Monday, January 11, 2010

Week of January 11, 2010

Updated 1/15. New articles are at the bottom of this week's blog.

New Hampshire Lakes launches a new exotic weed control grant program

Thanks to Senator Judd Gregg, NH LAKES has secured federal funding to help lake associations and municipalities manage their exotic infestations in 2010. Matching grant awards of up to $5,000 will be available to assist local groups in their efforts to purchase or construct Diver Assisted Suction Harvesting systems, hire Certified Weed Control divers to harvest infestations, and implement other forms of non-chemical control.

For more information and to download a grant application, visit our website, email, or call (603) 226-0299. Grant applications will be due in mid-February.


Reptile restrictions to be voted on by Senate

by Laura Mandanas
Reporter Online

“All those snakes except for a boa constrictor can get huge. I mean ... an anaconda can get 20-30 feet. A Burmese python [subspecies of the Indian python] can get 20 feet. A rock python can get 20 feet. A reticulated python can get like 30-35 feet. For all that stuff, we wouldn't sell it to begin with. But now that the state's banned it, it means you can't sell it,” says Scott Oechsle, owner of Captive Life Forms in Spencerport. Together with his father, Gary, “The Reptile Guys” do live shows and sell reptiles to the greater Rochester and western New York area. Oechsle continues, “Banning the importation of those bigger ones aren't a big deal ... Stuff like that, your general public shouldn't have.”

The snakes Oechsle is talking about are those included in U.S. Senate Bill S. 373, a piece of legislation that would ban importation and interstate commerce of certain species of snakes. These species are:

* Indian Python (Python molurus)
* African Rock Python (Python sebae)
* Southern African Python (Python natalensis)
* Reticulated Python (Python/Broghammerus reticulatus)
* Boa Constrictor (Boa constrictor)
* Green Anaconda (Eunectes murinus)
* Yellow Anaconda (Eunectes notaeus)
* Beni or Bolivian Anaconda (Eunectes beniensis)
* DeSchauensee’s Anaconda (Eunectes deschauenseei)

In New York, most of these snakes have already been banned by the state for some time; boa constrictors are the only species listed that are traded regularly in New York state, according to Oechsle. On a national level, however, there are no such restrictions in place. With many owning the giant snakes as pets, a good number of reptile enthusiasts are putting up a fight.

Behind the Bill

Introduced by Florida Democrat Bill Nelson, S. 373 is a bill intended to protect the Florida Everglades, which have been invaded by non-native Burmese pythons. In the subtropical climate, these pythons have found ample prey, including animals appearing on endangered species watch lists. Before a Congressional committee, Nelson testified that it is necessary to specifically include these snakes in the prohibitions listed in the Lacey Act, which prohibits interstate or foreign trade of any fish, wildlife or plant in violation of any law, treaty or regulation of the United States or of any Indian tribal law, in order to reduce the number of pythons released into the wild by pet owners who don't understand what caring for a python really entails.

Read the full story at link.


Adirondack Invasive Species Steward Job

The Nature Conservancy is the world’s leading conservation organization, working in all 50 states and more than 33 countries. Founded in 1951, the mission of The Nature Conservancy is to preserve the plants, animals and natural communities that represent the diversity of life on Earth by protecting the lands and waters they need to survive.

This Stewardship position provides hands-on exposure to all aspects of the Adirondack Park Invasive Plant Program’s invasive species prevention and management work throughout the Adirondack region.

Lead Projects: The lead projects will focus on invasive species surveys and management within the Adirondack region. Working with the APIPP Terrestrial and Aquatic Invasive Species Project Coordinators and conservation partners, the steward will be involved in surveying, management, and public outreach on a variety of projects throughout the region. Half the amount of time will be spent assisting the Terrestrial Coordinator with early detection and control of terrestrial invasive plant infestations, and the other half of time will be spent assisting the Aquatic Coordinator with aquatic plant surveys and management at priority sites.

a) Surveying: Directly assist with early detection surveys throughout the Adirondack region within NYS Department of Environmental Conservation Forest Preserve lands and waters, NYS Department of Transportation Right-of-Ways, wetlands and private lands. Validate, document and measure new infestations via hand-held GPS unit, survey forms and photo-documentation.

b) Management: Directly assist with implementing best management practices to contain, suppress and eradicate terrestrial invasive plant infestations. Duties to include manual management, release of biocontrols and preparatory work for approved herbicidal controls. Assist with the secure containment and disposal of gleaned invasive plant materials. Assistance with aquatic invasive plant management efforts may include providing topside assistance with SCUBA hand-harvesting efforts.

c) Public Outreach: Through daily course of work provide public outreach at invasive species worksites and at prescribed events throughout the Adirondack region, e.g., Invasive Species Awareness Week, and as special opportunities arise.

General: The steward will work closely with APIPP staff and principal partners and will report directly to the Terrestrial and Aquatic Project Coordinators. In addition to the listed duties, there will be vehicle, tools and equipment maintenance and other work as needed as summer work priorities evolve, and as the steward’s interests dictate. Work will be primarily in the field in all sorts of weather, sometimes in remote locations with rugged terrain. The steward is expected to work independently as well as with APIPP partners and the public.

-College Sophomore and 6 months of related experience (can be a combination of past job experience, academic work, volunteer work, etc)
-Experience using MS office, Word and Excel, and navigating the Internet

This position requires a valid driver's license and compliance with the Conservancy's Auto Safety Program. Employees may not drive Conservancy-owned/leased vehicles, rental cars, or personal vehicles on behalf of the Conservancy if considered "high risk drivers." Please see further details in the Auto Safety Program document available at

Employment in this position will be contingent upon completion of a Vehicle Use Agreement, which may include a review of the prospective employee's motor vehicle record.

Desired Qualifications
-Demonstrated interest in conservation issues
-Strong science background; coursework in botany, terrestrial ecology and basic aquatic ecology
-Well-organized and flexible
-Motivated self-starter, able to work independently with minimal direction
-Enjoys working outdoors, sometimes in adverse weather conditions
-Comfortable handling a canoe
-Good written and oral communication skills
-Basic working knowledge of safe operation of hand and power tools
-Comfortable driving a large 4-wheel drive pickup truck
-Ability to utilize GPS

Dates and Compensation
-May 17-September 17, 2010, 18 weeks total; flexible depending on the availability of the successful candidate
-$11/hour, plus mileage reimbursement if steward uses his/her own vehicle for work-related travel (no reimbursement for daily commute to office)

-Housing is not provided


Application deadline: March 17, 2010

The Nature Conservancy is an Equal Opportunity Employer.


Invasives on Adirondack Park Agency agenda

RAY BROOK, NY - The state Adirondack Park Agency will meet at 9 a.m. Thursday, January 14, at its headquarters. The State Land Committee will meet at 3 p.m., and receive an update on the inter-agency guidelines for invasive species management on state land. The meeting will be webcast live at


Obama administration's stand on carp criticized

By Dan Egan of the Journal Sentinel

President Barack Obama staked his claim as the Great Lakes president during the heat of the 2008 campaign when he pledged to pump billions of dollars into a restoration plan for the lakes while at the same time champion a "zero tolerance" policy for new invasive species.

That "zero" is starting to look like a political bull's-eye for conservationists and regional politicians critical of the Obama administration's decision Tuesday to oppose efforts by a coalition of five Great Lakes states to force Illinois and the Army Corps of Engineers to do more to protect Lake Michigan from what many fear is an imminent invasion of the jumbo carp that could ravage the Great Lakes' $7 billion fishery.

"It is inexcusable that the administration has decided to side with their political allies in the state of Illinois to protect the narrow interests of their state, while the rest of the Great Lakes region and federal taxpayers will be forced to deal with the carp entering the lakes," said Rep. Candice S. Miller (R-Mich.).

Conservationists who weeks ago were aglow over Obama's billion-dollar plan for the Great Lakes were in a different mood Wednesday. They said it all might mean money down the drain if the administration doesn't recognize the threat carp pose to the lakes and take - or at least not oppose - action to close some navigational locks considered the last thing standing between the carp and Lake Michigan.

"The Obama administration has miscalculated the threat Asian carp pose to the Great Lakes," said Andy Buchsbaum, regional executive director of the National Wildlife Federation's Great Lakes Regional Center. "Without immediate action, an invasion of Asian carp will unravel many of the president's Great Lakes initiatives."

Read the full story at link.


Register today for the 2010 Aquatic Weed Control Short Course!

Earn up to 20 CEUs!

May 3-6, 2010
Coral Springs Marriott
Coral Springs, Florida

Mark your calendar and plan to take part in the 2010 Aquatic Weed Short Course to be held May 3-6, 2010 at the Coral Springs Marriott Hotel, Golf Club, and Convention Center in Coral Springs, FL.

The short course is designed to benefit those new to the industry and experienced professionals seeking a comprehensive update. Topics include:

• General Standards (CORE) Training
• Pesticide Application Equipment Calibration Training
• Plant Identification
• Aquatic Pest Control Category Training
• Natural Areas Weed Management Training
• Right-of-Way Weed Management Training
Register Online Today!
Registration is now available for the 2010 Aquatic Weed Control Short Course. Be sure that your organization is budgeted to attend this valuable training.

Early Reduced Registration Fee
(By February 26, 2010) $235.00
Regular Registration Fee
(By April 12, 2010) $285.00
Late Registration Fee
(After April 12, 2010) $335.00
Student Registration Fee

CLICK HERE to register today!

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


NC group urges fight against pest plants

The Associated Press

A North Carolina group watching the spread of environment-changing foreign plants wants to declare war on the invaders.

For a week beginning Sunday, the North Carolina Exotic Plant Pest Council wants people to focus on invasive species.

Plant Pest Council President Rick Iverson says kudzu is probably the invasive plant that most people know best, but it's so widespread that it can't be stopped.

Iverson says it's time to look out for the next kudzu and stop it from spreading before it becomes a serious problem. The group says early detection gives eradication measures better chances for success.

The Southeast Exotic Pest Plant Council has information on invasive plants, what they look like and the problems they create on its Web site.


On the Net:

Southeast Exotic Pest Plant Council:

Read the story at link.


Insect pests outlast frigid weather in mountains

ASHEVILLE, NC — January's deep freeze won't put much of a dent in pest populations come spring. Ticks, chiggers, fleas and even fire ants spreading from the south will still come out to bite, specialists say.

It also won't have much of an effect on foreign invasive pests such as the disastrous hemlock woolly adelgid and that old Southern staple: pine beetles.

“Insects that we have here are adapted to surviving our winters,” said Linda Blue, an agent with the Buncombe County Cooperative Extension Service. “Yes, it's much colder than we've been used to, but nothing out of our range. We're rated for as low as 10 below.”

Asheville posted five consecutive days from Jan. 2 through Wednesday when highs stayed below 30 degrees, but that's still short of the record of eight consecutive days below freezing set in December 1995, according to the National Climatic Data Center.

Insects survive the winter by burrowing deep underground where temperatures remain steady.

Even fire ants, an invasive species that have spread up from Alabama into North Carolina, then west into the mountains, are largely immune to routine cold, explained Steve Bambara, an extension entomologist with N.C. State University.

Studies suggest that several weeks with temperatures reaching 10 below could put a halt to fire ant colonies, which have steadily marched into most North Carolina counties from more tropical climates. “But we don't see that much,” Bambara said. “Where we started having outdoor ice skating, then that would probably kill some ants.”

Read the full story at link.


FLEPPC’s Kathy Craddock Burks Education Grant


Program Description and Eligibility

The Florida Exotic Pest Plant Council is soliciting grant proposals for non-native invasive plant education and outreach projects in Florida. The intent of these grants is to provide funding to organizations or individuals who will educate Floridians about non-native invasive plants and their influences on the environment and economy of Florida. Proposals will be accepted from individuals, public or private nonprofit organizations, and academic institutions.

Evaluation Criteria

Award preference will be given to proposals that meet the following criteria:
• Involve plants listed as Category-I species on the FLEPPC 2009 List of Invasive Plant Species, found on (projects involving Category-II species will also be considered);
• Include an educational message that will reach a large segment of the community;
• Heighten community awareness about non-native invasive plant identification, management, prevention, environmental and/or economic impacts;
• Involve an active component (passive programs such as signs, brochures or websites should be enhanced to promote an event or an action involving the target audience);
• Include an evaluation of project success;
• Demonstrate matching funds or in-kind contributions;
• Include partnerships (please specify type and degree of involvement for partner entities);
• Include a detailed timeline of grant activities.
• First time applicants and new/startup projects will be given preference, although repeat applicants and established programs will be considered.

Application instructions and further information may be found on the FLEPPC website ( Grants may not be used to fund food or beverages, capital expense items (sprayers, chain saws, machinery, herbicide), overhead costs (e.g., electricity) or large-scale herbicide application activities. Requests for funding should not exceed $1,000.00 and all funds awarded are to be used within one year of receipt. If full funding is not available, partial funding may be awarded. Applicant/organization must present a summary of results at the FLEPPC annual meeting (poster or presentation) or provide a summary article for possible inclusion in Wildland Weeds magazine. The FLEPPC Education Grant Committee reserves the right to review all publications resulting from its funding (prior to printing or distribution) for accuracy.

The deadline for proposal submission is 5PM on February 1, 2010.

The FLEPPC Education Committee will review all applications. Winners will be announced in April 2010 at FLEPPC’s annual conference, held this year in Crystal River, FL.

For further information, contact:
Jennifer Possley
Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden
Phone: 305-667-1651, ext. 3433
Fax: 305-665-8032


USDA announces additional funding to control the Asian Longhorned Beetle in Massachusetts

WASHINGTON, Jan. 11, 2010 -- Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack today announced the availability of $41.5 million in emergency funding to prevent the spread of the Asian longhorned beetle (ALB) in Massachusetts.

"The USDA, along with our key partners in Massachusetts, has worked hard to contain and the Asian longhorned beetle, an invasive pest that has the potential to devastate our forests and backyard trees," Vilsack said. "These additional funds will allow for a more aggressive approach to ensure ALB does not spread to other areas in New England."

The emergency funding will be used in Massachusetts to increase tree surveys in order to determine the extent of the infestation, expand the use of treatments to reduce the beetle population and ensure the timely removal of infested trees.

"I have been to Massachusetts, seen the impact of ALB on communities and spoken to lawmakers and residents directly affected because I wanted to hear the concerns of many partners working with us in this effort," Vilsack added. "With this funding, USDA reinforces our shared goal of stopping this destructive pest and protecting valued resources."

Read the full story at link.


Phragmites partners with microbes to plot native plants' demise

ScienceDaily (Dec. 28, 2009) — University of Delaware researchers have uncovered a novel means of conquest employed by the common reed, Phragmites australis, which ranks as one of the world's most invasive plants.

phragThe invasive strain, which hails from Eurasia, overtakes its "native" cousin, which has lived in North America for the past 10,000 years, ironically by provoking the native plant to "take itself out," through a combination of microbial and enzymatic activity in the soil.

The research by an interdisciplinary UD team led by Harsh Bais, assistant professor of plant and soil sciences, is reported in the December issue of the scientific journal Plant Physiology and also is highlighted in one of the journal's editorials.

Bais's co-authors include postdoctoral researchers Gurdeep Bains and Amutha Sampath Kumar in the Department of Plant and Soil Sciences in the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources; Thimmaraju Rudrappa, a former UD postdoctoral researcher who is now a research scientist at DuPont; Emily Alff, an undergraduate who became involved in the study through a Research Experiences for Undergraduates (REU) fellowship; and Thomas Hanson, associate professor of marine biosciences in the College of Earth, Ocean, and Environment.

In previous research, a team led by Bais determined that Phragmites employs a strategy known as allelopathy, in which plants release toxic chemicals into the soil to deter other plants from growing close to them.

In soil studies at the Delaware Biotechnology Institute, a premier center for life sciences research at UD, the scientists discovered that invasive Phragmites produces elevated levels of a benign compound, a precursor of gallic acid known as gallotannin, relative to its native cousin.

However, when this gallotannin, a polymeric phenol, is attacked by tannase produced through enzymatic activity by native plants and rhizospheric microbes, toxic gallic acid is produced and released in the root zone, exacerbating the invasive Phragmites' noxiousness.

"The tannins are like partners in crime in the process," Bais said.

He noted that Hanson and Kumar collected microbes present on the root surface of the plants and revealed that the "bugs" cleave the polymer (gallotannin) to release the monomer (gallic acid) because the microbes are using the tannins as a carbon source.

"It's like a two-way highway," Bais said, "the plant is working with bacteria to secrete gallic acid into the soil."

Bais says that the microbial population is the same in the native versus the invasive Phragmites. The invasive variety simply secretes more gallotannins into the soil than its native cousin, putting the native plant at a disadvantage in turf battles between the two strains.

Phragmites has overtaken millions of acres of wetlands in the United States, thanks to the aggressive, invasive strain of the plant that came on the scene some 200 years ago from Eurasia.

The exotic species has displaced the non-aggressive native variety of the plant, relegating the native strain to isolated patches and wetland margins along the Atlantic coast.

"Now we have a way to remedy the sick soil," Bais said. "After years of research, we have identified a mechanism that may lead to a solution to the Phragmites invasion."

The research was supported by the University of Delaware Research Foundation (UDRF). Gurdeep Bains's involvement in the study was made possibly by a BOYSCAST Fellowship from the Department of Science and Technology, India.

Adapted from materials provided by University of Delaware. Original article written by Tracey Bryant.

University of Delaware (2009, December 28). Phragmites partners with microbes to plot native plants' demise. ScienceDaily. Retrieved January 12, 2010, from­ /releases/2009/12/091223125135.htm

Photo above: Members of the UD research team with Phragmites plants are, from left, Emily Alff, undergraduate researcher; Prof. Harsh Bais, who led the study; Amutha Sampath Kumar, postdoctoral researcher; and Prof. Thomas Hanson. (Credit: Image courtesy of University of Delaware)


Old technology coming out of the closet

Jan 12, 2010 10:51 AM, By Elton Robinson, Farm Press Editorial Staff

It’s almost like weed control has been transported back to the 1980s, what with all the cold steel, post-directed rigs, hooded sprayers and residual herbicides becoming more prominent in the arsenal.

As glyphosate-resistant weeds continue to march across the Mid-South, many farmers are being forced to pull old weed control technology out of the grass patch.

For some, it’s almost like weed control has been transported back to the 1980s, what with all the cold steel, post-directed rigs, hooded sprayers and residual herbicides becoming more prominent in the arsenal.

And weed control costs are rising, too, as well as a critical importance on application timing, both of which came into focus during the weird growing season of 2009, when wet weather prevented so many timely applications.

A resistant pigweed problem got so bad for Gunnison, Miss., producer Kenneth Hood this season that he had to plow under some soybean acres infested with it “after I threw everything I could at them and couldn’t control them.

“It’s unbelievable how thick they have become since my last disking. If that is any indication of what I’ve got to fight next year, I hate to think.”

Cold steel is not the only old technology pulled out of the closet the last two years, Hood says. “We’ve hand-weeded and spot-sprayed weeds by hand. We never stopped our post-directed applications. We just went out and tried to control those spots in the field where resistant weeds escaped our traditional applications.”

Hood estimates that the additional trips and labor has increased his cost of production by about $30 an acre, “and we’ve hurt yields and quality as well. Weeds will choke up cotton pickers and combines, and hurt the quality of your crops. Resistance is a broader spectrum problem than we think about.”

Weeds in the Mid-South with documented glyphosate resistance include johnsongrass, horseweed, common ragweed, Palmer amaranth (pigweed) and Italian ryegrass.

Read the full story at link.


Researchers learn why invasive plants spreading so rapidly in forests

UNIVERSITY PARK, PA. -- Invasive plants are advancing into Eastern forests at an alarming rate, and the rapid spread has been linked by researchers in Penn State's College of Agricultural Sciences to forest road maintenance and the type of dirt and stone used on roads.

Perhaps predictably, according to David Mortensen, a professor of weed ecology who has been studying the spread of invasive plants for nearly two decades, humans are unwittingly accelerating the relentless march of invasives into even isolated forests. The findings are especially significant in the face of massive forest road-building efforts expected to support greatly expanded natural-gas drilling operations into the Marcellus shale formation. Hundreds or even thousands of gas wells could be established in Eastern forests in the next few years, depending on the market price of gas.

Forest roads facilitate the spread of invasive plants

In a paper titled "Forest Roads Facilitate the Spread of Invasive Plants," published in the August 2009 issue of Invasive Plant Science and Management, Mortensen detailed some eye-opening revelations about the process by which invasive plants advance so quickly.

"Roads can play a profound role in the spread and growth of invasive species by serving as corridors for movement and by providing prime habitat for establishment," Mortensen explained. "For example, forest managers have reported that the borders of hundreds of miles of forest roads have been invaded by Japanese stiltgrass in a period of less than 10 years."

As part of his research, Mortensen -- who was assisted by post-doctoral researcher Emily Rauschert and doctoral candidate Andrea Nord -- performed a large-scale survey of the presence and abundance of 13 invasive plants and found that the most abundant species, Microstegium (Japanese stiltgrass) is strongly associated with proximity to roads. He then focused his attention on trying to determine the reasons and devise a strategy to slow the spread.

The researchers discovered, to their amazement, that Japanese stiltgrass on its own does not spread quickly. To better understand why the invasive plant is achieving such a high rate of spread in Eastern forests, they deliberately introduced Microstegium patches in a forested site similar to the one in which the survey was conducted and allowed patches to naturally expand over four years before controlling all patches.

"Through this multi-year study, we found the natural spread rate was surprisingly slow, several orders of magnitude slower than that observed by the forest managers we work with," Mortensen said. "We also found that spread was greatest in habitats adjacent to forest roads.

"It is clear that the rates of spread occurring in forests throughout the study region are aided by management practices such as road grading, which is employed frequently to maintain the dirt and gravel roads."

Japanese stiltgrass seed becomes mixed with the dirt and gravel and then is carried along as graders push the crushed stone to fill holes and smooth road surfaces. Mortensen also suspects invasive plant seeds may be picked up and transported by equipment, so he suggests spread could be limited by carefully cleaning the undersides of construction vehicles and other machines before they travel from one road job to another.

Management suggestions

"Management of this troublesome invasive can be enhanced with a multifaceted, integrated approach," he said. "Particular attention should be paid to infestations that serve as sources for seed dispersal into uninvaded or environmentally sensitive areas. The primary vectors of long-distance dispersal, such as road maintenance activities or vehicle traffic, should be identified and mitigating steps taken. Finally, it is important to minimize road-edge disturbance to the extent possible, as such disturbance provides an ideal seedbed for the newly dispersed Microstegium seed."

Perhaps the most startling finding of Mortensen's research relates to the nature of dirt and gravel on forest roads that enables invasive plants such as Japanese stiltgrass to thrive.

"The crushed limestone used to surface many forest roads and to line culverts and drains along those roads are creating ideal conditions for the invasives to spread rapidly," he said. "The high alkalinity sediment from the stone, mixed with water running off the roads during storms, eventually spills out into the forests, carrying invasive plant seeds and creating areas for them to grow quickly. The high alkalinity prevents native plants that have become adapted to acidic forest soils from growing, and invasives such as Japanese stiltgrass fill the void."

Ironically, the crushed limestone is being used on many forest roads and in ditches and drains that parallel mountain streams precisely because the material leaches a high-alkalinity slurry that improves the productivity and water chemistry of the streams. That benefits the wild trout and other aquatic organisms that have suffered in many mountain streams after decades of acidic atmospheric deposition (acid rain).

"That only complicates the battle against the spread of invasive plants into Eastern forests and shows the interconnected nature of ecosystems," Mortensen said. "But measures need to be taken to slow the spread of invasive plants such as Microstegium, because over the long run they will change the nature of our plant communities by outcompeting native plants."

Read the story at link.


PEST ALERT: Chinese creeper or bittervine, Mikania micrantha, an invasive vine new to the continental United States

Mikania micrantha Kunth, a vine in the Compositae (Asteraceae) family, was recently detected in Miami-Dade County by Keith Bradley of the Institute for Regional Conservation. Through further surveys, additional patches have been found, all within a 5.5 mi. swath through the Redlands area of Homestead. The populations have mostly been found in disturbed areas such as roadsides and woodlots, but at least one nursery is infested, as is one residential landscape. Most of the infestations are small, but a larger one, 100 ft. square, has been seen as well. This plant has not previously been reported to be established in the continental United States, although it is native in Puerto Rico (Liogier, 1997). It is a serious agricultural and environmental weed, particularly in the Old World tropics, and is included on the Noxious Weed Lists of the USDA and several states, including Florida.

Read the Pest Alert at link.


Shipping map tracks invasive species stowaways

Written by Megan Treacy on 13/01/10

Invasive species can have catastrophic effects on an ecosystem. From algae to jellyfish, ports around the world are faced with a problem, but first, it's necessary to understand how the problem got there.

shippingResearchers at the Carl von Ossietzky University in Oldenburg, Germany set out to crack the case of marine invasive species. Where are they coming from and how did they get there? They knew that many small species hitch a ride in the ballast water of cargo ships, so they plotted the course of 16,363 ships during 2007 to look for connections.

Before now, it was assumed that invasive species were more likely coming from nearby ports, but researchers discovered that wasn't the case.

They found that container ships follow regular routes, but oil tankers and dry bulk carriers often change routes. Container ships tend to travel quickly and don't spend long at port. On the other hand, oil tankers and dry bulk carriers travel more slowly, spend more time at port and exchange ballast water more often due to the fact that they spend a lot of time traveling without cargo, making them important to watch.

From their analysis they were able to find the world's most connected ports which would be the most prone to the introduction of invasive species. They compiled a list of 20 with the top five being the Panama Canal, the Suez Canal, Shanghai, Singapore and Antwerp.

Hopefully this new data will help affected ports monitor these stowaways and come up with an environmentally responsible plan. As is the case with all informational maps, they add to our understanding of a problem, which usually helps create a solution.

Read the story at link.

via AFP.


New York students improving Treasure Coast environment

HOBE SOUND, FL — Fourteen students from a New York college are spending the last week of their winter break on the Treasure Coast [Florida].

But instead of volleyballs, sunscreen and bottles ofbeer, they’re wielding pruning saws, loppers and bottles of herbicide.

Throughout this week, the students from Purchase College, a part of the State University of New York in Purchase, N.Y., are helping eradicate invasive plant species on public lands. Tuesday morning they were cutting Brazilian pepper shrubs and dosing the stumps in Blowing Rocks Preserve, a 73-acre natural area owned by the Nature Conservancy. They’ll also work at Jonathan Dickinson State Park in Hobe Sound and at Fort Pierce Inlet State Park in St. Lucie County.

“I like giving back to the community,” said Evan Gmora, a 21-year-old senior from Islip, N.Y., “even if it’s not my own community.”

Mike Renda, a biologist at the preserve showing the students the how-tos of invasive eradication, called the students “the kind of people who will always be involved with helping their communities. That’s something that will stick with them all their lives. If it wasn’t for these kids, we’d probably have to contract out this work, so they’re saving (the preserve) a lot of money.”

The students’ visit coincides with National Invasive Plants Week, an effort not only to strip land of invasives, but to spread the word to private landowners that they need to do their part, too.

Read the full story at link.


2010 Invasive Plant Calendar

The Alien Plant Working Group has a printable 2010 Calendar and links to online calendars with invasive species conferences, workshops and other events.


Supreme Court To Hear Asian Carp Debate

posted by: Michigan News Network on Fri. Jan. 15 2010



1 comment:

Cheney Motorcycle Storage said...

it’s certainly worth the effort trying to get to grips with it all.