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.


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