Tuesday, August 31, 2010

2010 Stiltgrass Summit Presentations Online

Now available online are the twelve presentations from the 2010 Stiltgrass Summit held in Carbondale, Illinois in August. Topics include, but are not limited to ecology, impacts and control strategies for Microstegium vimineum, Japanese stiltgrass. Keynote speakers for the summit were Dr. Les Mehrhoff, University of Connecticut/Invasive Plant Atlas of New England and Mike Ielmini, National Invasive Species Program Coordinator, USDA Forest Service. To see the presentation online, click here.

New Invasive Clam Found in Lake George

Scientists from the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute Darrin Fresh Water Institute (DFWI) discovered a new fresh water clam species in Lake George. The species called Corbicula fluminea poses threats to native mussels and the ecosystem. Originally from Asia, the clam is capable of self fertilization, crowding native species, and capable of achieving great densities. The next move will be for the scientists to determine the extent of the invasion. Click here to read more.

Burning Invasive Juniper Boosts Native Herbaceous Perennials Recovery

USDA Agricultural Research Service rangeland scientists have discovered that burning invasive juniper trees  reduces the wildfire risk from the dead trees and helps keep invasive grasses at bay which helps recovery of native perennial plants. To read more click here.

Monday, August 30, 2010

Most Expensive Non-Native Pests

A list of the top ten most expensive non-native pests has been released. Surprisingly, Asian carp is not at the top. Click here to see which species made the list.

Douglas W. Tallamy is the Keynote Speaker at Open the Garden Gate

“As gardeners and stewards of our land, we have never been so empowered to help save biodiversity from extinction, and the need to do so has never been so great. All we need to do is plant native plants!” (Doug Tallamy; Bringing Nature Home). Coastal WildScapes and The Sapelo Island National Estuarine Research Reserve have two events in Richmond Hill, Georgia this September which feature Douglas W. Tallamy as the keynote speaker. For more information and to register for these events click here.

EDRR Survey Leader Training in Fairfax County, Virginia

Seeking volunteers in Fairfax County, Virginia to participate in an Early Detection and Rapid Response program. Training includes identification of invasive and native species for survey leaders and program participants. To see a calendar with dates and places for the training click here. To contact Coordinator click here.

Monkey Adopts Kitten

In Bali, Indonesia, a wild monkey has adopted a kitten and is caring for it on its own. Click here to view pictures of the monkey protecting and loving the kitten.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission Summer 2010 Newsletter

The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) Invasive Plant Management Section's Research and Outreach Program summer 2010 newsletter has released. The newsletter is designed to help inform resource managers/educators in Florida about current FWC contracted research and outreach in invasive aquatic, wetland and upland plant management. Click here to view the newsletter.

REDDy: Reptile Early Detection & Documentation Training: Instructor Guide

The Introduced Reptile Early Detection and Documentation program (REDDy) is a free, online educational tool designed to train observers to identify several large, non-native snakes and lizards that pose a threat to Florida's ecology, economy, and human well-being and accurately report sightings of these species. Click here to go to the site at University of Florida IFAS Extension.

Boaters in Oregon will need an Aquatic Invasive Species Prevention Permit

Boaters in Oregon are required by the Oregon State Marine Board to have an Aquatic Invasive Species Prevention Permit while boating. If you own a boat 10 feet and longer you are required to purchase and carry on aquatic invasive species prevention permit. If your boat is a registered motorized craft, a $5 surcharge is added onto the boat registration and current decals act as proof of payment into the program. If your boat of choice is a non-motorized watercraft such as canoes, kayaks and inflatable rafts, you must carry your $7 permit when out on the water. Permit fees go towards aquatic invasive species detection, decontamination, signage, and education materials for the boating public. For the full article, click here.

$80,000 in Grants went to seven Great Lakes States

Wildlife Forever awarded the grants to help Stop the spread of aquatic invasive species by educating sportsmen and vacationers about ways they can help this important effort. 50 billboards with the slogan "Clean-Drain-Dry" boats to help "Stop Aquatic Hitchhikers". For the full article in Lake Superior News click here.

New look for Birmingham Botanical Gardens Newsletter

The Birmingham Botanical Gardens Newsletter, Kaul Wildflower Garden Buzz has a new look thanks to their Public Relations Coordinator, Michael Hansen. To check it out click here.

Invasive Species Spreading by Felt Soled Waders

The felt soles on wading shoes are being replaced by rubber soles, because felt soles are contributing to the spread of invasive species in waters. The felt is providing rides to aquatic invertebrates, mollusks and plants. This problem is spreading worldwide and New Zealand has banned felt soled wading boots. Manufacturers are now replacing the felt with rubber and trying to make the boots as invasive species proof as possible. Click here to read more.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Discovered: Pea Sized Frog

Scientists from the Institute of Biodiversity and Environmental Conservation at the Universiti Malaysia Sarawak, discovered a new species (Microhyla nepenthicola) of frog that is the size of a pea. The species was originally caught by scientists over 100 years ago, however, earlier this year the pea size frog was determined as a species all its own. Click here to see a picture and to read more on the pea sized frog.

$600,000 in Grants to be Awarded

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service will be awarding almost $600,000 to nine projects addressing the Quagga-Zebra Mussel Action Plan for Western U.S. Waters. The Eastern United States has already seen the extremely detrimental ecological and economic impacts caused by these aqautic invaders. The hope is that by implementing a cooperative effort addressing the problem early, the devastation caused by these invasive mussels in the East, can be avoided in the West. To read the article click here.

Notre Dame Receives Invasive Species Funding

The University of Notre Dame and its research partners have been awarded $2.5 million by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration to predict the next wave of invasive species that could enter the Great Lakes. The team at the university will identify the cost effective measures and the likely paths of introduction and spread. Click here to read more on the Notre Dame invasive species funding.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Attack of the Invasive Species - APHIS PPQ factsheet

APHIS Plant Protection and Quarantine has a new factsheet titled Attack of the Invasive Species. The factsheet includes information on how invasive species got here, how to protect the U.S. against invasive species and ways you can help fight the invaders. Also included is a list of websites where you can learn more about invasive species.  For a downloadable pdf click Factsheet.

Invasive Species Outreach Toolkit

The U.S. Department of Defense has developed a toolkit to help natural resource managers and others to protect the natural resources on military installations. To go to the Toolkit click here.

Saltcedar aka Tamarix is being defoliated along the Rio Grande

Diorhabda sublineata is being used successfully as a biocontrol agent on saltcedar in Texas along the Rio Grande River . To read more click here.

South Dakota Extension releases new fact sheet on Purple Loosestrife

South Dakota Cooperative Extension Service has released a new fact sheet which adresses purple loosestrife and European common reed. The 6 page document includes information on identification, impact and control. For a downloadable pdf click here.

New CISMA created in Florida

The East Central Florida Cooperative Invasive Species Management Area is the newest cooperative group working together to fight invasive species in Florida. Public and private land managers and other stakeholders across Florida have banded together to battle invasive species. To read an article on the newest CISMA click here.

Thousand Cankers Disease Ruling

Indiana's emergency ruling for Thousand Cankers Disease of Black Walnut has been filed and will become effective August 30, 2010. The rule is similar to the Thousand Cankers Disease quarantines for Michigan, Missouri and Nebraska. Click here to view the rule.

World's Largest Rattlesnake Roundup

Every year in Sweetwater, Texas, thirty to forty thousand people gather for the largest rattlesnake roundup in the world. The event started back in 1958 and helps with population control. Click here to watch a video about the event.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Fighting Invasives Redneck Style!

The Annual Redneck Fishing Tournament in Bath, Illinois helps to fight invasive Asian carp. Click here to see the video.

Dangerous Lace Monitor Venom

Watch this video and see Donald Schultz catch a lace monitor to get a sample of its dangerous venom. Lace Monitor venom may one day be used to make blood thinners or blood pressure medication. Click here to watch the video.

Eat the Invaders!

According to the National Centers for Coastal Ocean Science lionfish have the potential to be the "most disastrous marine invasion in history”. The good news is that the fish are exceptionally tasty. We can actually use our 'eat them untill they are all gone' tactics to remove these invasive animals from the Atlantic. They do have spines which carry a toxin, but once removed the fish is safe to eat. They are popular in the aquarium trade and it is believed that the growing Atlantic population originated from releases beginning in the 1980's. Click here for more information on eating lionfish at NISIC. To read a research article on controling the population click here.

Economic Trade versus Invasive Species

More and more invasive species are coming to the United Stated via cargo ships from international trade. These invaders are destroying agriculture, harm human health, threaten biodiversity and cause billions of dollars in economic damage. How can this problem be prevented? The answer...Policymakers must weigh the costs of invasive species damage against the costs of economic trade. Economists Santanu Roy from Southern Methodist University and Lars J. Olson from the University of Maryland take a close look at this topic in their recently published article. Click here to read more.

Monday, August 23, 2010

College Freshman Help Keep Invasives Under Control

As part of public service, a group of 100 college freshman and a specialist from the the National Park Service took out invasive plants at Hopewell Furnace national Historic Site last Friday. Invasive plants are the largest threat to native vegetation and to the ecosystem. The invaders creep across fields, strangle young trees, and begin to take over and kill native plants in that area. Click here to read more and to watch a video clip of the public service.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Natural Conservancy works to Protect Zumwalt Prairie

The Nature Conservancy is giving a "face lift" to the 150,000 acre grassland called the Zumwalt Prairie. This large effort is to protect the plant and animal habitat and to restore spots where homesteaders replaced the origin native species of grasses with less hardy domestic grasses. The project also includes efforts to better understand and safeguard native species such as the quaking aspen and Columbian sharp tailed grouse, fences are being put up to protect sensitive areas, and dam removal. Click here to read more about this project.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Vampire Squid Turns Inside Out

This video was released by the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute to emphasize the need to protect species of the deep. The vampire squid in the video has the unique ability to turn itself inside to protect itself from predators. Click here to watch the video.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Do we have anything to fear from invasive didymo in the South?

I recently posted an article from The New York Times on Didymosphenia geminata also known as didymo or rock snot. A friend emailed me and asked if we have anything to fear from this species in Georgia. Unfortunately there isn't an easy answer to this question. This species is usually found in cooler waters than we have here in the South, but the changes which have allowed this species to become an invasive problem are not yet understood. One theory is that the invasive didymo is a genetic variant which has broader tolerances than it did previously Kilroy, 2004. So the bottom line is get rid of felt soled boots, thoroughly clean clothing and equipment after fishing, swimming or boating. Those of us who care about and use these waterways and other natural areas should be the first ones to step up and do what we can to protect and preserve them. For more information on Didymosphenia geminata click here.

Monster Turtle Species That Survived 50,000 Years Lasted Only 200 Years After It Met Humans

On the Small Pacific Island of Vanuatu, people are still encountering half-ton turtles with armored club tails and horned heads. The species, called Meiolania damelipi, was thought to have gone extinct 50,000 years until recently. Discarded bones were found of the large turtles species in a mound of animal bones near a village of Lapita. The bottom layer of the mound dated to 3,000 years ago and had many meiolania bones. The top layer dated to 2,800 years ago and had none. Researchers estimate the island of Vanuatu alone could have supported tens of thousands of these giant turtles, all of which were wiped out by huntings, habitat destruction and egg eating invasive species. Courtesy of the new human residents. Click here to read more.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Invasive Grass Provides Cover to Mice

According to research, invasive beach grass is indirectly hurting native lupine in California by providing cover for mice that eat the lupine's seeds. The mice have a taste for lupine seeds. However, they would usually think twice before approaching the plant because lupine is exposed out on the sand. This makes the mice an easy kill for a bird's dinner. But the beach grass provides excellent cover for the mice to use to get close enough to eat the seeds before the birds come for their food. Click here to read more.

African Watusi Horns Keep Growing

An African Watusi steer sports a pair of horns with the largest circumference of any animal on Earth: 38 inches. Each of these massive horns weighs 100 pounds and they are still growing! Click here to watch the video.

Monday, August 16, 2010

List of Invasive Biofuel Species

John Peter Thompson has posted on his blog 'Invasive Notes' a list of Invasive Biofuel Species with links to GRIN and CWG. He reminds you that the list is a guide for reference and all information should be verified. Having said that, he has provided a lot of information with references to back it up. This list is a great place to start a search on plant species used or proposed for use as biofuels in the U.S. and around the world. To see the list and John Peter Thompson's blog click here.

New Tool for Improving Switchgrass

ScienceDaily (July 29, 2010) — Agricultural Research Service (ARS) scientists have developed a new tool for deciphering the genetics of a native prairie grass being widely studied for its potential as a biofuel. The genetic map of switchgrass, published by Christian Tobias, a molecular biologist at the ARS Western Regional Research Center in Albany, Calif., and his colleagues, is expected to speed up the search for genes that will make the perennial plant a more viable source of bioenergy. For the full article click here.

Felt Soled Boots Banned by Alaska, Vermont, Maryland and New Zealand

Felicity Barringer of the New York Times writes that felt soled boots used by fly fishermen because they help them cling to slippery rocks have been or are soon to be banned in New Zealand as well as several U.S. States. The felt soled boots are a major vector for the spread of Didymosphenia geminata, also known as didymo or rock snot. To read more click here.

Launched: Car that Runs on Human Waste

A car called the Bio-Bug has been launched by a team of British engineers earlier this month. The converted VW Beetle convertible runs on methane gas produced from human waste at sewage works across the country. Engineers believe this car is a viable alternative to electric vehicles. The methane gas can power the VW Beetle convertible to 114 mph and its makers claim drivers cannot tell the difference. Click here to read more.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

USDA Volunteer Forest Pest Survey

Calling all Members of the Maryland Invasive Species Council: Matthew A. Travis is asking for volunteers to report any sightings of the Emerald Ash Borer in Maryland. For more information or to report this invasive pest click here.
You can also report both positive and negative sightings online at BeetleDetectives.com. Negative sightings help confirm that the beetle was not found in your area. Make sure you indicate your organization’s name on the online reporting form.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Snakehead Fish Caught in Ontario

Last week, an Ontario woman caught a Northern Snakehead fish off of the Welland Canal which links to Lake Erie and Ontario. This fish is a vicious, invasive species that will destroy ecosystems and the fish that call Canada home. The Northern Snakehead is native to Asia and is not welcome to Canada. These invaders can do great damage since they can live out of water for days as it pursues prey or searches for a new home. Click here to read more on the Northern Snakehead fish.

Monday, August 9, 2010

More Factsheets for Invasive plant management

University of Wisconsin Integrated Pest and Crop Management has produced factsheets on several invasive plants, including Canada thistle, garlic mustard, Japanese knotweed and wild parsnip. Five more factsheets are due to be released in August. To view or download the factsheets click here.

New Invasive Species Factsheets

New Invasive Species Fact Sheets on Bighead and Silver Carp and Attack of the Invasive Species available from USDA NISIC. Click here for more information.

Lionfish Found off Anna Maria Island

A scuba diver captured a lionfish last Thursday off Anna Maria Island. This makes some marine biologists concerned that these non-native species could establish itself. Click here to read more.

Genetically Modified Plants Found in the Wild

Genetically modified plants are escaping the confines of agriculture and invading the wild. And to make it even more alarming: Some of these plants have a mix if modified genes, indicating that they are reproducing on their own. Scientists photographed and tests conola plants in North Dakota and their findings show this is the first time genetically modifies plants have been found in the United States. Click here to read more.

Friday, August 6, 2010

Giant Death Ray

This giant freshwater stingray is the largest river fish experts have ever seen. It takes six people to flip the huge animal over for measurements and weighs 400 pounds. Click here to see the video.

Disease That Could Wipe Out Bats

Many scientists have been puzzled by the strange disease that began attacking bats in New York state in 2006. The bats would suddenly awaken from hibernation in midwinter with their faces covered in white fungus. Already weakened, they struggle to find food and die in lard numbers. This disease, called white-nose syndrome, has spread rapidly across the northeastern U.S. and has already killed millions of brown bats. So far, scientists have been helpless to do anything about it. Click here to read more about bats and this disease.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

EDRR Alert: Aralia elata (Japanese angelica tree)

According to Timothy Block of the Morris Arboretum near Philadelphia: Aralia elata (Japanese angelica tree) is becoming common in the woods at Nolde. This plant is a rapidly spreading invasive. In most cases, it was formerly misidentified as Aralia spinosa (devil’s-walking- stick) which is native to western and central PA and widely cultivated. The only completely reliable way to tell the two species apart is by the structure of the inflorescence. Aralia spinosa (the native) has a pyramidal inflorescence with a long central axis, while the inflorescence of Aralia elata (the Asian species) has a short central axis attached to which are long branches, giving the inflorescence the appearance of a fireworks burst. In both cases, the inflorescence may be three feet or more across, bearing thousands of flowers and fruits. The seeds are bird-dispersed.
Please keep an eye out for this plant and report sightings to EDDMapS or your local EDRR mapping program. For more information on and images of, this plant click here.

Lionfish on the Menu

Florida officials are worried lionfish will decimate local reef species and are urging new defensive weapons. Officials are promoting "Eat It to Beat It" to Floridians and hope seafood lovers will join in on the battle by making lionfish a native menu item. A single lionfish can vacuum up 80 percent of a reef's population of small fish in just weeks, experts say. And within the past few months hundreds more have been seen. Click here to read more on the lionfish.

Census of Marine Life Inventory Released

Scientists have released the long awaited inventory of species distribution and diversity of key global ocean areas in a collection of papers published in PLoS ONE. The Census of Marine Life focuses on 25 key areas with the waters off Japan and Australia coming out on top of the biodiversity with a massive 33,000 known species. Click here to read more.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Beware of the Weeds

Beware of the Weeds: Invasive exotic plants threaten Georgia’s biodiversity. By Leslie Kimel
Following is an excerpt from an interesting article on the Georgia Wildlife Federation website which addresses the impact of Invasive plant species.
...Today, thirty years later, the woods are still there, behind my parents’ house, but they are completely different—the same size, yet eerily diminished. In the shrub and herb layers, just three plants predominate now, all invasive exotics, escapees from my parents’ yard and the yards of their neighbors. They are English ivy, nandina, and ardisia—very popular landscaping plants in Florida—and all three are found on the Florida Exotic Pest Plant Council’s “List of Florida’s Most Invasive Species.” Three plants—that’s just about all you’ll see now, in a place that was, a relatively short time ago, diverse and complex. All the subtlety is gone from our woods. All the wonderful sense of surprise, the possibility of discovery. Our woods are boring, ruined...For the full article click here.

Kudzu-eating Pest Found in Northeast Georgia

Kudzu-eating Pest Found in Northeast Georgia (Nov 5, 2009)
University of Georgia College of Agriculture and Environmental Sciences.
Researchers from the University of Georgia and Dow AgroSciences have identified a kudzu-eating pest in northeast Georgia that has never been found in the Western Hemisphere. The bug tentatively identified as the bean plataspid (Megacopta cribraria), a native to India and China, also eats legume crops, especially soybeans. The Georgia Department of Agriculture will be working with the University of Georgia and the USDA to determine the best way to handle the insect. A Statewide Emergency Pest Alert (PDF
63 KB) has been issued with information for Georgia county agents.

As Non-Native Fish Bears Down on Great Lakes, Mussels Spread Across the West

In June, a commercial angler netted a 19-pound Asian carp on Chicago's Lake Calumet, part of the waterway system that connects the Mississippi River to Lake Michigan. The fisherman's haul was ominous, suggesting that the carp, had somehow gotten past an underwater electric fence designed to keep the species from entering the Great Lakes. But these are not the only alien species to threaten the lakes. Zebra and quagga mussel and the sea lamprey have also found homes in the lakes' waters. Asian carp's impact is nothing compared to the mussel's, which reduce rapidly and devour plankton and disrupt lower levels of food chain. This problem with invasive species washing into U.S. waters has come about thanks to international shipping. Click here to read more on Asian carp and mussels in the Great Lakes.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Virginia is looking for volunteers to participate in their Early Detection and Rapid Response (EDRR) program

The Fairfax County Park Authority in Virginia is looking for volunteers to participate in their Early Detection and Rapid Response (EDRR) program. Survey Leaders and casual volunteers are needed to help conduct surveys on Fairfax County parkland that will look for new populations of invasive plants. The premise of this program is that if we can find the populations before they become established we can prevent them from becoming the next Japanese stiltgrass or garlic mustard. Volunteers must be able to identify native and non-native plants and be able to walk off trail. Training dates for those who wish to become Survey Leaders are August 18th from 5-7 p.m. at Huntley Meadows and September 15th from 3-5 p.m. at Ellanor C. Lawrence Park . For EDRR dates click. Please RSVP to the trainings and to the survey dates as space is limited. For questions contact Erin.Stockschlaeder@fairfaxcounty.gov.

Thousand Cankers Disease in Tennessee

Scientists learned recently that thousand cankers disease of walnut (the walnut twig beetle Pityophthorus juglandis and its associated fungus, Geosmithia morbida) has been found in Knoxville, Tennessee. The extent of the infestation has not been delimited, but it appears to have been present for a decade or more – and people have probably moved wood from the infested trees. One nightmare – Great Smoky Mountains National Park is only 40 miles away. For more information click.
You will find information on diagnosis, Questions and Answers, and a Fact Sheet and links to pictures and Powerpoint Talks, including the version of “Nightmare on Walnut Street” that Whitney Cranshaw presented at the ISA Meeting last week in Chicago.

Conway School's accredited ten-month Graduate Program in Sustainable Landscape Planning and Design

Have you dreamed of attending the Conway School's accredited ten-month Graduate Program in Sustainable Landscape Planning and Design? It's not too late to apply for the 2010-11 year. Two positions are still open, but you will want to move quickly. First visit the school's website: http://www.csld.edu/  to see recent student projects and activities. (Recent projects have included, among other things, natural resource planning in the US and Chile.) Download the catalog from the website. Then contact admissions director Nancy Braxton (see her contact info below). Among other things she can put you in touch with Conway alums so you can see the wide range of professional activities in which they are engaged. Conway is an amazing place. It will change your life and help you make a real difference in the world.

Contact: Nancy E. Braxton
Director of Admissions
Graduate Program in Sustainable Landscape Planning & Design
Conway School of Landscape Design
332 S. Deerfield Road
PO Box 179
Conway, MA 01341
413-369-4044 x5

The Everglades Added to UNESCO Endangered Sites List

Everglades National Park was listed as a UNESCO endangered place due to its continued aquatic degradation. The Everglades was first places on UNESCO's endangered list in 1993 after Hurricane Andrew. It was removed in 2007 in recognition of the efforts made to restore the park. However, UNESCO believes the Everglades must once again be considered an imperiled piece of natural heritage because of serious and continuing degradation of its aquatic ecosystem. Click here to read more.

Monday, August 2, 2010

Invasive Species Follow the Money

A new study of biological invasions in Europe found they were linked not so much to changes in climate or land cover, but to two dominant factors - more money and more people. Scientists say that these two things were the forces most strongly associated with invasive species that can disrupt ecosystems and cause severe ecological or agricultural damage. Dealing with these issues will be pivotal for policy makers and future management. Click here to read the full article.