Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Week of March 28, 2011

Updated 3/31/11

Connecticut DEP Reports Didymo Discovered in the West Branch Farmington River

First Confirmation of this Invasive Species in Connecticut

The Connecticut Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) today announced that the highly invasive freshwater alga, Didymosphenia geminata, known as “didymo”, has been discovered in the West Branch Farmington River, a very popular trout stream in northwestern Connecticut.

The presence of didymo was first confirmed in the northeastern United States in 2007, and has since spread to other popular trout streams in a number of Northeastern states (New Hampshire, Vermont, New York, Pennsylvania, Maryland, West Virginia and Virginia). This is the first report of didymo in Connecticut.

DEP first learned of the possible presence of didymo in the West Branch Farmington River from several anglers on March 18th. One of these anglers also provided an initial sample to DEP. Following initial review by DEP staff, samples were sent to the Vermont Department of Environmental Conservation where biologists have direct experience identifying didymo. Late last Friday, Vermont officials confirmed that the sample was indeed didymo.

“This find is very troubling,” said DEP Deputy Commissioner Susan Frechette. “Extensive blooms of this organism can harm the river ecosystem and decrease its recreational and economic value. In an effort to confirm identification, staff from DEP’s Bureau of Water Protection and Land Reuse surveyed a number of sites in the river and a major tributary along a seven mile stretch of the West Branch Farmington River in Hartland and Barkhamsted. Unfortunately numerous clumps of didymo were found at all the surveyed sites in the river downstream of the Riverton bridge. Once didymo has spread, there’s no practical way to remove it from a river.”

Didymo is most frequently found in cold, relatively shallow streams and rivers having a rocky bottom, characteristics that are also typical of good trout habitat. During blooms, didymo can form thick mats of material that feel like wet wool and are typically gray, white and/or brown, but never green in color. These mats form on the bottoms of rivers and streams and can potentially smother aquatic plants, aquatic insects and mollusks, impact fish habitat, and alter aquatic food chains. Dense mats of didymo can also reduce the recreational and aesthetic value of the affected river. Since didymo also prefers areas open to sunlight, it is not anticipated that this species will become problematic in smaller headwater streams as long as they have well shaded riparian and naturally forested riparian areas.

Humans are the primary vector responsible for the recent spread of didymo. Anglers, kayakers and canoeists, boaters and jet skiers can all unknowingly spread didymo. The microscopic cells can cling to fishing gear, waders (felt soles can be especially problematic), boots and boats, and remain viable for months under even slightly moist conditions. To prevent the spread of didymo to additional waters, DEP asks that anglers, especially those who also fish the Farmington River or streams outside Connecticut, and other users practice CHECK, CLEAN, DRY procedures.

• CHECK: Before leaving a river, stream or lake, remove all obvious clumps of algae and plant material from fishing gear, waders, clothing & footwear, canoes & kayaks, and anything else that has been in the water and look for hidden clumps. Leave them at the site. If you find any later, clean your gear and dispose of all material in the trash.

• CLEAN: Soak/spray & scrub boats and all other “hard” items for at least one minute in either very hot (140°F) water, a 2% bleach solution, or a 5% dishwashing detergent solution. Absorbent materials such as clothes and felt soles on waders should be soaked for at least 40 minutes in very hot water (140°F), or 30 minutes in hot water (115°F) with 5% dishwashing detergent. Freezing thoroughly will also kill didymo.

• DRY: If cleaning is not practical, after the item is completely dry to touch, wait an additional 48 hours before contact or use in any other waterway.

The above procedures will also be effective against other unwanted organisms.

Didymo is just one of a number of aquatic invasive species that have either invaded the state or are threatening to do so. DEP will continue its work to combat the spread of invasive species, focusing on prevention, education and early detection. DEP is an active member of the Invasive Plants Council and supports both an Invasive Plant Program and an Aquatic Nuisance Species Program in collaboration with the University of Connecticut. When available, DEP has provided funding from a variety of sources to educate the public on the threats posed by invasive species and to combat specific invasive species including fanwort, water chestnut and hydrilla. In addition, the DEP has recently proposed new regulations to prohibit the possession or importation into the state of a number of invasive invertebrates.

Since its discovery in the northeast in 2007, DEP has taken additional precautions to prevent the introduction and/or spread of didymo (and other invasive species). DEP’s Inland Fisheries Division instituted an operational “Biosecurity” policy for its own field operations, including elimination of the use of felt-soled waders. Also, as part of its invasive species outreach efforts, informational fliers on didymo were distributed to many of the state’s bait & tackle shops and information about didymo has been prominently displayed in the CT Anglers Guide and on its website.

Individuals wishing to report possible sightings of didymo and other aquatic nuisance species can contact DEP’s Inland Fisheries Division at 860-424-3474. More information on didymo and other aquatic nuisance species can be found on the DEP website (www.ct.gov/dep) or in the CT Angler’s Guide (www.ct.gov/dep/lib/dep/fishing/anglers_guide/anguide.pdf). An excellent source for detailed information on didymo is the Biosecurity New Zealand web site (http://www.biosecurity.govt.nz/didymo).


USDA Treats New York Trees Against Asian Longhorned Beetle

WASHINGTON, March 24, 2011 – The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) will treat a total of 29,764 trees susceptible to the Asian longhorned beetle (ALB) with the insecticide imidacloprid in New York this spring.

Control treatments will start the week of April 4, weather permitting, on 21,294 trees in Queens, 299 trees in Brooklyn and on 8,171 trees in Staten Island. Treatments are a vital component of the area-wide eradication strategies used to prevent further infestation and reduce populations of this invasive pest.

Control treatment applications are conducted by program officials, through the use of contracted New York licensed pesticide applicators. ALB host trees are treated by directly injecting the insecticide into the soil around the base of the tree, or into the trunk of the tree, allowing the imidacloprid to be dispersed through the tree’s vascular system. This enables the insecticide to reach ALB adults feeding on small twigs and leaves, and larvae feeding just beneath the bark of treated host trees.

Imidacloprid is a registered pesticide under the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide and Rodenticide Act. It is used in agriculture, the lawn care industry to kill lawn grubs and in some pet treatments to kill fleas. Approved for ALB program use, imidacloprid is applied each year for ALB eradication to a limited area in the United States. APHIS oversees treatment applications and conducts environmental monitoring as part of the ALB eradication program.

The public can assist the eradication effort by allowing program officials access to their property to evaluate susceptible trees for any signs of ALB infestation and/or to treat trees that are susceptible to ALB infestation. Control treatments are applied to noninfested ALB host trees. All ALB infested trees or trees showing signs of infestation must be removed and destroyed in order to eliminate the ALB infestation. This action applies to treated trees as well.

ALB threatens urban and suburban trees, as well as valued forest resources, and threatens such industries as maple syrup production, hardwood lumber processing, nurseries and tourism. Control treatments are part of the ALB cooperative eradication program’s effort to prevent further infestation of this invasive insect and reduce populations.

APHIS and its cooperators undertake eradication by imposing quarantines, regulating the movement of ALB and ALB host material, conducting visual inspections, removing infested trees and chemically treating noninfested host trees as part of an integrated eradication strategy.

The ALB program is a cooperative effort among various federal, state and local agencies including, USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, Forest Service and Agricultural Research Service; as well as the New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets, New York State Department of Environmental Conservation and the New York City Department of Parks and Recreation. For more information on the treatment program, call in New York 1-866-265-0301 or 1-877-STOP-ALB or visit www.BeetleBusters.info for more information about ALB, including pictures and where to report a suspected beetle or suspected signs of infestation.

For treatment maps, review the ALB website at www.aphis.usda.gov/plant_health/
plant_pest_info/asian_lhb/index.shtml and select “ALB Program Maps.”


Invasive Stink Bugs: Wanted Dead or Alive

The Saugerties Post Star

Saugerties, NY —

The ‘new kid on the block’, the Brown Marmorated Stink Bug (BMSB), Halyomorpha halys (Stål), is a recent addition to the urban/agricultural landscape in the Hudson Valley. It was first observed entering NY homes in 2008. Populations of this species have been steadily on the rise over the past three years, making their presence known primarily in the southern parts of the valley. This insect has been found invading the homes of suburban and Metropolitan New Yorkers living in the 5 boroughs, Nassau, Suffolk, Orange, Westchester, Putnam, Ulster, and Dutchess counties. Many residents are taking notice of them as temperatures rise and insects become more active, making their way out of homes and back into the landscape.

The BMSB does not bite or sting people, pets or livestock. Being a member of the Hemiptera family of insects, it inserts its piercing/sucking mouthparts into plants and feeds on the juices found in stems, leaves and seeds. The insect has shown a wide host range including tomato, pepper, lima bean, soybean, sweet and field corn, apple, pear, peach, berries and some ornamental trees and shrubs. In addition to causing severe damage to farmers’ crops and homeowners’ gardens, the pest has become a residential nuisance as adults fly from near and far to congregate on and in houses during the fall while seeking winter shelter. Reports from the Mid Atlantic region indicate some homeowners have removed thousands of BMSB from their dwellings this winter. Locally, homeowners in the Hudson Valley region also report finding BMSB in their homes this spring with samples being sent to scientists at Cornell’s Hudson Valley Laboratory in Highland, NY. Thus far the laboratory has received over 30 reports and samples from the region, with specimens mostly coming from inside the home, ranging from just a few insects along the window sills to hundreds being observed in closets, attic spaces and stacks of covered firewood.

Since its introduction from Asia into the mid-Atlantic during the mid-1990’s, the BMSB has made its way to the top of the insect ‘most wanted list’. It was first identified in the United States in 2001 in Allentown, Pennsylvania from a specimen sent to Cornell’s Entomologist E. Richard Hoebeck. The pest has spread throughout the mid-Atlantic but was relatively unnoticed except by scientists who study such events. However, over the past two years, BMSB has developed into populations rivaling biblical proportions in some parts of the Mid-Atlantic causing extensive economic injury to vegetable and fruit crops in the region. In 2010, their feeding damage resulted in 20 to 80% crop loss on some farms in West Virginia, Virginia, Maryland, Pennsylvania and New Jersey....

Anyone who has seen this pest is asked to send a sample to Peter Jentsch, BMSB Project, Cornell Hudson Valley Lab, P.O. Box 727, Highland, N.Y. 12528. The bugs should be placed in a small plastic container, such as a medicine bottle or film canister. A submission form available on the Cornell Cooperative Extension website at (http://hudsonvf.cce.cornell.edu/scouting%20reports/BMSB%20Project/BMSB%20Sample%20Submission%20Form.pdf) should be filled out and sent along with the sample so the distribution of the insect can be mapped. Live specimens will be added to the research colony for the Eastern New York Brown Marmorated Stink Bug Project, which began last year.

For more information on this pest, visit the NE IPM Center at http://www.northeastipm.org/bmsb.cfm.

To read the full story, go to link.


BioBullies Curriculum Available

Natural Biodiversity is pleased to announce the completion of the BioBullies curriculum. This supplemental environmental curriculum focuses on the education of fourth through eighth graders about invasive species.The curriculum is available on the Natural Biodiversity website at www.naturalbiodiversity.org/biobullies/curriculum, or to request a high resolution CD, contact Natural Biodiversity.


Sunday, March 20, 2011

Week of March 21, 2011


Adirondack Park Invasive Plant Program (APIPP), a Partnership for Regional Invasive Species Management in New York State

The Nature Conservancy – Adirondack Chapter

The Aquatic Invasive Species (AIS) Project Coordinator will be a team member of the Adirondack Park Invasive Plant Program (APIPP), one of New York’s eight Partnerships for Regional Invasive Species Management (PRISM). The APIPP facilitates the development and implementation of programs in the Adirondack region for invasive species prevention, monitoring, mapping, management, education, and restoration (more information online at www.adkinvasives.com). The AIS Project Coordinator’s primary role will be to lead APIPP’s early detection and monitoring programs for AIS, coordinate partners in the region working on AIS issues, and serve as a resource for partners and communities on AIS issues. This is an excellent opportunity for a motivated individual to work in a creative, team-oriented environment on an important and high profile conservation issue.

Applications must be made via nature.org/careers. The position number is 13062. To apply to position number 13062, submit resume and cover letter as one document.
All applications must be submitted in the system prior to 11:59 p.m. Eastern Time on April 14, 2011.


Monday, March 14, 2011

Week of March 14, 2011

Alverna Heights, NYS Parks and Cornell Biological Field Station present:

The Third Annual Invasive Species Workshop: Communities Taking Control of Invasives

May 4, 2011
9:00 am to 4:00 pm

At: Alverna Heights
7770 Green Lakes Rd
Fayetteville, New York 13066


Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Week of March 7, 2011

Advocates reach invasive species deal with EPA

Associated Press

TRAVERSE CITY, Mich. — Environmental groups and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency have reached a deal requiring tougher federal regulations for ships that dump ballast water in U.S. harbors, a leading way in which invasive species are spread.

Cargo ships often carry millions of gallons of water and sediments in ballast tanks to help keep vessels upright in rough seas. Ballast water teems with fish, bacteria and other organisms that are released as freight is taken on in port. Many of the foreign species spread rapidly, starve out native competitors and upset the ecological balance. Invaders such as zebra mussels cause billions of dollars each year in damage and economic losses.

EPA issued a 2008 permit requiring shippers to exchange their ballast water at sea or, if the tanks were empty, rinse them with salt water before entering U.S. territory. About a dozen environmental groups sued, contending the requirement was too weak and violated the federal Clean Water Act.

Under the settlement announced Tuesday, EPA will issue a new industry-wide permit limiting the number of live organisms in ballast water — a step that will require shippers to install sterilization equipment. The rule will apply to commercial ships over 79 feet long, exempting recreational and military craft.

The agency will release a draft for public comment by Nov. 30 and a final version within a year from then. It would give the industry an extra year to equip their vessels....

The U.S. Coast Guard also is developing regulations limiting the number of live organisms in ballast water, which are expected to be released by the end of April. At least a dozen states have rules or laws dealing with ballast water....

Read the full story at link.