic region. A new system, the Early Detection Distribution Mapping System (EDDMapS), is available to help invasive plant workers easily report and track invasive plant infestations.

Jil Swearingen has worked as IPM and Invasive Species Specialist for the National Park Service's National Capital Region, Center for Urban Ecology in Washington DC since March 1995. She provides support to the region’s parks on management, prevention and monitoring of pest insects, plants and pathogens. She created the "Weeds Gone Wild" Web site and the WeedUS Database and is co-creator of the Invasive Plant Atlas of the U.S. Jil is lead author of "Plant Invaders of Mid-Atlantic Natural Areas." The talk, which will be held at Rockville Library, is free and open to the public.

Directions and parking: http://www.montgomerycountymd.gov/Apps/Libraries/branchinfo/ro.asp#dirs.

RSVP Steve Lonker at steven.lonker[at]maryland.sierraclub.org or 301-351-6985.

When Sun Feb 21 2pm – 3:30pm Eastern Time
Where 21 Maryland Ave., Rockville, MD (map)

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Court Upholds New York State's Tough Ballast Water Rules

ALBANY, New York, February 5, 2010 (ENS) - A New York State appeals court has dismissed a challenge brought by shipping interests against the state's new ballast water requirements, intended to keep invasive species out of the Great Lakes. In a ruling Thursday, a three judge panel of the court upheld the authority of states to adopt ballast water rules that are more protective than federal standards.

Ballast water is taken on by cargo ships to compensate for changes in the ship's weight as cargo is loaded or unloaded, and as fuel and supplies are consumed.

When a ship takes on ballast water, organisms native to that water are also taken on board. When that ballast water is discharged into another body of water, those organisms are released, often harming the native species of the new ecosystem.

"Today's court decision is an important victory in the ongoing saga to protect our majestic Great Lakes from invasive species," said Marc Smith, policy manager with National Wildlife Federation, which intervened in the case on the side of New York State.

Read more at link.

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New York State DEC hiring people to control giant hogweed

DEC Forest Health and Protection is looking to hire up to 12 people to control giant hogweed plants (an invasive plant that can pose a serious health threat to humans) throughout central and western NY on private and public lands. These 5 month positions will start April 26 and will be located out of one of several Regional DEC offices in Regions 7, 8 and 9 (Allegany, Avon, Bath, Cortland, Reinstein Woods (Depew), West Almond).

Six positions are available for the chemical control program. This control method involves applying herbicide to giant hogweed plants at sites 0.6 acres to 5.5 acres in size. These 5-month positions begin in April. We are looking for 2 NY State Certified Commercial Pesticide Applicators (hired as labor supervisors) and 4 NY State Certified Commercial Technicians.

Six positions are available for the manual control program. This control method involves cutting through the root 5" below the soil which kills the plant completely. Root cutting is recommended for sites with less than 200 plants as a very effective, though labor intensive, control method.

Positions available are for Labor Supervisors, Forestry Technicians 1 or Laborers, depending on qualifications.

The contact person for further information is Naja Kraus: nekraus@gw.dec.state.ny.us (Naja is on maternity leave and will not be available to answer questions until after March 2.)

Naja Kraus
Forest Health & Protection Program Botanist NYSDEC Div. of Lands & Forests
21 South Putt Corners Road
New Paltz, NY 12561
nekraus[at]gw.dec.state.ny.us
-Tuesdays & Wednesdays-

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Cold snap kills pythons, lizards, fish in Everglades


By David Fleshler and Lisa J. Huriash
Sun Sentinel

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. — Vultures circled over Everglades National Park's Anhinga Trail, where thousands of dead nonnative fish floated in the marshes.

About half the Burmese pythons found in the park in the past few weeks were dead.

Dead iguanas have dropped from trees onto patios across South Florida. And in western Miami-Dade County, three African rock pythons — powerful constrictors that can kill people — have turned up dead.

Although South Florida's warm, moist climate has nurtured a vast range of nonnative plants and animals, a cold snap last month reminded these unwanted guests they're not in Burma or Ecuador any more.

Temperatures that dropped into the 30s killed Burmese pythons, iguanas and other marquee names in the state's invasive species zoo.

Although reports so far say the cold has not eliminated any of them, it has sharply reduced their numbers, which some say may indicate South Florida is not as welcoming to invaders as originally thought.

Read more at link.

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Feds pass on surest solution to Asian carp advance


By JOHN FLESHER
The Associated Press

TRAVERSE CITY, Mich. — With marauding Asian carp on the Great Lakes' doorstep, the federal government has crafted a $78.5 million battle plan that offers no assurance of thwarting an invasion and doesn't use the most promising weapon available to fight it off.

The surest way to prevent the huge, hungry carp from gaining a foothold in the lakes and threatening their $7 billion fishing industry is to sever the link between Lake Michigan and the Mississippi River basin, created by engineers in Chicago more than a century ago.

The strategy released by the Obama administration this week agrees only to conduct a long-range study of that idea, which could take years. The government also refuses to shut down two navigational locks on Chicago waterways that could provide an easy pathway for the carp into the lakes, although it promises to consider opening them less often.

Instead, the plan outlines two dozen other steps, from strengthening an electric barrier designed to block the carp's advance to using nets or poisons to nab fish that make it through. That's an expensive gamble that may not keep enough carp out of the lakes to prevent an infestation.

Read more at link.

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Brief History: Invasive Species

By Laura Fitzpatrick
TIME

Not since jaws has a piscine predator caused such a commotion. Asian carp--which grow up to four feet long, feast ravenously on other species' food and have a nasty habit of leaping from the water to wallop unsuspecting fishermen--are threatening to take a bite out of the Great Lakes' $7 billion fishing industry. To reassure jittery local governments, the White House held an Asian-carp summit Feb. 8 and pledged $78.5 million to help keep the fish--brought to the U.S. in the '70s to rid catfish farms of algae--at bay.

Until humans learned how to build ships, the problem of invasive species--nonnative flora and fauna that can quickly overrun an ecosystem--was virtually nonexistent. With the dawn of global trade, transporting critters to new continents was encouraged. Beginning in the 16th century, farmers in North America introduced wheat, rice, soybeans and cattle, among other imports, which today make up huge portions of U.S. food production.

But some arrivals have been devastating. Gypsy moths, brought to Massachusetts in 1869 by a would-be silk farmer, managed to escape and strip the leaves from millions of acres of forest. Descendants of some 100 starlings unleashed in New York City in 1890 now number 200 million, crowding out native birds from coast to coast. The Japanese vine kudzu was transplanted to the U.S. to prevent erosion; it has since run roughshod over 10 million acres (4 million hectares) in the Southeast. Beginning with the Plant Quarantine Act of 1912, the U.S. has implemented a series of laws to strengthen its eco-defenses, many seeking to prevent dangerous wild things from reaching American soil (a more realistic goal than controlling them once they arrive). Worldwide, invasive species cause an estimated $1.5 trillion in damage every year, nearly 5% of global GDP.

Read more at link.

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Restoring grasslands at Mashomack Preserve

The Nature Conservancy, Long Island, New York

Only about 8,000 acres of grassland are left on Long Island, about 10% of what existed when European settlers arrived.

Grasslands are obviously threatened by human development but also by nature, as both native and non-native invasive plant species colonize open areas. Invasive species diminish the diversity of a field by crowding out native plants or even changing the environment. For example, oriental bittersweet grows over and smothers nearby vegetation, and studies show Japanese barberry raises the pH of the surrounding soil making it less acidic and therefore inhospitable for many wild species. The loss of native plants sends shock waves through an ecosystem affecting pollinators: bees, butterflies and moths, and their predators: birds, frogs and spiders, and so on up the food chain.

Read more at link.

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