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.