Sunday, March 24, 2013

Eight 2013 National Invasive Species Achievement Awards Announced

Eight 2013 National Invasive Species Achievement Awards Announced

Individuals and Organizations honored for their accomplishments controlling and preventing invasive species


Contact: Lori Williams (NISC) (202) 354-1881
Jessica Kershaw (Interior) (202) 208-6416

WASHINGTON, DC — The major national groups that coordinate the battle against invasive species today announced the 2013 National Invasive Species Achievement Awards. The awards recognize the dedication and collaborative efforts of local, state and federal officials; private citizens; and volunteers in preventing and controlling invasive species.
The Aquatic Nuisance Species Task Force, the National Invasive Species Council and the Federal Interagency Committee for Management of Noxious and Exotic Weeds presented the awards to: The Lake George Association in New York; the Ladybird Johnson Wildflower Center at the University of Austin, Texas; Rick Johnson, Thurston County, Wash.; Dr. Richard Reardon of the U.S. Forest Service; Dr. Richard Everett of the U.S. Coast Guard; and the Adirondack Park Invasive Plant Program; The Malheur Wildlife Associates, Friends of Malheur National Wildlife Refuge in Oregon; and Ben Schrader in Texas.
These eight individuals and organizations were recognized for their accomplishments in the categories of leadership, volunteerism, outreach and education, and lifetime achievement, as follows:

  • For Outstanding Achievement in Aquatic Invasive Species Outreach and Education
    The Lake George Association in New York is recognized for its Lake Steward program, which combines prevention measures to stop the spread of invasive species with public outreach and education, while collecting invaluable invasive species data.
  • For Outstanding Achievement in Terrestrial Invasive Species Outreach and Education
    The Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center at the University of Texas at Austin is recognized for leading invasive species efforts at the national, state and local levels through its innovative approach combining advocacy, education and public outreach with research and citizen science.
  • For Lifetime Invasive Species Achievement – Aquatic
    Rick Johnson, Coordinator of the Thurston County Noxious Weed Agency in Washington State, is recognized for his 34-year record of commitment to invasive plant management, and has served on multiple weed management committees, boards and associations. Rick led a program for the management of Brazilian Elodea in the Chehalis River system, an initiative which spanned multiple agencies over the course of ten years.
  • For Invasive Species Achievement – Terrestrial Lifetime
    Dr. Richard (Dick) Reardon of the U.S. Forest Service, a leader of the Maryland and Appalachian Integrated Pest Management programs, is recognized for his career devoted to the management of forest pests and invasive plants. His work with mating disruption techniques was vital to the success of the gypsy moth Slow-the-Spread program. management.
  • For Outstanding Aquatic Invasive Species Leadership
    Dr. Richard Everett of the United States Coast Guard is recognized for leading Coast Guard initiatives to prevent the arrival and spread of aquatic nuisance species and being instrumental in developing measures for the U.S. government and the international maritime community to prevent the spread of invasive species through ballast water.
  • For Outstanding Terrestrial Invasive Species Leadership
    The Adirondack Park Invasive Plant Program is recognized for leading the collaborative efforts of more than 30 organizations to control invasive species infestations through education programs, volunteer action, identifying policy improvements and coordinating regional response teams to address new invasive species infestations.
  • For Outstanding Aquatic Invasive Species Volunteer
    The Malheur Wildlife Associates, Friends of Malheur National Wildlife Refuge in Oregon is recognized as a strong proponent of the Aquatic Health Program at Malheur refuge, where they have led efforts to combat the common carp, an invasive species.
  • For Outstanding Terrestrial Invasive Species Volunteer
    Ben Shrader, founder of the Invasive Hunter Academy in Texas, “Commander Ben,” is recognized for leading efforts to engage students in invasive species issues through his Invasive Hunter Academy, using interactive methods to teach about invasive species and their effects on native ecosystems.
“We applaud the winners of the invasive species achievement awards for demonstrating visionary leadership, innovation, and creativity in your efforts to protect our vital natural resources from the harmful impacts of invasive species,” said Lori Faeth, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Policy and International Affairs at the Department of the Interior.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Dr. Robert Eugene Eplee, Sr., Remembered

WHITEVILLE, NORTH CAROLINA, USA -- Dr. Robert (Bob) Eugene Eplee Sr., 79, passed away on Wednesday, Jan. 30, 2013, at the New Hanover Regional Medical Center in Wilmington, North Carolina.

Bob is best known and remembered for his research on the biology and control of Witchweed [(Striga asiatica (L.) Kuntze], a parasitic weed that is native to Africa and Asia, that was first discovered in southeastern North Carolina, in July, 1956. Thanks in large part to his 30 year research program to develop methods and equipment for the USDA-Carolinas Witchweed Eradication Program, the infestation has been reduced from 432,000 acres in the North and South Carolina Coastal Plain (1970) to 1,542 acres (end of 2012).

The principles and practices he developed in the Witchweed Program also contributed greatly to the development of new approaches for invasive species prevention in the U.S. and elsewhere. Some examples include:
  • Weed Science Society of America Liaison for Passage of the Federal Noxious Weeds Act of 1974
  • Science and Technical Support for Federal-State Weed Eradication Programs (e.g., Goatsrue in Utah, Common Crupina in Idaho, Hydrilla in California and Florida, and Japanese Dodder in South Carolina – 1981-2000)
  • Original member - U.S. Federal Interagency Committee for the Management of Noxious and Exotic Weeds (FICMNEW) (1990)
  • Development of Interagency Approaches for Early Detection and Rapid Response to New and Emerging Invasive Plants through State Invasive Species Councils and Committees (e.g., Wyoming Weed Team – 1998) and Invasive Plant Task Forces (North Carolina Giant Salvinia Task Force - 2002) 
Read the tribute to Dr. Eplee

Disease Deadly to Bats Confirmed in Georgia


ATLANTA (March 12, 2013) – The disease that has killed millions of bats in the eastern U.S. has been confirmed for the first time in Georgia.
The Georgia Department of Natural Resources, the National Park Service and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service announced today that bats with white-nose syndrome were found recently at two caves in Dade County.
A National Park Service biologist and volunteers discovered about 15 tri-colored bats with visible white-nose symptoms in a Lookout Mountain Cave at Chickamauga and Chattanooga National Military Park in late February. On March 5, a group led by a Georgia DNR biologist also found tri-colored bats with visible symptoms in Sittons Cave at Cloudland Canyon State Park.
A bat from each northwest Georgia site was sent to the Southeastern Cooperative Wildlife Disease Study in Athens. Histopathology confirmed both bats had white-nose syndrome.
The name describes a white fungus,
Geomyces destructans, often found on the muzzles, ears and wings of infected bats. White-nose, or WNS, spreads mainly through bat-to-bat contact. There is no evidence it infects humans or other animals. But spores may be carried cave-to-cave by people on clothing or gear.
tri-colored bat infected with deadly white-nose syndrome
Image by Pete Pattavina, USFWS,

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Basic Wildland Firefighter Training

Basic Wildland Firefighter Training
Date: August 12-16, 2013 
Classroom Training: Waccasassa Forestry Center, Gainesville, Florida
Field Training: Ordway - Swisher Biological Station, Melrose, Florida
Tuition: $100 - Student registration
               $125 - General registration
This course prepares the individual to participate in wildland fire management/fire suppression activities as a Firefighter Type II qualified fire crew. 
What to bring:
Classroom training:
  • I-100 completion certificate
  • Lunch (lunch is only provided on Thursday, August 15 during the live fire exercise)
Field training:
  • 6 inch or higher leather boots
  • Leather gloves
  • PPE (optional)
For more information contact:
Natural Areas Training Academy
(850) 875-7153