Monday, January 25, 2010

Week of Januray 25, 2010

Updated 1/28/10

National park battling infestation of hogs

The Associated Press

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. -- National park biologists are trying to come to grips with a hog infestation in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.

In 2009, the park's hog team removed 620 wild hogs, the third highest since the hog control program started in the late 1950s. Biologists say the hog population spiked last year because of a bountiful mast crop that enabled the sows to produce more than one litter.

Park biologist Bill Stiver told the Knoxville News-Sentinel the introduction of wild, semi-domesticated hogs into the park has made hog control even more difficult.

"The speculation is that hunters are illegally releasing feral pigs that eventually make their way inside the park," Stiver said. "It's a major problem not just here, but all over North America."

He said numerous hogs killed this year had spotted markings and curly tails associated with domestic pigs.

"We're getting a handful of animals that morphologically look different from our traditional wild boar," Stiver said. "Some of them act different, too. Instead of running away, they let you walk up to them."

Hogs in the park date to the early 1920s, when a herd of European hogs escaped from a game reserve on Hooper's Bald in the mountains of Graham County, N.C. The wild hogs moved into the park by the 1940s and began to wreak havoc on the ecosystem by eating rare plants and salamanders, defecating in streams and turning up the ground.

Biologists believe the wild hogs that invaded the park already had crossed with free-ranging domestic pigs. Their appearance, however, retained the lean hips, large tusks, straight tails and black hair of their European ancestors.

Read more at link.



Potential Invasive Pests Workshop

October 11-14, 2010
Mayfair Hotel • Miami (Coconut Grove), Florida USA

Read more at link.


Camels enlisted to battle Tamarisk (Salt Cedar)

By Bryan Nelson
Mother Nature Network


Tamarisk is one hard-to-kill invasive plant. Since it was first introduced from Eurasia to the United States in the 1800s, it has spread through the West like wildfire — actually, faster than wildfire. Efforts to eradicate it by burning it, cutting it, or dowsing it in herbicides have all failed. But tamarisk does have one formidable foe: hungry camels.

Known for their stubborn personalities, humpy postures and ability to survive for weeks without water, camels and dromedaries also have a keen appetite for salty fare — and tamarisk is as salty as they come. That's why ranchers in Colorado have enlisted the inglorious beasts to eat their way through this invasive species, eradicating it once and for all, according to High Country News.

"They will eat all day if given the opportunity," says Maggie Repp, a camel rancher in Loma, Colo. "My camels have killed every tamarisk on our place, so why not give it a whirl?"

A drooling dromedary may not strike you as a potential landscaper, but they do a good job. Repp says 10 camels can destroy half an acre of tamarisk in two days. That's not necessarily a solution for clearing the pesky shrub from the whole expanse of the Great Plains, but it's the perfect remedy for removing the odd tamarisk patch from your pasture.

Read more at link.


NYSDEC head slated for Save the River event

Watertown Daily Times

CLAYTON, NY — State Department of Environmental Conservation Commissioner Alexander B. "Pete" Grannis and other speakers will discuss the impact of aquatic invasive species in the Great Lakes and the latest status of the Asian carp invasion at Save the River's 21st annual Winter Weekend Conference.

This year's event will be Feb. 5 and 6 at the Clayton Opera House, 405 Riverside Drive.

Read more at link.


USDA awards more than $4 million in weedy and invasive species research grants

Agriculture Deputy Secretary Kathleen Merrigan announced today that USDA's National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) is awarding $4.6 million to 13 universities for research to develop ecologically and economically rational strategies for management, control or elimination of weedy or invasive species.

"Invasive plants and animals are a major threat to food and fiber production, costing U.S. producers between $7 billion and $27 billion per year, but by doing research on controlling and managing weedy and invasive species we help protect the productivity of America's farmers and ranchers," said Merrigan.

Funded projects include work at Cornell University to minimize negative impacts of the European cranefly in perennial grass-based agroecosystems ($454,000).


Japanese stiltgrass summit

The River to River Cooperative Weed Management Area is hosting a research and management summit on the invasive Japanese stiltgrass (Microstegium vimineum) on August 11-12, 2010 at Southern Illinois University in Carbondale, Illinois. Japanese stiltgrass, also called Nepalese browntop or eulalia, is an aggressive invader of forested habitats in the eastern United States. This summit will discuss recent research and management techniques and will feature presentations, panel discussions, field trips, and poster sessions.

Check for conference updates!


Expert to discuss local decline of bats at NSRWA lecture in Norwell, CT

By Gabrielle Boyle
GateHouse News Service

NORWELL, CT — A deadly fungus has depleted the bat population in Massachusetts and throughout the Northeast.

Dr. Tom French has been studying the reasons behind the sudden decline of bats in the United States over the past few years.

“It is what is called White Nose Syndrome, and it is quite catastrophic,” the doctor explained. “Unfortunately this is spreading rapidly… so we are scared to death how far it will go.”

French, of the Massachusetts Natural Heritage and Endangered Species Program, handles many of these kinds of matters everyday. This particular matter however is happening so quickly and abruptly, that he said attention should be brought on the situation as soon as possible. French is the upcoming speaker for the Water Watch Lecture Series put together by the North and South Rivers Watershed Association. [...]

French will be speaking on Wednesday, Jan. 27 at 7 p.m., at the South Shore Natural Science Center. He will be showing slides that he has prepared and answering any questions attendees may have. The lecture is free and open to the public. The science center is located at 48 Jacobs Lane, Norwell, MA. For more information, call (781) 659-8168 or check out the Web site

Read more at link.


TNC Strike Team position

The Nature Conservancy, Illinois Chapter is hiring a “Restoration Specialist – Invasive Strike Team” position. This is an 8 month position and will be based in the southern Illinois region. Deadline to apply for the position is Thursday, February 4, 2010. For a job description and to apply go to


Fish-killing virus has invaded Lake Superior

By: Sam Cook, Duluth News Tribune

Lake Superior’s newest troublesome invasion won’t come from a giant Asian carp after all, but from a tiny virus that already has caused big fish die-offs along the eastern Great Lakes.

Researchers at Cornell University announced Wednesday that they have found fish-killing VHS virus in fish samples from Lake Superior, including the Twin Ports harbor.

A small number of fish from Superior Bay and St. Louis Bay, as well as some from Paradise and Skanee Bays in Michigan, tested positive for the virus.

“It’s another sad day for the Great Lakes,’’ said Phyllis Green, superintendant of Isle Royale National Park in Lake Superior.

The research team spent several days in June collecting and sampling healthy fish in Lake Superior. Nearly 900 fish were collected from the lake. The finding means the disease has spread across all of the Great Lakes.

“It’s very unfortunate but not unforeseen. ... It’s obviously going to change how anglers and management agencies conduct business,’’ said Brian Borkholder, fisheries biologist with the Fond du Lac Band of Lake Superior Chippewa.

Minnesota and Wisconsin already have rules and guidelines in place to limit the spread of other invasive species, so anglers and boaters may be asked only to step up efforts as opposed to making major changes.

“Because of [other] invasive species, anglers have already had to deal with issues such as draining livewells, disposing of bait properly and spraying or drying their boats before going to other waters. This will just heighten things a little bit,” said Roy Johannes, DNR aquaculture and fish health consultant in St. Paul. [...]

Supporters of stronger regulations to thwart invasive species say VHS is only the latest of 180 species to invade the lakes. [...]

Read more at link.


No comments: