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 CAES.StateEntomologist@ct.gov (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 www.beetledetectives.com. A new forest pest educational video may also be viewed at CAES: Videos.

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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.

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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. ...

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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. ...

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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.  ...

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'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. ...

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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