Monday, February 21, 2011

Week of February 21, 2011

Updated 2/25/11

In Md., felt boots blamed for invasive 'rock snot'

Associated Press

rock_snotMONKTON, Md. — As an algae with a gross nickname invades pristine trout streams across the U.S., Maryland is about to become the first state to enforce a ban on a type of footgear the organism uses to hitchhike from stream to stream: felt-soled fishing boots.

The state Department of Natural Resources plans to prohibit wading with felt soles starting March 21 to curb the spread of invasive organisms that can get trapped in the damp fibers and carried from one body of water to another.

Similar bans will take effect April 1 in Vermont and next year in Alaska, aimed especially at didymo, a type of algae that coats riverbeds with thick mats of yellow-brown vegetation commonly called "rock snot."

Maryland fishery regulators say didymo, short for Didymosphenia geminata, can smother aquatic insect larvae such as mayflies, stoneflies and caddis flies that are favored food for trout....

Read the full story here.

Photo: Biosecurity New Zealand


Coalition Urges US to Prevent Invasive Pests from Canada

New York Ag Connection - 02/21/2011

A collaboration of diverse interests aimed at addressing the threat of non-native insects and diseases is urging the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) to subject wood packaging material from Canada to the same requirements other countries must follow for this material before it can enter the country. Currently, the governments of the United States and Canada exempt each other from the requirements of the International Standard for Phytosanitary Measures #15, which requires that wood packaging -- primarily crates, spools, and pallets -- coming from other countries be treated to help prevent the spread of invasive insects and diseases to native trees and plants.

The USDA is currently considering an amendment to the regulations for the importation of unmanufactured wood articles to remove the exemption. Canada is second only to China in providing imports to the United States, and these goods move primarily in wood packaging to all areas of the country. If the USDA amends the regulation, Canada is expected to take similar action because of the threat of non-native insects and diseases that could arrive on the wood packaging from the United States....

Read the full story at link.


VIDEO: Invasive emerald ash borer upsets Great Lakes ecosystem, economy

The invasive, tree-eating emerald ash borer is a costly addition to the Great Lakes region.

It took less than 10 years for the destructive beetle to spread to all eight Great Lakes states and Canadian provinces. State officials and homeowners employ insecticides, tree-removal strategies, bans on moving firewood and even biological controls to prevent further costly infestations.

The video includes footage from the one-hour documentary “Bad Company,” a Knight Center for Environmental Journalism production that examines the economic and ecological impact of invasive species in the Great Lakes region. A preview of the documentary will be held Monday, Feb. 28 at 7 p.m. in the Synder Hall theater at Michigan State University.

View the video at the website of the Great Lakes Echo here.


Invasive Animals Continue to Thrive in Maryland

Northern snakeheads and nutria, some of Maryland's more well-known invasive animals, are continuing to push out many of the state's native species and doing harm to ecosystems. These invasive species were allowed into this country under a law governing animal imports, which was passed in 1900, and has not been changed since that time.

According to the National Environmental Coalition on Invasive Species, updating this federal legislation, the Lacey Act, will prevent the future introduction of potentially harmful non-native wildlife species and the diseases they carry.

“In this globalized world, animals are traded across continents every day, and the rules governing the live animal trade in this country need to be brought into the 21stCentury,” said Dr. Phyllis Windle, NECIS spokesperson. “Adding a pre-import screening process will prevent the arrival of animals that can potentially harm the ecosystem and economy, endanger native species, or compromise the health of people and animals in this country.”

Nutria, large aquatic rodents native to South America and initially imported to Louisiana, became established in Maryland when a few animals escaped from a fur farm in the 1940s. Nutria are voracious consumers of the vegetation of tidal marshlands, leaving mudflats in their place. Over the past six years, wildlife managers have removed more than 13,000 nutria from the wetlands of the Chesapeake's Eastern Shore.

Northern snakeheads, imported for the Asian food market, were first discovered in 2002 in a Crofton, MD, pond where they were released by someone who no longer wanted them. Although the snakeheads were eradicated from the pond, they began appearing in the Potomac River in 2004, apparently as the result of a subsequent release.

The species is now well established in the Potomac River and several of its tributaries in Maryland and Virginia, and is competing with other species for food and habitat.

Read the full story at


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