Friday, December 16, 2011

December 16, 2011

Sag Harbor, New York Withdraws Bamboo Ban

Posted on 16 December 2011

Following both praise and criticism by Sag Harbor residents over a proposed law that would have banned bamboo in the village, on Tuesday night the Sag Harbor Village Board of Trustees voted to withdraw the legislation from consideration.

“I have been talking to different people and I think the best thing to do is to advise people not to plant invasive species,” said trustee Robby Stein, first suggesting the proposed legislation be tabled and then suggesting it be withdrawn completely.

The rest of the village board supported Stein unanimously, including Sag Harbor Mayor Brian Gilbride.

The legislation was originally introduced in September after the village board heard the pleas of resident Pat Field this summer. Field said she has done almost everything imaginable in an effort to kill bamboo spreading onto her Madison Street property from a neighbor’s yard. The bamboo, said Field, was threatening her very home.

Originally, the legislation targeted all invasive species of plants, but was quickly scaled back to address only bamboo. According to the last version of the draft law, if adopted residents would not have been allowed to have bamboo “planted, maintained or otherwise permitted to exist within 10-feet of any property line, street, sidewalk or public right of way.”

However, the legislation was criticized by some in the village — including homeowners facing a similar battle as Field — as being too far reaching for the local municipality, and potentially costly for village residents who bought properties that already contained bamboo.

“I think the discussion we have had was a great discussion, but it showed clearly this is a neighbor to neighbor issue and the bigger issue here is there are residents who have bamboo and have done everything right,” said Mayor Gilbride. “It is the encroachment onto neighbor’s properties that really needs to be addressed.”

Read the full story at link.


Monday, December 12, 2011

December 12, 2011

Vermont Noxious Weed Rule Additions Move Forward: Burning bush, Norway maple and others may be added to prohibited list

The long awaited proposed amendments to the Vermont Noxious Weed Rule (Agency of Agriculture, Food and Markets Quarantine # 3 – Noxious Weeds) have been filed with the Vermont Secretary of State, and the Agency of Agriculture is inviting public comment on the rule and proposed changes. If adopted as proposed, the amendments will prohibit the sale of the following species:Norway maple (Acer platanoides), Common and Japanese Barberries (Berberis thunbergii and B. vulgaris), Burningbush (Euonymous alatus), Yellow flag iris (Iris pseudocorus), Amur maple (Acer ginnala) and European naiad (Najas minor).

As proposed, the rule prohibits sale of these species as of rule adoption, EXCEPT for those specimens already in wholesale and retail inventories within Vermont at the time of rule adoption. ...

Read the full story at link.


Friday, December 9, 2011

December 9, 2011

New Florida Invasive Species iPhone app

IveGot1 brings the power of EDDMapS to your iPhone. Now you can submit invasive species observations directly with your iPhone from the field. These reports are uploaded to EDDMapS and e-mailed directly to local and state verifiers for review. IveGot1 was developed by the University of Georgia Center for Invasive Species and Ecosystem Health through a cooperative agreement with the National Park Service, in cooperation with the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission and the University of Florida Center for Aquatic and Invasive Plants. IveGot1 is more than just an iPhone app, it is an integrated invasive species reporting and outreach campaign for Florida that includes the app, a website with direct access to invasive species reporting and a hotline 1-888-IVEGOT1 for instant reports of live animals.

See the new iPhone app at: link

The app is compatible with iPhone, iPod touch, and iPad (requires iOS 4.3 or later).


Tuesday, December 6, 2011

December 6, 2011

New milfoil colony found on Lake Placid, New York

By CHRIS MORRIS, Adirondack Daily Enterprise

LAKE PLACID - Shore owners have found a new milfoil colony on Lake Placid.

Lake Placid Shore Owners Association President Mark Wilson said two members of his group were out kayaking last month when they discovered a swath of variable-leaf milfoil near "False Outlet," which flows in and out of Brewster Bay.

This new colony is located right around the corner from Paradox Bay, where divers from Aquatic Invasive Management removed an infestation in July 2009.

Wilson said AIM and shore owners have identified seven plants within a 50-square-foot area. AIM's co-owner, Tommy Thomson, told the Enterprise the new infestation was likely caused by a fragment that got loose when his crews were mitigating the Paradox Bay colony.

"It took a couple of years for it to be noticed," he said. "We swam through last year and didn't find anything."...

Wilson said he reached out to North Elba town Supervisor Roby Politi and Lake Placid village Mayor Craig Randall. He said he wants to discuss the next steps for mitigating the new infestation, and keep the town and the village updated on actions taken by the Shore Owners Association...

Read the full story at link.


Monday, November 28, 2011

November 28, 2011

Invasive species are a blight on U.S. landscape

By Elizabeth Weise, USA TODAY

America is under siege — not by a foreign power, but by invasive species slowly working their way across the nation, leaving a sometimes-devastated and often-changed landscape in their wake.

Just as Dutch elm disease from Asia removed an iconic tree from the American landscape beginning in the 1940s, the emerald ash borer may conquer the ash tree in coming years. West Nile virus from Africa killed 57 Americans last year. And work crews often encounter giant Burmese pythons in South Florida.

The latest addition to the list of non-native creepy-crawlies is the hairy crazy ant. The tiny foragers are believed to have come from South America. They first got to the Caribbean in the late 19th century and are working their way through Florida and the Southeast...

Read the full story at link.


Wednesday, November 23, 2011

November 23, 2011

Invasive plants endanger fragile ecosystem

By Joe Roetz, NBC2 Reporter


One of Florida's most dangerous predators doesn't have teeth, claws or the ability to attack people. At the same time, it's strangling native plants and driving away native animals.

Michael Knight and Jonathan Nash are scientists from the Audubon Society who spend their days in the Everglades hunting invasive, non-native plants...

Watch the video here.


Monday, November 21, 2011

November 21, 2011

Ecologist honored for creating Weed Warriors program to fight invasive species

By Associated Press, Published: November 19

ROCKVILLE, Md. — A Montgomery County ecologist is a weed warrior, and she wants you to be one as well.

The U.S. Forest Service and the Alliance for the Chesapeake Bay have honored ecologist Carole Bergmann for creating the Weed Warrior program, which trains volunteers to eliminate invasive plant species.

County officials say the program has trained more than 700 volunteers, who assist park staff in finding and removing invasive plants. Volunteers receive two hours of field training with a forest ecologist and complete an online course. The training consists of plant identification, removal and control techniques...

Online: Montgomery County Weed Warrior Program

Read the full story at link.


Canadians push back against NY ballast rules

Invasive species: Critics say regulations will hurt Seaway traffic


WASHINGTON — A top Canadian transportation official visits New York today to try to rally opposition to the state’s tough new restrictions on ballast water in the St. Lawrence Seaway.

Pierre Poilievre, the parliamentary secretary to the minister of Transport, Infrastructure and Communities, said he plans to meet with “decision makers” and shipping industry representatives to corral opposition to New York’s ballast standard, aimed at keeping invasive species out of the Seaway but which shippers say could effectively shut down the international waterway.

“We do not believe the Seaway can remain open” if the rules are implemented as planned in 2013, Mr. Poilievre told reporters in a news conference call. “If New York goes ahead with these regulations, the economic damage would be massive”...

Read the full story at link.


Wednesday, November 16, 2011

November 156, 2011

The Norway Maple: New York's Ultimate Weed

Peak season for most foliage may be past but now it's time to take notice of this invasive tree, writes environmentalist David Bedell.

November is leaf season in New York state, and we are all understandably busy with the leaves at our feet. With peak foliage long past, this isn't normally time to take stock of the leaves still in the trees. This week in particular, though, is just right for looking up: What you see will illustrate very clearly how much one invasive tree is impacting our community.

The Norway maple is one of New York's ultimate weeds. Imported from Europe, it is a large tree whose leaves are very similar to the native sugar maple. The Norway maple has, unfortunately, a few characteristics which make it invasive -- destroying native ecosystems, causing trouble in yards and gardens, and creating visual blight. The tree's dense canopy shades out virtually all other plants and its roots secrete chemicals that inhibit the growth of competitors. It spreads prolifically to form pure stands that are completely opague. If you have a spot in your lawn where grass will not grow, there is a good chance the Norway maple growing overhead is responsible. The dense canopy blocks views that a native tree's more open canopy would preserve. And most insidious, the diversity and function of our local natural places is replaced with a sterile monotony...

Read the full story at link.


Maryland investigating invasive Deep Creek Lake aquatic plant

Associated Press

OAKLAND — The Maryland Department of Natural Resources said Tuesday it is taking a closer look at an invasive aquatic plant in Deep Creek Lake that some area residents say could strangle the boating opportunities that make the mountain reservoir a tourist magnet.

Agency officials said at a public meeting that they will assess the distribution of Eurasian water milfoil across the entire lake over the next year and advise property owners on how to limit its effects.

“We realize that there’s been a lot of concern over the last year. People are complaining that it’s exploding over the lake,” said Bruce D. Michael, director of resource assessment.

The weed, called EWM for short, is a green, leafy plant with long, slender stalks. It grows in water up to 20 feet deep and forms dense mats that can entangle swimmers and hinder boats. It first arrived in Wisconsin in the 1960s and has become a nuisance nationwide.

Michael said EWM is found in virtually all Maryland lakes and the Chesapeake Bay but it only becomes a problem when it overruns other types of aquatic vegetation.

When that happens, Michael said, “there is no easy answer. We’re not going to be able to eradicate it.”

Some states have used herbicides to control EWM, and Wisconsin is experimenting with a bug, the milfoil weevil, that eats it...

Michael said a survey of six coves — a relatively small number — showed no expansion of EWM from 2010 to 2011.

Read the full story at link.


Ballast Regulations Pass U.S. House Vote

By Sarah Kellogg

The U.S. House approved legislation today that would establish a national standard for cleaning ship ballast water to kill aquatic invasive species, but environmentalists say the legislation is too weak to prevent new foreign species from invading the Great Lakes.

The ballast water language was included in a measure that would authorize the U.S. Coast Guard through 2014, providing some $26 billion dollars in funding to keep the service afloat over the next three years. The legislation, which was passed on a voice vote, now moves to the U.S. Senate for consideration.

New Ballast Rule Would Override Stricter Regulations

The ballast water provision would override stricter tribal, state and federal regulations, allowing ships on the lakes to comply with a single national standard rather than having to accommodate a patchwork of more than two dozen tribal and state rules as they move through the Great Lakes waters. Enactment of this legislation would preempt efforts by the Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Coast Guard to impose tougher national ballast water rules.

Under the bill, the federal government would adopt the International Maritime Organization's proposed standard, which would require vessel operators to install technology to limit the number of live organisms in their ballast water.

Read the full story at link.


Thursday, November 10, 2011

November 10, 2011

The pollinator crisis: What's best for bees

Pollinating insects are in crisis. Understanding bees' relationships with introduced species could help.

By Sharon Levy

Bees thrum among bright red blossoms on a spring day on Mount Diablo, near San Francisco Bay. Alexandra Harmon-Threatt, a young ecologist just finishing her doctorate at the University of California, Berkeley, lovingly identifies an array of native pollinators. She points out three species of bumblebee, each with a unique pattern of black and yellow stripes. There are bee-flies, members of the fly family covered in soft brown fur, which look and act like bees. Among the native insects are plenty of honeybees (Apis mellifera), the species raised by beekeepers worldwide and introduced to the Americas by English settlers in the seventeenth century. All these insects are drawn to a clump of red vetch (Vicia villosa), an invasive weed. Just down the road is a patch of native lupins, laden with purple blossoms. But the lupins bloom in silence: no bees attend them.

For the past three years, Harmon-Threatt has been studying the ways in which the native yellow-faced bumblebee (Bombus vosnesenskii) uses the plants growing in the area. By capturing bees as they visit plants and then sampling the pollen they carry, she has confirmed in unpublished work that they get much of their food from introduced plants. And by analysing the amino-acid content of pollen, Harmon-Threatt has shown that bee foraging behaviour can be driven by a craving for nutrients rather than an evolved attachment to a specific plant. Although many conservationists assume that introduced plants are always destructive, her work shows that it's not necessarily so from a bee's point of view. What matters to most bee species is the abundance and quality of pollen — and if an introduced plant, such as the red vetch, offers more protein-rich food than the natives around it, the bees will collect its pollen.

Harmon-Threatt is one of a growing group of scientists studying the evolving relationships between native bees and introduced plants. Their work is critical in a world where human actions have dramatically shifted the distributions of plants and are forcing a pollinator crisis...

Read the full story at link.


Officials demonstrate 'Marsh Master,' whack fire-prone phragmites on Staten Island

STATEN ISLAND, N.Y. -- What’s taxicab yellow, weighs 6,000 pounds but can stay afloat in water by virtue of pontoon-like treads and boasts an 8-foot blade?

Apparently the answer to prayers of Oakwood Beach residents and other Staten Islanders, whose homes and property abut fire-prone phragmites that threaten their safety.

Called a Marsh Master, the noisy hunk of aluminum cut a wide swath through 9-foot-high phragmites on dead-end Kissam Avenue today, site of a 2009 Easter Sunday fire that ravaged homes.

The Marsh Master — which Dmytryszyn likened to a "modified lawnmower" — is on loan for two days from the Walkill National Wildlife Refuge in Sussex, N.J., in a city, state and federal government arrangement brokered by Borough Hall for demonstration purposes.

Dmystyszyn said Borough Hall will seek a federal grant in the range of $50,000 to enter into a contract with the National Parks Service to cut down phragmites every three months for the next two to three years in a pilot project, beginning this spring...

Read the full story at link.


Tuesday, November 8, 2011

November 8, 2011

Integrated Management of Nonnative Plants in Natural Areas of Florida

by K. A. Langeland, J. A. Ferrell, B. Sellers, G. E. MacDonald, and R. K. Stocker

Available here.


Let them eat carp: Illinois to feed pest fish to the poor


What do you do with a bony, ugly, jumpy, fat, fugitive fish that's taken over the Mississippi and Illinois rivers and threatens the ecology of the Great Lakes?

Grind them into fish sticks and feed them to the poor.

That's the latest strategy from the Illinois Department of Natural Resources in its tussle with the Asian carp. The department plans to process tons of the fish and donate it to food banks, including the St. Louis Area Food Bank.

"We'll filet them and pull the bones out and turn them into fish sticks, or the equivalent of canned tuna," says Tom Main, acting deputy director at the DNR. "The fish actually taste pretty good."

Main has a lot of dead fish on his hands. The state pays commercial fishermen to pull Asian carp out of the northern Illinois River. It's in effort to keep them out of the canal and rivers that connect to Lake Michigan, which is, so far, nearly Asian-carp-free.

"We've pulled out 150 tons just this year," he says.

Great Lakes states fear that the carp may wreak havoc on the lakes' fishing industry, as its already done on rivers farther south...

Read more at link.


Friday, November 4, 2011

November 4, 2011

Ballast standard up for vote

AP environmental writer

TRAVERSE CITY --Environmentalists tried to rally opposition Thursday to a proposed national policy for cleansing ship ballast water to kill invasive species, contending it is too weak and would pre-empt stronger state and federal rules.

The U.S. House was expected to vote as early as today on the measure, which comes as the Environmental Protection Agency is preparing to release its own regulations of ship ballast — a leading culprit in the spread of invaders such as zebra and quagga mussels in the Great Lakes and ocean coastal waters.

Sponsored by Rep. Frank LoBiondo, a New Jersey Republican, the bill would adopt a standard proposed by the International Maritime Organization limiting the number of live organisms that would be permitted in ballast water. Vessel operators would have to install technology to meet the standard.

The shipping industry has pushed for a single nationwide policy, saying the current patchwork of more than two dozen state and tribal regulatory systems is unworkable because vessels move constantly from one jurisdiction to another...

Environmental groups said the bill would prevent the EPA and the U.S. Coast Guard, which is also developing ballast rules, from imposing standards tough enough to make sure no more exotic species reach the Great Lakes.

About two-thirds of the 185 invasive species in the lakes are believed to have arrived in ballast water. They've done billions in damages and are implicated in a variety of ecological problems, from runaway algae blooms to a shortage of plankton crucial for the aquatic food web...

Read the full story at link.


Wednesday, November 2, 2011

November 2, 2011

Bug Battle: An Invasive Plant Now Faces Its Own Attacker

Insects From Asia Munch on Kudzu, a Vine That Has Grown on Some

The Wall Street Journal

GRIFFIN, Ga.—Patti Bennett was looking out the window of her home office one morning two years ago when a swarm of green bugs flew out of the neighboring kudzu patch.

"I thought, 'What the hell is that headed at my house?' It was like a horror movie," says Ms. Bennett, a 53-year-old insurance underwriter who lives about an hour from Atlanta. She killed hundreds of bugs with spray, while thousands more released a musty, bittersweet odor in defense.

She scooped some bugs into a Tupperware container of alcohol and handed them to the local Home Depot specialist, an exterminator and a county agricultural agent.

Ms. Bennett was one of the first people in the South to report seeing Megacopta cribraria, an insect native to Asia that likely stowed away on a flight in 2009 and entered the U.S. through Atlanta's Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport, entomologists say.

Often a new bug brings nothing but bites and headaches for entomologists who race to limit the damage. But battle lines are being drawn over Megacopta cribraria.

The bug, which has spread from North Carolina to Alabama, kills kudzu—a picturesque but pesky green vine that was itself an Asian import. Over the next decade, the bug could munch up to a third of the eight million acres of the kudzu that blankets the South, says James L. Hanula, an invasive plant specialist with the U.S. Forest Service in Athens, Ga....

Research on the kudzu bug has trumped fire-ant and pecan weevil projects at the quiet Griffin campus. "We have an insect that had not been reported in the New World," Mr. Gardner says. "Many entomologists go through their career and never have that experience."

The bugs have recently started venturing out of kudzu patches as they seek places to hibernate for winter. In Georgia, the bugs have been smashing into windshields, lighting on exterior walls and smelling up soccer games and outdoor parties....

Read the full story at link.


Invasive Plant Distribution Maps - Northern Region

Posted: 02 Nov 2011 12:18 PM PDT

Posted by USDA's National Invasive Species Information Center --

The Forest Inventory and Analysis (FIA) program of the USDA Forest Service has created a series of downloadable invasive plant distribution maps for its Northern Region (includes 24 states). The distributions on these maps portray the spatial distribution of the plants based on observations from the FIA program. Check out our Plant Species Profiles which now includes this data.


Loopholes in the regulation of invasive species: genetic identifications identify mislabeling of prohibited aquarium plants

Ryan A. Thum, Amanda T. Mercer and Dustin J. Wcisel

Biological Invasions Online First™, 31 October 2011


Numerous invasive aquatic species introductions can be traced to the aquarium trade. Many potentially harmful aquarium species may be difficult to identify based on morphology alone. As such, some prohibited or invasive species may be available for purchase if they are mislabeled as species without restrictions. Here we compare molecular identifications to internet vendors’ identifications for accessions of a popular genus of aquarium plants that are difficult to distinguish morphologically (Myriophyllum; watermilfoils). Specifically, we identified the extensive mislabeling of M. heterophyllum—an invasive species in the northeastern and western US. Furthermore, genotypes of M. heterophyllum found in our aquarium survey have also been found in invasive populations, suggesting their potential introduction through escape from aquaria, water gardens, or nurseries. Two additional taxa were sold under incorrect names. Finally, our survey revealed that Myriophyllum taxa present in the aquarium trade generally have poorly known distributions and ecologies, and therefore their invasive potential is unknown. Our study confirms that molecular identification methods can provide a valuable tool to survey commercial pathways for potentially harmful species that are otherwise difficult to identify.

Keywords Aquarium trade – Myriophyllum – Taxonomy – Invasion – Water gardening – ITS


Tuesday, November 1, 2011

November 1, 2011

Atlantic Salmon returning to central New York’s Salmon River

Associated Press

PULASKI, N.Y. (AP) — Native Atlantic salmon are once again reproducing in the wild in central New York’s renowned Salmon River, where anglers travel from across North America and overseas every autumn to reel in hatchery-bred Atlantics as well as non-native chinooks, cohos, brown trout and feisty steelheads that swim upstream from Lake Ontario.

After more than a century without a wild-breeding population, this is the third year in a row that researchers from the U.S. Geological Survey have found young Atlantic salmon in the river, said USGS scientist Jim Johnson. When the young mature, eggs will be taken from some to propagate at the USGS research lab in Cortland, he said...

Lake Ontario once supported the world’s largest freshwater population of Atlantic salmon. But the fish vanished in the late 1800s as a result of overfishing and habitat destruction. Government agencies in the U.S. and Canada have maintained an Atlantic salmon fishery by the annual stocking of millions of hatchery fish, but the fish haven’t been able to reproduce in the wild because of a thiamine deficiency caused by eating alewives, an invasive species. Alewives contain an enzyme that destroys thiamine, also known as Vitamin B1.

“After Atlantic salmon and lake trout were extirpated, there was no longer a major predator to eat the alewives in Lake Ontario and the population exploded,” said Fran Verdoliva, Salmon River program coordinator for the state Department of Environmental Conservation.

Pacific salmon — chinook and coho — were brought in from hatcheries to control the alewife population in Lake Ontario in 1968, and brown and steelhead trout were added in the 1970s.

“The sport fishery developed out of what started as biological control of invasive species,” Verdoliva said...

It’s unclear why Atlantic salmon are now reproducing in the wild, but a decline in the number of alewives coupled with a rise in numbers of another invasive species called the round goby may have something to do with it.

“Gobies are high in thiamine,” Verdoliva said. When salmon eat gobies, it may increase their thiamine level, countering the ill-effect of alewives, he said...

Read the full story at link.


See an interesting slide show about Common Reed in the Southeastern US by Bill Overholt et al. at link.


Monday, October 31, 2011

October 31, 2011

West Nile Virus Linked To American Robin

By Kaitlin Vogel

The deadly West Nile virus that has killed five Californians this summer and sickened another 197 began with the infection of a species that thrives around people: the American Robin.

This shocking discovery was made by UC Santa Cruz biologist Marm Kilpatrick. He calls these birds “super-spreaders” because its numbers have increased along with the popularity of lawns at homes, parks and schoolyards. And although the virus can infect a wide range of animals, the robin seems to play the most major role in transmission.

"Just like other invasive species, the virus starts adapting to its new environment," Kilpatrick said, The Oakland Tribune reports.

Research shows after the virus arrived in New York in 1999, it began evolving to create a new and distinct strain. More than 1.8 million people have since become infected in North America, with about 360,000 sicknesses and 1,308 deaths, according to Kilpatrick.

The average American tends not to worry about the outbreak of exotic diseases across the world. However, the nation's leading health officials are becoming more concerned. Migrating birds fly across North America, carrying disease with them. As a result, medical and agricultural inspectors are always on the lookout to spot new threats...

Read the full story at link.


CBS Sunday Morning Features Invasive Species

Watch it here: link


16-Foot-Long Burmese Python Devours 76-Pound Deer

By Katie Kindelan

When it came to eating his last meal, a 16-foot-long Burmese python in South Florida did not mess around.

The humongous, slithering snake devoured a 76-pound female deer right before the snake was captured and killed last Thursday in western Miami-Dade County in the Everglades.

Workers from the South Florida Water Management District came across the surprising, and surprisingly large, discovery on Thursday as they were removing non-native plants from a tree island.

Officials from the Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission captured and killed the python, one of the largest ever found in South Florida, with a shotgun.

The deer was reportedly already dead when the snake consumed it. Autopsy results showed the python had a girth of 44 inches after eating the deer, found still fully intact, inside his belly...

Read the full story at link


Tuesday, October 25, 2011

There's trouble in the bat cave

By Dan Ashe
The Sacramento Bee

It's October, which means that bats are once again having their annual star turn, popping up on classroom bulletin boards and store windows across America. But this year, actual living bats in North America aren't so abundant. They are being decimated by a deadly health epidemic.

The disease causing this die-off is called white-nose syndrome, and it is infecting hibernating bat populations across the Eastern states. In the four years since it was first detected, white-nose syndrome has spread quickly from a cave in upstate New York, the epicenter, to 16 states and four Canadian provinces. It has killed more than 1 million bats.

Biologists in New York first started to notice dead and dying bats with unusual symptoms in 2007. Named for a fuzzy white fungus that often grows on the muzzles, wings and tail membranes of infected bats, white-nose syndrome had never been seen in North America. As winter wore on, more and more bats were affected by the disease, and biologists watched helplessly as the bats prematurely left their caves and died in droves in the ice and snow in the Northeast.

Scientists worked quickly to identify the culprit, a newly found fungus associated with the disease, Geomyces destructans. European biologists noticed that many bats also had a white fungus but they were not dying. Genetic comparison confirmed North American and European fungi were a match.

Scientists hypothesize that the fungus was accidentally introduced into the New York cave by a human, and American bats, unlike their European counterparts, have little or no resistance to the disease.

Exact reasons are unknown. Physical differences may play a role (European bats tend to be bigger). It's also possible that European bats co-evolved with the fungus, allowing them to develop resistance, or that environmental differences cause the fungus to behave differently in North America.

Global travel has made the introduction of foreign plants, animals and pathogens as easy as dropping anchor or hopping on a plane. Importers, anglers, explorers and even gardeners can easily transport invasive pathogens on clothing and footwear, or in shipments of goods...

Read more at link.


ScienceShot: Case Closed on Bat Fungus

by Daniel Strain

A potential bat killer is guilty as charged. Scientists say they've finally fingered the culprit behind the deadly bat disease known as white nose syndrome: the fungus Geomyces destructans. Disease experts had previously cultured the fungus from the white dustings that cover the noses and wings of infected bats. But it wasn't clear whether the potential pathogen was the main cause of the epidemic, which has spread plaguelike throughout the northeastern United States, or just a side effect. In a study published online today [October 26, 2011] in Nature, researchers spread G. destructans samples onto healthy little brown bats (Myotis lucifugus), and all developed tell-tale lesions within several months...

Read the full story at link.


Ash borer found in trap in southern Albany County, New York

Associated Press

ALBANY -- State officials say an emerald ash borer has been found in a southern Albany County trap, the first discovered north of a major infestation in the Hudson Valley.

Michael Bopp, a Department of Environmental Conservation spokesman, says Tuesday the destructive beetle was stuck to a purple trap in Selkirk...

Read more at link.


Wednesday, October 19, 2011

October 19, 2011

Hard-to-kill 'beach kudzu' threatens sea turtles, native plants

Funding may doom war on leafy invader

By Bo Petersen

Less than a decade ago, very few people had heard of beach vitex. But it infested the Lowcountry [of South Carolina].

The ornamental planting was carpeting dunes like kudzu, sending runners down the beach where the tide could pick up tens of thousands of seeds and move them somewhere else. Vitex was eroding dunes and killing sea turtle hatchlings and native plants, such as sea oats and seabeach amaranth.

The stuff had infested more than 200 spots along the length of the coast, including the dunes of homes on Isle of Palms, Sullivan's Island and Folly Beach. Its purple flowers are gorgeous. It smells like eucalyptus. So even the people who were planting it as dune landscaping had no idea anything was wrong.

Beach vitex is now under control but not eradicated. The task force created to do that job, though, has run out of funding and effectively will cease at the end of the year. In the spring, sprouts will turn up on some dunes, even on beaches where the plant has been cleared. What happens then nobody can say for sure...

Read the full story at link.


Tuesday, October 18, 2011

October 18, 2011

US food supply threatened: Foreign insects, diseases got into US post 9/11

Associated Press

FRESNO, Calif. — Dozens of foreign insects and plant diseases slipped undetected into the United States in the years after 9/11, when authorities were so focused on preventing another attack that they overlooked a pest explosion that threatened the quality of the nation's food supply.

At the time, hundreds of agricultural scientists responsible for stopping invasive species at the border were reassigned to anti-terrorism duties in the newly formed Homeland Security Department — a move that scientists say cost billions of dollars in crop damage and eradication efforts from California vineyards to Florida citrus groves.

The consequences come home to consumers in the form of higher grocery prices, substandard produce and the risk of environmental damage from chemicals needed to combat the pests.

An Associated Press analysis of inspection records found that border-protection officials were so engrossed in stopping terrorists that they all but ignored the country's exposure to destructive new insects and infections — a quietly growing menace that has been attacking fruits and vegetables and even prized forests ever since...

Using the Freedom of Information Act, The Associated Press obtained data on border inspections covering the period from 2001 to 2010.

The analysis showed that the number of inspections, along with the number of foreign species that were stopped, fell dramatically in the years after the Homeland Security Department was formed.

Over much of the same period, the number of crop-threatening pests that got into the U.S. spiked, from eight in 1999 to at least 30 last year...

Read the full story at link.


Thursday, October 6, 2011

October 6, 2011


The New York State Senate and Assembly passed legislation that will help protect the residents of Staten Island from phragmites fueled fires. The bill (S.4377/A.7463), authored by Senator Andrew Lanza and Assemblyman Michael Cusick, requires the Department of Environmental Conservation to establish a residential fire break permit for the borough of Staten Island, and allows property owners to cut and remove phragmites from their property. The entire Staten Island delegation cosponsors the legislation.

"For too long, DEC was more concerned with protecting these non-native invasive weeds then they were about enacting policies that protect residents and their property,” said Senator Lanza. “This bill will prevent the DEC from thwarting property owners the right to protect their property. Homeowners should not have to ask permission to protect their homes and lives. This bill will empower private homeowners with the ability to remove this dangerous weed from their properties without waiting on the ‘OK’ from DEC.”

“This is common-sense legislation,” said Assemblyman Michael Cusick. “Property owners have the right to diminish fire-starting risks that pose a threat to their homes. This is about the safety of our citizens and our community.”

“DEC policies and the weeds’ propensity for fueling summer fires put the lives and property of Staten Islanders in jeopardy while forcing local first responders to risk their safety to battle these often fierce blazes,” said Assemblyman Lou Tobacco. “By allowing homeowners to remove this hazard from their property and by replanting our wetlands with native vegetation, our legislation will greatly reduce summer fires and protect the lives and property of Staten Island homeowners.”

"I am happy we were finally able to pass common sense legislation to fix a situation that for many residents of Staten Island has become a nuisance and a danger,” said Senator Diane Savino. “Hopefully this legislation will give the residents of South Beach and others around the Island a new tool for fighting brush fires."

Assemblyman Titone said, “During the summer months dangerous brush fires fueled by phragmites are all too frequent on Staten Island. Allowing our residents to create a fire break is a common sense approach to saving homes and reducing risk to our first responders.”

"As a representative of Staten Island's east shoreline, I have seen my district suffer from brush fires as a result of these dangerous weeds time and time again. With this law, homeowners will now be able to protect their property and lives," said Assemblywoman Nicole Malliotakis (R,C-East Shore). "This legislation is a true victory for the people of Staten Island, and its passage is a perfect example of the wonderful things that our delegation can accomplish when we work together.

The legislation was signed by the governor on Aug. 3 and expires Dec. 31, 2012.

Read a press release at link.


City Closes Cayuga Inlet in New York Due to Hydrilla

By Laura Shepard
The Cornell Daily Sun

Mayor Carolyn Peterson closed the Cayuga Inlet to all boat traffic and declared a state of emergency on Wednesday in order to eradicate hydrilla, an invasive plant that officials worry will spread to Lake Cayuga, by applying an herbicide.

Hydrilla was first sighted in the inlet on Aug. 4 and has already covered 95 acres of waterways in the City of Ithaca, including Cascadilla Creek and State Marine Park. Some areas are completely covered in dense plant material, according to the Cornell Cooperative Extension’s website.

Shutting down the lake will prepare the inlet for herbicide treatment and help to prevent the plant from spreading, according to Prof. Holly Menninger, natural resources. Menninger is a senior Extension associate and coordinator of the New York Invasive Species Research Institute.

“It’s important to get boats to stop moving, and the only way to do that is to shut down the inlet,” said Roxy Johnston, watershed coordinator for the City of Ithaca.

Johnston said that boat owners inadvertently transport hydrilla by cutting and fragmenting the plant, enabling it to spread faster....

Reactions to the inlet closure were mixed. Some officials said they wish the city closed the inlet earlier.

“It’s about time, isn’t it?” said Wade Wykstra, commissioner of the Board of Public Works and chair of the Ownership Committee for the Ithaca Area Wastewater Treatment Plant, who is also running for mayor. “The use of herbicide makes me nervous, but I also have an idea of the harm hydrilla will do, not just to Cayuga Lake, but to all of the lakes. I know what the herbicide is and, in this case, I trust the judgement of the people who’ve decided to use it.”

According to Johnston, some believe that if the city had taken action earlier, boat owners would not have had to struggle with the decision to voluntarily comply.

Some boat owners will have to reschedule plans to move their boats to marinas at the north end of Cayuga Lake, Menninger said.

“[Hydrilla] affects all of the marinas in town in terms of being able to do business, and not in a good way,” said Dennis Montgomery, the owner of two businesses operating out of the Ithaca Boating Center.

Read the full story at link.


Thursday, September 29, 2011

September 29, 2011

Invasive sea squirt puts Connecticut's shellfish sector on alert

By Natalia Real

The invasive sea squirt Styela clava has appeared along the Eastern Seaboard and is threatening Connecticut’s USD 30 million shellfish business, informed Carmela Cuomo, head of the marine biology programme at the University of New Haven (UNH).

The migration of the foreign pest southward from Canada and northern New England jeopardizes the farming of bivalves such as clams, mussels, scallops and oysters in Long Island Sound.

Connecticut’s shellfish industry provides 300 jobs and has 70,000 ac of shellfish farms, according to the Connecticut Department of Agriculture.

“The spread of this particular species of sea squirt westward in Long Island Sound, along with laboratory studies of its temperature tolerance, indicates it can survive at higher water temperatures than scientists had previously believed,” Cuomo said. “If further testing confirms that Styela can reproduce in warmer waters, Styela may pose a greater threat than has previously been imagined and may even be able to spread as far south as Florida.” ...

Read the full story at link.


Tuesday, September 13, 2011

September 16, 2011

Kudzu bug spreads across Southern states

Sharon Dowdy, News Editor UGA College of Agricultural & Environmental Sciences

Almost two years ago, a tiny immigrant pest arrived in Georgia, and there’s nothing the state’s immigration office can do to make it leave. The bean plataspid, or kudzu bug, munches on kudzu and soybeans and has now set up residence in four Southern states.

Homeowners consider the bug a nuisance. Soybean producers shudder at the damage it causes. And many are hoping it will prove to be a kudzu killer.

Spreading problem

The kudzu bug was first spotted in Georgia in the fall of 2009 when insect samples were sent to the University of Georgia Homeowner Insect and Weed Diagnostic Laboratory in Griffin, Ga. The first samples came from UGA Cooperative Extension agents in Barrow, Gwinnett and Jackson counties.

“The bug can now be found in 143 Georgia counties, all South Carolina counties, 42 North Carolina counties and 5 Alabama counties,” said Wayne Gardner, an entomologist with the UGA College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences.

Last fall, Gardner had to search repeatedly to find the pest in kudzu patches in north Georgia. “Those areas are loaded with bugs this year,” he said.

By studying the pest for the past year, Gardner has determined wisteria, green beans and other legumes are the bug’s true hosts in the landscapes and home gardens. A plant becomes a true host of the insect when different life stages of the insect are found on the plant, he said...

No one seems to mind if the bugs take out a 1,000 or so acres of kudzu. But are they?

“We found the bug caused a 32 percent reduction in kudzu growth last year in the plots we monitored,” said Jim Hanula, an entomologist with the USDA Forest Service. He monitored the bug on kudzu plots in Athens, Ga., for the past year.

This may sound like reason to celebrate, but kudzu roots can grow as deep as 12 feet and weigh up to 300 pounds, Hanula said.

“We’re hopeful that feeding by the bug year after year will deplete those roots and weaken the plants,” he said. If the bug’s effect is cumulative, kudzu plants will likely weaken, and patches won’t be as thick.

“Hopefully, the bug will reduce kudzu’s ability to climb, which would be good for forestry,” he said.


New Invasive Aquatic Plant Confirmed In New York Lake

Pat Bradley

ITHACA, NY (WAMC) - Hydrilla has been confirmed in the inlet to Cayuga Lake in the Finger Lakes. The water weed is native to Asia and was brought to the U.S. in the 1950's when aquarium contents were dumped in Florida. Since then it has aggressively spread thru eastern waterways. Cornell Cooperative Extension Invasive Species Program Coordinator Chuck O'Neill says hydrilla is in Suffolk and Orange counties, but it's discovery in Cayuga is the northernmost sighting. State and local officials met in mid-August to discuss the scope of the infestation of hydrilla and what rapid response options need to be taken. Again Chuck O'Neill. Another concern is that hydrilla is often confused with native water plants. Adirondack Park Invasive Plant Program Director Hilary Smith says that's an obstacle for control of the weed. Hilary Smith says hydrilla has been on the radar for years as a possible invasive of concern. Scientists say boaters can prevent the spread of hydrilla by draining and cleaning boats and gear when leaving any waterbody.

Read the full story at link.

Invasive Species Clearinghouse © Copyright 2011, WAMC

Monday, August 22, 2011

Ausust 22, 2011

Hogweed Invades Woodstock, NY

By Julia Reischel
Watershed Post

Bad news just in from CRISP -- the Catskill Regional Invasive Species Partnership: The dreaded giant hogweed plant has officially been found in Woodstock.

The invasive weed can grow up to 15 feet tall and its sap causes caustic burns on human skin. It's been advancing across the Catskills, but hadn't been found in Ulster County until now.

Read the full story at link.


Thursday, August 18, 2011

August 18, 2011

Swallow-wort Biocontrols Pass Test

Northeastern IPM Center

Entomologists Richard Casagrande and Heather Faubert helped rid a Rhode Island farm of cypress spurge, an invasive weed, in the late 1990s. The spurge is a pretty thing but a thug nonetheless, and poisonous to cattle. Their weapon: a cadre of hungry beetles, biocontrol agents so keyed into spurge they won’t eat anything else.

“Then,” says Casagrande (Univ. of Rhode Island), “along came swallow-wort.” Now Casagrande is leading a team to help find biocontrol foes to take on swallow-wort, research backed by Northeast IPM Partnership funds.
A menace to monarchs

Swallow-wort is ornery enough to land two botanical monikers. Vincetoxicum spells it out: this plant is poisonous. And Cynanchum means “dog strangler” or “to choke a dog”: take your pick. But swallow-wort has acquired new meaning in the Northeast. This rampant invasive smothers small trees and native toughies like goldenrod, practically swallowing them whole.

Because swallow-wort is related to native milkweeds, Casagrande’s grad student Jennifer Dacey wanted to see how well swallow-wort could provide for monarch butterflies. Results: 100 percent of monarch larva died when hatching on black swallow-wort. “They stopped eating after a single bite,” says Casagrande...

Working off a TAG (technical advisory group) test-plant list approved by the USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, Casagrande’s team examined five possible biocontrol specialists in their quarantine lab, including two moths that evolved to feed on swallow-wort leaves. The researchers wanted to be sure these biocontrol insects wouldn’t jump to plants on the TAG list, since the last thing anyone wants is a new pest dominating the landscape...

The TAG list includes, naturally, most native milkweed relatives and even their sixth cousins. “Luckily, none of our native plants are closely related to swallow-wort,” says Casagrande. “That makes it a great candidate for classical biological control.” ...

Results? Both leaf-eating moths “passed the acid test,” says Casagrande. But isn’t it risky to welcome in guests who die when the serving platter is empty? Considering how rampant swallow-wort is, these two could be fat and happy for many years to come. Next steps? Strategizing with U.S. and Canadian colleagues on best practices for releasing this deadly duo.

Read the full article at link.


Monday, August 15, 2011

August 15, 2011

Zebra mussels spread in western Massachusetts

By Clarence Fanto, Berkshire Eagle Staff

Wednesday August 10, 2011

Zebra mussels have been detected in the Housatonic River as far downstream from Laurel Lake in Lee as the Connecticut state line and beyond, according to a report from Biodrawversity, an Amherst-based consulting firm.

As of last summer, the invasive mollusks' downstream presence extended only as far as Stockbridge.

Senior ecologist Ethan Nadeau, who owns Biodrawversity, measured the downstream migration during tests this summer. The mussels were carried from the lake into the river by Laurel Brook, he said. Biodrawversity confirmed the presence of zebra mussels in Laurel Lake in 2009.

Nadeau has alerted the Housatonic Valley Association, said Dennis Regan, the Massachusetts director of the organization.

"There is no natural enemy of the mussels, so we can expect them to keep on spreading," Regan said...

No other lakes in Berkshire County have been identified as contaminated thus far. Federal and state grants worth $71,000 have funded eight full-time boat ramp monitors at several lakes as well as the portable wash station at Laurel Lake and another on West Housatonic Street in Pittsfield.

State officials have described Berkshire County as on the "front lines" of the zebra-mussel invasion. Also being monitored are Lake Buel in Monterey, Richmond Pond and Cheshire Lake.

Read the full story at link.


Monday, August 8, 2011

August 8, 2011

CT Offers Tips to Limit Spread of Invasive Species

zebra_musselsThe Connecticut Department of Energy & Environmental Protection (DEEP) and the Lake Zoar Authority will be monitoring local boat launches for the presence of invasive plants and animals, such as zebra mussels.

Zebra mussels were discovered in Lake Zoar and Lake Lillinonah in October 2010. This is the first new report of zebra mussels in Connecticut since 1998, when they were discovered in East and West Twin Lakes in Salisbury....

Actions anglers and boaters must take to prevent the spread of invasive plants and animals, including zebra mussels, are as follows:

Before leaving a boat launch, clean all visible plant, fish, and animals as well as mud or other debris. Do not transport them home. Drain all water from every space and item that may hold water.

At home or prior to your next launch, dry anything that comes in contact with water (boats, trailers, anchors, propellers, etc.) for a minimum of 1 week during hot/dry weather or a minimum of 4 weeks during cool/wet weather. If drying is not possible, clean your boat prior to the next launch.

When fishing, do not dump your bait bucket or release live bait. Avoid introducing unwanted plants and animals to the water. Unless your bait was obtained on site, dispose of it in a suitable trash container or give it to another angler. Do not transport fish, other animals or plants between water bodies. Release caught fish, other animals and plants only into the waters from which they came.

The techniques listed below are for decontaminating your vessel:

Wash your boat with hot, pressurized water.

Dip equipment in 100% vinegar for 20 minutes prior to rinsing.

Wash with a 1% salt solution (2/3 cup to 5 gallons water) and leave on for 24 hours prior to rinsing.

“Wet” with bleach solution (1oz to 1 gallon water) or soap and hot water (Lysol, boat soap, etc) for 10 minutes prior to rinsing.

For more information on zebra mussels and other aquatic nuisance species:

DEEP: Invasive Species

Photo: Wikimedia


Tribes Lead Cultural Preservation Threatened by Invasive Species

By Sharon Lucik, APHIS Public Affairs, on the USDA Blog

The emerald ash borer beetle (EAB) is responsible for the death and decline of tens of millions of ash trees across 15 States. It has had a devastating effect wherever ash trees grow. Whether the ash is used by industry; shading homes and urban streets, or an integral part of our forest ecosystem, its decline due to EAB is being felt by everyone. Perhaps one of the hardest hit by this pest are Native American tribes of the Northeastern United States for whom brown ash is rooted deep in their culture, providing spiritual and economic support to their communities.

Life-giving Mother Earth is central in the lives of the tribes and ash trees in particular are highly treasured. The wood from ash is used to create snowshoes, hunting and fishing decoys, canoe paddles and medicinal remedies. Also, brown ash (also called black ash) in particular is used to create intricate woven baskets, toys and musical instruments. This invasive pest that so directly threatens the life style and tradition of many Native American tribes has also created an opportunity for collaboration and intellectual exchange between tribal groups and the USDA.

“Ash trees are important to Native people of the northeast, animals of the forest, and even the ecologies of the forest,” said Kelly Church, fifth-generation basket weaver, Grand Traverse band of the Ottawa and Ojibwe. “Each Federal agency, State agency, Tribal government, tribal harvester, or just one person can make a difference; but working together we can make a bigger difference for all of us.”

Many tribes have engaged their own communities to prevent the spread of EAB, in conjunction with supporting USDA EAB program efforts. The Cherokee, Mohawk, Ojibwe, Penobscot and other tribes survey for the pest, using purple panel traps, on lands they steward. Tribes also distribute EAB informational material to tourists and engage in one-on-one conversations to help educate campers about the risk of moving firewood. In addition, a group of Native American basketweavers are lending their knowledge and expertise to support EAB research. Scientists with U.S Department of Agriculture’s Center for Plant Health Science and Technology (CPHST) are investigating treatments to kill EAB in black ash logs so the raw material can be transported out of quarantine areas without spreading EAB. Tribes from Maine, New York and Michigan have stepped up to help evaluate the integrity of ash splints freshly pounded from black ash logs submerged in water for 4-months, a potential treatment. It was found that these splints were still viable as basket making material but unfortunately EAB larva also survived to complete its lifecycle. These trials continue.

With the future of the ash tree species in peril and long-held traditions in jeopardy, Native Americans have ignited their communities to help preserve their cultural heritage by collecting ash seeds. Working independently and in conjunction with the National Center for Genetic Resource Preservation, seed collection and storage will help to hedge genetic diversity of ash trees for future generations...

Read the full story at link.


Water chestnut may be spreading in southeastern Pennsylvania

By Carolyn Beeler,

An invasive species of water plant seems to be spreading in southeastern Pennsylvania.

Water chestnuts--no relation to the ones in your Chinese food--have dense surface foliage that can crowd out other plants and threaten fish life. Their spiky seed pods that wash up on shore can make getting near the water painful for anglers and swimmers.

Conservation workers are waging war on them in Bradford Reservoir, also known as Warrington Lake, in central Bucks County. It's one of the first places in Pennsylvania where they were identified.

"The surface of the water is 100 percent covered with these plant rosettes, and they become very thick and matted," said Gretchen Schatschneider, district manager with the Bucks County Conservation District. "If you fly overhead, you almost don't see the lake, it just looks like an extension of the lawn area"...

Fred Lubnow, director of the aquatics program with Princeton Hydro, an environmental and engineering consulting firm, said the water chestnut has become a primary concern in the past few years.

"In the last I'd say two to three years we've really seen it appear in a lot of places on either side of the Delaware River," Lubnow said.

Read the full story at link.


Wednesday, August 3, 2011

August 3, 2011

USDA publishes list of prohibited plants, flowers

USDA-Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service seeks public comment regarding Not Authorized Pending Pest Risk Analysis plant list. For more information, see this link.


Did Cryptic Invasion of North America by Common Reed Change Exposure to Pollen Allergens?

Interesting article... Link.


Killing Kudzu With Helium

A 17-year-old from Georgia, expanding on what originally began as a sixth-grade science project, is successfully using helium to kill kudzu. Jacob Schindler has invented and patented a drill that delivers helium into the root system. (Other gases he administered this way, such as carbon dioxide, proved ineffective.) He is currently working with Auburn University to test the method over large areas. Read the full story in the Erosion Control journal at link.


Thursday, July 21, 2011

July 21, 2011


State to Expand Quarantine

New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) Commissioner Joe Martens and New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets (DAM) Commissioner Darrel J. Aubertine today announced a new discovery of the Emerald Ash Borer (EAB) on the U.S. Military Academy at West Point campus in Orange 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.

Commissioner Martens said: “DEC, with its federal and state partners, is committed to working in the Hudson Valley and western New York, to slow the spread of EAB. Our collaborative Slow Ash Mortality initiative uses early detection, prevention, outreach and regulatory enforcement to slow the growth of EAB populations. Awareness and preparedness are the best defense available to stop the sprawl of EAB to new areas.”

An adult emerald ash borer was discovered on July 13, 2011 in an emerald ash borer purple prism trap that was hung in an ash tree at the West Point campus. The purple prism trap is a tool used to detect new emerald ash borer infestations. The emerald ash borer specimen was confirmed by USDA Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) staff. An initial site investigation by DEC regional staff, Cornell University and West Point Natural Resources staff did not find any infested ash trees.

With this new detection confirmed, the state and federal emerald ash borer quarantine of Ulster and Greene County will be expanded to include Orange County. The quarantine restricts the movement of ash tree materials out of those counties to prevent human transport of the pest.

Commissioner Aubertine said: “New York’s extensive forest resources contribute to our local economies, communities and quality of life. As a state, we are dedicated to combating EAB while assuring that commerce in our nursery, landscape and forest products industries continues. Unfortunately, this pest is rapidly expanding its presence in our state despite our best efforts. At this time, we know of no way to eliminate EAB and thus our focus is on slowing its spread. We greatly appreciate the help of impacted industries and individuals in reporting and adjusting their behavior to be part of the solution.”

Yvonne DeMarino, State Plant Health Director for USDA APHIS, said: “The discovery of EAB at West Point, 35 miles south of the infestation in Ulster County discovered last year, is unfortunate, but not entirely unexpected. It highlights our concern that the movement of firewood and other host material poses a significant risk of spreading invasive forest pests like EAB around our state and to our neighbors.”

To help identify infested ash trees, West Point Natural Resources Staff have already girdled about half a dozen ash trees on the property, and placed ten additional purple prism traps in nearby trees. By girdling trees, which strips away a section of the bark, the tree will become more attractive to the beetle and make them easier to detect.

The West Point Natural Resources Branch said: “West Point recognizes early detection and intervention to be the most effective means of managing invasive species and is pleased to assist the State and Federal agencies involved with this effort.”

The first detection of EAB in New York was in the town of Randolph, Cattaraugus County, in June 2009. In 2010, infestations were discovered in six more counties in Western New York and the Hudson Valley, and an emerald ash borer quarantine was placed around eighteen counties. Last month, EAB was discovered in Erie County.

Since it was first discovered in Michigan in 2002, EAB has been responsible for the destruction of 70 million trees in the U.S. alone. New York has more than 900 million ash trees, representing about seven percent of all trees in the state, and all are at risk from EAB.

Damage from EAB is caused by the larvae, which feed in tunnels just below the ash tree's bark. These tunnels 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, and extensive sprouting from the roots and trunk. Infested trees may also exhibit woodpecker damage from larvae extraction.

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. 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. 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.

DEC has adopted a strategy known as Slow Ash Mortality (SLAM). SLAM encompasses a variety of approaches to address EAB infestations, including removing infested trees, more precisely defining infestation boundaries, and researching insecticides and biocontrols (organisms that kill pests). The hope is that current research will lead to new ways to suppress EAB populations, minimize their spread and delay the death of ash trees. It is also hoped that SLAM will buy time for communities and forest owners to prepare for EAB’s threat and potential financial impacts.

DEC also urges citizens to watch for signs of infestation in ash trees. If damage is consistent with the known symptoms of EAB infestation, report suspected damage to the state by calling DEC’s emerald ash borer hotline and appropriate action will follow as time and resources allow. To learn more about emerald ash borer, the firewood regulation, or how you can help slow the spread, please call the toll free hotline at 1-866-640-0652 or visit:


Snakehead Found in Maryland River

From the International Business Times

An adult northern snakehead was discovered last Thursday by scientists in a river just south of Annapolis, Maryland. The mature, egg-bearing fish is raising the possibility that low salinity in the Chesapeake Bay may have allowed the invasive snakehead to escape from the nearby Potomac River.

The two-foot-long snakehead, sometimes known as "fishzilla" is a toothy alien, native to Asia and Africa. The notoriously invasive species has become a byword for monster in popular culture. The "fishzilla" can actually live for a few days out of water, thanks to air chambers that function as primitive lungs.

The snakehead became a national news topic back in 2002 when a group of them were found spawning in a Crofton, Maryland pond. They were eradicated, but by 2004, they were found to be permanently established in the Potomac River. An aggressive, rapidly breeding predator, snakeheads can overwhelm habitat and push out local fish.

Northern snakeheads are established in Pennsylvania and New York, and small numbers have been caught in California, Florida, Massachusetts and North Carolina. Meanwhile, Maryland and Virginia biologists continue to track them with radio telemetry and electrofishing to figure out population densities.

Snakeheads have become so abundant in the Potomac that the state of Maryland Department of Natural Resources is trying to get chefs to cook them and sell them in restaurants.

Last Thursday's discovery by biologists from the Smithsonian Environmental Research center occurred as the group took their annual fish samples by net.

Read the full story at link.


Monday, June 20, 2011

June 20, 2011

Emerald Ash Borer Detected In Buffalo, New York

Collaborative Control Efforts Underway to Contain First Infestation Found in Erie County

The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) today announced an infestation of Emerald Ash Borer (EAB) was found in the City of Buffalo's South Park. This is the first EAB infestation to be detected in Erie County. 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 of the Emerald Ash Borer in Buffalo is extremely unfortunate but not surprising," DEC Commissioner Joe Martens said. "Despite multi-state efforts to curtail its expansion, EAB has spread across the northeastern United States over the last decade. DEC is coordinating with federal and local government partners across the state to prevent the further spread of this destructive insect, especially outside of the quarantine areas. Awareness and preparedness are our best defenses, both of which are emphasized in DEC's strategic Slow Ash Mortality (SLAM) program."


"Emerald Ash Borer is a serious threat to the region and the City of Buffalo has been preparing for its arrival for some time," said Deputy Commissioner Andrew Rabb of the City of Buffalo's Department of Public Works, Parks and Streets. "An effort to reduce the number of ash on city property was put in place after the first outbreaks occurred in Michigan. Ash now makes up less than 2% of Buffalo's street tree population and roughly 10% of trees in city parks. The city is working closely with the Buffalo Olmsted Parks Conservancy to develop and implement a treatment plan for historic landscape trees."

Buffalo Olmsted Parks Executive Director Thomas Herrera-Mishler said, "We have been partnering with the City of Buffalo and DEC for over a year to prepare for this outbreak, raising funds and public awareness to try to minimize the impact of EAB on the historic Olmsted Parks and Parkways."

DEC, Cornell University, the City of Buffalo and Buffalo Olmsted Parks Conservancy began collaborative response efforts to address the infestation at South Park immediately after the discovery last week. Initial surveying suggests that less than a dozen trees in South Park show signs of infestation; the trees are located along the park's perimeter in a natural wooded area.


EAB was first detected in New York State in Cattaraugus County in 2009. Since then, infestations have been confirmed in seven other counties including Genesee, Monroe, Livingston, Steuben, Greene, Ulster and now Erie. Sixteen counties in western New York and Greene and Ulster counties remain quarantined...

Read the full story here.


Friday, June 3, 2011

June 3, 2011

Monitoring Forest Pests by the Pool

From the University of New Hampshire Cooperative Extension

Protecting New Hampshire’s forest from invasive pests is daunting. It takes political will, action plans, scientific knowledge, funding, staffing, planning, lots of hard work, and most importantly the help of the public. The ultimate in invasive pest management is to keep the pest out of New Hampshire altogether. Short of that we need to find the infestation soon after its accidental arrival when the outbreak is geographically small and affects few trees. Case in point, in 2008 the Asian longhorned beetle (ALB) was discovered in Worcester, Massachusetts setting off one of the most extensive and expensive forest pest eradication programs in history. The reason it became so extensive and thus very expensive is that the outbreak went undetected for more than ten years. In those 10 to 15 years the infestation spread to over 70 square miles around Worcester, MA.

To meet the goal of keeping invasive pests out of New Hampshire we’re studying modes of transportation and natural vectoring capabilities of ALB and designing quarantines to limit the movement of host material. To meet the goal of finding any accidental introduction early when it’s a manageable problem we need the help of the general public. To that end, the Division of Forests and Lands worked jointly with the UNH Cooperative Extension to develop a “citizen monitoring program” that would help survey for devastating forest pests such as Asian longhorned beetle and emerald ash borer. This past summer a group of volunteers were trained to collect insects from outdoor swimming pool filters.

Why pools as collection sites? Days after the discovery of ALB in Worcester experts were canvassing neighborhoods investigating the extent of the outbreak when they stumbled across a public pool attendant who said he was collecting these beetles for years in his pool filters. We used this knowledge to create a program designed to reach out to pool sites around the state. We asked attendants to collect insects found in their pools for six weeks in July and August when the potential flight period of the ALB is at its peak. This past summer 34 volunteers distributed throughout all regions of the state participated in the project. On a weekly basis the UNH County Extension Forester visited those sites in their county and swapped empty jars for full jars of insects the volunteers had collected. This was repeated for six weeks in July and August when the weather was warm enough to support adult ALB activity. The jars of insects were delivered to the Division of Forests and Lands Forest Health lab at Fox State Forest in Hillsborough. The insects were sorted by order, family and species to determine if any target species like ALB were present.

The results of collecting insects in pools were absolutely spectacular. At those 34 sites from around the state we collected 5,811 insects in 18 different orders. 2,444 of those were in the order Coleoptera (beetles) and that was really important because our target species, ALB, is a beetle. There is no doubt that if there was an infestation of ALB anywhere near those pools we would’ve collected some in the survey.

Read the full story at link.


Thursday, May 12, 2011

Week of May 9, 2001

Bill would enable Staten Islanders to remove phragmites from their property without obtaining state permit

Published: Thursday, May 12, 2011, 9:49 AM

By Mark D. Stein

STATEN ISLAND, N.Y. - Two Staten Island politicians passed legislation in the state Senate last week that will help protect borough residents from phragmites-fueled fires.

The bill (S.4377), sponsored by state Senator Andrew Lanza (R-South Shore) and Assemblyman Lou Tobacco (R-South Shore), authorizes the unfettered removal of phragmites by property owners in the City of New York.

The legislation could change Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) policy, which currently makes it illegal for homeowners to remove phragmites from their property without first obtaining a permit.

The bill would amend the general city law and the environmental conservation law, and provide property owners in the City of New York with the unrestricted ability to remove threatening weeds from their property.

"This new legislation would prevent the DEC from thwarting property owners the right to protect their property," said Lanza. "Homeowners should not have to ask permission of the DEC to protect their homes and lives. This bill will empower private homeowners with the ability to remove this dangerous weed from their properties without waiting on the 'OK' from DEC."

"Current DEC policies and the weeds' propensity for fueling summer fires has put the lives and property of Staten Islanders in jeopardy while forcing local first responders to risk their safety to battle these often fierce blazes," said Tobacco.


"By allowing homeowners to completely remove this hazard from their property and by replanting our wetlands with native vegetation," he added, "our legislation will greatly reduce summer fires and protect the lives and property of Staten Island homeowners."

Lanza and Tobacco have also reintroduced legislation (S.4265) which would require DEC to remove phragmites from infested wetlands in all instances where more than five continuous acres of phragmites exist.

While the Senate failed to pass this bill last year, Lanza, now in the majority, is optimistic about passage.

"How many life-threatening phragmite fires must Staten Island endure before DEC does something about this?" asked Lanza. "It is absurd that these weeds are being protected while homeowners continually have their property put at risk, and residents and firefighters have their lives endangered."


The lawmakers noted that for too long, DEC, which regulates all designated wetlands, seemed more concerned with protecting these non-native invasive weeds than enacting policies which protect residents and their property – despite the department's own admission that phragmites pose a serious fire hazard.

"It is time that DEC stop putting dangerous weeds ahead of the people and property of Staten Island," said Lanza.

"This legislation is a direct response to the DEC's failed environmental policies on Staten Island," said Tobacco, noting that he's confident these bills will address the serious issue.

He hopes new DEC Commissioner Joseph Martens will work with borough officials to resolve this matter sooner.

"It is in the best interest of the department, the environment and Staten Island residents to come up with a responsible solution to this matter sooner rather than later," said Tobacco.

Read the full story at link.


Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Week of April 4, 2011

Updated 4/8/11. Recent additions are at the bottom of each week's post.

Register Your Invasive Plant Volunteer Group! (Mid-Atlantic Region)

Do you have a volunteer-based invasive plant management program in the mid-Atlantic region? If so, please register it!

If you oversee a group of volunteers who conduct invasive plant removals in DC, DE, MD, NJ, PA, VA, or WV, please take a minute to add your group to the Invasive Plant Volunteers Directory.

To register, click here to complete a short survey:

Why bother? Because understanding the number and distribution of volunteer groups in our area will help to:

Recognize the significance of volunteer efforts in restoring invaded lands,
Identify areas in need of volunteer assistance,
Help connect interested volunteers with a suitable group,
Build a stronger network of invasive plant workers in the region,
Build support for potential funding of volunteer-based programs.

The directory will eventually be posted to the Mid-Atlantic Invasive Plant Council (MAIPC) website at

Special thanks to Karan Rawlins, University of Georgia Center for Invasive Species and Ecosystem Health, for putting our survey into SurveyMonkey!

Thank you,

IPM & Invasive Species Specialist
NCR Center for Urban Ecology
Washington, DC 20007


Caterpillar infestation seen in midcoast Maine

The Associated Press
Posted April 06

AUGUSTA, Maine — Maine Conservation Department officials say an infestation of a noxious invasive caterpillar in the Brunswick area is worse this year than last.

Entomologists say web surveys during the winter show extremely high levels of brown-tail moth caterpillar webs in the tops of oak trees. Surveys were done in January and February in the southern Maine coastal area, from Belfast to south of Portland.

Entomologist Charlene Donahue says the number of webs in Brunswick, Bath, West Bath, Topsham and Bowdoinham appears to have doubled over last year. The caterpillar also is showing up in Falmouth, Turner, Augusta and Lewiston.

Read the full story here: link.


Controlling Invasive Species in Your Woodlot

9am to noon on Saturday, May 21st, Sodus, New York

This outdoor hands-on session will be at a woodlot in Sodus, NY so dress appropriately for weather conditions.

During the workshop we'll cover identification and control options for invasive species in the woodlot and introduce participants to crop tree management, a forestry method well suited for owners of small woodlots.

Registration deadline is Friday May 13th 2011.

To register send $10.00 per person along with your name address and phone number to Cornell Cooperative Extension of Wayne County, 1581 Rte 88N, Newark, NY 14513

Any additional questions please call (315)-331-8415 or e-mail For special needs contact us one week prior to this program.

Sponsored by:
New York Forest Owners Association
New York State Department of Environmental Conservation Cornell Cooperative Extension of Wayne County Master Gardener/Master Forest Owner Programs


CT DEP training targets spread of zebra mussels in Candlewood Lake

The Connecticut Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) and the Candlewood Lake Authority (CLA) has announced that training is available for people interested in volunteering their time to monitor boat launches on Candlewood Lake for the presence of the invasive plants and animals, such as zebra mussels. Zebra mussels were discovered in Lake Zoar and Lake Lillinonah on October 2010. This is the first new report of zebra mussels in Connecticut since 1998 when they were discovered in East and West Twin Lakes in Salisbury.

The training will educate volunteers on how to identify and detect invasive species and also to instruct boaters on how to do the same. Volunteers will also be talking to boaters about ways they can prevent the spread of zebra mussels. Volunteers will receive a handbook, supplies and a t-shirt that identifies them as volunteers.

The first training session will be held Saturday April 9, 2011 from 9:30 AM until 12:00 PM at the New Milford Police Department located at 49 Poplar Street (Route 202) in New Milford. For more information or to volunteer, contact the CLA at 860-354-6298 or by email at

Read the full story at: link.


Backpack and Spot Treatment Calibration Guidelines

Useful information from out West...

A simple, six-step method for calibrating your single-nozzle backpack or other spot-treatment spray equipment.



Maryland Invasive Plant Bill Set to Become Law

News from the Anacostia Watershed Society

The invasive plant bill (HB 831) we have worked on for the last two years has now passed both chambers of the Maryland General Assembly. The bill was sponsored by 19 Delegates and was passed unanimously in the State Senate yesterday, 46-0! AWS staff is thrilled to see this bill passed since we brought back the conversation to the table at the Maryland Invasive Species Council (MISC) two years ago. At that time we came up with a proposed bill we crafted with the valuable help of one of our best interns ever: Leena Chapagain. Thanks you so much, Leena! Almost at the same time another bill was being proposed by a lawyer from Baltimore and his visionary school-age son! Consensually AWS decided to sit down with all the stakeholders and craft a new bill, that's the HB 831. The other stakeholders were the representatives from the following organizations: Maryland Department of Agriculture, Maryland Department of Natural Resources, Anacostia Watershed Society, The Nature Conservancy, Sylvan Green Earth Consulting, Maryland Nursery and Landscape Association –among other representatives of the horticultural industry--, and Whiteford, Taylor & Preston LLP.

Read the full story here: link.


Nature’s “Melting Pot”: Invasive Species and Ecosystem Value

Courtesy of the Southern IPM blog

In Friday’s OpEd section in the New York Times, writer Hugh Raffles offered an interesting–but somewhat inaccurate–view on exotic invasive species. His premise was that invasive species can provide diversity and benefits to the earth, just as new immigrants contribute to the diversity and health of society. You can read the full article here:

Since the article was published on Friday, several of our colleagues who work in the area of invasive species have developed responses to the article. The following is by Sylvan Kaufman of Sylvan Green Earth Consulting in Maryland:

"Although the author is correct that many non-native species provide beneficial goods and services, there is a fundamental difference between the melting pot of humanity and the melting pot of a community of plants and animals. Humans are all one species even if they have different cultural backgrounds. Communities are made up of many species. If a non-native plant or animal threatens the continued existence of one that has lived here for thousands of years, do we just let that species disappear or do we decide that it may have some value and that we should protect it? For many species, we don’t yet know what value they may provide humans. It takes years of research to determine whether the chemical compounds of a particular plant might yield a life-saving drug, or if the pollinator services offered by honeybees are more valuable than those offered by a diversity of native insects. "


Virginia Invasive Plant Removal Day, May 7

Join volunteers for the 3rd annual event at sites throughout Virginia on an endeavor to stop the spread of non-native invasive plants.

Virginia Invasive species are recognized nationally and locally as a costly and leading threat to healthy ecosystems. The estimated annual cost of invasive species in Virginia is $1 billion (Va Dept. of Conservation & Recreation). Non-native invasive plants, animals, and diseases occur in all of Virginia's ecosystems and negatively impact water quality, wildlife populations, and other natural resources. Virginia's citizens can improve the situation by not planting or spreading invasive plants, by removing invasives on their own properties, and by helping to remove them from parks and other public areas. Help us spread more awareness and understanding to engage Virginians in these efforts.

Invasive plants are threatening Virginia's natural areas from Norfolk to the Shenandoahs. Plant invaders alter wildlife habitats and reduce biodiversity. They can kill trees, picture kudzu climbing to the tops of trees, and cost money, like hydrilla depressing fisheries or getting caught in boat props. But volunteers like you can make a difference. In 2009, More than 400 volunteers contributed more than 1300 hours of service and removed more than 250 bags of invasive plants. In 2010, more than 300 volunteers contributed more than 750 hours of service in works sites covering more than 50 acres. Their service and additional in-kind donations are valued at more than $15,000. We need your support again in 2011.

For more information, see link.