Illinois is full of dedicated people and innovative ideas for addressing invasive species. From time to time, this blog is going to host guest articles in which the stories about some of these people, projects, or ideas are told. The next article in this series comes from Andi Dierich, Illinois Forest Pest Outreach Coordinator, with the Morton Arboretum. Andi writes here about a huge collaborative effort on invasive insects and diseases that she is involved in. All of the guest articles can be viewed HERE.
The Continental Dialogue on Non-Native Forest Insects and Diseases
by Andi Dierich
The Continental Dialogue on Non-Native Forest Insects and Diseases is a collaborative effort to pursue change in policies and practices around non-native forest pests and pathogens. Recognizing that invasive pests threaten our valuable urban and rural forest, the Dialogue holds meetings among stakeholders to discuss issues and ideas and brainstorm solutions.
The urban and rural forest is an important green feature of our landscape employing more than 1.6 million people and adding $231.5 billion to the national economy. The environmental and aesthetic benefit of urban trees is significant in our ever changing landscape but continues to be threatened by the introduction of non-native forest insects and diseases. This byproduct of a globalized market continues to pose hurdles for managers and users of urban and rural forest alike, impacting several trades and stakeholder groups along the way. The Dialogue is a platform to seek and leverage opportunities to change policies and practices revolving around non-native forest pests and pathogens. The Dialogue collaborates with many partners across the U.S. These meetings have brought together many stakeholders, including The Nature Conservancy; the US Department of Agriculture’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service; the US Forest Service; the American Nursery & Landscape Association; the Arbor Day Foundation; the National Association of State Foresters; the Society of American Foresters; the Society of Municipal Arborists; and The Morton Arboretum. A number of initiatives have resulted.
The Don’t Move Firewood campaign, aimed at educating the public not to transport firewood that may carry eggs or larvae of tree pests such as the emerald ash borer, came out of Dialogue meetings in 2006 and 2007. The multimedia campaign, which continues to grow, began with the launch of a website in 2008. It has now has reached nearly 6,000 people throughout the US through its Facebook and Twitter feeds alone.
Videos on the website have been recognized for their detail and presentation. Lurking in the Trees is a 2010 documentary that follows the city of Worcester, Mass., in its response to an infestation by the Asian longhorned beetle. It continues to be used in the campaign for awareness of the beetle’s threat. Trees, Pests & People is a section of the website featuring short videos that tell the stories of walnut, ash and avocado trees and their pests.
Recently, the Dialogue has contributed to the Healthy Trees, Healthy Cities initiative. Now being implemented in Los Angeles, Tennessee, Philadelphia, and Boston, this Nature Conservancy program seeks to create environmental stewards to provide a first line of defense against invasive plants and animals as well as maintaining and caring for the trees that make up our urban forest.
The Dialogue also has created tools such as A Decision-making Guide for Invasive Species Program Managers and an outreach document for woodworkers and wood-turners on how to avoid spreading invasive pests in the wood they use.
The 2013 Continental Dialogue took place November 4 and 5 in Pittsburg in conjunction with the Arbor Day Foundation Partners in Community Forestry Conference. The Dialogue welcomed new partners including Davey Tree and the American Public Gardens Association Sentinel Plant Network.
Among the presentations two are especially worth noting:
The American Firewood Producers and Distributors Association will soon announce a new certification program for sanitation of wood products above the current level required by the International Standards of Phytosanitary Measures No. 15. This means that the clients of AFPDA—big box home centers and other retailers—stores will now play a critical role in preventing the spread of pests and diseases through firewood. It also will require changing the messaging of the Don’t Move Firewood campaign to include “buying certified” wood.
The second presentation, focused on nurseries. The National Plant Board is drafting and organizing a voluntary certification process for the nursery trade. This certification, which takes a system approach, ideally would allow for greater pest and pathogen control by increasing checkpoints in the pathways by which infected plants move. By harmonizing international and national best practices and regulations, it likely would make the transfer of nursery stock from one area to another more seamless.
The Continental Dialogue on Non-Native Forest Insects and Diseases still is seeking new ideas and partnerships to continue efforts to control invasive pests and pathogens. Sign up to receive alerts and other information about the dialogue’s activities.
Wednesday, December 4, 2013
Tuesday, December 3, 2013
Source: Stephanie Porter, 217-244-3254, firstname.lastname@example.org
News writer: Stephanie Henry, 217-244-1183, email@example.com
URBANA, Ill. – University of Illinois Extension has announced the dates for its Illinois First Detector Invasive Pest Workshops covering important landscape and nursery pests, diseases, and invasive plants. Workshops will be offered at six locations in Illinois beginning January 2014.
The focus of the 2014 workshops will be on potential oak threats in Illinois. Each location will have sessions devoted to emerging and current oak pests and diseases such as the Oak Splendor Beetle, Goldspotted Oak Borer, Sudden Oak Death, and others.
A session will also be devoted to invasive plants introduced as ornamentals, such as burning bush, Bradford pear, and Japanese barberry. A discussion will be held on the use of alternative, non-invasive ornamentals that could be utilized within the landscape.
“Early detection and response is the key to managing invasive pests, diseases, and plants. The Illinois First Detector Workshops are aimed at improving first detector training and invasive species awareness,” said Stephanie Porter, a U of I Plant Clinic diagnostic outreach specialist.
Much like the initial workshops in 2013, these in-depth training sessions will cover material that includes:
• Life cycle/biology
• Commonly confused look a likes
Once again, those attending will also take part in hands-on activities, which will allow attendees to examine these pests and diseases in more detail.
“New this year, will be a session devoted to safeguarding and regulation, and how these actions play a crucial role when it comes to invasive pests and diseases,” said Kelly Estes, U of I state survey coordinator of the Illinois Cooperative Agriculture Pest Survey (CAPS). “This information will help to address some very interesting questions that were raised last year.”
The target audience includes certified arborists, tree care professionals, master gardeners, master naturalists, forestry and natural resource professionals, conservationists, and others with an interest in trees.
An application has been made for the following Continuing Education Units (CEUs): IAA Certified Arborists, Continuing Forestry Education Credits, Professional Landcare Network, and Golf Course Superintendent’s Association of America.
Workshops will be held at the following locations:
• Peoria, Jan. 14 - Illinois Central College
Contact: Rhonda Ferree, firstname.lastname@example.org
• Collinsville, Jan. 16 - Madison-Monroe-St. Clair unit branch office
Contact: Sara Ruth, email@example.com
• Murphysboro, Feb. 20 - Jackson County Extension office
Contact: Sonja Lallemand, firstname.lastname@example.org
• Rockford, Feb. 27 - Klehm Arboretum,
Contact: Candice Miller, email@example.com
• Decatur, March 12 - Macon County Extension office
Contact: Jennifer Nelson, firstname.lastname@example.org
• Joliet, March 27 - Will County Extension office
Contact: Richard Hentschel, email@example.com
Those interested in attending should contact the host locations above for registration. A $40 non-refundable registration fee covers instruction, on-site lunch, and training materials. Space is limited.
This workshop is supported by an Extension IPM Coordination and Support Competitive Grant from the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture and coordinated by Stephanie Porter, Plant Clinic diagnostician and outreach coordinator, Department of Crop Sciences and Kelly Estes, state survey coordinator, IL CAPS Program at the Illinois Natural History Survey, Prairie Research Institute. Additional support for this program will be provided by Christopher Evans, the Illinois Wildlife Action Plan - invasive species campaign coordinator, Illinois Department of Natural Resources and Scott Schirmer, plant and pesticide specialist supervisor, emerald ash borer program manager, Illinois Department of Agriculture.
|Eurasian Ruffe - USGS|
Eurasian ruffe (also known as ruffe or river ruffe), an eastern European species, has been found in western Lake Superior since 1986, and has been one of the most dominant fish in bottom trawls in channels within the Duluth-Superior Harbor. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s (USFWS) Ashland Fish and Wildlife Conservation Office monitored the expansion of ruffe populations and the species’ range across Lake Superior.
“To date, fishery management agencies have not witnessed any significant impact on native fish species like yellow perch and walleye in the areas where ruffe populations have become established and are quite abundant in our bottom-trawl surveys,” says Mark Brouder, Ashland Fish and Wildlife Conservation Office Field Supervisor.
A recent basin-wide survey by the University of Notre Dame, Central Michigan University, and The Nature Conservancy has found Eurasian ruffe DNA in water samples taken over the past year from Calumet Harbor in northeast Illinois. This sampling is designed to use an analytical technique to detect species by filtering the water and detecting DNA that organisms leave behind. In fish, the DNA may be in slime, urine, or fecal material. The initial conclusion from the Calumet Harbor water samples did not detect ruffe, but follow up analyses suggest that ruffe environmental DNA (or eDNA) may be present in a small portion of the samples.
“Calumet Harbor is a vibrant harbor with international and intra-lake shipping present,” said Kevin Irons, Aquatic Nuisance Species Program Manager for the Illinois DNR. “The detection of Eurasian ruffe DNA is not all that surprising, given that ruffe has been in the Great Lakes for decades. Illinois DNR monitors Calumet Harbor annually, and we have certainly been aware of ruffe in the basin. To date, we have not captured any ruffe, and in fact we don’t believe Eurasian ruffe are established anywhere in southern Lake Michigan”.
Environmental DNA surveillance has been used to heighten efforts regarding Asian carp detection; however, the relationship between eDNA and live fish presence has not been fully understood.
“Certainly, eDNA can come from swimming fish, but alternatively eDNA can be transported by birds, boat hulls, fishing nets, and other mechanisms,” said Kelly Baerwaldt, joint U.S. Army Corps of Engineers/USFWS eDNA Program Manager. “Because Lake Calumet is such a busy port, lake freighters from infested regions could simply discharge water and enable detections. Although 85% of eDNA breaks down in the environment quickly, within a few days, the remaining small portion can remain detectable for up to a month.”
The Illinois DNR will continue to work with USFWS biologists who monitor the Great Lakes to continue sampling in the Calumet Harbor area to heighten sampling efforts for fish across the Great Lakes to look for Aquatic Nuisance Species. Illinois DNR monitors Calumet Harbor throughout the summer with electrofishing. The Illinois Natural History Survey monitors near-shore waters of Lake Michigan with micro-mesh gillnets, noted as a preferred gear for catching ruffe. To date, Illinois officials report NO Eurasian ruffe have been seen or reported from Illinois waters.
“The Illinois DNR urges anglers to report fish that may be ruffe, as they may be taken while fishing for yellow perch or other fish in the Calumet Harbor area, or anywhere in waters surrounding Chicago,” IDNR’s Kevin Irons said. “A clear cell phone picture of the fish from several angles can help in identification, or you may simply put fish in a ziplock/plastic bag and freeze it. This species is listed as injurious, so these fish cannot be transported alive in Illinois. If found, please note specifically where the fish was caught and include time and date information.”
To stop the movement of all aquatic nuisance species, sportsmen and women are reminded to ‘Stop Aquatic Hitchhikers’ and ‘Be a Hero – Transport Zero’ by following three simple steps: 1) Remove plants animals and mud from equipment; 2) Drain all water from your boat and gear; and 3) Dry everything thoroughly with a towel.
To find out more about the Eurasian ruffe, check the USGS Non-indigenous Aquatic Species website at
Be A Hero – Transport Zero campaign video can be found at http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=z83g72eZ1RM.
To report Eurasian ruffe locations or other Aquatic Nuisance Species, please call the Illinois ANS Program office at 217-785-8772.
Monday, November 25, 2013
Recent find in Wisconsin prompts alert to Illinois residents and visitors
|New Zealand Mud Snails|
(Photo courtesy www.invasive.org)
“This is a significant and disappointing find in Wisconsin,” said Bob Wakeman, who coordinates the WDNR aquatic invasive species efforts. “The New Zealand mud snail can be extremely prolific, has altered the food chain, and may be having an impact on fish populations in Western streams. We don’t know what the impact will be in Wisconsin, but we do know that there is no good way to eradicate the snails so we are focusing on containing them as quickly as we can and ask for citizens’ help in doing that as well.”
Kevin Irons, Aquatic Nuisance Species Program manager for IDNR fisheries said the New Zealand mud snail has, to date, only been found in the Illinois waters of Lake Michigan, and the spread is facilitated by water users.
“Where found in creeks, anglers, hunters, and trappers can transport snails, most commonly on boots, waders, and equipment such as duck decoy anchors,” Irons said. “We want water users to remember our motto when leaving a body of water to ‘Stop Aquatic Hitchhikers!’ – and to ‘Be a Hero – Transport Zero.’”
The ‘Be a Hero – Transport Zero’ campaign recommends three simple steps: 1) Remove plants animals and mud equipment; 2) Drain all water from your boat and gear; and 3) Dry everything thoroughly with a towel.
More information about cleaning your equipment can be found at www.transportzero.org.
Dane County, Wisconsin is approximately 25 miles from the Illinois state line, meaning New Zealand mud snails are only about 45 miles from Illinois streams.
These snails can be transported by mud on waders, decoy weights, boats and trailers, or other clothing and equipment that they may come in contact with.
“There is little that we can do to target and detect these types of species without the help of sportsmen and women. We depend on best practices and cleaning equipment that will reduce the spread of these and other nuisance species into and across Illinois,” Irons added.
To find out more about the New Zealand mud snail, check the USGS Nonindigenous Aquatic Species website at http://nas.er.usgs.gov/queries/FactSheet.aspx?SpeciesID=1008.
The Wisconsin DNR press release on most recent finding in the Midwest can be viewed at http://illinoisisam.blogspot.com/2013/11/new-zealand-mud-snails-discovered-in.html.
Be A Hero – Transport Zero campaign video can be found at http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=z83g72eZ1RM
To report New Zealand mud snail locations or other Aquatic Nuisance Species, please call the Illinois ANS Program office at 217-785-8772.
For a photo image of the mud snail, check the Invasive.org website at this link:
Thursday, November 21, 2013
Monday, December 9th, 2013
9:00 am to 2:00 pm
Amur honeysuckle (Lonicera maackii) is spreading rapidly throughout Southern Illinois, and has the potential to cause significant ecological and economic damage to forests. Volunteers are needed to help collect information on the location of plants throughout the Trail of Tears State Forest, so that we may inform Invasive Species Strike Team control efforts in 2014. The State Forest and surrounding area is designated as a Conservation Opportunity Area (COA) by the Illinois Wildlife Action Plan. Located in the Illinois Ozarks Natural Division, this site contains diverse wildlife habitat, as well as high species biodiversity. Please help conserve our forest resources by targeting this invasive plant.
We will meet at the Trail of Tears State Forest – Historic White Barn (3240 State Forest Road, Jonesboro, IL 62952). You will find directions to the site at this link: http://goo.gl/maps/G632u (Latitude 37.485169; Longitude -89.358735). Also here is a map of the site: http://dnr.state.il.us/lands/landmgt/parks/sitemaps/trail.gif
Volunteers will be briefed on survey protocol and Amur honeysuckle identification. Maps of the site will be provided. Volunteers will walk the fire trails along the ridges in the southern area of the forest, identifying plants and recording the locations of infestations. Volunteers should dress for the weather and be prepared to walk some distance, occasionally traversing steep terrain. Lunch will be provided (chili with meat), but participants should bring something to drink. Volunteers are also encouraged to bring a clipboard and/or GPS unit to collect latitude and longitude of plants to record on data sheets (if you have them).
Please contact River to River CWMA Coordinator, Karla Gage, if you would like to RSVP or if you need more information: firstname.lastname@example.org 618-303-6603 (call or text).
This event is organized by the River to River Cooperative Weed Management Area and the Illinois Wildlife Action Plan – Invasive Species Campaign.
Thursday, November 7, 2013
|Cathy McGlynn and Ben Haberthur, TogetherGreen Award Recipients|
Chicago Region, IL (November 7, 2013) – Toyota and the National Audubon Society today announced that a Toyota TogetherGreen Fellowship will be awarded to a Glencoe-based Coordinator of the Northeast Illinois Invasive Plant Partnership and a Toyota TogetherGreen Innovation Grant will be awarded to a Geneva-based Restoration Ecologist of the Forest Preserve District of Kane County. After a competitive nationwide selection process, Catherine McGlynn was selected for the year-long fellowship program and a $10,000 grant and Ben Haberthur was selected for the year-long grantee program and a $55,928 grant.
Haberthur will expand on the project for which he received a fellowship in 2012. http://www.togethergreen.org/grants/grant/veterans-helping-veterans-through-conservation-action Veteran volunteers will continue to restore Dick Young Forest Preserve during veteran volunteer work days. In addition, restoration training will be provided to four veterans who will be hired for the Veterans Conservation Corps. The job ad is available here (http://www.applitrack.com/kaneforest/onlineapp/jobpostings/view.asp?internaltransferform.Url=)
McGlynn will launch a project to raise awareness about invasive garden plants in the Hispanic community in Waukegan, IL. http://www.togethergreen.org/fellows/fellow/catherine-mcglynn Bilingual workshops, Midwest Invasive Plant Network Landscape Alternatives brochures, and some homeowner facts sheets will be offered early next spring throughout the city. Three native Spanish speakers associated with NIIPP have agreed to help with this project- Windsor Aguirre (DePaul University), and MartÍn and Georgina Valenzuela (Fermilab Natural Areas).
“Toyota TogetherGreen Fellows and Grantees help people engage with nature. They look like America: diverse, passionate, and patriotic,” said Audubon President and CEO David Yarnold (@david_yarnold). “They are environmental heroes and we’re excited to give them a chance to invent the future.”
The Toyota TogetherGreen Fellowship and Grants Program invests in conservation leaders of all backgrounds, providing them with resources, visibility and a growing peer network to help them lead communities nationwide to a healthier environmental future. Since 2008, more than 240 conservation leaders from across the country have been awarded Toyota TogetherGreen Fellowships and Grants. They have engaged nearly 150,000 people in a wide variety of conservation efforts nationwide.
A complete list of 2013 Toyota TogetherGreen Fellows and details about their conservation projects can be found at www.togethergreen.org/fellows. The complete list of 2013 Toyota TogetherGreen Grantees and details about their conservation projects can be found at www.togethergreen.org/grants.
About Toyota TogetherGreen
Toyota and the National Audubon Society launched the Toyota TogetherGreen initiative in 2008 to foster diverse environmental leadership and invest in innovative conservation ideas. Toyota TogetherGreen funding recipients have improved more than 30,000 acres of habitat, mobilized 420,000 individuals, conserved 15 million gallons of water and leveraged $10.5 million in volunteer hours. For more information, visit www.togethergreen.org.
Monday, November 4, 2013
|photo from invasive.org|
The discovery, the first in an inland Midwestern stream, is spurring the state to begin rapid response procedures to try to contain the snail, and to call on waterfowl hunters, trappers anglers and hikers to take precautions to avoid accidentally spreading the species.
“This is a significant and disappointing find in Wisconsin,” says Bob Wakeman, who coordinates the Department of Natural Resources aquatic invasive species efforts. “The New Zealand mud snail can be extremely prolific, has altered the food chain and may be having an impact on fish populations in Western streams.”
“We don’t know what the impact will be in Wisconsin, but we do know that there is no good way to eradicate the snails so we are focusing on containing them as quickly as we can and ask for citizens’ help in doing that as well.”
Wakeman says DNR has notified partners of the discovery, and will work with citizens, the River Alliance of Wisconsin, Trout Unlimited, University of Wisconsin-Extension, Wisconsin Sea Grant and Dane County to contain the species through increasing awareness of prevention steps among those who might inadvertently help spread the snail: hunters, anglers, trappers and hikers.
Signage, and wash stations along the area where the invasive species has been detected are among the educational efforts likely to be used, Wakeman says.
The department’s discovery of the snail during routine monitoring for aquatic invasive species was confirmed earlier this month by Dr. Kathryn Perez from University of Wisconsin-La Crosse, who identified all individuals in the samples as belonging to the “Clone 1” population, previously found only in the western states as far east as Colorado. A “Clone 2” population also exist in the Great Lakes, which arrived by ballast water.
The New Zealand mud snail, the size of a grain of sand, has a black and brown shell and is capable of reaching high densities – up to 500,000 per square meter. The snails outcompete native insects that are food for fish and other aquatic life but are not good food sources themselves.
The snails are listed as a prohibited species in Wisconsin, meaning it’s illegal to buy, sell, possess or transfer them without a permit.
Although trout season on the creek has closed for winter, hunters, hikers and trappers visiting the Driftless area should take care to review gear disinfection protocols – particularly for waders, where the tiny snails can cling to rubber or mud.
“This is why it’s so important to clean your equipment before leaving a lake or stream -- and ask your friends and guests to do the same,” Wakeman says. “We need everyone’s vigilance to help contain this invasive species.”
Take these prevention steps after leaving the water to keep Wisconsin streams healthy:
• Inspect and remove all mud and debris that might harbor snails from your boots, waders, boats and other gear with a stiff brush. If possible, rinse with tap water before leaving the river. If you are going home, let your gear freeze for 6-8 hours or dry it in a warm place (85 degree Fahrenheit) for 24 hours to kill mud snails.
• Drain water from boat, motor, bilge, decoys and other water containing devices before leaving water access (before launching, after loading and before transporting on a public highway).
FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT: Bob Wakeman, 262-719-0740; David Rowe 608-275-3282
More information about New Zealand mud snail