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.