Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Week of August 9, 2010


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


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


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.


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.


"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."


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.


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.


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."


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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