Monday, December 22, 2014

Invasive noxious weeds impact Oregon economy

December 10, 2014… A newly released economic impact study shows that 25 of Oregon’s most significant invasive noxious weeds cause an estimated annual loss of about $83.5 million to the state’s economy, a figure that could be well over a billion dollars without current control efforts by state, county, and federal weed programs.

“This study is key to showing that noxious weeds not only have a critical environmental impact to native plants, water quality, and threatened and endangered fish and wildlife species, but these invasive weeds have a major impact on Oregon’s economy,” says Tim Butler, manager of the Oregon Department of Agriculture’s Noxious Week Control Program.

The study, Economic Impact From Selected Noxious Weeds in Oregon, was prepared by The Research Group, LLC of Corvallis for ODA, and updates a similar study conducted in 2000. In its executive summary, the final report says “this current study provides an opportunity for ODA to look at the impacts of two widespread invasive weeds, and address the value of potential impact of up and coming noxious weeds. The study reveals the benefits of having safeguards such as prevention, early detection rapid response (EDDR), biological, and other control programs in place to minimize impacts.”

The two widespread noxious weeds examined in the study are Scotch broom and Armenian blackberry, invasive plants that contribute $79.6 million to the current overall economic impact. Those two species– already well established throughout the state– are responsible for 95 percent of the total number of $83.5 million identified in the latest study. The remaining 23 species are limited in distribution and are under intensive management so that they don’t become the next Scotch broom and Armenian blackberry.

“We did predictive modeling in this study showing that if these noxious weeds were left to go everywhere they might go– if we did nothing to control them at their current levels– we could have a potential loss to the state of about $1.8 billion,” says Butler.

The economists who conducted the study use a variety of factors to derive a dollar amount, which is equated to personal income. Factors include livestock losses due to noxious weeds, reduced cattle foraging, reduced wildlife grazing, crop yields, decreased quality of seed and crop, potential impact on marketing and export of agricultural commodities, and even the loss of available fishing and hunting opportunities because of invasive weeds. The $83.5 million is the equivalent to the loss of 1,900 jobs and the $1.8 billion in potential losses if these weeds are unchecked is the equivalent to 40,800 jobs lost.

Butler is quick to point out that the estimated negative impact is conservative.

“The study looks at 25 species, but we are currently working with about 118 noxious weeds in our program that are state listed noxious weeds,” he says. “This is just a subset of that total. So, in reality, if you look at the full list, the total economic impact to the state is much, much larger.”

Nonetheless, the study demonstrates the value of ODA’s Noxious Weed Control Program and similar programs at the county and federal level that keep invasive weeds in check while they are relatively small populations. The “early detection, rapid response” model used by weed control cooperators has kept Oregon from being completely overrun by these undesirable plants and reaching that $1.8 billion scenario.

“On many of these species, we’ve had success in preventing them from getting well established in Oregon and, in some cases, pushing them back,” says Butler. “That’s the good news in that we’ve kept the economic impact number at about the same level since 2000.”

In fact, the earlier study, which analyzed only 21 noxious weeds, reported an estimated loss of $83 million– just half a million less than the latest study. Analysts note the availability, thanks to technology, of better, more precise information that validates the acreages of noxious weeds currently in Oregon. Those advancements also allow for the predictive modeling that shows the potential impact these weeds carry.

Even the two major weeds causing the majority of economic damage could be worse. The use of biological control agents– good bugs fighting bad weeds–  have kept Scotch broom seed somewhat in check even if they don’t actually kill individual plants. Other species, such as purple loosestrife, are being kept at a lower population level than it could be because of effective biocontrol.

The current report echoes a finding from the 2000 study– prevention programs have a benefit to cost ratio of 34 to one. That means for every dollar spent in these efforts, there is a $34 return on investment based on stemming potential losses caused by noxious weeds.

“This study validates the importance of what we do, but it doesn’t mean we don’t need to be doing more,” says Butler. “Our resources are stretched thin at the state and county level as far as dealing with these species, but we have been very efficient and strategic about what we’ve done.”

Governor Kitzhaber’s 2015-17 recommended budget just released this week recognizes the threat of invasive species to Oregon’s environment and economy. He is proposing an additional $500,000 to fund various efforts to combat invasive weeds.

If another weed impact study is done a decade from now, Butler is hopeful it will contain good news.

“I’d like to see that we continue to be successful in at least holding our own and, in some cases, reducing the acreage of many of these invasive weeds in Oregon,” he says. “It all depends on having adequate resources in programs to continue doing the things we are doing. It’s critical to implement effective control programs to contain, and in some cases, move towards eradication of some of these weed species.”

Having solid numbers from the economic impact study will help make the case.

Full report of weed impact study.

For more information, contact Tim Butler at (503) 986-4621.

For an audio recap of this story, please go to and scroll down.

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Consider the invader: Minor differences may have major impact

Despite many similarities between Dreissena species, quagga mussels infested native unionids less severely than zebra mussels. The study suggests that minor differences between closely related invasive species can have major differences in environmental impacts on the native communities.

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Toxic nectar affects the behavior of insect pollinators

Natural toxins in nectar and pollen can poison insects and affect their memory, behavior and reproductive success, researchers have found. Toxins in lupin pollen cause bumble bees to produce fewer offspring while chemicals found in rhododendron nectar are toxic to honeybees but not bumble bees, toxic effects that could be contributing to the worrying decline in pollinator species.

Monday, December 15, 2014

Remove Privet to Increase Native Earthworm Populations

Very interesting research is reported in Applied Soil Ecology, 'Removal of an invasive shrub (Chinese privet: Ligustrum sinense Lour)reduces exotic earthworm abundance and promotes recovery of native North American earthworms' by Joshua W. Lobe, Mac A. Callaham Jr., Paul F. Hendrix, and James L. Hanula. Applied Soil Ecology is published by Elsevier B.V.
Abstract: this study investigated the possibility of a facilitative relationship between Chinese privet (Ligustrum sinense) and exotic earthworms, in the southeastern region of the USA. Earthworms and selected soil properties were sampled five years after experimental removal of privet from flood plain forests of the Georgia Piedmont region. The earthworm communities and soil properties were compared between sites with privet, privet removal sites, and reference sites where privet had never established. Results showed that introduced European earthworms (Aporrectodea caliginosa, Lumbricus rubellus, and Octolasion tyrtaeum) were more prevalent under privet cover, and privet removal reduced their relative abundance (from >90% to ∼70%) in the community. Conversely, the relative abundance of native species (Diplocardia michaelsenii) increased fourfold with privet removal and was highest in reference sites. Soils under privet were characterized by significantly higher pH relative to reference plots and privet removal facilitated a significant reduction in pH. These results suggest that privet-mediated effects on soil pH may confer a competitive advantage to European lumbricid earthworms. Furthermore, removal of the invasive shrub appears to reverse the changes in soil pH, and may allow for recovery of native earthworm fauna.

Lumbricus terrestris photo by Joseph Berger,

Saturday, December 13, 2014

Has your neighborhood been invaded?

Do you live in a housing subdivision that used to be farmland? Do you live next door to a self-proclaimed expert gardener with an eye for the exotic? Perhaps you just ordered some bamboo online to plant in your yard as a privacy screen.
Whether or not these scenarios are true for you, chances are invasive plants are attacking your neighborhood. And without your help, we will lose the war on these invaders.

See full article here: . . .

Friday, December 12, 2014

Twelve Invasive Species of Christmas

Twelve Invasive Species of Christmas

A message from Canada. These invasive species can be found in many places in North America. These are twelve presents no one wants to get this holiday season! Make sure you don't give them either by learning how to prevent the spread of invasive species.

Can Wild Pigs Ravaging the U.S. Be Stopped?

See Scientific American article here:

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Plant invasions in protected areas - free e-book

In occasion of the World Park Congress, the Springer, upon an invitation by the Executive Secretary of the CBD, has generously offered to provide a free download of the book “Plant invasions in protected areas”.

The offer is valid for the next 4 weeks. The links is available on the congress website as well as in the ISSG website

Plant this, not that

Based on work at University of Florida -

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Invasive species organizations from Canada, US and Mexico will create North American Invasive Species Framework after Ottawa conference

(November 9 2014 – Williams Lake, BC) Following last month’s Weeds Across Borders, the bi-annual gathering of professionals and organizations working in invasive species management from Canada, the United States and Mexico, a North America Invasive Species Framework will be created to link existing federal plans, national strategies, and to identify shared priorities and monitoring indicators to prevent and contain invasive species across the continent.

More than 70 leaders and invasive species experts from across North America gathered in Ottawa October 14-16 to work together on shared issues caused by the transport and establishment of aquatic and terrestrial invasive species across the continent. This included leaders from federal, provincial and state governments along with non-government organizations, and industry. At the conclusion of the conference, the participants agreed to take specific actions to ensure increased coordination and planning for effective communication and responses to new and emerging invasive species threats
“Invasive species do not recognize jurisdictional boundaries, so we need to keep talking and working together to collaborate and coordinate our work in preventing and stopping invasive plants and other species from creating further economic, environmental and social costs,” said Gail Wallin, Executive Director of the Invasive Species Council of BC and co-chair of the Canadian Council on Invasive Species, which hosted Weeds Across Borders with the support of an international advisory committee. 
Participants established plans to create a high-level North America Invasive Species Framework that would strategically address issues shared across international borders, with focus on prevention and detection, rapid response, pathways and communications. The Framework will expand coordination, collaboration, and action across North America against all aquatic and terrestrial invasive species threats, and involve input and review from federal agencies, provincial/state governments, aboriginal/tribal, industry and non-government organizations. 

In addition, the group agreed that a North American Invasive Species Directory of national and international organizations, governments and industries be developed focused primarily on invasive species management in North America. This directory would be linked to a continent-wide website portal for invasive species to provide linkages to national and international organizations, governments and industries focused primarily on invasive species management in North America. 

Future bi-annual gatherings will be renamed the North American Invasive Species Forum to reflect that invasive species include other species beyond plants. The next gathering is proposed for the Great Lakes region of the United States in 2016. 

Damages and economic losses caused by aquatic and terrestrial invasive species worldwide are estimated at more than $1.4 trillion; nearly 5 percent of the global economy. Forestry, agriculture, fisheries, and the recreation and tourism industries are some of the most heavily impacted, with millions in lost revenue each year. All North American ecosystems and nations are at risk, and these harmful exotic invaders pose a greater threat to native biodiversity than pollution, harvest, and disease combined. In the United States alone, invasive species annually cause an estimated $138 billion in economic losses, and over 46% of native species listed as threatened or endangered are at risk of further decline from the spread of invasive species. 

Invasive species directly and indirectly threaten human health; causing disease, allergic reactions, respiratory distress, and other health problems in people of all ages. Highly flammable invasive plants increase the frequency and intensity of wildfires, and are implicated in large-scale electric power outages. Other invasive plants obstruct roadway sightlines and traffic control signs along transportation corridors, creating extremely unsafe conditions for motorists. Aggressive populations of invasive fish, mussels, and aquatic plants degrade water quantity and quality, and cause declines in native species populations in both marine and freshwater areas. Increasing global trade and transportation, coupled with the significant environmental impacts of global climate change, are expected to expand invasions of harmful exotic species into new areas from the Arctic to the Caribbean and beyond. 

About the Canadian Council on Invasive Species 
The Canadian Council on Invasive Species works collaboratively across jurisdictional boundaries to support actions and information that can help reduce the threat and impacts of invasive species. Invasive species councils, committees, and coalitions representing provinces and territories across Canada established this federal society to work together to reduce the impact of invasive species across the country. 

Media contact: 
Gail Wallin, Co-Chair 
Canadian Council on Invasive Species 

P: 250 305-9161 

Barry Gibbs, Co-Chair 
Canadian Council on Invasive Species 
P: 403-850-5977 

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Ecology Meets Economy—Again!!!

In Wisconsin the second educational get-together was held between the Green Industry and the Conservation communities in the past two years. The two groups are not totally exclusive of each other. They are far from it and seem to be more and more of a mixture each year.
What a great example of pulling together for conservation.

Friday, December 5, 2014

Dr. G. Keith Douce makes invited presentation at European Invasive Alien Species information system meeting in Antalya, Turkey

Dr. G. Keith Douce, Co-Director of The University of Georgia Center for Invasive Species & Ecosystem Health made an invited presentation at the European Union Cooperation in Science & Technology [COST] Action TD1209: European Information System for Alien Species working group meeting held in Antalya, Turkey on November 2nd & 3rd, 2014.

The TD1209 COST Action meeting was attended by 84 country-level representatives from 27 European countries as well as representatives from Australia and New Zealand.  The goal of the meeting was to facilitate the development of a European Invasive Alien Species (IAS) information system using enhanced knowledge gathering and sharing through a network of [European] experts.   This will enable effective and informed decision-making about IAS issues EU-wide as well as country-levels.  Other objectives were developing and implementing Early Warning and Rapid Response (EWRR) tools and protocols and incorporating Citizen Scientists into the reporting and decision-making process.   Dr. Douce was the only U.S. representative at the meeting and his presentation was titled:  EDDMapS Europe:  A possible framework for a European / North American coalition to deal with invasive alien species.

After the COST Action meeting,  Dr. Douce made a presentation titled: EDDMAPS & Bugwood Apps: Using Information Technology & partnerships to collect data and map invasive species across the U.S. at the 8th International NEOBIOTA Conference on Biological Invasions ( also held in Antalya, Turkey on November 3-8, 2014. 

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Governor Bullock of Montana Signs Executive Order to Combat Invasive Species

December 4, 2014

Dave Parker, Communications Director, Governor’s Officer, 444-9844
Mike Wessler, Deputy Communications Director, Governor’s Office, 444-9725

Governor Bullock [Montana] Signs Executive Order to Combat Invasive Species

HELENA – Today, Governor Steve Bullock was joined by sportsmen, conservationists, and land managers as he signed an executive order improving and streamlining Montana’s efforts to tackle the threat of invasive species in the state. The order establishes the Montana Invasive Species Council (MISC) to serve as the overarching council to combat invasive species in the state—both aquatic and terrestrial.

“Montanans cherish our outdoor recreation and spaces, and those spaces play a crucial role in our state’s vibrant economy. It is imperative that we do everything we can to protect Montana from the threat of invasive species that disrupt our land, water, and native species,” Bullock said. “None of us want another knapweed spreading across Montana.”

The MISC will be tasked with:
·         Providing recommendations, direction and planning for combating infestations of invasive species throughout the state, while preventing the introduction of others;
·         Fostering cooperation, communication and coordinated approaches that support international, federal, regional, state, local, and tribal initiatives for the prevention, early detection and control of invasive species;
·         Serving as a nonpartisan forum that would achieve a science-based interdisciplinary and comprehensive understanding of the current status, trends and potential threats of invasive species in Montana;
·         Identifying priorities for prevention and control of invasive species in Montana;
·         Recommending and taking measures that will encourage prevention, early detection and control of harmful invasive species in Montana;
·         Championing priority invasive species issues identified by stakeholders to best protect the state; and
·    Advising and working with agency personnel, local efforts, and the scientific community to implement program priorities.

The MISC will be made up of twenty-one members, including representatives from tribal governments, county weed districts, the MSU extensions, conservation districts, conservation organizations, private land owners, natural resource groups, private industry, and representatives from state and federal stakeholder agencies.

In addition, Bullock was joined by students from Whitehall who have raised, monitored, and released biological control agents on noxious weeds in Montana. They sang “The Twelve Days of Invasion,” a variation of the 12 days of Christmas highlighting twelve invasive species in Montana.

Bullock’s executive order can be found at here.

Photo: 1, 2, 3


Mike Wessler
Governor’s Office
Deputy Communications Director
Office- 406-444-9725
Cell – 406-461-7289

Southern Region Enhancement Grant Webinar Announced!

On December 10th at 2:00pm EST, the Southern IPM Center will hold a webinar to present details of the latest Enhancement Grant Competition!  While the information presented in the webinar is the same as in the Competition details, attendees will have the opportunity to ask questions and get any clarification they may need.

Anyone wanting to attemd must register online.  You can register for the webinar at

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Green Teacher: Teaching About Invasive Species

Teaching About Invasive Species is designed as a tool kit. Whether working inside or outside schools, youth educators will find in Green Teacher’s new book the innovative perspectives, program ideas, games and activities that they need to engage young people from 6-19 years of age in this challenging topic.  Invasive species, if unchecked, will continue to have significant negative impacts on our environment and on our economy.  Fortunately, the spread of many invasives can be checked. To succeed, we’ll need effective education strategies to be widely deployed. This book aims to fill that gap. Included in its pages are descriptions of 11 innovative, youth education programs, and 20 ready-to-use activities that are appropriate for various age groups.

Lionfish Airplane; Pensacola Florida, Gulf of Mexico

New App: GA Cotton Insect Advisor

 A new app, developed for smartphones and tablets by researchers and extension personnel with University of Georgia College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences, allows farmers and scouts to save time and money by finding and using the most effective treatments available for stink bugs.

Monday, December 1, 2014

Southern IPM Center Enhancement Grant Program Open

The Southern Region IPM Center has released the 2015 Request for Applications (RFA) for the IPM Enhancement Grants. Deadline for proposals is Friday, January 16 at 5 PM EST.

Project directors can apply for one of four (4) project types:

  • IPM Documents - up to $30,000, but budget must be commensurate with the number, scope and complexity of outputs (PMSPs, Crop Profiles and IPM Priorities projects) proposed.
  • Seed - up to $30,000
  • Capstone - up to $30,000
  • IPM Working Group - up to $40,000; please read RFA for requirements

Projects are limited to one year. When determining your project start and end dates, note that funds will be available as early as March 1, 2015, and must be expended by February 28, 2016.

You can access the RFA by going to the proposal system where you can find the RFA and all of the forms,

There will be a webinar on December 10, 2014 at 2:00 PM EST to give details on the current RFA and allow attendees to ask questions.  You can register for the Webinar at 

If you have any questions concerning content of your proposal, please contact Jim VanKirk at or 919-513-8179. For technical questions regarding submission of a proposal, or if you hit the SUBMIT button before you finished uploading forms, contact Alex Belskis at or 919-522-5602 or Rosemary Hallberg at or 919-513-8182.