Monday, July 30, 2012

New Illinois laws regarding transport of aquatic plants

Gov. Pat Quinn signed into law an amendment of the Boater Registration and Safety Act that requires aquatic plants or animals to be removed from the exteriors of seaplanes and watercraft before putting them into or transporting them away from a body of water. 

Here is a synopsis of HB3888:

Amends the Boat Registration and Safety Act. Provides that no person may place or operate a vehicle, seaplane, watercraft, or other object of any kind in waters of this State if it has any aquatic plants or aquatic animals attached to the exterior of the vehicle, seaplane, watercraft, or other object. Provides that no person may take off with a seaplane, or transport or operate a vehicle, watercraft, or other object of any kind on a highway with aquatic plants or aquatic animals attached to the exterior of the seaplane, vehicle, watercraft, or other object. Provides exceptions. Provides that a person must comply with instructions given by a law enforcement officer who has reason to believe that the person is in violation of the new provisions. Provides that the Department of Natural Resources shall produce and make copies available of a notice containing a summary of the new provisions and that owners of boat access sites must post and maintain a copy of the notice.

This is an important piece of legislation and a great first step at reducing the spread of aquatic invasive species in Illinois. 

To read the full version of the amendment, click HERE

Monday, July 23, 2012

Guest Article - Clifftop

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 Pen and Carl Daubach from the Clifftop group.  All of the guest articles can be viewed HERE.

Clifftop - Conserving Lands in Farm, Forest, Talus or Prairie
by Pen and Carl Daubach

Clifftop--Conserving Lands in Farm, Forest, Talus or Prairie--was founded in 2006 to preserve and protect Mississippi River bluff lands and wildlife habitat in Monroe, St. Clair and Randolph Counties. The goal was straightforward: work together to improve natural area conservation in the region.
            The Illinois Wildlife Action Plan (IWAP), released in 2005, framed a pretty good general blueprint for what needed to be done, and earmarked our region, the Hill Prairie and Karst Sinkhole Plain Conservation Opportunity Areas (COA), as important natural areas worthy of redoubled conservation efforts.
            The 40-mile long, 5-mile wide COA corridor contains 130,000 acres; 38,000 acres are designated Illinois Natural Area Inventory (INAI) sites, due to their ecological features and importance. The corridor is host to 48 listed threatened or endangered species. Nearly half of Illinois' remaining loess hill prairie acreage and one third of the state's remaining rare limestone glade habitats can be found in the COA. Five thousand acres in the COA are permanently protected; the state owns 2100 acres; the other acreage is privately held, but protected with conservation easements, largely registered with the Illinois Nature Preserves Commission (INPC).   
            In 2007, Clifftop facilitated bringing all the active conservation players in the COA (IDNR, INPC, NRCS, U of I Extension, HeartLands Conservancy, the Salt Lick Point Stewardship Committee, and the Friends of Stemler Nature Preserves) together and we developed our own iteration of IWAP, the Southwestern Illinois Wildlife Action Plan, to set definitive goals and lay out divisions of labor to implement IWAP. Clifftop serves as the administrative agent for the SWIWAP Partnership.
            Battling Non Native Invasive Species (NNIS) is central to the SWIWAP partnership's goals.  Bush honeysuckle and mimosa are problematic in the hill prairies; bush and Japanese honeysuckles, Tree-of-Heaven and garlic mustard, in various degrees, are well established in our upland forests and along the talus slope of our bluffs. Native, but invasive, sugar maples, particularly along shady and moister north faces, are seriously thwarting oak and hickory recruitment throughout the COA corridor’s forests.
            The SWIWAP Partnership set to work in 2008 looking for programmatic funding to incentivize private landowners to take on their invasives, and to augment IDNR efforts to tackle NNIS on state-owned lands.
            We have been very fortunate in cobbling together funds from several directions. IDNR orchestrated a large USF&WS State Wildlife Grant for hill prairie restoration work on registered reserves and preserves. In addition, IDNR reprogrammed internal funding to address NNIS on several state-owned sites. Taken together, since 2009, IDNR has committed almost $200,000 for conservation contractors to take on NNIS and to do additional prairie restoration work on about 2000 acres.
            In 2008, the Landowner Incentive Program (LIP), a USFS initiative administered by IDNR, became available as cost-share monies for private landowners in our COA. Clifftop recruited six landowners during the three-year life of the program, and $200,000 was contracted toward NNIS eradication and timber stand improvement on 450 privately held acres.
            In late 2008, in a first-ever-in-Illinois program, Clifftop and NRCS signed a Cooperative Conservation Partnership Initiative agreement to muster additional USDA Farm Bill conservation funding for the COA, through the Environmental Quality Incentive Program and Wildlife Habitat Incentive Program, to provide cost-share monies for landowners to address NNIS and conduct additional beneficial practices. To date, $600,000 for 60 landowners on 3000 acres has been contracted.
            In total, since 2009, the partnership has brought slightly over one million dollars to the COA for work on nearly 5500 acres. The lion's share of the funding has enabled work on dedicated / registered Nature Preserves, Land & Water Reserves, and INAI sites. Nearly half of those monies went to NNIS control.
            But 5500 acres is a drop in the bucket for a 130,000-acre COA. And, given the vicissitudes of federal allocations for conservation practices and the vagaries and life expectancies of the alphabet soup of federal conservation programs, the burden and responsibility for NNIS control ultimately rests with private landowners working on their own time and money.
            We developed public information and outreach programs that have gained landowner interest. A local newspaper – the Monroe County Independent -- features our monthly newspaper article series on the natural history of the corridor.  Our goal is not simply to demonize NNIS – though we regularly do that – but to also feature the benefits of a healthy landscape that retains native plants and natural biodiversity. When we do attack NNIS in print we use a 100% solution of verbal venom and offer practical advice on recognizing and controlling pest plant species. Our website reflects the same dual message: the benefits of natural native biodiversity and the role of NNIS in altering, diminishing and eliminating our native ecological systems.

"How not to kill bush honeysuckle" 
Innovative advertising (click to expand) 

            We also have instituted two hands-on practical workshops each year -- one at the Salt Lick Point Land & Water Reserve and one at Stemler Cave Woods Nature Preserve -- to show people how to identify and treat NNIS in our corridor.  Our “hook” for these annual events is a gentle tease and parody of a cherished local autumn tradition: competitive target-shooting contests called “meat shoots.” Our “Suckle Shoots” advertisements show people How Not to Kill Bush Honeysuckle, but promise attendees lessons in “tracking, spotting and killing this non-native invasive plant.”
            Our annual suckle shoots are well attended by volunteers and significant numbers of bush honeysuckle indeed “get gone” by the end of each event. An equally important side benefit also has occurred – because “the natives” enjoyed our parody of their meat shoots and laugh at the very thought of aiming gun or bow at a shrub, our digital and paper fliers get distributed into very wide circulation, increasing the reach of our message about the evils of non-native invasive plants.
            Incentivizing landowners – whether through cost-share programs or just with a laugh – continues to help Clifftop make war on non-native invasive plant species.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

No Asian Carp found in Lake Calumet after 3-day intensive search

Chris McCloud-IDNR: 217-785-0075      
Katie Steiger-Meister-USFWS: 612-713-5317     
Lynne Whelan- USACE- 312-846-5330

The Asian Carp Regional Coordinating Committee (ACRCC) announced today that no Asian carp were found during a three-day intensive search for the invasive species in Lake Calumet within the Chicago Area Waterway System (CAWS).  The Level 1 response was triggered after three consecutive rounds of Environmental DNA (eDNA) sampling yielded positive results for silver carp DNA.

The ACCRC’s 2012 Monitoring and Rapid Response Plan calls for a Level 1 response to three consecutive rounds of positive eDNA results in one area.  While Lake Calumet is regularly monitored for the presence of Asian carp, a Level 1 response added commercial fishing crews as well as additional electrofishing boats, larger sweeping nets called seines, and additional sampling gear to the area during an intensive four-day fishing period.

The response was conducted between July 11-13, 2012 by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, U.S. Geological Survey, Illinois Department of Natural Resources, and Illinois Natural History Survey- University of Illinois. 

The crews strategically placed over six miles of various net types throughout the Lake Calumet area including the deployment of half-mile long seine nets on three separate occasions to sweep large portions of the area.  Electrofishing boats fished more than 10 miles of shoreline areas to drive fish toward the nets.  The response also deployed new net technologies developed specifically for Asian carp including, for the first time, pound nets to isolate Lake Calumet and prevent fish movement in and out.  Additionally, other new gear being developed for Asian carp detection, including deep water gill nets and six-foot hoop nets, were deployed as part of this response action. 

The new pound nets were equipped with boat-ways to allow boat passage during this extended deployment, and commercial and private vessel traffic was able to proceed with minimal interference from the monitoring activity.  These nets will remain in place throughout the next week to gather further information on fish abundances and fish movements.  These nets may prove to be valuable in other places throughout the Illinois River.

The three-day intensive search, which totaled more than 900 hours of individual work, yielded over 6,300 fish and more than 30 different species, with no bighead or silver carp seen or captured during the efforts.

Intensive sampling operations on the CAWS by the Illinois Department of Natural Resources, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers first began on February 17, 2010 in an attempt to locate either silver or bighead Asian carp above the Electric Fish Barrier System.  Since that time, hundreds of routine monitoring trips have produced only one Asian carp (bighead) above the barrier system which was captured in June of 2010 in Lake Calumet.
Lake Calumet, which sits approximately six miles south of Lake Michigan within the Calumet River, has been routinely sampled by ACRCC crews an average of four times per month looking for Asian carp.   
The routine sampling efforts are an important and continued effort in the Asian Carp Control Strategy Framework, which includes both short and long term actions to stop the migration of Asian carp into the Great Lakes.
Commercial fishing operations will also continue to remove silver or bighead carp in downstate waters where the fish are known to be present.  Since 2010, commercial fishermen contracted by the Illinois Department of Natural Resources have removed more than 1 million pounds of Asian carp from the Illinois River well downstream of Chicago.
Sampling and monitoring continues at fixed sampling stations throughout the Chicago Area Waterway System as detailed in the ACRCC’s 2012 Monitoring and Sampling plan to search for Asian carp.  Actions are federally funded through the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative.
To view 2012 Strategic Framework or the 2012 Monitoring and Rapid Response plan please visit

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

New Quick Reference Guide to Mixing Herbicides

The River to River Cooperative Weed Management Area has just published a quick reference guide for mixing of herbicides.  It can be found at:

This guide gives the amount of herbicide needed to obtain different commonly used solution strengths for many of the standard sprayer sizes.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Online resources for invasive species information

There is a lot of great information on invasive species ecology, identification, and control available on the internet.  This high volume of information may, at times, make it difficult to determine up-to-date, relevant sources.  I wanted to share with you a few of the sites that I use regularly when looking for information on invasive species. These sites are great places to start your search.

Species Identification

-University of Georgia’s Center for Invasive Species and Ecosystem Health’s website

Distribution Information

-UGA’s Early Detection and Distribution Mapping System (EDDMapS)

Control Information

-Illinois Nature Preserve Commission’s Vegetation Management Guidelines

- USDA Forest Service – Southern Research Station’s Management Guide for Invasive Plants in Southern Forests

-Midwest Invasive Plant Network’s Invasive Plant Control Database

Spread Prevention

 -Wisconsin Council on Forestry’s Invasive Species Best Management Practices

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Article on summer invasive species activities

The River to River CWMA has posted an article titled "It's summertime, what should I be doing with my invasive plants?".  You can view the article at:

Monday, July 2, 2012

The Hunt for Invasive Species Slogans – 2nd Edition - Rhyming

We are developing a series of posts to highlight some of the more memorable and fun slogans on invasive species that you can find on publications, bumper stickers, and t-shirts.  This series on invasive species slogans will include occasional posts covering different aspects of the topic.  These slogans seem to fit into three broad categories: Play-off, Alliteration, and Rhyming.  The first post dealt with Play-off slogans.  Here in this second post, I am going to concentrate on Rhyming.
If you know of some slogans that haven’t yet been posted in this series, please send them to

*UPDATE:  The third post, on Alliteration is up and available now HERE and the fourth post, on Mascots, is available HERE.

I’m convinced that, at some level, everyone wants to be a poet.  Why else would we work rhyming into our lives everywhere we can?  During my search for invasive species-related material, I came across a lot of rhyming slogans, catch-phrases, and tag-lines. 

"Give a Hoot, Give Weeds the Boot!"

Nobody meshes environmental education and rhyming better than Woodsy Owl.  For years, Woodsy has been the voice against pollution and littering, but at least in this one instance, he ventured over to invasive species.  This statement was the tag line for an entire invasive weed activity kit for children developed by the USDA Forest Service in 2003.  I have a hard-copy of this kit, but have not been able to find it online anywhere so you are just going to have to take my word that this is real.  Along with the catchy rhyming slogan, the kit comes with a series of posters on invasive species, including this one with a sinister-looking yellow starthistle and a very worried horse.

I wouldn't want to run into that plant in a dark alley

"Emerald Ash Borer:  Unlucky for Kentucky"

This is definitely one of my all-time favorite invasive species slogans.  Perhaps my opinion is swayed by the fact that I am from Kentucky or that I own a tote-bag with this logo on it.  We're the coolest family at the supermarket when we load up our groceries into this tote!  The rhyming slogan is great, but the entire thing reaches a new level of awesome with the addition of the horse preparing to squash the upside-down emerald ash borer.  I would love to know who designed this so that I can give them proper credit.

*UPDATE:  I just got a note in from the fine folks over in KY with the answer to my question.  This logo was designed by the University of Kentucky's Joe Collins.  Great job Joe!

"Start to Care... Stop AIS from being there"
This nice slogan came out of a marine biology class project at Newport High School in Newport, Oregon.  (On a side note, I wish I could've taken a marine biology course in high school, but when your school is at least fourteen hours from the closest 'marine' habitat I guess it isn't an option!)  I like this straightforward slogan.  As the picture above states, AIS stands for Aquatic Invasive Species.  This logo along with the slogan was placed on bumper stickers and sweaters and is (was?) for sale in the Newport area.   Congratulations to the class for their creativity and their desire to raise awareness about invasive species.

"Know Before You Grow"
One of my criticisms of the invasive species management community is the negativity of our messaging.  We tell folks to 'stop spreading invasive species', to 'don't pack a pest', or to 'refrain from planting invasive ornamentals'.  These are all important messages but our audience may get somewhat beaten down if all they hear is 'No, no, no!'  That is why I like the Plantwise initiative underway.  This collaborative effort does talk about the dangers of invasive species but gives the whole message a positive spin by telling their audience to plant non-invasive species, to learn about native plants in your area, and to be 'Plantwise.'  Better yet, they give you the tools necessary to do these through their partnership with the Ladybird Johnson Wildflower Center. 

"Keep Our Waters Great! Don't Dump Your Bait!"
h/t Kim Bogenschutz

Another great slogan from the aquatics people!  This one comes from the Michigan Department of Natural Resources and was on a flyer that focused on Viral Hemorrhagic Septicemia, better known as VHS.  Not only is this statement relevant to VHS, but invasive fishes, mussels, and plants can all be spread through this pathway.  I've got some bait-bucket stickers with a similar (though not rhyming) message from Illinos-Indiana Sea Grant.  Hopefully this rhyming slogan will appear on its own bait bucket sticker soon!

"CLEAN, DRAIN, DRY  Hello Fish, Invasives Goodbye!"

This slogan and ad came from the BLM.  Three simple steps, each one word, instructs the audience what to do and then the rhyming second part tells of the end results!  In this slogan, the rhyme is useful as it seems to help me remember the steps to take.  The big fish in the middle of the picture grabs your attention and makes you want to read more.  If it was up to me, all material on aquatic invasive species would feature rhyming and a huge fish!

"Slow the Spread by Boat and Tread"

Wisconsin ISAM Grand Prize winning poster
Clara Montes, Grade 5, Kohler Elementary School, Kohler, WI

Without a doubt, kids are the most creative amongst us.  The Wisconsin Invasive Species Awareness Month committee held a poster contest for 4th and 5th graders across the state.  The kids developed their posters based upon the above rhyme.  I can't tell you how much I enjoyed looking through these posters and admiring the talent, knowledge, creativity and artistry on display.  I highly recommend visiting the Wisconsin ISAM website at to view these posters.

Since we are on the topic of kids and invasive species, I want to take this opportunity to shamelessly brag on my kids. They do their part against invasive species, as evidenced by these pictures.

Cleaning boots and pulling up some garlic mustard!

Other Additions

Some rhyming slogans that I found didn't have a poster or other visual to accompany them but I want to add them into the mix anyway.  The first is an often used phrase when discussing edible invasive species.  Here it is attributed to Illinois' own Governor Quinn when talking about Asian Carp:  "If you can't beat 'em, eat 'em".  I've eaten my fair share of invasive species and I can tell you these are words to live by!

Last, is a creative double rhyme that I found in an article by Irene Shonle with Colorado State University Extension.  "Weed 'em and reap: Leave 'em and weep".  A nice slogan but really needs a cool illustration to go with it!

*UPDATE:  After posting this, Jessica Sprajcar, from the Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources, sent me a note informing me that they've been using the "Weed It & Reap" slogan as the title to a feature in their Wild!Notes newsletter since 2007!  How could I have missed that?  Best of all, this section of their newsletter features a drawing by Jessica herself of the targeted pest behind bars!  It doesn't get any better than that.  You can view the Wild!Notes archives at

Here is just one of the many great drawings by Jessica.
The sad face on the incarcerated stiltgrass
is the perfect addition to this post!

The Rhyming section of this series proved to be as creative and fun as the Play-off section.  I hope you've enjoyed reading this article as much as I enjoyed writing and researching it.  Keep an eye out for the third section on Alliteration coming soon!  And, as always, if you have good examples of invasive species slogans, please share them with me at  Also, if you have cool pictures of invasive species mascots, outfits, illustrations, etc.  Send those as well.  To follow the Illinois ISAM news blog, 'like' us at