Saturday, December 29, 2012

Density of Invasive Reed, Phragmites australis, Mapped in Great Lakes

Phragmites australis, an invasive species of plant called common reed, grows rapidly into dense stands of tall plants that pose an extreme threat to Great Lakes coastal wetlands. Early treatment is the key to controlling Phragmites. Scientists have mapped the U.S. coastline of all five Great Lakes using satellite technologies. The Phragmites map is the first of its kind. It is "a highly accurate data set that will allow national, regional and local managers to visualize the extent of Phragmites invasion in the Great Lakes and strategically plan efforts to manage existing populations and minimize new colonization."

Learn more at link.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

More Zebra Mussels Found in Upper Chesapeake Bay

From Maryland Department of Natural Resources:

Maryland Department of Natural Resources (DNR) biologists found young zebra mussels attached to buoys off Havre de Grace on December 3. DNR is asking boaters and anglers to be on the lookout for this harmful, invasive mussel.

The biologists collected 20 live zebra mussels attached to the concrete anchor blocks for three channel marker buoys. DNR discovered the mussels when Captain Shawn Orr and the crew of DNR’s A.V. Sandusky pulled the buoys from the water for cleaning and winter storage.

“We know that these mussels are from this year’s spawn since these buoys and anchors were deployed this spring,” said Matt Ashton, a DNR biologist and mussel expert who helped collect the mussels. “We plan to check these and other buoys every fall, as part of DNR’s limited zebra mussel monitoring effort in the upper Bay area.” ...

DNR asks that people who live and work on the water keep an eye out for zebra mussels and call 410-260-8615 if they find anything suspicious.  More information about zebra mussels can be found here.

The non-native and invasive zebra mussel was first found in Maryland in late 2008 at two locations in the Susquehanna River: the Conowingo Dam and further upstream at Glen Cove Marina, Harford County. Sporadic sightings since then indicate establishment of a zebra mussel population in the lower river and downstream dispersal, but no apparent rapid increase in abundance. ...

For the full story visit link.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Southern Maine clams threatened by invasive species, warming climate

By Will Graff
The Forecaster

FREEPORT, ME — Small, green crabs are wreaking havoc along the Harraseeket River, and could soon devour the soft-shell clam population into extinction.

As water temperatures continue to rise and the winters get warmer, experts and clammers say the crabs, which eat spat – clams in larval stage – combined with coastal acidification, could drive 1,800 licensed clammers out of work and drastically alter the ecosystem.

Chad Coffin, president of the Maine Clammers Association, said the crabs have essentially taken over two-thirds of the productive clam flats in the last two decades, eating the mussels and scallops along the way. The devastation of clams has accelerated in the last decade and the problem is only getting worse, he said.

Green crabs, originally from Japan, were first recorded on Long Island, N.Y., in the mid-1860s and weren't seen in Casco Bay until the early 1900s, Beal said. The green crab popualtions have been kept in check by severe cold snaps, Beal said, experienced frequently throughout the last century, allowing clams and other shellfish to recover.

But now, a warming climate has changed all that. Scientists fear the area might not have those same extended periods of cold experienced in previous decades, leading to larger and larger populations of green crabs, and as a result, the disappearance of clams. ...

Read the full story at link.


Tuesday, December 11, 2012

New Pound Ridge, NY Program To Fight Invasive Plant Species

By Bob Dumas
Pound Ridge Daily Voice

POUND RIDGE, N.Y. — A new initiative to fight the proliferation of invasive plants within the town has been formed between the Pound Ridge Conservation Board and the Henry Morgenthau Preserve of the Bedford Audubon Society.

The Invasives Project-Pound Ridge is a public/private task force formed to encourage and coordinate efforts to reduce existing infestations and to prevent new ones from occurring through scientific study, education, early detection and rapid response within Pound Ridge.

"You do not have to go far to see the damaging effects that uncontrolled invasive plants, such as oriental bittersweet, have on our area,” said Marilyn Shapiro-Lowell, chairman of the Henry Morgenthau Preserve. “Just drive along Route 172 near the Fox Lane campus: Whole woods have collapsed under the weight of oriental bittersweet vines during high winds from the hurricanes.” ...

The first public forum will be held Jan. 13 at 7 p.m. at the Pound Ridge Library. The snow date is Jan. 14. A panel of speakers will discuss targeting certain species and management strategies.

Read the full story at link.


To Fight Invasive Species, Florida Makes It A Competition

By Thomas Andrew Gustafson

In South Florida, bagging some snakes could win you some money. The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission will be cracking down on invasive pythons in South Florida in the New Year. The agency and its partners will be holding the 2013 Python Challenge to catch as many snakes as possible.

The first ever python challenge starts in January and runs until mid-February. It’ll focus on Burmese pythons and the person who catches the most wins 1,500 dollars. And Florida Fish and Wildlife Spokeswoman Carli Segelson says the Python Challenge is about invasive species education as much as it is a competition. ...

Segelson says if people have nonnative pets they can no longer care for; they should give them to the agency instead of releasing it into the wild.

Read the full story at link.

Friday, December 7, 2012

Beetles released to attack invasive species

By KEITH WHITCOMB JR. / Bennington Banner

POWNAL, VT -- About two millimeters long and appearing as black specks, the town's newest 379 residents are here to hopefully stay and perhaps eat a few unwelcome newcomers.

On Thursday, two people from the Department of Forests, Parks, and Recreation released nearly 400 Laricobius nigrinus (small black beetle) onto four hemlock trees on Mason Hill Road, near the Massachusetts state line and next to a tributary to the Hoosic River. Jim Esden, forestry specialist for the department, said he hopes the adult beetles will survive the winter and feed off the hemlock woolly adelgid, an aphid-like insect that has been spreading slowly northward and was reported in Pownal over the summer.

The adelgid is an invasive species and threatens the health of hemlock trees, said Esden. The small black beetle, a native of the Pacific northwest, eats nothing but adelgids and follows a similar life cycle, being active in the winter when it is not too cold and remaining largely dormant in the hot summer. Esden said chemicals can be used to kill adelgids, but biological controls have their advantages.

"Because this is a water supply area, we didn't want to use chemicals," Esden said.

The four hemlock trees sit off Mason Hill Road on property owned by Williamstown, Mass. Esden said the water source serves as an emergency supply for Williamstown, making the chemical option less than desirable. ...

Barbara Burns, forest health program manager for the department, placed about 100 beetles on each hemlock tree, which were selected for their health and adelgid infestation. She said the beetles need enough adelgids to eat, otherwise their population will not take hold. She said the beetles released Thursday were grown in a lab by Virginia Tech, Va., however their ancestors are from Idaho. They came in small tubes, roughly 100 beetles to a tube, and were gathered on white shreds of paper for placement onto each tree.

Esden said the beetles only eat adelgids and nothing in this area specifically preys upon the beetles, so the odds are fair they will not all be eaten by spring. He said this same type of thing was done three years ago in Windham County, but it that is not enough time to tell if the beetles are working. He said their use has been documented in the past and shown to work, and while they are slow to take effect, the spread of the adelgid is not fast, either. According to Burns, the beetles' presence in Pownal is the first time they have been seen in Bennington County. ...

Read the full story at link.


Maryland takes aim at invasive plants - New regulations will lead to ban on some species

by Holly Nunn, staff writer

Marylanders may know about kudzu, the invasive ivy that can be seen choking trees along highways from Texas to New England. But there are species imported from other regions or countries that also threaten the native landscape, and the Maryland Department of Agriculture is proposing regulations to identify and rank floral invaders.

In 2011, the General Assembly passed legislation establishing the Invasive Plants Advisory Committee, charging that committee with establishing a framework for assessing how much risk a given species poses to the environment.

The framework chosen by the committee is based on the U.S. Department of Agriculture Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service’s weed risk assessment protocol, but also will take into account Maryland-specific risks.

The federal framework ranks a plant’s potential to spread, its economic impact and its risk of changing the environment or affecting human health.

Based on the risk assessment that the department adopts, invasive plants will be designated as either Tier 1 or Tier 2.

Under the regulations, Tier 1 plants will be banned from being sold, and Tier 2 plants will require labeling at the retail level. Landscapers also will be required to notify their clients of any Tier 2 plants being used, said Carol Holko, the Maryland Department of Agriculture assistant secretary for plant industries and pest management and a committee member. ...

“The department is taking public comment on the risk assessment regulations until Dec. 17.

Read the full story at link.


Monday, December 3, 2012

Partners of the St. Lawrence Eastern Lake Ontario Partnership for Regional Invasive Species Management (SLELO-PRISM) Reports 2012 Accomplishments

(Nov. 2012) Partners of the St. Lawrence Eastern Lake Ontario Partnership for Regional Invasive Species Management (SLELO-PRISM) have completed a tremendous season managing harmful invasive species. The SLELO-PRISM is one of eight partnerships across New York State, encompassing the counties of St. Lawrence, Jefferson, Oneida, Lewis and Oswego outside of the Adirondack Park who’s mission is to “protect the ecological integrity of the eastern Lake Ontario Basin and Northern New York’s natural & cultural resources from the threat of invasive species....

In 2012 partners of the SLELO-PRISM completed a tremendous amount of work designed to reduce the threat and impacts posed by invasive species. This work also serves to protect rare and endangered species of flora and fauna found within the five county PRISM region. '

Highlights from 2012 include: Significantly reducing the human health threats posed by Giant Hogweed by removing plants from 136 sites. Assisting in the restoration of over 230 acres of freshwater resources by controlling invasive Water Chestnut plants. Partners also helped to restore 50.02 acres of globally rare Alvar habitat in the eastern Lake Ontario coastline. Restoration of 19.52 acres of rare “Fen” habitat. Restoration of 3.6 acres of freshwater dune barrier systems within the Eastern Lake Ontario Coastline.

Restoration of 0.39 acres of wetland habitats and 5.8 acres of important habitats found in wildlife management areas. Other accomplishments include the establishment of an invasive species prevention zone on the core forest at Tug Hill, prevention activities designed to reduce the spread of aquatic invasive species, numerous education and outreach initiatives and several citizen science events.

According to Program Coordinator Rob Williams, “it is the energy and collaborative nature of our partnership along with support from New York State and the Central and Western Chapter of The Nature Conservancy that makes this work possible – our partners are motivated and engaged and they are the ones that truly make the difference.”

For more information about invasive species or the St. Lawrence Eastern Lake Ontario Partnership for Regional Invasive Species Management, please visit their website at


Invasive Boa Constrictor Thriving on Puerto Rico

(Nov 29, 2012) Non-native boa constrictors, which can exceed 10 feet and 75 pounds, have established a breeding population in Puerto Rico, one that appears to be spreading, according to recent research. This research is the first to document a large constrictor species established in the U.S. or its territories outside of Florida. The established boa constrictor population likely originated with the pet trade.



Invasive seaweed species spotted on Maine coast, poses threat to lobstermen and beachgoers

By Will Graff, The Forecaster

CAPE ELIZABETH, Maine — An invasive species of seaweed is rapidly moving north and recently was found on the town’s shore by South Portland High School students.

Researchers are concerned the plant will dominate native seaweed and other plants. It also might turn into a nuisance for lobstermen, if it gets caught in their traps, and for beach-goers, who may notice its stench when it washes ashore.

The finding in Cape Elizabeth is the first sighting on a shore in Maine of the red Asian seaweed, Heterosiphonia japonica, although Northeastern University researchers in Boston also documented it during the summer while diving off the coast.

In October, students found the seaweed during a marine biology class where they were tasked with finding 11 different species of seaweed at Crescent Beach. The students returned to the lab with the different sets of seaweed they had gathered and put them under a microscope.

They found that one of the species was dramatically different than the native species and posted their findings through the Gulf of Maine Research Institute’s Vital Signs program, an online research platform aimed at locating invasive species in Maine.

Their teacher, Susan Richman, has worked on projects with Vital Signs and directed the students to use the program to connect with interested scientists, said Christine Voyer, one of GMRI’s Vital Signs staffers. Matt Bracken, a marine biology professor at Northeastern who is leading the research on the species, took notice of the student’s observation and confirmed their suspicion by posting a comment on their page....

Read more at link.

Photo credit: The Forecaster BDN


Bill to Protect Ohio River Basin from Asian Carp

By Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commissionin Hunting and Fishing

U.S. Senators Pat Toomey (R-Pa.) and Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio) introduced a bipartisan bill to help prevent the invasion of Asian carp into the Ohio River basin.

Although several federal agencies have been combating Asian carp, none have been designated as the lead agency to coordinate the federal response with state and local partners in the Ohio and Upper Mississippi River basins.

The Strategic Response to Asian Carp Invasion Act would allow the federal government to build a more effective partnership with state and local entities fighting to end the spread of Asian carp. This bill would place the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service in charge of coordinating a new federal multi-agency effort, which would include the National Park Service, U.S. Geological Survey, and Army Corps of Engineers. This multi-agency effort would include providing technical assistance, best practices, and other support to state and local governments working to stop the spread of the Asian carp.

“Southwestern Pennsylvania’s iconic three rivers – the Allegheny, Monongahela and Ohio – are vital for both commerce and recreation. The spread of Asian carp in the Ohio River threatens this, and the federal government must act as a cooperative partner with state and local governments to stop this invasive species and protect the Ohio River basin’s ecosystem and economy. The Strategic Response to Asian Carp Invasion Act will help do just that, and I urge my colleagues to join us in defending the Ohio River basin against this invasive species,” Sen. Toomey said. ...

Read more at link.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012


Bill sponsor Sen. Kristen Gillibrand seeks to prevent the import of harmful non-native fish and wildlife in her second term

WASHINGTON (November 13, 2012)—Shortly before Congress broke for its pre-election recess, Sen. Kristen Gillibrand (D-N.Y.) took a major step forward to stop the import of invasive non-native animals when she introduced “The Invasive Fish and Wildlife Prevention Act of 2012” (S. 3606). Now that Congress has reconvened, the recently re-elected Senator will begin efforts to generate support for the bill from her Senate colleagues.

“This bill, which updates a key import law that is 112 years old, deserves serious consideration by the 112th Congress,” said Peter Jenkins, spokesperson for the National Environmental Coalition on Invasive Species. “Its companion bill in the House has bipartisan support, and we anticipate the same support for the Senate bill.”

This bill will allow the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to prevent new, harmful fish and wildlife from being imported into the country and to more quickly act to prevent the spread of those that are already here. S. 3606 is the companion bill to H.R. 5864, introduced by Rep. Louise Slaughter on May 30, 2012, and supported by 30 bipartisan co-sponsors.

The current U.S. law governing the import of animals has proven to be ineffective in protecting the country from the influx of thousands of non-native fish and wildlife species being imported into the country, hundreds of which are already known to be economically or ecologically harmful, or present disease risk. Often, protections are put in place to limit the spread and transport of harmful non-native animal species only after they have escaped and become established. Recent invasions by imported animal species such as the Burmese python, Asian carp, and red lionfish are together costing federal, state, and local governments tens of millions of dollars annually in efforts to control them. These costs could have been avoided if authorities had considered their risks beforehand and restricted their importation.

“A law enacted in 1900 provides insufficient oversight for the 21st century trade of live animals,” said Jennifer Nalbone, director of Navigation and Invasive Species for Great Lakes United. “The best defense against invasive species is to prevent them from being imported into the country in the first place. This bill goes a long way in preventing future invasions and protecting our environment, wildlife, and economy. Congress needs to enact this bill quickly.”

As a leading import market, the United States receives hundreds of millions of live, non-native animals each year for use in aquaculture or for sale by the pet and aquarium trades and other businesses. For years, the federal government has come under sharp criticism for allowing the import of invasive animal species that cause extensive damage to ecosystems, are a burden to taxpayers, and present safety or health threats.

The proposed legislation will create a new screening system within six years to proactively review live animals proposed for import to the United States and to restrict those that pose serious risks before they are imported, while also immediately giving the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service greater flexibility and authority to make science-based decisions to prohibit or restrict live animals already in trade. The current law regulating animal imports does not require that animals being imported first be screened for invasiveness, for diseases they might carry, or for the risks they pose to humans or wildlife.

“Senator Gillibrand’s action provides a critical opportunity for Congress to close the loophole that allowed harmful invasive species like Asian carp, Burmese python, and red lionfish to be imported into the country,” said Bruce Stein of the National Wildlife Federation. “S. 3606 represents one of the most significant policy advances we can make to prevent future harmful invasions, and save taxpayers millions of dollars a year in damages and control costs.”

For more information, please visit

Monday, October 15, 2012

Kudzu Reaches Northern Ohio

By Mary Beth Breckenridge
Beacon Journal staff writer

Kudzu has been called the vine that ate the South. Now it’s the North’s turn to struggle with it.

Workers in South Carolina try to remove the invasive plant kudzu. Kudza has been confirmed in Summit, Portage and Cuyahoga counties. (MCT File Photo)
Kudzu has reached our area [northern Ohio], with patches reported in Summit, Portage and Cuyahoga counties, said Kathy Smith, Ohio State University Extension program director in forestry. In fact, it’s been found as far north on our continent as Ontario and British Columbia. ...

That doesn’t necessarily mean the aggressive vine will soon drape our hillsides and choke our trees. It’s believed the growing season in Northern Ohio is too short to allow the plant to flower and produce fruit here, which keeps kudzu from spreading rampantly.

But that could change, said James Bissell, curator of botany at the Cleveland Museum of Natural History. The changing climate is warming our winters and stretching our growing season. Eventually the conditions could become ripe for kudzu to flourish in our area. “With global climate change, it could be a problem,” said Bissell, who tracks the distribution of plants in Ohio. “I expect it will be a problem.” ...

Read the full story at link.


Monday, October 8, 2012

New York Receives $1.4 Million for Invasive Species

On October 2, 2012, the Environmental Protection Agency announced that New York State will receive $1.4 million to combat invasive species. The grants are a part of 21 grants offered the EPA’s Great Lakes Restoration Initiative.

For a list of grantees and awards, please visit link.


Tuesday, October 2, 2012

U.S. Army Corps Asks For Comments On Invasive Species Pathways

Morgan Sherburne
Petoskey News-Review
October 1, 2012

CHICAGO — The Army Corps of Engineers announced Friday it is midway through a public comment period regarding a paper released that outlines 18 points of entry for aquatic nuisance species to transfer between the Mississippi River Basin and the Great Lakes. "The purpose of the study was to assess the probability of other aquatic nuisance species transferring between the Great Lakes basin or vice versa," said Richard Ruby, with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. "The Army Corps of Engineers was tapped by Congress to look at all aquatic species, not just Asian carp." ...

Read the full story at link.


Mile-A-Minute Spotted In Five More Connecticut Towns

NEW LONDON, Conn. (AP) - A rapidly growing invasive weed that chokes out native plants and damages habitat for native wildlife has been found in five more Connecticut towns.

Read more at link.


Friday, September 28, 2012


EAB Found As Part of DEC’s 2012 Trapping Program

The Emerald Ash Borer (EAB) in Tioga County has been confirmed by the USDA Animal Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS), New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) Commissioner Joe Martens confirmed today. The EAB was found in a DEC-deployed trap two miles from the Pennsylvania border and six miles from the Chemung County border in the southwestern corner of Tioga County. Chemung County and all of Pennsylvania are under state and Federal EAB quarantine. A single adult EAB was found in one of the thousands of purple detection traps that are placed around the state this summer.

“With this year’s EAB detection trapping season rapidly coming to a close, we are working closely with our sister-agency, the Department of Agriculture and Markets and other stakeholders to examine the information derived from this year’s trapping to determine appropriate quarantine boundaries moving forward,” Commissioner Joe Martens said.

With the confirmation of EAB in Tioga County, New York now has 13 counties where EAB has been found. Most of the infested areas are small and localized, while more than 98 percent of New York’s forests and communities are not yet infested.



Kelly Church and Cherish Parrish are a mother and daughter team dedicated to saving the black ash tree and expressing their Anishnaabe tribal heritage through traditional and contemporary arts. They excel at black ash basket-making, birch bark biting, and painting. Based in Michigan, they show their award-winning baskets throughout the United States.

Black Ash Trees and EAB

Since the discovery of the Emerald Ash Borer (EAB) in 2002, Michigan has lost over 20 million ash trees, and the numbers continue to rise. The entire lower peninsula of Michigan is under a “no ash movement” quarantine, and the EAB continues to spread and infect entire ash lots, eventually killing off once healthy, thriving ash trees.

For hundreds of years, Native Americans of Michigan (Anishnabe) and Natives from all over the North Eastern United States have been using black ash trees, Fraxicus nigra, for basket weaving. These baskets have been used for centuries for utilitarian purposes such as market baskets, berry-picking baskets, fishing creels, baby baskets, laundry baskets, and sewing baskets. Today they are still used in a variety of ways and are also collectible baskets as pieces of art. The EAB is threatening the livelihood of a centuries-old traditional native art form, and we are working together to inform about EAB, learn what can be done to slow the spread, and ways we can preserve black ash basketry for generations to come.

Please visit their website at

Photo courtesy of


Saturday, June 23, 2012

Goats take on Staten Island Phragmites

The New York Times

On a sweltering afternoon on Staten Island, the New York City parks department unveiled its latest weapon in the war on phragmites, an invasive weed that chokes the shoreline: goats. Twenty Anglo-Nubians, to be exact. With names like Mozart, Haydn and Van Goat, and with floppy ears and plaintive bleats, they did not seem fearsome. But on Thursday they were already munching inexorably through the long pale leaves in the first phase of a wetland restoration at what will soon be Freshkills Park.

Known for their unending, indiscriminate appetites, the goats are being rented by the city for the next six weeks from a farmer in the Hudson Valley. Parks officials are counting on the goats to clear the phragmites across two acres of wetlands that will eventually be cultivated with native grasses like spartina and black needle rush. The hope is that the goats will weaken the phragmites, setting the stage for another series of assaults on their stubborn rhizomes — applying herbicide, scarifying the earth and laying down sand.

In the short term, the goats are part of an unusual experiment to eradicate the pesky reeds, which were introduced from Europe in the late 19th century and which, once rooted, are almost impossible to eliminate. They have fueled brush fires across the region and pushed out other species along the East Coast.

But the farm animals are also being tested for their lawn-mowing prowess, especially at Freshkills Park, which is in transition from its former life as the world’s largest landfill to its future one — as the largest park to be developed in New York City in more than a century.

“We want to introduce the idea of using goats to help in vegetation management,” Eloise L. Hirsh, the administrator of the park, said. “The sanitation department mows us once a year. But this is 2,200 acres. We need help.” ...

“The first test was to see if they would eat the phragmites, and they’re eating it, so they passed,” said Terry Doss, an ecologist with Biohabitats, a company specializing in ecological restoration that is advising the parks department.

The city received a grant of $350,000 from the state for the wetlands project. (The cost of renting the goats from Larry Cihanek of Rhinebeck, N.Y., is $20,625 for the six weeks.) If the goats prove successful, Freshkills Park may one day have a permanent herd. “It’s exciting to be able to replace what would be a carbon-polluting mowing strategy with a more natural approach,” said Andrew Deer, a landscape architect for the parks department.

While goats have been deployed for phragmites duty elsewhere, some ecologists are skeptical. “I’m not a big fan of goats,” said Bernd Blossey, an associate professor of natural resources at Cornell University. “I understand why people are desperate to try them. But they will eat the leaves but not the stems, and they also don’t like getting their hooves wet.”

Professor Blossey is experimenting with moth caterpillars, which can weaken phragmites. In the 1990s, he was successful in unleashing leaf beetles against another plant invader, purple loosestrife, which is not nearly the scourge it once was. But as the goats made their debut this week at Freshkills Park, any such doubts were pushed to the background. Ms. Hirsh was already looking ahead to a day when goats not only keep phragmites in check, but also put Staten Island on the artisanal food map. “We would like to have a cheese manufacturer here,” she said. “I know there will be lots of skepticism. But it would be a pretty eloquent statement about how you really can restore land that was formerly very damaged.”

A version of this article appeared in print on June 22, 2012, on page A18 of the New York edition with the headline: To Tackle an Invasive Weed, Bringing In the Hooved Pros.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

State DEEP setting traps in Connecticut for invasive emerald ash borer

Richie Rathsack

The Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection, along with The Connecticut Agricultural Experiment Station and the University of Connecticut Cooperative Extension System, will be placing 590 detection traps throughout the state to monitor the presence of the invasive emerald ash borer. With the ash borer recently found about 25 miles from the Connecticut border, along the western edge of Dutchess County New York, this year’s detection effort will be expanded. ...

Monitoring of the Connecticut traps will be led by the UConn extension system in cooperation with the agriculture experiment station, DEEP Forestry and State Parks personnel, the state Department of Transportation and the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Many landowners, wood product businesses and municipalities also agreed to host a detection trap again this summer, according to the DEEP. ...

The DEEP is asking Connecticut residents to report possible borer infestations to the agriculture experiment station or the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, Plant Protection and Quarantine. Early detection is the best defense against further infestation, according to the DEEP. Residents suspecting they have seen borers should report their findings to the agriculture experiment station at (203) 974-8474 or (digital photos of suspect insects and damage on the trees are very helpful). Residents can also report sightings to the department of agriculture via its website at A new forest pest educational video may also be viewed at CAES: Videos.

Read the full story at link.


Freeport fights green crab invasion

By Kelley Bouchard
Staff Writer
The Portland Press Herald

FREEPORT, MAINE - There's an army of green crabs hunkered down in the channels of the Harraseeket River and Recompence Cove, and every night they skitter up onto the mud flats to feast on whatever shellfish they can find.

They've munched their way through most of the wild mussels, scallops and snails along the town's 27-mile coast, and now they're working on wiping out one of Maine's prime soft-shell clam populations.

To combat this small but destructive creature, the Freeport Shellfish Commission is launching the first municipal shellfish conservation program in Maine. Its goal is to reduce predators, protect and enhance existing shellfish beds and diversify the bivalve species growing in nearly 180 acres of mud flats, more than half of which are currently unproductive.

Local clammers hope to save and expand a natural resource that supports 45 families in Freeport and entice other coastal communities that face similar devastation to join the fight. ...

The number of green crabs in Maine waters has spiked in recent years as fin-fish stocks have declined, reducing the number of predators that might keep the crab population in check, according to Coffin and other clammers. Warmer coastal water temperatures and a lack of winter ice along the shore also promoted green crab growth.

The shellfish conservation program also will include advanced water quality testing to determine the DNA of fecal coliform and help environmental officials figure out the source of pollution, such as failed septic systems or farm runoff.

Nets will be used to keep crabs out of productive clam flats, which range from Bowman Island to Flying Point, Coffin said. Traps will be used to catch crabs in shallow waters and remove them to a local landfill, where they will be composted.

Read the full story at link.


Wednesday, May 9, 2012

NYDEC Begins Emergency Rule-Making for Hydrilla Infestation Treatment

ALBANY, NY (05/09/2012)(readMedia)-- The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation adopted an emergency rule to allow for herbicide treatment to combat hydrilla, an invasive plant species that has plagued parts of the Cayuga Inlet since last summer, the agency announced today. "Immediate action is necessary to stop the spread of hydrilla to preserve native plants and indigenous aquatic ecosystems throughout New York state," said DEC Commissioner Joe Martens. "By amending the regulation to allow the use of fluridone pellets, DEC is helping control the infestation of a destructive species that threatens the Finger Lakes economy and habitat." The emergency regulation allows the use of fluridone pellets in waters less than two feet deep for 90 days. Upon expiration, DEC intends to renew the temporary, emergency regulation until a permanent rule is in place. The rule amends 6 NYCRR 326.2(b)(4)(ii), which prohibits the application of fluridone pellet formulations in waters less than two feet deep. ...

Read the full story at link.


MN to test dogs against emerald ash borer

Stephanie Hemphill
Minnesota Public Radio

HARDEN HILLS, Minn. — Specially-trained dogs could soon help enforce quarantines against Emerald ash borer in Minnesota. Ramsey, Hennepin, Houston, and Winona counties have quarantines that prohibit the movement of ash materials, and any other hardwood firewood. State officials say it is difficult to distinguish one type of firewood from another. Four dogs will join human workers this summer as they inspect yard waste sites and trucks hauling compost, said Liz Erickson, spokeswoman for the Minnesota Department of Agriculture. "Our regulatory crew has a schedule of what sites to visit, so on their regular site visits they'll take the dogs to have a more efficient and effective site visit," Erickson said. The dogs — two Labrador Retrievers (one yellow, one black), a German Shepherd, and a Belgian Malanois — are being trained by the non-profit group Working Dogs for Conservation to detect ash wood and Emerald ash borer larvae. The invasive pests threaten ash trees across the state and across the country. ...

Read the full story at link.


Goats tackle invasive species

Associated Press

BALTIMORE (AP) Brian Knox's goats are a bit of a novelty in Maryland, munching invasive species that have proven too tough for mowers, weed whackers and herbicides.

On the West Coast, his business model is already so trite it has inspired a tongue-in-cheek Canadian auto insurance commercial saluting "Goat Renter Guy."

Back East, Knox isn't overly worried about others stealing the idea, which involves first fencing off overgrown areas to keep the goats from munching elsewhere.

"One of the things that keeps the competition down is people don't like ticks, they don't like thorns and they don't like to sweat," Knox said. "And if you're running goats, you've got all of that, that and poison ivy. I've always got poison ivy, the goats don't get it, but I'm covered all the time." Knox, a forester by training who runs Sustainable Resource Management, Inc., an Easton-based consulting firm, said his Eco-Goats subsidiary is becoming a bigger part of his operation.  ...

Read the full story at link.


'Rock snot' infects Delaware River

Ben Horowitz/The Star-Ledger

An invasive form of algae has spread aggressively south in the Delaware River, creating dense shag-carpet-like mats that threaten insects and plants, and the fish that feed on them.

There is no way to eradicate or even control the algae, known as didymo — or even less formally as "rock snot." Even more troubling, the microscopic plant can spread easily, according to officials at the Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area.

As a result, officials are urging boaters, fishermen and waders to take extra precautions to avoid infecting other areas of the Delaware or other rivers and streams. ...

Read the full story at link.


New York State wants you (and your smartphone) to help map invasive species

By Lissa Harris

Call it Conservation 2.0: Citizen science is getting more and more digitally connected all the time.

Take iMapInvasives, an ambitious new project for mapping the spread of invasive species. iMapInvasives combines citizen reports from the field with larger databases maintained by state agencies and nonprofits, allowing backyard nature buffs to make real contributions to public scientific knowlege on invasives. The service launched recently in a handful of states, including New York, but it has national ambitions. In New York State, the iMapInvasives project is being run by the New York Natural Heritage Program (NYNHP), a collaboration between the state Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) and the nonprofit Nature Conservancy.

On Tuesday, May 8, the iMapInvasives team is seeking volunteers equipped with smartphones to help road-test some new features in the field, and map the spread of invasives in the Esopus Bend Preserve while they're at it. ... Read the full story at link.


Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Japanese knotweed and honey soda, from the Brooklyn Soda Works...

Last week, we [Brooklyn Soda Works] put down a new layer of epoxy floor paint, finished the walk-in refrigeration installation, paid the last electrician's bill and today our new steam kettle arrived (we are taking suggestions for affectionate names for our steam kettles). And now for foraging news - this Saturday at Smorgasburg - Japanese knotweed and honey soda. Knotweed is native to east Asia and grows wild on the east coast (it is sometimes classified as an invasive species). It has hollow stems, edible leaves and tastes a bit like rhubarb. We've been working with Evan Strusinski the noted wild food forager who travels up and down the east coast, sending packages of foraged goodies to various NYC chefs and restaurants.

Brooklyn Soda Works


Japanese knotweed spread by hurricanes, flooding

Associated Press

BETHEL, Vt. — Last year's hurricanes and flooding not only engulfed homes and carried away roads and bridges in hard-hit areas of the country, it dispersed aggressive invasive species as well.

In Vermont, the floodwaters from Tropical Storm Irene and work afterward to dredge rivers and remove debris spread fragments of Japanese knotweed, a plant that threatens to take over flood plains wiped clean by the August storm. ...

In Vermont, floodwaters and repair work broke off portions of stems and woody rhizomes of the aggressive Japanese knotweed. The perennial, imported from Asia as an ornamental, was already a problem in Vermont and a dozen other states in the Northeast, the Pacific Northwest and the Midwest. It spreads quickly on riverbanks, floodplains and roadsides, choking out native plants, degrading habitats of fish, birds and insects and weakening stream banks.

"The whole Irene event was ideal" for knotweed, said Brian Colleran, a coordinator for Vermont's knotweed program.

The plant, which resembles bamboo when mature, spreads quickly in disturbed soils. Just this week, new young plants were inching out of the silt on the banks of the Camp Brook, a tributary of the White River, where the land looks like a moonscape since floodwaters washed away trees, rocks and other native plants. Once these invasive plants take over, their root structure and a lack of groundcover and native plants and trees with deeper roots, weakens the stream banks, causing erosion, and flood damage.

"We'd like to get out the message that if there's ever a time to hand pull or mechanically control so we can avoid the use of herbicides, this is the one year where that's possible," said Sharon Plumb, invasive species coordinator, for the Vermont Chapter of The Nature Conservancy. ...

Read the full story at link.

Photo credit: AP/Toby Talbot


Monday, April 9, 2012

No. 1 Deer Predator in Michigan is a Surprise

by North American Whitetail Online Staff

If you had to guess which predator would be the top whitetail consumer in Michigan, you’d probably guess wolves — and to be fair, that’s not a bad guess. However, biologists say that’s not the case.

A study by Wildlife Ecology and Management at Mississippi State University, in association with the Michigan Department of Natural Resources, found that coyotes are the top whitetail fawn predators in the western Upper Peninsula, followed by bobcats in second. Wolves came in fourth behind a three-way tie of hunters, unknown predators and undetermined causes. ...

Read the full story at link.


Swans Gone: Pair of swans killed to protect Fairhaven, MA marsh life


FAIRHAVEN — The killing of two swans to protect restored marshland at Atlas Tack has angered and saddened some local residents many Two swans known to inhabit a pond at the Atlas Tack site were killed late last year by a federal agency because they were eating and destroying vegetation that was part of clean-up efforts.

The swans were killed only after state and federal agencies unsuccessfully sought out other methods to deter them, according to a spokesman from the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection who confirmed the deaths.

Atlas Tack underwent a $21 million clean-up process that included restoration of wetlands area at the site, said Joseph Ferson, MassDEP spokesman, in a statement.

“During this early stage of development, wetlands resources like this are fragile and require more protective measures to ensure their long-term viability,” he said in an e-mail. “At this early precarious stage, the wetlands restoration was subjected to predation by mute swan, an invasive species to the area.”of whom often watched the beautiful birds while using the Fairhaven bike path. ...

Read the full story at link.


Mighty hemlocks falling to tiny, hungry insects

Tennessee's giant trees being attacked faster than expected

By Anne Paine
The Tennessean

Only a small portion of the state’s hemlocks — many that are hundreds of years old and stand 10 stories or higher — are expected to survive a scourge of tiny insects that has advanced here from the Northeast.

Chemical treatments are needed one tree at a time, and there’s only so much money and time available.

Many of the long-lived evergreens already have died or are dying in Great Smoky Mountains National Park and elsewhere, leaving needleless gray hulks that no longer shade creeks and threaten to fall on whatever is nearby.

And the woolly adelgids — named for the clumps of whitish wax fibers they produce — are progressing more quickly than officials calculated across the Cumberland Mountains and Plateau toward some of the state’s best-known scenery and hiking spots. The fast-reproducing Asian species has no native predator here. ...

Read the full story at link.


Sunday, April 8, 2012

April 8, 2012

Maryland offering $200 gift cards for snakehead fish

Getting paid to fish sounds like a dream come true to some. But does it have the same appeal if you're going up against a "fish from hell" that can travel on land and sink its teeth into a steel-toed boot?

The Maryland Department of Natural Resources Inland Fisheries (DNR) is hoping so and is offering $200 gift cards through Bass Pro Shops to residents who capture and kill a snakehead, an invasive species from Africa that is upsetting the natural order of the local ecosystem. ...

Read the full story at link.

Photo credit: AP/Ed Wray


Bill aims to combat invasive species

By CHRIS MORRIS - Staff Writer
Adirondack Daily Enterprise

A bill introduced in the [New York] state Senate last week aims to make the possession and sale of invasive species illegal.

The legislation is sponsored by state Sen. Betty Little, R-Queensbury. Its goal is to strengthen current regulations and prevent the spread of invasive species, which Little said pose a major threat to water bodies throughout New York state.

"Many of our lake associations and small towns are trying to deal with it," Little said. "Milfoil is one of the big things, but there's pond weed, there's zebra mussels, there's Asian clams, and there's also invasive species on land that are difficult to deal with.

"I think the most important thing about dealing with invasive species is through education to prevent them from entering our waters and from getting out of hand on land."

The bill would bar the sale of invasive plants, but Little admitted it does need some work. She said lawmakers are working with the state departments of Environmental Conservation and Agriculture and Markets to fine-tune the legislation. ...

Read the full story at link.


Staten Island Fights Reeds That Feed Its Brush Fires

The New York Times

Of all the natural calamities New Yorkers might face, brush fires are probably low on the list — unless one lives on Staten Island. There have been several thousand of them since the mid-1990s, fed by large stands of reeds known as phragmites that wave in the spring breeze like so much tinder.

Just ask Vincent Cajano, whose house was threatened by a fire in 2010. “It was a 20-foot-tall wall of flame,” said Mr. Cajano, who has since bought a 200-foot fire hose. “Until the firemen get here to help, what are you going to do — watch your house go?”

Now, city, state and federal officials have joined to devise a battle plan against the fires, which are fast moving and dangerous. The main target is Phragmites australis, an invasive grass found in wetlands throughout the world that can grow from 6 to 20 feet high.

According to their draft Community Wildfire Protection Plan, in extreme cases, phragmites (pronounced frag-MITE-eez) can burn at the rate of one to three football fields a minute, with flame lengths of 56 to 83 feet depending on wind speed. ...

Read the full story at link.


Monday, April 2, 2012

USDA Urges Americans to Prevent Invasive Pests, Protect American Agriculture

WASHINGTON, April 2, 2012—The U.S. Department of Agriculture's (USDA) Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) today announced that it is dedicating the month of April to sharing information about the threat that invasive plant pests, diseases and harmful weeds pose to America's fruits, vegetables, trees, and other plants—and how the public can help prevent their spread. APHIS works each day to promote U.S. agricultural health and safeguard the nation's agriculture, fishing and forestry industries. ...

But federal and state agencies can't do it alone. It requires everyone's help to stop the unintended introduction and spread of invasive pests. The number-one action someone can take is to leave hungry pests behind. USDA urges the public to visit to learn more about invasive pests and what they can do to protect American agricultural resources by preventing the spread of these threats. Here are a few actions that people can take today:

•Buy Local, Burn Local. Invasive pests and larvae can hide and ride long distances in firewood. Don't give them a free ride to start a new infestation-buy firewood where you burn it.
•Plant Carefully. Buy your plants from a reputable source and avoid using invasive plant species at all costs.
•Do Not Bring or Mail fresh fruits, vegetables, or plants into your state or another state unless agricultural inspectors have cleared them beforehand.
•Cooperate with any agricultural quarantine restrictions and allow authorized agricultural workers access to your property for pest or disease surveys.
•Keep It Clean. Wash outdoor gear and tires between fishing, hunting or camping trips. Clean lawn furniture and other outdoor items when moving from one home to another.
•Learn To Identify. If you see signs of an invasive pest or disease, write down or take a picture of what you see, and then report it at
•Speak Up. Declare all agricultural items to customs officials when returning from international travel. Call USDA to find out what's allowed:
(301) 851-2046 for questions about plants
(301) 851-3300 for questions about animals

Read the full story at link.


Monday, March 12, 2012

March 12, 2012

Massachusetts braces for winter moth surge

By Associated Press

Forestry officials are warning of significant tree defoliation in Massachusetts this spring caused by the invasive winter moth [Operophtera brumata].

Federal and state officials say a heavy and widespread moth flight in the state in November and December means more defoliation over a larger area. ...

Winter moths defoliated about 80,000 forested acres in Massachusetts last year. ...

Read the full story at link.

Photo of female winter moth courtesy of the Massachusetts Introduced Pests Outreach Blog

Monday, February 27, 2012

February 27, 2012

New York drops ballast standards shippers fought

The Associated Press

Traverse City — New York state officials have backed away from tough regulations for ridding ballast water of invasive species that the maritime industry says would bring international shipping in the Great Lakes to a halt.

The rules, which had been scheduled to take effect in August 2013, would order cargo vessels to cleanse ballast water to a level at least 100 times stricter than international standards before releasing it. The shipping industry contends no technology exists to meet the New York requirement, although environmentalists disagree.

Shippers say the policy would prohibit any cargo ship without the required technology from traveling through New York territory on the St. Lawrence River, the gateway to the Great Lakes — effectively shutting down commercial traffic between the lakes and the Atlantic. ...

New York’s Department of Environmental Conservation said this week it was postponing the effective date of its rules until December 2013. Because they are tied to a federal permit that expires then, the state rules essentially are being canceled. ...

Read the full story at link.


Invasive plant poses threat to the Great Marsh

By David Rattigan
The Boston Globe

Geoff Walker has watched the Phragmites australis grow for years, but a new study has proven what he already knew.

Typically, the invasive species that is also called the “common reed’’ starts on the marsh border and spreads, sometimes to the point where it crowds other plant species out. In recent years, that pattern had changed.

"About four of five years ago we looked out and saw tremendous amounts of emerging small stands of phragmites [spread around the marsh], which is atypical," said Walker, a Newbury selectman whose home abuts the Great Marsh [in Massachusetts]. "That is what that study brings to light, and that certain parts of our marsh are reaching a tipping point. Once that tipping point is reached, we could lose broad swaths of our productive, high marsh."

The study, released on Jan. 31, has confirmed anecdotal observations, and offered both bad and good news regarding the future of the Great Marsh.

The bad news is that the study found the rest of the northern portion of the marsh - in Newbury and Salisbury - was potentially vulnerable to the invasive plant species.

The good news is that it determined that efforts to contain the spread, including spraying, was an effective short-term solution. The suggestion from the report is that spraying and other techniques could be used to manage the species for the time being. ...

Read the full story at link.


Supreme Court Refuses Request To Stop Invasive Fish From Spreading

The Associated Press

WASHINGTON (AP) - The Supreme Court won't order closure of shipping locks on Chicago-area waterways to prevent Asian carp from invading the Great Lakes.

The high court on Monday refused to hear an appeal from Michigan and other Great Lakes states, who have been trying for immediate shutdown of the locks and a quicker timetable for other steps to halt the carp's northward march from the Mississippi River toward Lake Michigan. ...

Read the full story at link.


Wednesday, February 22, 2012

New Video on Cat's Claw Vine

From Karen Brown, University of Florida - IFAS - Center for Aquatic & Invasive Plants...

There’s a new video ID segment on cat’s claw vine, Macfadyena unguis-cati, at link (approx. 3 minutes long). To see all video ID segments produced by the UF-IFAS Center for Aquatic & Invasive Plants, visit


Monday, February 13, 2012

February 13, 2012

Fighting Crimes Against Biodiversity: How to Catch a Killer Weed

ScienceDaily (Feb. 10, 2012) — Invasive species which have the potential to destroy biodiversity and influence global change could be tracked and controlled in the same way as wanted criminals, according to new research from Queen Mary, University of London.

Geographic profiling (GP) was originally developed as a statistical tool in criminology, where it uses the locations of linked crimes (for example murder, rape or arson) to identify the predicted location of the offender's residence. The technique is widely used by police forces and investigative agencies around the world.

Now, a team led by Dr Steven Le Comber from Queen Mary's School of Biological and Chemical Sciences has shown that this technique can also be used to identify the source of populations of invasive animals and plants such as Giant hogweed and Japanese knotweed. ...

Writing in the journal Ecography, the team describe how they used computer simulations to compare GP to existing ways of monitoring invasive species. ... In both the computer simulations and the real datasets, GP dramatically outperformed other techniques, particularly as the number of sources (or potential sources) increased. Dr Steven Le Comber who led the study, explains:

"We found that existing methods performed reasonably well finding a single source, but did much less well when there were multiple sources -- as is typically the case as invasive species spread The results show that geographic profiling could potentially be used to control the spread of invasive species by identifying sources in the early stages of invasions, when control efforts are most likely to be effective."

Read the full story at Science Daily.

Photo Credit: Image courtesy of Queen Mary, University of London


Monday, February 6, 2012

February 6, 2012

UF-led study: Invasive amphibians, reptiles in Florida outnumber world

GAINESVILLE, Fla. — Florida has the world’s worst invasive amphibian and reptile problem, and a new 20-year study led by a University of Florida researcher verifies the pet trade as the No. 1 cause of the species’ introductions.

From 1863 through 2010, 137 non-native amphibian and reptile species were introduced to Florida, with about 25 percent of those traced to one animal importer. The findings appear online today in Zootaxa.

“Most people in Florida don’t realize when they see an animal if it’s native or non-native and unfortunately, quite a few of them don’t belong here and can cause harm,” said lead author Kenneth Krysko, herpetology collection manager at the Florida Museum of Natural History on the UF campus. “No other area in the world has a problem like we do, and today’s laws simply cannot be enforced to stop current trends.”

Florida law prohibits the release of non-native species without a state permit, but offenders cannot be prosecuted unless they are caught in the act. To date, no one in Florida has been prosecuted for the establishment of a non-indigenous animal. Researchers urge lawmakers to create enforceable policies before more species reproduce and become established. The study names 56 established species: 43 lizards, five snakes, four turtles, three frogs and a caiman, a close relative of the American alligator. ...

Read the full story at link.


Thursday, February 2, 2012

Report proposes dividing Great Lakes, Mississippi River

By John Flesher, AP Environmental Writer
The Associated Press

Traverse City, Mich. — Groups representing states and cities in the Great Lakes region on Tuesday proposed spending up to $9.5 billion on a massive engineering project to separate the lakes from the Mississippi River watershed in the Chicago area, describing it as the only sure way to protect both aquatic systems from invasions by destructive species such as Asian carp.

The organizations issued a report suggesting three alternatives for severing an artificial link between the two drainage basins that was constructed more than a century ago. Scientists say it has already provided a pathway for exotic species and is the likeliest route through which menacing carp could reach the lakes, where they could destabilize food webs and threaten a valuable fishing industry.

Read the full story at link.


Vermont Law School alum proposes a federal law to curb spread of invasive animal species

John Cramer, Associate Director of Media Relations

SOUTH ROYALTON, VT –– Following a federal study released Monday showing pythons’ devastating impact on the Everglades, a new study by a Vermont Law School alumnus proposes a detailed comprehensive federal law to curtail invasive and exotic animal species that are causing environmental, economic and public health risks across the American landscape.

“Forget the war on drugs. What the United States needs is a war on invasive animal species,” writes Jane Graham, author of the study, titled “Snakes on a Plain, or in a Wetland: Fighting Back Invasive Nonnative Animals—Proposing a Federal Comprehensive Invasive Nonnative Animal Species Statute.” The article is published in Volume 25, Issue 1 of the Tulane Environmental Law Journal. ...

The article proposes a model federal law that calls for:

A “clean” list of species that are allowed into the country instead of the current “dirty” list that prohibits specific species.

A process that explains exactly how risk assessment decisions will be determined.

Uniform restrictions on exotic—and potentially all—animal ownership.

Increased public awareness of invasive animal laws.

Higher and uniform fines and criminal penalties for violations.

Methods to fund restoration of ecosystems damaged by invasive species.

Entrepreneurship and partnerships between government and private businesses. ...

Read the full story at link.


Monday, January 23, 2012

January 23, 2012

National Invasive Species Awareness Week

February 26 - March 3, 2012
Washington, DC

A week of activities, briefings, workshops and events focused on strategizing solutions to address invasive species prevention, detection, monitoring, control, and management issues at local, state, tribal, regional, national and international scales.

Here are 10 ways to observe NISA Week.

Learn more at link.


Florida considers controversial cure for polluted Lake Apopka: Let hydrilla spread

By Kevin Spear, Orlando Sentinel

9:17 p.m. EST, January 22, 2012
The sickly Lake Apopka has been healing at a snail's pace despite undergoing some of the more costly environmental rehabilitations in Florida history.

So a state agency is thinking about speeding up the process by encouraging an aggressive, aquatic weed — hydrilla — to take root in the lake.

It's a hotly contested idea that appears to be leaving little room for compromise. Those who want the lake restored to a natural condition say the foreign plant would devastate native varieties if allowed to spread and would destroy any real chances of reviving the polluted lake. Fans of hunting and fishing counter that the fast-growing plant, imported from Asia but now considered a costly nuisance throughout much of the U.S., would work wonders in the lake as habitat for ducks and largemouth bass.

The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission will decide whether hydrilla is a new friend or old foe of Lake Apopka, which covers nearly 50 square miles of Orange and Lake counties. Agency officials will take public comments Tuesday from 6-9 p.m. in Winter Garden's Tanner Hall. ...

Learn more at link.


Town of Brookhaven, New York, next to tackle invasive bamboo

By Brittany Wait
Times Beacon Record

Responding to complaints from residents, one Brookhaven Town official hopes to restrict the planting and maintenance of bamboo within the town.

A proposed resolution, sponsored by Councilwoman Kathy Walsh (R-Centereach), restricts the distance that bamboo can be from a property line.

"It does tend to travel," Walsh said in a phone interview. "We won't be able to go into someone's yard and tell them to remove it, but if it encroaches into the neighbor's yard we'll have law on books to tell them they have to remove it to the property line limitation that was adopted." ...

Walsh is hoping to set a public hearing on the bill at the Feb. 7 Town Board meeting.

The councilwoman is currently working with John Turner, who deals with environmental cases in the town's Planning Department, and Beth Riley from the Law Department, on the language of the law. Turner retired from his position at the Planning Department and was brought back as a part-time consultant. ...

Read the full story at link.


Using a Wasp to Catch a Beetle: The Quest to Save Ash Trees

By Stone Ng

For nearly a decade, a tiny alien menace, a beetle known as the emerald ash borer, has been destroying some of the nation’s most iconic native trees. Now researchers are honing a new method that uses wasps to ferret out these invasive beetles. The technique could help prevent the spreading of the emerald ash borer, as well as benefit other imperiled plants in the future, both in the U.S. and abroad. ...

Learn more at link.


14th Annual SE-EPPC Conference and 10th Annual ALIPC Conference

Join in bringing you the Past, Present and Future of Invasive Plants in the Southeast

May 8-10, 2012
Auburn University Hotel and Conference Center
241 South College Street, Auburn, AL 36830

More information is available at .


NEW Blight Ravages Boxwood

A new, aggressive, exotic disease called Boxwood Blight is now affecting all species of boxwood on Long Island and other areas of the US. If you live on Long Island and see bare twigs on your boxwood this winter, send a sample to the LI Horticultural Research & Extension Center at 3059 Sound Ave. Riverhead / 631-727-3595 to ID the pathogen and slow the spread of this serious disease. Non-commercial samples can be brought to CCE-Suffolk Diagnostic Lab at 423 Griffing Ave. Riverhead / 631-727-7850. For more info. click Boxwood Blight Cornell Fact Sheet 2012.


Thursday, January 19, 2012

January 19, 2011

Lifeform of the week: The mystery of the monk parakeets

By Alex Reshanov

Feral green parrots are living all over the United States. Where did they come from? How did they get here? And don’t they get cold in the winter?

A friend in Brooklyn, New York, where I was living at the time, first drew my attention to the exotic, bright green birds that occasionally turned up in the neighborhood trees. Various legends fluttered around the misplaced parrots – they’d escaped from the zoo, from a pet store, from a crate bound for a pet store, and had managed to establish themselves in some nook of the Big Apple. The tales portrayed the birds as a single anomalous colony unique to a city itself renowned for uniqueness. Only in New York…

But after moving to Austin, I began to notice suspiciously similar birds, slightly better camouflaged against the greener scenery, but still a bit too tropical looking to blend in with the grackles and mourning doves that dominate the local bird-o-sphere.

It took minimal detective work to uncover that both cities’ green-feathered inhabitants were of the same species – Myiopsitta monachus, or monk parakeet. And they’re not isolated to Brooklyn and Austin either. Monk parakeets have made themselves at home in many parts of the U.S., including Chicago, New Jersey, Connecticut and, of course, reigning invasive species capital Florida. They’ve also been spotted in such far flung residences as Spain, Kenya and Japan, in addition to their original habitat in South America.

Despite being thoroughly adorable, the parrots are considered a nuisance in many of their adopted cities, and owning them as pets is now prohibited in some U.S. states. Who could be so cold-hearted as to find fault with such delightful green birds? The electric company, for one....

Read the full article at link.

Image Credit: Life Lenses


82 snakehead caught by Maryland anglers in eradication contest

By Associated Press

ANNAPOLIS, Md. — Maryland anglers caught 82 snakeheads in a contest sponsored by the Department of Natural Resources to help eradicate the invasive species.

DNR says the 69 anglers were automatically entered into a drawing for prizes donated by contest sponsors....

Read the full story at link.


The Dying [?] Art of Making Ash Wood Baskets

Bangor Daily News

When Roldena Sanipass was a girl she watched her mother weave strips of brown ash into traditional Micmac baskets. She could be seen in the background, pounding ash or cleaning splints while her mother, well-known basket maker Mary Sanipass, demonstrated her craft, but she didn’t have the confidence to weave one herself until she was 20.

“It was something I lived with, grew up with. Mother and Dad did it all for us,” Roldena, 45, told an audience at the University of Maine at Presque Isle in November, explaining that Donald and Mary Sanipass of Presque Isle fed and clothed their family by selling their handmade baskets. “I was brought up with ash wood.”

Today, even though she creates everything from pack baskets to her signature miniature potato baskets, Roldena, an art and photography student at UMPI, does not see herself following in her mother’s footsteps. “The ash wood is dying along with the art,” she said.

One of five basket makers from Native tribes in the region on a Nov. 30 panel, “The Evolution of Basket Making: From Function to Art,” Roldena pinpointed a twin threat to the tradition of making ash baskets. Native basket weavers not only need to pass their skills on to the next generation, but also to protect the ash trees from a pest that has devastated the species in states west of Maine.

Called the emerald ash borer, the beetle hatches in the tops of trees and begins to defoliate them. By the time the damage is visible, the tree is too far gone to save....

Panelist Jennifer Neptune, 42, of the Penobscot Tribe on Indian Island is more optimistic. She explained in an interview that four or five years ago members of the Ojibway Tribe in Michigan warned basket makers in Maine to take precautions before the emerald ash borer reached Maine.

“We have time to plan for it,” she said, explaining that the Maine Indian Basketmakers Alliance is working with the University of Maine, the Maine Forest Service and the U.S. Forest Service to come up with a plan.

“Our goal is to keep [the borer] out of Maine,” she said. “Don’t move wood. Don’t bring firewood from out of state. Buy locally.”

One prevention effort conducted last spring, she explained, involved toll booth operators handing out Maine Forest Service literature about the borer to tourists and travelers entering Maine with wood from out of state.

The visitors at that point were asked to trade their firewood for wood grown in Maine.

“The impact [of the pest] is huge for basket makers, but also for the Maine environment,” she said. “People should be aware.”

Neptune is encouraged by Maine Forest Service tests using native wasps to provide early detection of emerald ash borers. The wasps (Cerceris fumitennis) hunt the beetles and bring them from the treetops to their nests on the ground where they can be identified.

“It’s like an early warning system,” she said, noting that the wasps tend to nest around ball fields. A nest was discovered in Dedham and scientists are trying to locate others.

“It’s definitely scary, but we are hopeful. We have more time than other states. We hope science can catch up with the beetle.”...

Read the full article at link.


Wednesday, January 11, 2012

January 11, 2012

Out of Odor: Offensive-Smelling Bugs Put U.S. Farmers on the Defensive

Pests Fly Among Crops, Nest in Homes; Scientists Battle Stinky 'Takeover'

Wall Street Journal

Brian Biggins's life stinks.

The Maryland organic farmer is suffering from an infestation of stink bugs—crop-consuming pests emitting the odor of cilantro mixed with burned rubber and dirty socks. They began destroying his fields of peppers and tomatoes in 2010. Now, they've invaded his Adamstown home, where Mr. Biggins crushes them by hand and has trained his English Shepherd, Coadee, to eat them.

Still, thousands scurry across the floor of his farm house.

"For the love of God, my wife is the one I feel for the worst," says Mr. Biggins. "This is the kind of thing that you don't sign up for."

Stink bugs, Mr. Biggins's brown marmorated nemesis, infiltrated the U.S. as cargo ship stowaways from Asia about 15 years ago and have proliferated in the past two years. The U.S. Department of Agriculture says the immigrants have spread to 36 states; trade groups say they were responsible for $37 million of damage to apple crops alone in 2010. ...

Read the full article at link.