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. ...

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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. ...

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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. ...

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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. ...

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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. ...

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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. ...

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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

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