Showing posts with label hydrilla. Show all posts
Showing posts with label hydrilla. Show all posts

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. ...

Read the full story at link.


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. ...

Read the full story at link.


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.  ...

Read the full story at link.


'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. ...

Read the full story at link.


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.


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.


Tuesday, September 13, 2011

September 16, 2011

Kudzu bug spreads across Southern states

Sharon Dowdy, News Editor UGA College of Agricultural & Environmental Sciences

Almost two years ago, a tiny immigrant pest arrived in Georgia, and there’s nothing the state’s immigration office can do to make it leave. The bean plataspid, or kudzu bug, munches on kudzu and soybeans and has now set up residence in four Southern states.

Homeowners consider the bug a nuisance. Soybean producers shudder at the damage it causes. And many are hoping it will prove to be a kudzu killer.

Spreading problem

The kudzu bug was first spotted in Georgia in the fall of 2009 when insect samples were sent to the University of Georgia Homeowner Insect and Weed Diagnostic Laboratory in Griffin, Ga. The first samples came from UGA Cooperative Extension agents in Barrow, Gwinnett and Jackson counties.

“The bug can now be found in 143 Georgia counties, all South Carolina counties, 42 North Carolina counties and 5 Alabama counties,” said Wayne Gardner, an entomologist with the UGA College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences.

Last fall, Gardner had to search repeatedly to find the pest in kudzu patches in north Georgia. “Those areas are loaded with bugs this year,” he said.

By studying the pest for the past year, Gardner has determined wisteria, green beans and other legumes are the bug’s true hosts in the landscapes and home gardens. A plant becomes a true host of the insect when different life stages of the insect are found on the plant, he said...

No one seems to mind if the bugs take out a 1,000 or so acres of kudzu. But are they?

“We found the bug caused a 32 percent reduction in kudzu growth last year in the plots we monitored,” said Jim Hanula, an entomologist with the USDA Forest Service. He monitored the bug on kudzu plots in Athens, Ga., for the past year.

This may sound like reason to celebrate, but kudzu roots can grow as deep as 12 feet and weigh up to 300 pounds, Hanula said.

“We’re hopeful that feeding by the bug year after year will deplete those roots and weaken the plants,” he said. If the bug’s effect is cumulative, kudzu plants will likely weaken, and patches won’t be as thick.

“Hopefully, the bug will reduce kudzu’s ability to climb, which would be good for forestry,” he said.


New Invasive Aquatic Plant Confirmed In New York Lake

Pat Bradley

ITHACA, NY (WAMC) - Hydrilla has been confirmed in the inlet to Cayuga Lake in the Finger Lakes. The water weed is native to Asia and was brought to the U.S. in the 1950's when aquarium contents were dumped in Florida. Since then it has aggressively spread thru eastern waterways. Cornell Cooperative Extension Invasive Species Program Coordinator Chuck O'Neill says hydrilla is in Suffolk and Orange counties, but it's discovery in Cayuga is the northernmost sighting. State and local officials met in mid-August to discuss the scope of the infestation of hydrilla and what rapid response options need to be taken. Again Chuck O'Neill. Another concern is that hydrilla is often confused with native water plants. Adirondack Park Invasive Plant Program Director Hilary Smith says that's an obstacle for control of the weed. Hilary Smith says hydrilla has been on the radar for years as a possible invasive of concern. Scientists say boaters can prevent the spread of hydrilla by draining and cleaning boats and gear when leaving any waterbody.

Read the full story at link.

Invasive Species Clearinghouse © Copyright 2011, WAMC

Monday, October 12, 2009

Week of October 12, 2009

Updated 10/17. Newest articles are at the bottom of the post.

Goats help planned rec center take a bite toward progress

Animals clear the weeds for planned recreation, environmental center in city's Druid Hill Park

By Meredith Cohn,

goatsThe decrepit mansion once served as home to the president of the Maryland Zoo in Baltimore, but two decades of brush has grown and, along with vandals, has made it uninhabitable.

Cue the goats.

In what's the first step to a $10 million project to transform this piece of Druid Hill Park into an environmental and recreational center for the city, the four-legged weed whackers have cleared a half-acre ring of ivy and other invasive species. The herd of 40 will be brought back to clear the rest of the 9-acre parcel that few have used, legally anyway, for years.

"It's been an eyesore and has all sorts of unsavory activity going on," said Jean DuBose, director of development and promotions for the Parks & People Foundation, a Baltimore nonprofit group that has undertaken the project. "Most people don't even know it's part of the park. But soon it will be a great resource in the city." [...]

To get started, and even get near the mansion, the foundation needed to clear the overgrowth. Human labor might have been too expensive. The fastest and cheapest way to clear brush would have been herbicide, said Brian Knox, the supervising forester for Ec

o-Goats, the Davidsonville-based firm that supplies the herd. [...] The eco-friendly goats cost about $300 for the first half-acre. [...]

Read the full story at link.


What if tree-killing bugs chomp Adirondack Forest Preserve?

By MIKE LYNCH, Adirondack Daily Enterprise Outdoors Writer

RAY BROOK, NY - State officials are grappling with how to best proceed if tree-killing forest pests reach the Adirondack and Catskill Forest Preserve, and it appears a constitutional amendment is low on their priority list.

One of the main methods for getting rid of pests such as the Asian longhorned beetle has been to cut down the trees and chip the wood to small pieces. This method raises legal questions here in the Park because Article XIV of the state Constitution prohibits the cutting of live trees and removal of timber on the Forest Preserve.

Because of the legal complexities, a collection of state officials, scientists and environmental advocates called the Forest Preserve Advisory Committee has been studying the issue.

"There was a consensus among group members that a constitutional amendment would be a last resort," said Rob Davies, director of lands and forests for the state Department of Environmental Conservation. "I think there was a reluctance to the idea of a constitutional amendment, to try to address ahead of time a forest invasion in the Forest Preserve."

Davies was speaking to the state Adirondack Park Agency Thursday during a special presentation on invasive species. He said the Asian longhorned beetle, because of its ability to kill most hardwood trees including maples, could be the most devastating to the Park. This beetle is not new to New York, however; outbreaks of it have been seen in the New York City area since 1996.

The emerald ash borer, on the other hand, is quickly spreading eastward from the Midwest and wiping out ash trees as it goes. Only 2 percent of the Adirondack Park's trees are ash, state officials say, but the ash borer's speed is raising awareness of the danger posed by all invasive tree pests.

Davies said the committee recommended a revision of currently existing guidelines for fighting invasive species and also amending the DEC's incident command system for responding to emergencies should be done first; he expects work will begin on this soon.

Amending the State Land Master Plan is another consideration.

Davies said one reason a constitutional amendment is not considered a good strategy is that it requires two successful votes of the state Legislature and also passage by the people in a statewide general election. A pest could show up in the Forest Preserve well before such an endeavor is undertaken.

"I think there was a recognition that the timing of a constitutional amendment doesn't work," Davies said. "We could have emerald ash borer here next week or next year. You're not going to have a constitutional amendment for years."

Plus, Davies said, the DEC could fight tree-killing pests with the current laws. Davis said there is enough legal precedent to cut trees and take other measures on the Forest Preserve in cases where it is necessary to save the forest.

"The fact that we don't have a constitutional amendment in hand today doesn't stop us from taking action tomorrow," Davies said.

He did say that a constitutional amendment may be considered as part of a long-term strategy.

Another reason from shying away from the constitutional amendment was that the committee members were concerned they could do more harm than good by revising Article XIV.

But APA Commissioner Lani Ulrich, of Old Forge, expressed concern that perhaps the group was limiting their options and suggested "possibly expanding the folks that are around that table and having that conversation again."

"I'm concerned about what kind of Forest Preserve we would have left if we didn't have every (tool) to fight this," Ulrich said.

Steve Sanford, director of the DEC's office of invasive species coordination, defended the decision to not immediately pursue a constitutional amendment. He told the APA he originally favoring such an action but changed his mind.

"I gave heed to the judgment of a lot of veterans in the room who said, 'You're opening Pandora's Box. We could wind up with an Article XIV that is less useful than the one that exists today,'" Sanford said.

Read the story at link.


Invasives a growing threat to Adirondacks

North Country Public Radio

Adirondack Park Agency commissioners were given a status report yesterday on what’s considered to be the biggest threat to the ecology of the Adirondacks.

Invasive species like milfoil and phragmities are spreading fast throughout the Park, clogging waterways and taking over wetlands.

Hillary Smith is director of the Adirondack Park Invasive Plant Program. “This threat of invasive species is worsening,” she said. “I saw a real window of opportunity in the Adirondacks and even in my short time here that window is closing. There still are lots of opportunities for us. But the reality is the situation is very much an urgent one and it’s a growing problem.”

Within the last two weeks, an invasive called spiny water flea, which can ruin fisheries, was found in Great Sacandaga Lake and Peck’s Lake, both in the southern Adirondacks. A record number of yellow iris, which invades wetlands, were also found in the Park this year. And milfoil infestations spread to more Adirondack lakes, including Lake Placid.

Smith said their ability to fight back and eradicate invasives is being put to the test. “With every new invasive that makes it through the borders,” she said, “we have an increasing demand for management, increasing demand for spread prevention measures and increasing demand for resources that we all know are very tight at this time.”

Last year the state created an Office of Invasive Species Coordination within the Department of Environmental Conservation.

But the program’s director, Steve Sanford, told agency commissioners that funding for the effort was less than promised. And he said the money was tied up in a battle over the state’s Environmental Protection Fund. “We had planned to be able to spend $5 million, the trouble is there’s only $3 million we can use,” he said. “We had to make some decisions yesterday about what we’re going to go forward with. It’s not where we hoped to be, but at least the faucet’s back on again it was shut off for 11 months.”

Thursday’s meeting also included discussion of the emerald Ash borer and the Asian longhorn beetle, which threaten Adirondack forests. DEC Lands and Forests Director Rob Davies says so far the insects haven’t been found in the Park.

But he said their impact on the region’s ecosystem and economy could be devastating, “As you can imagine, the longer the pest is around, the greater the risk it is going to get out, it is going to impact our maple sugar industry and get into maple sugar stands.”

Removing infected trees could be difficult in the forest preserve if an outbreak occurs, because of environmental rules. Davies said the DEC is working to come up with new rules and guidelines for fighting invasives in the Park.

Read the story and listen to audio at link.


Announcement and Call for Abstracts
for the 17th International Conference on Aquatic Invasive Species

This is an announcement and call for abstracts of oral presentations and posters for the 17th International Conference on Aquatic Invasive Species that is being hosted by the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation, and held at the Westin San Diego, San Diego, California from August 29 to September 2, 2010. Please note that the abstract submission deadline is Friday, December 11, 2009.

The early registration deadline for the conference is June 25, 2010.

Elizabeth Muckle-Jeffs
Conference Administrator
The Professional Edge
1027 Pembroke Street East, Suite 200
Pembroke, ON K8A 3M4 Canada

Email: elizabeth[at]


New invasives positions at the Institute for Regional Conservation

For information, contact Keith A. Bradley, bradley[at]REGIONALCONSERVATION.ORG

Institute for Regional Conservation
22601 S.W. 152 Avenue
Miami, Florida 33170


Great Lakes group seeks action against carp threat


A coalition of Great Lakes protection groups called today for emergency action to prevent flooding in the Des Plaines River, where Asian carp have invaded and which sits 100 feet from an electric barrier to keep the carp out of Lake Michigan.

Sandbags or concrete barriers need to be put up along the river to prevent the carp from escaping from the river into the canal above the barrier, the groups said.

"This is a natural disaster waiting to happen,” said Jennifer Nalbone of Great Lakes United. “We need to respond to it like we would respond to a hurricane."

The urgent threat is that heavy rains, such as those the region experienced in September 2008, could flood the river enough that the carp could jump into the canal above an electric barrier, giving them free access to the Great Lakes. The ferocious silver carp grow to 100 pounds, threaten boaters and jet-skiers by leaping out of the water and injuring them, and could destroying the food web in the Great Lakes because they’re voracious eaters. They escaped from southern fish farms decades ago and have made their way to the edge of the Great Lakes. [...]

Read the full story at link.


Report Documents the Risks of Giant Invasive Snakes in the U.S.

DOI. United States Geological Survey.

Five giant non-native snake species would pose high risks to the health of ecosystems in the United States should they become established here, according to a USGS report released. The report details the risks of nine non-native boa, anaconda and python species that are invasive or potentially invasive in the U.S. Because all nine species share characteristics associated with greater risks, none was found to be a low ecological risk. Two of these species are documented as reproducing in the wild in South Florida, with population estimates for Burmese pythons in the tens of thousands.

Read the full story and the report at link.


Thirty Groups Join Together to Harvest the Seeds of Change

Effort Underway to Restore Long Island’s Native Grasslands and the Wildlife they Support and Make Plants Commercially Available to Public

Riverhead, NY — October 15, 2009 — The Long Island Native Grassland Initiative (LINGI), an organization of more than 30 non-profit organizations, governmental agencies, and nursery professionals, including The Nature Conservancy, harvested the "seeds of change" today in Riverhead. The group, which has been restoring Long Island’s declining native grasslands for the wildlife species that depend on them, gathered seeds from mature plants which will be used to propagate next year’s crop.

Grasslands and the birds and wildlife that depend on them are the single most threatened habitat on earth due to development and the encroachment of invasive plant species. [...]

“Until now, it’s been difficult, if not impossible to find local native grasses for sale,” said project lead Polly Weigand, Soil District Technician for Suffolk County Soil and Water Conservation District. “Our ultimate goal is to provide a source of native plant material –as an alternative to cultivars and hybrid plants –for use in landscaping, restoration, grassland establishment, roadside plantings, biofuel programs, and nurseries.” [...]

Read the article at link.


A downloadable resource that may be of interest to some of you

A Best Management Practices Handbook

Lyn A. Gettys, William T. Haller and Marc Bellaud, editors

Prepared by:
Aquatic Ecosystem Restoration Foundation
3272 Sherman Ridge Rd
Marietta, GA 30064

Ann Bove
Aquatic Invasive Species Management
(802) 241-3782

This message is brought to you as a service of the Northeast Aquatic Nuisance Species Panel.


Update on Maine hydrilla infestation

Here is an update concerning the recent discovery of hydrilla in Damariscotta Lake, Maine.

· DEP divers have installed benthic barriers on patches of hydrilla that have spread to the cove just outside of the infested lagoon. No tubers have been detected on the plants outside of the lagoon.

· DEP is currently placing stone riprap across both entrances to the infested lagoon to create a strong physical barrier between the infestation and the rest of the lake.

· This week, DEP will begin the process of manually removing and disposing of the hydrilla in the infested lagoon.

· Roberta Scruggs has written an excellent article on the hydrilla infestation in the recent issue of the LEA Milfoil Update newsletter. To view the article on line please visit

· According to Damariscotta Lake Watershed Association’s Alice Phillips, “Volunteers have come out of the woodwork to help survey the lake and help us determine if there are any other infested areas. Roughly 50% of the lake has now been surveyed. We are so appreciative of the help!”

· Forty individuals have answered DLWA’s call for help. Members of the DLWA survey team include trained VLMP Invasive Plant Patrollers and others from the Damariscotta Lake area, plus a cadre of certified Plant Patrollers from ”away.” To date no additional invasive plants have been observed.

· This year’s survey season is swiftly fading, but we may be lucky and get a few more days of prime survey weather. WE ARE STILL LOOKING FOR TRAINED PLANT PATROLLERS TO ASSIST WITH THIS SURVEY. If you think you can help, please contact Alice Phillips at DLWA, dlwastaff[at]

· There are other ways you can get involved. Is your lake community actively working to prevent the spread of aquatic invaders? Do you have a “well oiled” system in place for detecting aquatic invaders as soon as possible after introduction? If the answer to either of these questions is no, please contact the VLMP at vlmp[at] today. We look forward to working with you!

Thanks again!

Roberta Hill
Program Director
Maine Volunteer Lake Monitoring Program's Center for Invasive Aquatic Plants

Below is the previous announcement, dated September 28, 2009:

Dear Maine Lake Monitors:

I am writing to inform you of Maine’s latest confirmed invasive aquatic plant infestation. Hydrilla (Hydrilla verticillata) has now been confirmed in Damariscotta Lake. Hydrilla, often referred to as the “worst of the worst” invasive aquatic plant threatening aquatic ecosystems worldwide, was discovered in a small cove along the western shore of Damariscotta Lake, by Damariscotta Lake Watershed Association (DLWA) member and VLMP Invasive Plant Patroller, Dick Butterfield. There is no way of knowing at present, how widespread this plant may be in the lake, but a preliminary survey of nearby coves uncovered no additional invasive plants, providing hope that Mr. Butterfield may have detected the pioneer colony.

This is the kind of discovery that all Plant Patrollers train and practice for, but dread the thought of ever actually making. On the good side, this discovery provides clear and concrete evidence of the effectiveness and value of citizen based lake monitoring. Maine’s early detection system, largely powered by trained and dedicated volunteers, is saving Maine lakes. Here is a brief summary of how things have unfolded to date:

September 20 – Dick Butterfield gathered his gear, slipped into his kayak and began the task of surveying the shoreline to the north and south of his property on the west side of the lake. At one point, he paddled into a small (0.3 acre) shallow cove, and was instantly alerted to something that “was not right.” A dense carpet of plants filled the cove. According to Dick, the growth was so dense it looked “solid enough to walk on.” Using the identification keys he received with his Invasive Plant Patrol training, Dick soon came to the realization that he may have come upon one of the invasive plants of concern. He carefully bagged a sample and sent it to the VLMP for confirmation.

September 22 - Dick’s plant specimen is received by the VLMP, and its identification is tentatively confirmed.

September 23 - Maine Department of Environmental (DEP) and VLMP staff meet on site with Dick and partners from Damariscotta Lake Watershed Association to conduct a preliminary assessment of the infestation and to collect more samples for a confirmed identification.

September 24 - DEP divers install containment screens across the mouth of the infested cove to prevent hydrilla fragments from migrating into greater Damariscotta Lake. VLMP and DLWA begin to mobilize trained Invasive Plant Patrollers from Damariscotta Lake and elsewhere in the state to begin monitoring nearby coves to determine the scope of hydrilla in the lake.

This is where you come in . . . WE URGENTLY NEED YOUR HELP!! There are not many days left in the season to conduct surveys. Please call VLMP at 783-7733 or or Alice Phillips at DLWA (549-3836, today to learn how you can get involved.

Only one other water body in the state, Pickerel Pond in Limerick, is infested with hydrilla. In total, 31 out of Maine’s 5,700 ponds and lakes are known to contain an invasive aquatic plant species.

Since the first Invasive Plant Patrol workshop was offered by the VLMP in 2001, Over 2000 individuals have been trained through the program. Trained IPP volunteers are responsible for the majority of all invasive aquatic plant screening surveys being conducted in the State of Maine. The VLMP’s Invasive Plant Patrol Program is funded by boater participation in Maine’s Lake and River Sticker Program and private donations.

Thank you all, for keeping your eyes on the plants.

Roberta Hill
Program Director
Maine Volunteer Lake Monitoring Program's Center for Invasive Aquatic Plants


Invasive vines assault East Coast beaches

By Oren Dorell, USA TODAY

beachvitexA fast-growing vine imported from Korea to stop massive erosion of sand dunes — home to sea turtle hatchlings and such shore birds as plovers — is destroying dunes in the Carolinas and threatens to creep into beaches up and down the East Coast.

The beach vitex, a woody plant with waxy leaves and a pretty purple flower, was planted widely along the Carolina coast after Hurricane Hugo ravaged beaches and dunes in 1989.

States wanted to act fast because, aside from being a nesting site for shore birds, dunes help hold back storm waters.

The vine proliferated, but there were unforeseen consequences. The plant's thickness harms nestlings, and its shallow root system fails to hold dunes together.

"They really flubbed it on this one," said Randy Westbrooks, an invasive-species prevention specialist for U.S. Geological Survey.

Beach vitex was promoted by J.C. Raulston, then-director of the North Carolina State University arboretum, because it thrives on nutrient-poor, sandy soils and grows fast. With an average growth rate of 60 feet a year, the vine can completely cover dune systems, said Melanie Doyle, a horticulturist at the North Carolina Aquarium at Fort Fisher.

Betsy Brabson, an artist and sea turtle advocate in Georgetown, S.C., said beach vitex with all its vines and runners creates such a tight network that sea turtles can't nest.

"I don't want something like beach vitex to cover the dunes for miles and miles and then we have no sea turtles," said Brabson, who heads the South Carolina Beach Vitex Task Force.

And, unlike the native sea oats and other grasses that people are used to seeing on dunes, beach vitex doesn't help dunes grow into a high barrier against storm surges, Doyle said.

This year the North Carolina Department of Agriculture & Consumer Services declared the plant a "noxious weed," banning it from being sold or planted.

Crews have fanned out across coastal North and South Carolina to eradicate it, cutting the plants with machetes and dabbing them with a herbicide.

Indications are that the eradication may be tougher than first thought.

Isolated strands of the vine have been found in Georgia, Florida and Alabama.

Members of the Beach Vitex Task Force thought they were on the road to victory against the invader until a "real bombshell" was discovered in Maryland, said Lee Rosenberg, environmental services manager for Norfolk, Va.

This month, a U.S. Park Service biologist reported beach vitex in the Maryland side of Assateague Island National Seashore, home to about 300 wild ponies. Westbrooks suggests that the plant's seeds are transported by ocean currents.

Rosenberg said he believes migratory birds are behind the propagation.

"That means any area north and south is subject to being colonized by beach vitex just by seeds being brought by birds," Rosenberg said. [...]

Read the full story at link.

Photo by Hyunsoo Leo Kim, The (Norfolk, Va.) Virginian-Pilot, via, AP.


New U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Invasive Species Policy


Monday, August 3, 2009

Week of August 3, 2009

Updated 8/5/09

Mid-Atlantic Invasive Plant Conference - August 11 & 12

Please note that the Mid-Atlantic Invasive Plant Conference will be held on August 11 and 12 at the University of Pittsburgh at Johnstown. To find out more, visit the Calendar of Upcoming Invasive Species Events page on NYIS.INFO.


NJ fingers mitten crab, fellow invaders

mitten_crabAuthorities have issued an all-points bulletin for a murky figure, but they're not seeking a criminal.

Instead, be on the lookout for . . . well, let's quote the recent alert: "Public asked to report invasive mitten crabs."

Mitten crabs?

Ouch. That gives new meaning to "one for the thumb."

In fact, Chinese mitten crabs -- although native to Asia -- have surfaced recently in New Jersey waters, including the Delaware and Barnegat bays, state officials announced Friday.

And they're not our only foreign invaders. Authorities raised a similar alarm in June when a flathead catfish -- a "voracious predator"' normally found west of the Appalachians -- turned up in the Delaware River.

And then there's South Jersey's own strange specimen -- the Asian swamp eel, also known as the Gibbsboro gender-bender.

That's right. It's "Gills Gone Wild."

[...] If you catch a mitten crab, they say, don't throw it back alive.

Friday's alert encourages crabbers to take a close-up photo of their catch and to record key details for research scientists. These include the crustacean's sex, which -- if the crab's still alive -- should probably be determined with great care.

Read the full story at link.


Online field guide to aquatic plants

Alabama has an online field guide to aquatic plants, including invasives, at link.


Munching on Garlic Mustard

A New Weevil in the Works

Garlic and mustard are common ingredients that can be found in American households. But garlic mustard? Well, that’s a different story.

Garlic mustard, Alliaria petiolata, is considered one of the most problematic invaders of temperate forests in North America. According to legend, it was brought here from Europe in the 1860s as a culinary herb, but unfortunately, it doesn’t taste very good. Since then, garlic mustard has spread to 34 U.S. states and 4 Canadian provinces.

“Garlic mustard is an invasive plant that gets a lot of attention,” says ecologist Adam Davis, who has been studying the weed for years. “It’s very noticeable and hard to eradicate because of its seed bank.” [...]

A Model Solution

To better understand garlic mustard and find a suitable biocontrol, Davis—in collaboration with colleagues at Michigan State University, Cornell University, the University of Illinois, and the Centre for Agricultural Biosciences International (CABI) in Switzerland—created a computer model that simulates the weed’s life cycle.

“In part, we wanted to answer ecologists’ criticisms that biocontrol can potentially cause as many problems as it solves because of unintended consequences,” says Davis. “We were looking for a way to choose agents that are most likely to succeed while reducing their potential for harm to native plants and environments. Ideally, we want to try to release only one organism, if possible.”

Through this model, Davis was able to predict the type and severity of damage that would be needed to reduce garlic mustard’s population growth rates. Davis performed an analysis using computer code that enabled him to change one variable at a time while keeping all the others constant, allowing him to probe the life cycle for the plant’s weak point. He found that in order to make an impact, a biocontrol agent has to reduce garlic mustard’s survival in the rosette stage and its ability to reproduce in the adult stage.

Well before Davis created the life-cycle model, CABI scientists began looking for and testing potential biocontrol agents to tackle garlic mustard. They collected data on the amount of damage each insect could inflict on the garlic mustard population. From a list of more than 70 natural enemies found to be feeding on garlic mustard in Europe, four Ceutorhynchus weevils were selected as the most promising control agents.

Combining the feeding information collected by CABI scientists and the demographic information of garlic mustard in North America, Davis used the computerized life-cycle model to assess each weevil’s ability to inflict damage on the weed and inhibit its growth. One weevil, C. scrobicollis, came out on top.

High Hopes for Little Insect

weevilThe tiny C. scrobicollis has a life cycle of 1 year and produces one batch of offspring per lifetime. Itlays its eggs on garlic mustard’s leaf stems in the fall. When the eggs hatch in the spring, the larvae feed on the weed’s root crown, the area from which the rosette’s leaves grow and where nutrients are stored.

By feeding on the root crown, C. scrobicollis stops the flow of nutrients and water from the roots to the rest of the plant. It also damages the meristem, the area of the plant where new growth takes place. As a result, garlic mustard produces fewer seeds or, in areas with high weevil populations, dies prematurely in early spring without producing any seeds.

C. scrobicollis also appears to be monophagous, meaning it eats just one thing: garlic mustard. That means scientists won’t have to worry about any unintended consequences when using this insect as a biocontrol agent.

During preliminary testing, CABI scientists believed C. scrobicollis was the best candidate to control garlic mustard. Putting the weevil’s feeding data through Davis’s life-cycle model confirmed their beliefs and created a stronger case for the permit process.

“The model gave teeth to the permit application to release this weevil in the United States,” says Davis. “It provided a peek into the future as to the impact the weevil could have on the garlic mustard population here.”

C. scrobicollis is currently in quarantine at the University of Minnesota. If all goes well, this beneficial weevil may soon be roaming North America to find a nice garlic mustard meal.—By Stephanie Yao, Agricultural Research Service Information Staff.

Read the full story at link.

Ceutorhynchus scrobicollis photo by H. Hinz and E. Gerber.


Maine needs boaters in battle against unwelcome invaders

GAIL RICE/Maine Outdoor Journal

In August 2008, a visitor to Salmon Lake in Belgrade noticed some suspicious plants near the public boat landing at Kozy Cove. The visitor, a fisheries biologist from Tennessee who understood the threat that invasive aquatic plants pose to Maine's lakes and ponds, wasted no time notifying the proper authorities.

The plant was identified as Eurasian water milfoil, and quick action by state agencies and volunteers to remove it and ensure it would not spread means that the prognosis for Salmon Lake, also known as Ellis Pond, is encouraging.

Eurasian water milfoil is considered to be one of the most aggressive invasive aquatic plants in North America. It is believed to be rare in Maine, having been detected in only two bodies of water so far (the other being Pleasant Hill Pond in Scarborough). [...]

At the end of 2008, invasive aquatic plants had been found in 30 Maine lakes and ponds, out of 374 that had been screened since 2001.

Boaters can – and should – play a key role to prevent further infestations of such plants on Maine's inland waterways. They're among the most likely to spread the infestation to more lakes and ponds by transporting plant fragments on their boats, motors, trailers and other equipment. But an alert boater can help by knowing what plants to look for and what to do if they're found.

"If we can be aware and practice good habits when we launch and haul boats, we can make a real difference and keep invasive plants and organisms from getting into Maine lakes," says Roberta Hill, program director for the Maine Center for Invasive Aquatic Plants, part of the Volunteer Lake Monitoring Program.

The fight against invasive aquatic plants in Maine has three major elements: prevention, early detection and rapid response. The case in Belgrade illustrates the importance of the latter two elements.

But where boaters can help the most is with the first line of defense – prevention – which Hill describes as "the best bang for the buck" when it comes to stopping the spread.

The center has been working since the late 1990s to educate the boating public about what these plants look like, how they can harm Maine lakes and ponds, and what boaters can do to stop them from spreading. The battle kicked into high gear in 2002, when the state launched its Courtesy Boat Inspection Program, funded through the sale of lake and river protection stickers. All registered boats operated on inland waters must have a sticker.

The VLMP has trained hundreds of volunteers and state agency personnel on plant identification. These "citizen scientists" have become a familiar sight at boat ramps, where they ask questions and invite boaters to help inspect their watercraft and gear.

The volunteers hope boaters will get into the habit of self-inspecting when they launch or haul their boats.

Specifically, boaters on inland waters should inspect their craft and equipment thoroughly before every launch and after every haul-out. This includes not just the boat, trailer and motor, but also the anchor lines, fishing and dive gear, live wells, and even floating toys and duck decoys. If you find something, remove it, carry it to a location well away from the shoreline, and bury it.

"Anything that goes into one body of water, comes out, then goes into another lake or pond, is a potential vector," says Hill. She adds that the tiniest traces of invasive plant and animal species can be virtually invisible to the naked eye, so washing your boat bottom and letting it dry out for a few days before launching in other waters is an even better idea. [...]

Read the full story at link.


Mile-a-minute, purple loosestrife among weeds wreaking havoc in Massachusetts

By Jessica Fargen/

mile-a-minuteMassachusetts wildlife lovers and protectors are mobilizing this summer to battle invasive weeds and plants that are choking out endangered flowers, threatening native birds and disrupting ecosystems.

“It’s affecting our wetlands in a number of ways,” said Carly Rocklen, outreach director and restoration manager for Neponset River Watershed Association, which has a five-year plan to reduce purple loosestrife, a beautiful but damaging flowering weed. “There are some marsh birds that won’t nest in purple loosestrife. It alters soil and water chemistry.”

Last year, the association released 80,000-plus galerucella beetles in the Milton and Canton area to battle the weed.

Georgeann Keer, project manager in the division of ecological restoration at the state Department of Fish and Game, said purple loosestrife is well-established in Massachusetts.

On the Boston Harbor Islands, ecologists are waging a battle with Oriental bittersweet, a climbing vine with pretty red fruit that smothers native vegetation and can grow out of control. The vine has been found across the state and on Harbor Islands including Bumpkin Island.

“It’s one of the worst invaders currently affecting biodiversity,” said Marc Albert, stewardship program manager for the Boston Harbor Islands National Park area. “It’s pretty much everywhere.”

Albert said staff and volunteers are needed to keep the vine in check.

Albert also is keeping an eye on a similar invasive weed called kudzu, which has ravaged forests in the South and has been found on Peddocks Island. Albert said the small patch of kudzu on Peddocks Island has been reduced in recent years with the use of a mild herbicide and monitoring.

“It’s referred to as the scourge of the South because of its capacity to take over whole forest patches,” he said.

Another invasive weed, the mile-a-minute vine, is so established there’s little hope of eradicating it.

Mile-a-minute, which can grow up to 6 inches a day, has taken over 100 acres in Blue Hills Reservation, said Alexandra Echandi, forestry assistant at in the Department of Conservation and Recreation’s southern region. The vine can grow up to 30 feet on trees.

“It pretty much takes over the natural environment, not letting anything grow - that includes birds, butterflies and turtle habitats,” Echandi said.

Fighting the vine takes staff and dedicated volunteers who must yank the weeds out of the ground to keep the plants in check, she said. Echandi recently applied for a permit to unleash weevils, a type of bug that can destroy mile-a-minute. But Echandi said there is little hope that the vine will be permanently eliminated.

Read the full story at link.

Photo by Stuart Cahill. Alexandra Echandi, a forestry assistant for the Boston Department of Conservation and Recreation, battles an infestation of mile-a-minute weed.


Emerald ash borer plagues tree life in PA

By Connie Mertz
For The Daily Item

There is a silent killer threatening to decimate ash trees across North America. So far, more than 25 million ash trees have succumbed to the deadly impact of a little beetle, known as the emerald ash borer.

"It was brought over from Asia in shipping crates and first discovered in Michigan in 2002," explained Weston Campbell, a summer intern attending Delaware Valley College who is working with Penn State Extension in Montour County.

Naturally spreading on an average of one-half mile a year, it has already reached portions of Pennsylvania.

The explanation of how it arrived in Pennsylvania so soon is a simple explained. "It has spread by satellite colonies. This is when something is moved," he elaborated. "In this case, it is through nursery stock and firewood."

Currently the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture has quarantined Allegheny, Beaver, Butler, Lawrence, Mercer and Mifflin counties, and most recently Armstrong and Washington counties. The quarantine makes it unlawful to transport ash trees of any size, including their branches and limbs. [...]

To keep tabs on the spread of the invasive insect in Pennsylvania, purple panel sticky traps have been placed in ashes at various locations. These traps contain a blend of oils that are said to mimic chemicals emitted by stressed ash trees.

"The purple panel traps will not bring emerald ash borer into a noninfested site," said Greg Hoover, ornamental extension entomologist at Penn State University. "These traps help us determine if the pest is already there." [...]

Read the full story at link.


Emerald Ash Borer: Recommendations for Homeowner and Woodland Owner Action

Developed by: Peter Smallidge1, Holly Menninger1, Mark Whitmore1, and Charles O’Neill2. 1Cornell University Cooperative Extension, Department of Natural Resources, Ithaca, NY. 2NY Sea Grant, Cornell University, Rice Hall, Ithaca, NY.

The first occurrence of emerald ash borer (EAB, Agrilus planipennis Fairmaire) in New York State was confirmed by USDA APHIS on June 17, 2009 in Randolph, NY (Cattaraugus County). An invasive beetle introduced from eastern Asia, EAB kills all species of ash trees native to North America, and has the potential to cause severe economic and ecological damage. First detected near Detroit in 2002 it has now spread to 13 states and two Canadian provinces. Ash mortality is 100% near Detroit and is widespread in all the affected areas.


Milfoil, an invasive threat to U.S. waterbodies

Eurasian water milfoil is a fragile looking flora that was once a familiar plant to find in fresh water aquariums.

Even so, it did not stay there. Now it is believed to be an invasive species that threatens North American fresh water streams, rivers, pools and lakes.

In its native Eurasian environment it is a relatively harmless plant (but still a bit of a pest) but here, out of its normal waters, it takes over and destroys ecosystems, clogs water intakes and power plants, and makes them unsuitable for recreational purposes.

Read the full story and watch a video at link.


Weigh In On Federal Strategies for Plant Pests

USDA-APHIS has been tapped to implement the Plant Pest and Disease Management and Disaster Prevention section of the 2008 Farm Bill which is authorized at 12 to 50 million dollars per year through fiscal year 2013. APHIS intends to engage stakeholders in designing "a risk-based approach to disburse funds" and implement the bill's provisions.

To date, the APHIS plan identifies six strategies to coordinate and fund:

- Enhance plant pest/disease analysis and survey
- Target domestic inspection activities at vulnerable points in the safeguarding continuum
- Enhance and strengthen pest identification and technology
- Safeguard nursery production
- Conduct outreach and education to increase public understanding, acceptance, and support of plant pest and disease eradication and control efforts
- Enhance mitigation capabilities

More information about the program can be found on the USDA-APHIS Plant Health website. The program's site also enables anyone to sign up to receive notices about related documents and events and also to offer comments.


Weed Population Monitoring and Prioritizing for Management

News from the Center for Invasive Plant Management

Three publications that discuss the value of weed population monitoring and using a
decision support framework for prioritizing management are summarized.

Non-indigenous species management using a population prioritization
framework by Lisa J. Rew, Erik A. Lehnhoff, and Bruce D. Maxwell. Canadian Journal of Plant Science. V87: 1029-1036.

Quantifying Invasiveness of Plants: A Test Case with Yellow Toadflax
(Linaria vulgaris) by Erik A. Lehnhoff, Lisa J. Rew, Bruce D. Maxwell, and Mark L. Taper. Invasive Plant Science and Management. V1: 319-325.

The Rationale for Monitoring Invasive Plant Populations as a Crucial Step for
Management by Bruce D. Maxwell, Erik Lehnhoff, and Lisa J. Rew. Invasive Plant Science and Management. V2: 1-9.

Read the summaries at link.


Northeastern Weed Science Society Sponsors Training

The Northeastern Weed Science Society is sponsoring a Noxious and Invasive Weed Management Short Course for public and private land managers. The four-day course will be held in September in Pennsylvania. View website.


Report Compares Relocatable Commercial Vehicle Washing Systems

This report from the USDA Forest Service compares a range of vehicle washing systems with respect to efficacy, economics, waste containment, waste disposal, and the viability of any propagules that were collected in the cleaning process. View report.


Of bats and ash trees

by Brian Mann, The In Box, North Country Public Radio

Climate change is a big deal. Behind the micro narratives and the daily turbulence of our busy lives, our world is changing at speeds that boggle the mind.

Humans are clearly the engine driving this planetary evolution. In part it's the carbon we pump into the air.

But it's also the critters we carry with us as we hustle and bustle around the globe.

In the short to mid term, invasive species transported by people will likely have a far more profound impact on our ecosystems than changing temperature.

Chris Knight reported recently in the Adirondack Enterprise on the Emerald ash borer, a type of beetle now in Western New York, Quebec and Ontario.

This invader, carried in bundles of firewood, is likely to kill most of the trees along the shore of Lake Flower in my home town of Saranac Lake.

white_noseIt's also likely that white nose syndrome, the fungus that's eradicating bats in the Northeast, was introduced from Europe by humans.

(Candace Page, the Burlington Free Press's environmental writer, had a brilliant piece about WNS in Sunday's edition.)

The catalog of invaders seems to grow daily: zebra mussels, lamprey, "creek snot," Eurasian watermilfoil...

As these organisms eclipse or weaken native populations, altering the food chain, we could see dramatic changes in the fabric of our forests and waterways.

This has happened before on a smaller scale. Dutch elm disease was likely introduced to the United States in a shipment of wooden furniture from the Netherlands.

Through the 1900s, the fungus altered the landscape of urban America, destroying many of the trees that decorated avenues and neighborhoods.

The event we experience could be far more dramatic. What happens if 90% of bat species are abruptly extirpated?

What happens if ash trees -- 7% of the forests in New York state -- are decimated?

Add to those stresses the incremental pressure of changing temperatures and weather patterns.

In short, humans are conducting a kind of accidental experiment, heating the planet and mixing its ingredients with a giant spoon.

The twist, of course, is that we live inside the Petri dish.

Tomorrow during our regional broadcast, I'll report on white nose syndrome research continuing in the Champlain town of Willsboro.

Read The In Box blog at link.

Photo of bats with white nose syndrome by Al Hicks, NYSDEC.


Spiny water flea threatens lake's food web

By Candace Page,

water_fleaA leading lake researcher is warning a new invasive species that “is at our doorstep” represents a serious threat to the Lake Champlain ecosystem.

The invader is the spiny water flea, a tiny crustacean that can do outsize damage, said Tim Mihuc, director of the Lake Champlain Research Institute at the State University of New York in Plattsburgh. Mihuc said the flea represents “perhaps the final nail in the coffin for Lake Champlain.”

While other scientists and lake advocates use less-apocalyptic language to describe the threat, there is general agreement that the water flea could disrupt the Champlain food chain and make game fishing more difficult.

“The flea is undesirable food for fish. I’ve seen video of small perch trying to swallow them and spitting them out. It’s like eating toothpicks,” said Doug Jensen of Duluth, Minn., who works in a program to prevent the flea’s further spread in his state.

The flea’s imminent arrival here — it has invaded a nearby New York lake — has lent new urgency to talks about how to stop invasive species from traveling through the Champlain Canal between the Hudson River and Lake Champlain. [...]

Anglers fear the water fleas in part because their thorn-like spines attach to fishing line, collecting in large globs that make trolling difficult or impossible.

In Vermont, Mihuc’s cry has been taken up by Lake Champlain International, the angling group, whose leader is urging the state Agency of Natural Resources to help prevent the water flea from reaching the state.

“Scientists have been warning about this threat, but they have a hard time getting traction with anybody but the fishing community,” LCI Executive Director James Ehlers said. “There are 21,000 LCI anglers. We want to know how we can help.”

The threat to Lake Champlain became more immediate last year when the creature was found in Great Sacandaga Lake, just west of Glens Falls.

The lake flows into the Sacandaga River, a tributary of the Hudson. The Champlain Canal connects the Hudson to Lake Champlain, providing the flea with a watery highway from New York to Vermont.

“The introduction of this exotic animal to a freshwater lake may ultimately destroy the natural food web resulting in a potential collapse of the game fishery,” Mihuc wrote last week to Ehlers. Mihuc is an expert on the lake’s plankton communities, the microscopic plants and animals that serve as food for larger creatures. [...]

Spiny water fleas have yet to reach the Champlain Canal, water samples taken this summer have shown. But the threat has mobilized new cooperation between the New York State Canal Corp., the Lake Champlain Basin Program and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. [...]

Read the full story at link.


Invasive water plants make inroads on Long Island

By Jennifer Smith, Newsday

water_chestnutNot long after last month's declaration that the Peconic River was free of a pesky invasive plant called water primrose, state biologists made a disheartening discovery about 25 miles west.

A few dozen stems of hydrilla - a voracious Southern weed that has choked bodies of water across the Northeast - were growing in Lake Ronkonkoma.

First spotted upstate last summer, hydrilla has since made inroads on Long Island, turning up at lakes in Sayville and Smithtown.

"It makes dense mats of vegetation; you can't rowboat through it," said Charles Guthrie, regional fisheries manager for the state Department of Environmental Conservation. "If it were to come in and get established in other places, it could cause real problems."

Invasive aquatic plants crowd out native flora, hurt fish by robbing water of oxygen as the plants wither and decompose, and render lakes impassable to boaters and fishermen. The discovery last month at Lake Ronkonkoma highlights the challenges that officials and environmental advocates face as they struggle to keep these invaders out of local waters. Each year, invasive aquatic plants have a nationwide economic impact of $500 million, estimated a 2003 report from Cornell University. [...]

Local laws banning the sale of some invasive plants are being phased in by Nassau and Suffolk, and the state is working on its own list of nonnative species with an eye to future regulation.

But with little state or federal money to pay for eradication, the problem continues even as local governments dispatch aquatic mowers and weed-eating fish, and as volunteers labor to pull invaders from some of Long Island's best-loved water bodies. [...]

Read the full story at link.

Photo credit: Howard Schnapp | Volunteers remove invasive Water Chestnut plants from Mill Pond in Oyster Bay. / July 8, 2009


Monday, May 11, 2009

Week of May 11, 2009

U.S. wildlife trade poorly regulated, threatening human health and ecosystems, study finds

ScienceDaily (May 11, 2009)
— Wildlife imports into the United States are fragmented and insufficiently coordinated, failing to accurately list more than four in five species entering the country, a team of scientists has found. The effect, the scientists write in the journal Science, May 1, is that a range of diseases is introduced into the United States, potentially decimating species, devastating ecosystems and threatening food supply chains and human health.

geckoThe research by Brown University, Wildlife Trust, Pacific Lutheran University, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and the Global Invasive Species Programme comes as Congress begins deliberating the Nonnative Wildlife Invasion Prevention Act (HR 669), which would tighten regulations on wildlife imports. At a hearing last week before the House Natural Resources Committee, Subcommittee on Insular Affairs, Oceans and Wildlife, wildlife experts discussed how nonnative species and plants can disrupt ecosystems. One case mentioned at the hearing involves the Burmese python, originally imported as a pet that now infests the Florida Everglades.

The global wildlife trade generates hundreds of billions of dollars annually. The team analyzed Law Enforcement Management Information System (LEMIS) data gathered by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service from 2000 through 2006 and found the United States imported upward of 1.5 billion live wildlife animals. The vast majority of the imports were from wild populations in more than 190 countries around the world and were intended for commercial sale in the United States — primarily in the pet trade.

“That’s equivalent to every single person in the U.S. owning at least five pets,” said Katherine Smith, assistant research professor in the Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology at Brown University and a co-author on the paper.

“That’s over 200 million animals a year — unexpectedly high,” said Peter Daszak, president of Wildlife Trust and a co-author on the paper.

The team also found that more than 86 percent of the shipments were not classified to the level of species, despite federal guidelines that mandate species-level labeling. The lack of accurate reporting makes it impossible to fully assess the diversity of animals imported or calculate the risk of nonnative species or the diseases they may carry, the team wrote.

“Shipments are coming in labeled ‘live vertebrate’ or ‘fish,’” Daszak said. “If we don’t know what animals are coming in, how do we know which are going to become invasive species or carry diseases that could affect livestock, wildlife or ourselves?”

“The threat to public health is real. The majority of emerging diseases come from wildlife,” said Smith, who is also a senior consultant at Wildlife Trust. “Most of these imported animals originate in Southeast Asia — a region shown to be a hotspot for these emerging diseases.”

The team called for direct and immediate measures to decrease what it has termed “pathogen pollution” — the risks associated with poorly regulated wildlife trade. Specifically, the team recommended:

Requiring stricter record keeping and better risk analysis of animal imports;

  • Establishing third-party surveillance and testing for both known and unknown pathogens at points of export in foreign countries;
  • Educating individuals, importers, veterinarians and pet industry advocates to the dangers of diseases transmitted from wildlife to humans and domesticated animals.

The study was funded by the National Science Foundation, the Cestone Foundation, the Eppley Foundation, the New York Community Trust, The Rockefeller Foundation, the Smith Fellowship Program, the Switzer Foundation, and V. Kann Rasmussen Foundation.

Photo: Tokay gecko from Indonesia by Michael Yabsley/University of Georgia College of Veterinary Medicine .

Brown University (2009, May 11). U.S. Wildlife Trade Poorly Regulated, Threatening Food Supply Chains, Human Health, Ecosystems, Study Finds. ScienceDaily. Retrieved May 11, 2009, from­ /releases/2009/04/090430144537.htm


Weeds of Wrath

24th Annual Symposium of the Florida Exotic Pest Plant Council
May 26th to May 29th
Delray Beach, FL

The 2009 FLEPPC symposium promises to be another blockbuster meeting with the latest information on a variety of topics related to invasive species in Florida. This year’s keynote speaker is Dr. Joseph DiTomaso.

Here’s a preview of what you can look forward to at the Symposium:

Many presentations on the latest technology in invasive species control;
Information on new worrisome weeds to watch out for;
Updates on biological control research for Florida invasive plant species;
The latest on Cooperative Invasive Species Management Areas (CWMAs) throughout Florida;
Hands-on workshops related to invasive plant control and monitoring;
Field trips to Yamato Scrub, Loxahatchee NWR, Gumbo Limbo Nature Center, and Delray Oaks Natural Area to evaluate invasive plant management programs, herbicide demonstration plots, and the use of GPS.

CEUs will be offered
…and much more.

Theme: This year’s theme is "The Weeds of Wrath," a reference to John Steinbeck's landmark novel, “The Grapes of Wrath,” which reminds us to continue our struggle to save Florida’s natural areas from pest plants, even during difficult economic times. As weed control budgets shrink and policy makers reconsider priorities, it is more imperative than ever to stay connected, cooperative, and supportive of one another. We hope to see you in Delray Beach.

Registration is still open: For those who have not yet registered--there's still time. Online registration is available at

The preliminary program for FLEPPC 2009 is now available at


Treating Watermilfoil in New York

TYRONE, NY - Biologists are back this week making sure an invasive weed does not make a comeback in two Schuyler County lakes.

On Monday biologists began spreading a herbicide to rid Waneta and Lamoka lakes of the invasive weed know as “Water-Mil-Foil.”

“Water-Mil-Foil” spreads on the surface of the lake just and blocks the sun from penetrating the natural plants below. Biologist said this herbicide only attacks the invasive weeds, not fish or lake plants.

Glenn Sullivan from Allied Biological said “It’s selective to broad leaf plants so that way the pond leaves will be untouched by the herbicide.”

County officials said for two-four weeks neighbors should not drink the lake water. Also, you should not use lake water to irrigate your vegetables or flowers for up to 120 days. Well water will not be affected.

This is the second year that biologist are treating Waneta and Lamoka lakes. County officials said the total price tag of the project is close to a half-million dollars. That money is coming from state grants and taxpayers.

This is the last major treatment for the lakes. Property owners will be updated about the results of water tests taken from the lakes over the next two to four weeks.



Six Delaware Ponds to Be Treated for Aquatic Weeds

During the next three weeks, weather permitting, the DNREC Division of Fish and Wildlife will be treating six downstate ponds for aquatic nuisance weeds that, left unchecked, can choke the waters, crowd out other, more beneficial plant species and prevent fishing and boating access.

the target aquatic species is hydrilla, a non-native plant that likely entered the state through the aquarium trade. The Division will apply Sonar, an EPA-registered and approved aquatic herbicide containing fluridone. Sonar has been used in Delaware since the 1980s and has been proven safe and effective for controlling hydrilla.

The ponds to be treated are, in Kent County: Garrisons Lake near Smyrna and Tub Mill Pond near Milford; and in Sussex County: Millsboro Pond; and Chipmans Pond, Tussock Pond and Horseys Pond near Laurel. [...]



Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Week of December 15, 2008

Teacher finds ‘destructive’ weed in Pembroke pond, Mass.

Braintree - William Glover, an East Middle School science teacher, has made “a remarkable discovery,” according to Dianne Rees, director of science for the Braintree public schools.

Glover has found and identified hydrilla, an invasive aquatic weed, in Hobomock Pond in Pembroke.

“This is only the second time that hydrilla, which is mainly a southern plant, has been identified in Massachusetts,” Rees said.

She described hydrilla, which is able to grow an inch a day and reproduce in three different ways, as “extremely invasive and destructive.”

The state Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR) will now take responsibility for a cleanup to try to save the pond where Glover discovered hydrilla, Rees said.

Michelle Robinson, an aquatic biologist with the DCR, explained in a published report why she was impressed with Glover’s work.

“Hydrilla is very easily misidentified, and he was very, very thorough,” she said. Link

Lagoon resident leads fight for mangroves


NEW SMYRNA BEACH, Florida -- Amber Thompson has planted 17 trees over the years, but there's one species on her waterfront property that she's likened to a monster that just won't die.

It's a Brazilian pepper-tree cluster and she's tried everything she knows to get rid of it. For the seven years she's owned the property, Thompson has watched the invasive plant push out the mangroves on the shore. She's tried to eradicate it several times.

"Each time it seems to come back stronger," she said. "Instead of just being a single plant, now it's just spread. It is a monster."

In hopes of a solution, Thompson is turning to the Marine Discovery Center for help to restore the shoreline back to native habitat. She is one of hundreds of property owners along the Indian River Lagoon the organization hopes to help through a restoration project.

Stephanie Wolfe, a biologist and restoration coordinator, said the goal is to restore four miles of shoreline with native vegetation, such as mangroves, which provide a natural defense against erosion, filter water and provide habitat for aquatic wildlife. The program for shoreline from New Smyrna Beach to Oak Hill is funded by a $40,000 grant awarded by the Florida Department of Environmental Protection. Link


NYS to Adopt Tough New Policies to Stop Devastating Aquatic Invasive Species Introductions

ALBANY, NY (12/18/2008; 0930)(readMedia)-- Great Lakes and St. Lawrence River advocates today applauded New York State's latest effort to shut the door on aquatic invasive species introductions. Later this month, a new set of rules from the New York Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) will begin a countdown to requiring stringent ballast treatment on-board ships transiting the state's waters. Ship ballast is the primary pathway for aquatic invasive species introductions into the Great Lakes-St. Lawrence River system and the state's strong ballast treatment standard makes New York State a world leader in stopping aquatic invasive species noted the groups.

New York State's new rules, which will go into effect on December 19th, are among the strictest ballast treatment rules in the country. Per the rule, all ships traveling state waters will be required, by January 1, 2012, to have ballast treatment technology on board. Treating ballast water will prevent further introductions of aquatic invasive species.

"In the absence of strong federal ballast clean-up legislation, we are pleased that New York State has stepped up to create strong ballast rules," noted Jennifer J. Caddick, Save The River Executive Director. "Stringent technology requirements for ships operating throughout the Great Lakes-St. Lawrence Seaway will be key in stopping more devastating aquatic invasive species introductions." Link


Massive Hydrilla Treatment Planned for Lake Tohopekaliga, Florida

The South Florida Water Management District (SFWMD) and the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) are preparing for a massive effort to control invasive hydrilla growing over more than 6,000 acres of Lake Tohopekaliga.

Working in cooperation with the FWC Bureau of Invasive Plant Management, the SFWMD Vegetation Management Division will apply Aquathol, a liquid herbicide, over affected areas of the lake. The treatment is scheduled to begin December 15 and is expected to take four to five days.

Aquathol is approved for lake use by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and is considered the most effective and environmentally friendly method of controlling hydrilla in Lake Tohopekaliga. Link


NY Guv's budget plan hits Long Island environmental programs


Local environmental programs that rely on a helping hand from the state could be left scrambling for money under Gov. David A. Paterson's proposed budget, which reduced a key state environmental fund by 19 percent and entirely eliminated some categories such as Long Island waterfront revitalization and aid to aquariums and zoos.

There would also be fewer people at the Department of Environmental Conservation to watch polluters, regulate hazardous waste and enforce wildlife and state lands laws. A hiring freeze and proposed $91.8 million budget cut would eliminate 240 positions from the DEC next year, even as it tries to recover from staff cuts in the 1990s.

Advocates fear the economic climate will jeopardize advances in regulating polluters, improving water quality and acquiring open space. "The cuts are more than dramatic. They're crippling," said Adrienne Esposito of Citizens Campaign for the Environment, citing Paterson's proposal to cut the Environmental Protection Fund from $255 million to $205 million.

Over the past two years, that money helped Island municipalities fight invasive species, buy farmland development rights and upgrade sewage treatment plants. Under Paterson's budget, the first two funding categories would be cut 70 percent and 41 percent, respectively, and waterfront revitalization money that paid for the upgrades would no longer be available on the Island. Link


Monday, February 25, 2008

Week of February 24, 2008

Updated February 29

Water Lettuce: Potomac River’s Floating Salad Bar Has No Takers

Contact: K. L. Kyde

This past summer, US Geological Survey scientists discovered the exotic plant water lettuce (Pistia stratiotes) floating over submerged aquatic vegetation beds in Mattawoman Creek, a large Potomac River tributary in Charles County. They raised an alarm in the aquatic invasive species community, because water lettuce can form dense carpets of vegetation on the water surface, blocking sunlight from reaching submerged plants and reducing the oxygen exchange at the water’s surface. It can also grow to form surface mats impenetrable to boats, swimmers and waterfowl. Although water lettuce is a perennial plant, it would not normally survive Maryland’s winter temperatures, because it has a low temperature minimum of 59°F for growth. Yet it has been found as far north as New York. Questions still exist about its origin, its ability to withstand northern winters, its spread rate and the effects of rising water temperatures on its possible spread north. For this reason, the Maryland Invasive Species Council has named water lettuce the January Invader of the Month. Full Article


New Hydrilla Treatment in Florida

Contributed by Bill Bair

Officials of the South Florida Water Management District are touting a new weapon in the battle against hydrilla, an aquatic weed that clogs many Central Florida lakes. Working in cooperation with the Department of Environmental Protection, SFWMD field crews will apply the chemical Galleon to 4,000-acre Cypress Lake, which is located in the Kissimmee Chain.

A water district release said Galleon has been used a number of times in smaller lakes with great success. It kills the whole plant and does it slowly, limiting any risks to fish. SFWMD aquatic plant expert Mike Bodle. Bodle explained that Galleon also kills the invasive water hyacinth, saving both time and money. The herbicide will be dispersed in a liquid form from airboats, so anglers and other boaters will not be disrupted. Galleon does not require any fishing or fish-eating restrictions.

"Galleon could become a great new tool in our aquatic plant management toolbox in the effort to control hydrilla," said Tina Bond, PhD, with Osceola County, who is working under a U.S. Environmental Protection Agency grant to investigate new ways to control hydrilla in the Kissimmee Chain of Lakes.

Since the late 1980s, the herbicide Sonar has been the primary tool for controlling hydrilla, which if left unchecked would destroy fish and wildlife habitat, compromise flood protection and limit access to the lakes by clogging boat motors. Over the years, hydrilla became resistant to Sonar. Research and small-lake treatments, however, appear to show that Galleon may be as affective as Sonar once was, providing aquatic plant specialists with an important new tool, the release said. Full Article

Cornell, Lake Association Cooperate To Clean Chautauqua Lake, New York

By Jessica Wasmund

In an effort to combat the Eurasian water milfoil, an invasive species that is abundant throughout Chautauqua Lake, representatives from Cornell University and Chautauqua Lake Association are combining forces to fight against further invasion. The CLA has an ongoing six-year contract with the university to continue studying the lake and trying to cut down on the population of the Eurasian water milfoil.

‘‘Every summer the CLA has been very visible on the lake with our machines doing what we do best — assisting the lakefront owners with shoreline cleanup and harvesting weeds to remove them from the lake,’’ said Paul Swanson, CLA general manager. Through numerous dives into the lake, Cornell research ponds manager Robert Johnson has discovered what is happening along the bottom of the lake. Johnson selected test plots for both the upper and lower basins of the lake, and officials from both organizations are hopeful the information he has documented will help provide answers on how to restore the lake to pre-Eurasian water milfoil conditions. ‘‘Cornell provides support to Chautauqua Lake through our contract with the CLA to record yearly changes in aquatic plant growth,’’ Johnson said. ‘‘This natural biological control offers some help in limiting excessive weed growth.’’

As research crews skimmed across the lake, they used a method known as ‘‘rake-tossing’’ to pinch off the top 25 centimeters of each weed stem. The samples were then put into separate bags and frozen. Johnson then dissected each stem to evaulate the same, looking for numbers and types of herbivores found. To better understand the year-to-year changes in plant and insect herbivore abundance in Chautauqua Lake, Johnson then examines the reports by comparing yearly estimates of weevil populations since 2002. Understanding this changeability in plant and herbivore populations from year to year may aid in the overall plant management for the lake, Johnson explained. Since the study first began, there has been a large variation in Johnson’s year-to-year studies, which makes it difficult to predict populations from one year to the next. Full Article

New York Community Fights Invasive Pond Scum

A $40,148 Aquatic Invasive Species grant from the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) will help the City of Newburgh Water Department continue to battle an unwelcome visitor to Brown’s Pond, the city’s secondary water source, in an ecologically sensitive manner. Sterile triploid grass carp will be introduced into the pond, (also known as Silver Stream Reservoir), to combat around 110 acres of curlyleaf pondweed infestation. Link


County opposes use of herbicide to treat Glenmere Lake, Florida

By Matt King
Times Herald-Record

FLORIDA — The Orange County Water Authority has joined environmentalists in opposing a plan to treat Glenmere Lake with herbicide, but village officials say they'll proceed as planned.
"If we don't get funding from the county, we're still going to look to go ahead," Mayor Jim Pawliczek said, adding that he'll ask the towns of Warwick and Chester, which border the lake, for money.

Treating the lake to kill the invasive Eurasian watermilfoil is controversial because the lake is the drinking water supply for Florida and the Orange County Jail.

The state Department of Environmental Conservation has agreed to help pay for the operation if Florida can raise half of the $96,000 cost. Full Article


Donated Venison Sets Virginia Record

By Hannah Northey,

Virginia deer hunters - and the food banks that receive much of the meat they donate - saw record amounts of venison last year, officials say. And, they add, local food banks may set records again this year.

Statewide, Hunters for the Hungry, a wild game donation program, processed and distributed more than 363,000 pounds of deer meat to families and individuals living in poverty in 2007. Locally, the Blue Ridge Area Food Bank Network based in Verona received 5,000 pounds last year, an increase of 2,650 pounds from 2006, said Ruth Jones, the bank's public relations officer. Mercy House, a homeless shelter in Harrisonburg that helps families with young children, also received donations of meat, but officials there could not be reached for comment.

The increase in donations is a result of larger deer populations across the state, combined with hunters' growing awareness of Hunters for the Hungry, said Laura Newell-Furniss, director of the program. The Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries has not yet released the number of deer killed by hunters in 2007 and 2008.

"Every year [Hunters for the Hungry has] grown," Newell-Furniss said. "There were a lot of deer taken, we're a growing program and more people hear about us and get involved in it." Since the program began in 1991, hunters have donated more than three million pounds of venison, Newell-Furniss said. Full Article


New York State DEC Enters Into Agreement With Hess Over Violations: Penalty Includes $300,000 to Help Restore the Hudson River

Hess Corporation will bring 65 gasoline stations and oil storage facilities into compliance with state requirements and fund an important habitat restoration project in the Hudson River Estuary under an agreement announced today by New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) Commissioner Pete Grannis. The consent order also requires a penalty of $1.1 million for storage violations at the facilities, a portion of which will be deposited into DEC's marine resources account, which helps support activities related to the improvement and protection of New York's marine ecosystems.

The order includes $300,000 to be administered by The Nature Conservancy as part of an Environmental Benefit Project (EBP) agreed to by Hess and DEC. The EBP will focus on the restoration and management of rare freshwater tidal wetlands in the Hudson River Estuary.

During a three-year project, The Nature Conservancy will select restoration sites in freshwater tidal wetland sections of the estuary that have been impacted by invasive plants. Biologists will develop invasive species removal plans and monitor the anticipated improvements to the ecosystem. Public and private property owners along the river will also be approached to implement management strategies that will help ensure the continued success of the project. Full Article