Friday, June 29, 2012

Guest Article - Northeast Illinois Invasive Plant Partnership

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.  Our first such article comes from Cathy McGlynn, coordinator of the Northeast Illinois Invasive Plant Partnership.  All of the guest articles can be viewed HERE.

Northeast Illinois Invasive Plant Partnership
by Cathy McGlynn

Invasive plants are expensive. In addition to the ecological costs of plant invasions that we often find hard to put a dollar value on, Illinois spends millions of dollars controlling and managing these species to protect native habitats and their biodiversity. Folks in northern Illinois recently set up a cooperative weed management area so that many agencies and organizations could share resources, expertise, and information because it’s more effective to work on invasive plant issues as a group across property boundaries than individually.

 The Northeast Illinois Invasive Plant Partnership (NIIPP) was established in August of 2010 with Great Lakes Restoration Initiative funds ( It focuses on the control and management of, and raising public awareness about, invasive plants. We emphasize prevention and early detection/rapid response for dealing with invasive plants – these are the most effective methods known for dealing with biological invasions.

We collaborate with Illinois-Indiana Sea Grant on the Stop Aquatic Hitchhikers! Clean Boats Crew program, which focuses on raising public awareness about aquatic invasive plants at boat launches, marinas, and fishing areas. Our site leaders talk with people all along the Illinois and Indiana Lake Michigan shorelines, providing folks with information about how they can maintain their boats, kayaks, canoes, jet skis, and fishing equipment in a way that decreases their chances of transferring invasive plants and animals among lakes, ponds, and rivers. Last summer we talked with about 1,000 people. Additional information about the program can be found at

Clean Boats Crew in action at Waukegan Harbor, Summer 2011

In addition to talking with the public and as part of a collaboration with the Midwest Invasive Plant Network, NIIPP has been surveying box stores and green industry suppliers about the sale and production of particular ornamental plants. Novelty and beauty are high priority for many gardeners and in order to fill this demand nurseries import plants from around the world. Many of these plants stay where they are planted, but some “escape” from landscaped areas to natural areas and crowd out native plants. When numbers of native plants are reduced the native animals that relied upon them for food and shelter are left to find those resources elsewhere. Our aim is to reduce the production and purchase of these “invasive” ornamental plants. More information about invasive ornamental plants can be found at and

Early Detection and Rapid Response
New and Common Invaders Workshop, 
St. Charles Park District, Fall 2011
NIIPP works closely with the New Invaders Watch Program, an early detection/rapid response program that has been tracking the arrival or potential arrival of invasive plants to the northeastern Illinois region since 2003. We train natural areas managers, volunteer stewards, and the general public to recognize and, we hope, report populations of plants that are infrequently or rarely found in this region. Small populations are much easier and cheaper to eradicate and we can readily reduce impacts on the native animals of the invaded habitats, too. The latest Target Species list can be found at

The Illinois Department of Natural Resources Aquatic Nuisance Species Program has recently made the development of an early detection/rapid response plan for Hydrilla verticillata a high priority. NIIPP is working with the Chicago Botanic Garden and Lake County Health Department to provide education and outreach to lake monitors, anglers, and the general public about this aquatic plant. Because this plant is able to spread so quickly and can be very difficult to remove once it has become established, a rapid response team that would quickly verify reports and eradicate Hydrilla is also being created. Information about Hydrilla can be found here and

NIIPP recently launched the Chicagoland Strike Team to eradicate the population of Japanese Stiltgrass reported in July of 2011 ( It was the only known population in northern Illinois. The population was spread across both public and private lands and the portion on public lands had already been eradicated. The Strike Team was brought in to work on the private property. NIIPP coordinated the efforts of Lake County Forest Preserve District, Tallgrass Restoration, LLC, Forest Preserve District of Will County, and the Illinois Department of Natural Resources to control the population.
Doug DeWitt of Tallgrass Restoration gives a demonstration about
 backpack sprayer use to IDNR summer interns 2012 
IDNR summer interns set out to “search and destroy” 
Japanese stiltgrass in Wilmington, IL 2012 

In addition to its Strike Team work, NIIPP recently awarded small grants to help with on-the-ground control of invasive plants conducted by Chicago Park District, Kane County Forest Preserve District, and the Forest Preserve District of DuPage County ( And some of our partners are conducting research on what control methods work for invasive plant species about which little is known-the Forest Preserve Districts provide the land and herbicide and our Steering Committee member provides the experimental design and data collection protocol.
Wild Chervil control research plot in Campton Township, Spring  2012
Control of tall goldenrod at Montrose Beach Dunes, 
Chicago Park District, Summer 2011

The Northeast Illinois Invasive Plant Partnership is a community of organizations that will continue to work together toward the prevention and control of new invasions and the control of existing invasions by raising public awareness and sharing resources. Our ultimate goal is to put ourselves out of business, but in the meantime we’re keeping very busy!!

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Presentations from Missouri Invasive Species Conference Available online

The Missouri Department of Conservation held a great workshop on invasive plant management in St. Louis in May, 2012.  The workshop went for two days, with the first day being dedicated to aquatic plants and the second to terrestrial. 

All of the presentations from the workshop are available to view at:

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Meet your Illinois Invaders!

The focus of this website and news blog is to raise awareness about invasive species in Illinois.  Perhaps one of the easiest ways to do this is to simply show some pictures of the species that are invading Illinois.  Below are images of just a few of the invasive species here in the state.  If you want to learn more about these species or find information on the rest of the invaders, go to our species of concern page at:

Asian Carp

One of the best known (and ugliest!) invasive species in Illinois.  'Asian Carp' actually refers to two species, silver carp (top of picture) and bighead carp (bottom of picture).

And yes, they do jump (at least the silver carp do)

Emerald Ash Borer

David Cappaert,

Another invader that has been in the news a lot lately.  Emerald ash borer, even though it isn't a strong flier, is actually spreading rapidly across the state.

Illinois Department of Agriculture

Of course their spread is aided by us when we move firewood around.  A fact that has prompted posters and publications such as the one above.

Garlic Mustard

The little green herb that could.  Garlic mustard has marched across Illinois and can now be found invading woodlands across the state.

Thousand Cankers Disease

Whitney Cranshaw,

This invader is actually not in Illinos yet, but we are keeping an eye out for it.  This disease is caused by a fungus and vectored by an insect.  It attacks black walnuts and poses a big threat here in our walnut-rich state.

Leafy Spurge

It's time to purge the spurge!  I've always thought this was a weird-looking plant with its strange, greenish-yellow flowers.  It's in northern Illinois and we want it out of the state.

Zebra Mussel


Zebra mussel and its cousin the Quagga mussel are small mollusks but big problems.  These two can clog up water pipes, choke out native mussels, and generally wreak havoc to aquatic systems.

Bush Honeysuckle

This shrub can change a forest like nothing else.  Infestations can push out understory plants and stop tree reproduction.  One look at those berries tells you that birds spread this thing around.

Bush honeysuckle keep their leaves a lot longer in the fall than our native shrubs, so at least finding this plant is easy.

These were just a few of Illinois' Invasive Species.  From time to time we may do similar posts, highlighting different species.  As always, be sure to check out for more information about invasive species in Illinois and what is going on to address them.

Monday, June 11, 2012

MIPN/IPAW 2011 Conference talks are now available on the MIPN website

The talks from the MIPN/IPAW Invasive Plant Symposium held in Milwaukee in December 2011 are now posted on the MIPN website in PDF format.  
Please take a look at

Thursday, June 7, 2012

The Hunt for Invasive Species Slogans – 1st Edition

I’ve always been intrigued with creativity that is put to good use.  As I’m sure you know, a catchy or funny slogan or saying can really make an advertisement memorable (for example, you can't hear 'Where’s the Beef?' without thinking of Wendy's).  From working with invasive species over the last ten years, I've come to the conclusion that there are a lot of creative, funny, and/or odd things out there when it comes to invasive species educational material.
I’m starting a series of posts to highlight some of the more memorable and fun slogans that you can find on publications, bumper stickers, and t-shirts.   
If you know of some slogans that haven’t been posted here, please send them to
These slogans seem to fit into three broad categories: Play-off, Alliteration, and Rhyming.  Here in this first post, I am going to concentrate on The Play-off.
*UPDATE:  The second, third, and fourth posts in this series are posted and available at RHYMING, ALLITERATION, and MASCOTS
The Play-off
Take a familiar saying and change it just enough to 1.) focus the saying on invasive species and 2.) avoid any copyright infringement.  These slogans rely on familiarity to draw people in and become exposed to their message.

“Don’t Move a Mussel”
h/t Kim Bogenschutz

Targeting both Zebra and Quagga Mussels, this is a simple, effective message.  Arizona and Iowa both can lay claim to using this one, but I’ll let them fight it out to determine who actually came up with it first.  I love that this is being used in print and even up on boat ramp signs.

“Give them an inch and they’ll take an acre”

Another one of these oft-used slogans.  I’ve seen this one in many places, but since Cal-IPC’s material was the first to pop up on my internet search, they get the honor of having their ad being used.

“Carpe Weedum: Seize the Weed!”
This has to be one of my all-time favorite slogans.  Unfortunately I don't have a picture to go with it.  For some reason, I love how they forced the word “weed” into Latin.  My hat’s off to whomever actually came up with this.  I first saw it on a T-shirt in 2008 complete with a drawing of a hand grasping a weed.  If anybody has more information or, better yet, a picture of one of those t-shirts, please let me know!   Some internet searching did reveal that other groups of ‘weed’ enthusiasts are now using this slogan as well but I am steadfast in believing that it started with the invasive species ‘weed’ people first.

“I’ve been knotty this year”

This one doesn’t quite fit into any of the three categories but is somewhat of a play-off so I added it here.  Highlighting the troublesome Japanese Knotweed, this is from the Invasive Species Weblog.  Best of all, you can order buttons with this on it from

“Hello Invasive Species.  Goodbye Texas”
h/t Damon Wait

Texans seem to do everything big.  Not content to simply come up with a slogan that plays off of the popular Texas Tourism saying, instead they come up with this slogan and then expand it to an entire ad campaign that focuses on a ton of different species.  The one above is obviously about Giant Salvinia.  The salvinia infestation added to the father/son picture is the perfect touch!

Wanted DEAD, not Alive

Another common saying here put to good use by Wildlife Forever.  Each one of those wanted posters features a different invasive species with "Wanted DEAD, not Alive" up at the top.  The old-timey print, faded background, and bullet holes tie right in to the play-off with this saying.

Asian Carp Cuisine: Recipes to "wet" your appetite

h/t Kim Bogenschutz

Coming right out of Illinois through the Illinois-Indiana SeaGrant and Illinois Natural History Survey, this is a straightforward statement with just a hint of play-off.  I’m glad they added the quotation marks around “wet” to emphasize that this was intentional and not just a misspelling of “whet.”  I’ve still not tried eating Asian Carp, but when I do, I’m going to use some of the recipes found in this publication.

Looks Can Kill

I'm showing my age a bit here, but I remember seeing this poster for National Invasive Weed Awareness Week (NIWAW) in 2006 long before it became NISAW (changed the name to invasive species from weed).  No wasting space on this slogan, just stating the simple facts that, though they are pretty, these invasive plants can kill.  The drawing of purple loosestrife with its roots engulfing the world is a bit dramatic, but does grab your attention.

I am really impressed with the creativity on display and think this really does help raise awareness about invasive species.  Keep an eye out for future posts on this blog about this subject as I cover Rhyming and Alliteration categories.  I also want to capture pictures of cool invasive species mascots as well.  Again, if you come across good examples of invasive species slogans, sayings, or ad campaigns please send them to

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Some songs about aquatic invasive species

Coming out of University of Wisconsin Extension are some are some very creative songs about preventing the spread of Aquatic Invasive Species.  My favorite line is
Clean off that debris...throw it in the trash can
Drain out all your water; yeah, let it splash, man...

You can listen to all of these songs at:

Monday, June 4, 2012

2012 Illinois Invasive Species Awareness Month wrap-up

May has come and gone in 2012 and so has Invasive Species Awareness Month.  This year, 67 events were held across Illinois!  A big thanks goes out to all of the agencies, groups, and organizations that hosted events this year.

Events were varied and included volunteer workdays, webinars, guided hikes, presentations to school groups, and an awards ceremony.

We want to keep this momentum going so start planning early for 2013, let's see if we can get up to 100 events next May!

As always, keep an eye on our ISAM facebook page at or website at for more information on invasive species in Illinois.