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.