Tuesday, November 12, 2013

State cracks down on harmful invasive species 

November 3, 2013
By JOAN GRALLA at Newsday

New York State is cracking down on harmful invasive species after years of delays, adding scores to its list of banned plants, insects and animals.

Under the state plan, 115 species would be outlawed -- about 10 times the current number. Another 29 would be subject to restrictions.

The Department of Environmental Conservation quietly posted the expanded list on its website late last month, a move that was hailed as overdue by environmentalists and decried as an overreach by commercial nurseries, including some on Long Island. ...

Under the state law, anyone who imports, ships, or introduces or sells banned invasives can be fined as much as $250. For repeated violations by professionals, the top fine is $2,000 -- and they could jeopardize their licenses or permits. ...

A 60-day comment period ends Dec. 23. The rules take effect six months after they are finalized.

Read the full story at: link.


Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Invasive Kudzu Bugs May Pose Greater Threat Than Previously Thought

April 15, 2013

The invasive kudzu bug has the potential to be a major agricultural pest, causing significant damage to economically important soybean crops. Conventional wisdom has held that the insect pests will be limited to areas in the southern United States, but new research from North Carolina State University shows that they may be able to expand into other parts of the country.

Kudzu bugs (Megacopta cribraria) are native to Asia, and were first detected in the U.S. in Georgia in 2009. They have since expanded their territory as far north as Virginia. The bugs have an interesting life cycle, which has been thought to be a limiting factor on far they can spread.

Eggs laid in the spring hatch into a first generation, which we'll call "Generation A." The immature bugs of Generation A normally feed on kudzu plants until they reach adulthood, when they have been known to move into commercial soybean fields. These mature adults lay eggs that hatch into Generation B during the summer months. Generation B kudzu bugs can feed on soybean crops during both their immature and adult life stages, causing significant crop damage. Because the immature Generation A kudzu bugs have only been seen to feed on kudzu, researchers thought that the pest would not be able to migrate to northern and western parts of the United States, where kudzu doesn't grow. But now it's not so clear. ...

Read the full story at link

Monday, March 11, 2013

Invasive species may be key to understanding death of hundreds of loons

by Dan Kraker, Minnesota Public Radio

DULUTH, Minn. — Spring is in the air, with daylight savings taking effect on Sunday, and loons will begin their migration back to the north woods in less than a month.
Loons, of course, are a cultural and natural icon, not only in Minnesota but across the Great Lakes states. But last fall, nearly 900 loons died while migrating south across Lake Michigan, probably more. And it's likely at least some were from Minnesota.
Scientists are not sure what killed the loons, but they suspect that invasive species may be to blame.

In October, Lynette Grimes was hiking toward Lake Michigan at Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore, outside Traverse City, Mich. The 52-year-old from the nearby town of Benzonia has walked the beaches there for years. But she wasn't prepared for what she saw. ...

The scientists offered an idea about what might have happened: Invasive zebra and quagga mussels filter the water so it's incredibly clear, allowing an algae called cladophora to grow in huge amounts. Big storms churn up the algae, which settles to the lake bottom and rots. That creates an environment without any oxygen, an ideal home for bacteria that produces a deadly toxin called Type E botulism. That botulism is ingested by invertebrates, tiny worms and freshwater shrimp. And then it works its way up the food chain. They are eaten by fish, including the invasive round goby, which are then eaten by diving birds like loons. ...

Read the full story at link.

Image: J.M. Kosciw

Monday, March 4, 2013

Myths lie at root of native, exotic plants

Written by
Yew Dell Botanical Gardens

Amur honeysuckle, burning bush, ‘Bradford’ pear ... a few poster children for the invasive exotic plant debate. The debate has raged for decades.  But it is often myth that fuels the dissension.

But before we dispel some myths, how about a few definitions?

Continue reading at link.


Conn. trying to contain tree-eating borer

By QUANNAH LEONARD, Republican-American of Waterbury

Piles of ash bark cushioned the feet of state workers inside a state garage on Middlebury Road on a recent day. The men and women used draw knives to slowly peel back bark on bolts of ash trees, looking for signs of a tiny green beetle.

Their work began at the beginning of February, and will continue for at least one more session this month. They want to determine just how long and far the emerald ash borer has infested the woodlands of Connecticut.

The answers will help federal and state agencies, plus municipalities, work together to reduce the spread of this bug.

With each strip of bark, the workers uncovered a pale canvas that can potentially show a history of the highly mobile critter. They are peering for a tell-tale sign — serpentine tunnels left by the larvae as they eat.

Last summer, the bug was first found in the Nutmeg state in Prospect. Since then, it has been confirmed in Beacon Falls, Bethany, Naugatuck and Waterbury. The critter is an invasive species native to Asia that measures a half-inch long.

The infestation threatens Connecticut's valuable stands of ash trees, and experts say could present a threat to public safety.

Read the full article at link.

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Invasive species threaten Wisconsin trees 

By Sarah Eucalano
The Badger Herald

Madison has begun testing trees for emerald ash borers, an invasive Chinese insect that has been devastating much of North America’s ash trees.

Ald. Scott Resnick, District 8, said around 25 percent of Madison’s trees are ash trees, adding it will cost the city millions in order to fully cover the incurable disease, which causes ash trees to slowly rot and die. ...

Ken Raffa, a UW etymology professor, said the main emerald ash borer infestation is in Detroit and has been in the United States for 12 years. Having infested the southeastern part of Wisconsin, including parts of the Milwaukee area as well as areas surrounding the Mississippi River.

Raffa said in China the insects do not kill healthy trees, but only sick or old trees that do not have defenses. He said China’s ash trees have good defenses against emerald ash borers, which North American ash trees do not have. “There is no evidence any of the ash trees in the eastern half of the United States having any resistance,” Raffa said. ...

Read the full article at link.


Massachusetts Officials Announce Quarantine to Halt Spread of Emerald Ash Borer

DALTON, MA – Thursday, February 21, 2013 – Officials from the Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR) announced today that a quarantine will be established in Berkshire County, in order to stop the spread of the invasive insect species Emerald Ash Borer (EAB). This decision comes after extensive survey in the affected area and public hearings.

The quarantine will take effect March 1, 2013.

EAB was first detected in Massachusetts in Dalton in August of 2012. Massachusetts is the eighteenth state discovered to have EAB within its borders. ...

The quarantine order means that certain products will be regulated from moving outside the regulated area, including all hardwood firewood (any piece of wood smaller than 48”), all ash nursery stock, and any ash lumber that has not been treated. Proper wood treatments include the removal of bark and half an inch of wood, dry kiln sterilization, fumigation, and heat treatments.

The State of New York recently added 22 new counties to their EAB quarantine, including counties that abut the Berkshire County border. This will allow wood to move from quarantined county to quarantined county, including moving regulated wood from Massachusetts to the mills that are just over the border in New York, relieving some of the financial pressure on the wood industry in Berkshire County.

Read the full article at pdf .

Monday, February 25, 2013

Quality Parks Master Naturalist Program Training in April

Long Island, NY - The Quality Parks Master Naturalist (QPMN) program provides environmental training that builds natural history skills, recreational know how, and a heightened awareness and appreciation of the great outdoors. 
The program encapsulates 45 hours of training and 20 hours of community service. The course curriculum includes:
  • Long Island Explorer
  • Emergency Ready Naturalist
  • Invasive & Ecological Restoration
  • Trails & Greenways
  • Wetlands & Wildlife
  • Working Lands & Sustainability
  • Graduation
 Form more information, visit link.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

New York DEC: All options will be considered in invasive species debate

By John Alexander

LAKE GEORGE, NY -- There’s still life to the Lake George Park Commission’s proposal that could see a mandatory boat inspection and washing program encircle the lake, state officials said Tuesday.

Park Commission officials have spent months in negotiations with the state Department of Environmental Conservation and Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s office trying to garner state-level support for the proposed invasive-species fighting measure.

Park Commission members have regularly griped that DEC was uninterested in the conversations. But that’s suddenly changed as weekly three-way conversations are now under way. “All the options are on the table,” said DEC Region 5 Director Bob Stegemann, when asked if his agency supports boat washing or a less-restrictive alternative. ...

Read the full story at link.


Lake George Targets Invasive Species

Wall Street Journal
Associated Press

LAKE GEORGE, N.Y.—State regulators are working on a long-term plan to protect Lake George from invasive species, possibly including mandatory boat inspections.

The Lake George Park Commission had been developing plans for inspections and washing, with a $40 fee. That plan is now on hold while the Department of Environmental Conservation drafts an environmental impact statement, seeks public input, and considers alternatives.

The 32-mile-long Adirondack lake already has some invasive species such as milfoil and Asian clams. The commission has programs to fight those species, including spreading plastic mats to smother them.

The state has agreed to provide $50,000 to expand a boat steward program, and $200,000 to fight Asian clams. Environmentalists say mandatory boat inspection and washing is the best way to prevent spread of invasive species. ...

Read the story at link.