Here is a great interview with the author of the book "Eating Aliens: One Man's Adventures Hunting Invasive Animal Species".
Tuesday, October 30, 2012
Tuesday, October 2, 2012
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 Kelly Estes with the Illinois CAPS program. The CAPS program is the epitome of Early Detection and Rapid Response through cooperative efforts. All of the guest articles can be viewed HERE.
While a central geographic location and a superior transportation
system afford Illinois a competitive advantage over many other states in
commodity movement, these same factors make Illinois extremely vulnerable to
accidentally or purposely introduced exotic pests. The U.S. imports nearly $400
billion in goods from the Pacific Rim; more than $125 billion from China alone.
The busiest corridor in the U.S. for transporting intermodal containers by rail
runs from Long Beach, California, to Chicago, Illinois, and Chicago in
particular is home to the largest rail gateway in the nation, connecting
eastern and western United States and Canada. An excellent highway system of
2,000 miles and 34,500 miles of other state highways make trucking of goods
fast and efficient. More than 65 million travelers pass through Chicago’s
O’Hare International Airport annually. Illinois’ 1,118 miles of navigable
waterways including the Illinois and Mississippi Rivers, make barge traffic an
excellent option for shipment of grain to the Gulf of Mexico and shipment of
imported steel and machinery upriver. However, any activity that allows the
rapid movement of commodities also allows the development of fast-moving pest
pathways. These fast moving pathways not only cut through Illinois’ agricultural
commodity regions, but its natural areas as well. Illinois woodlands, wetlands,
and prairies may also be affected by the potential invasion of exotic pests.
Many of the invasive threats have a large host range. Not only will a potential
invasive pest affect the Illinois economy, but it may also affect the beauty of
our landscape, the diversity of our environment, and lead to the destruction of
the first line of defense remains preventing the entry of exotic plant pests,
domestic detection and response activities are equally important in the event
that dangerous foreign plant pests enter the U.S. A primary objective of the Cooperative Agriculture Pest Survey (CAPS)
program is to safeguard our nation’s food and environmental security from
exotic pests that threaten our production and ecological systems. Surveys
conducted through the CAPS program represent a second line of defense against
harmful plant pests and weeds. These surveys not only target high-risk hosts
and commodities, but also gather information about pests that were recently
introduced to establish better baseline data. These activities are accomplished
primarily under USDA funding that is provided through cooperative agreements
with state departments of agriculture, universities, and other entities.
Surveys targeting high risk hosts
and commodities. Over the past years, the CAPS program has shifted its strategy
from being solely “pest-specific,” to a format for surveying for several pests
based on commodities, taxons, environments and habitats, industries and
businesses, and pest introduction pathways. Each state, with input from federal
and state CAPS partners, industry partners, university representatives, and
others meets to discuss potential survey targets each year. These stakeholders
help set survey priorities based on a prioritized PPQ pest list (based on risk
of introduction and regulatory concern) and each state’s resources, hosts,
climates, and other factors.
Currently, the Illinois CAPS program is finishing up its 2012
survey season. Our focus this last summer was on invasive pests of fruit trees
in Illinois. Insect traps were deployed across the state for the False Codling
Moth, Plum Fruit Moth, and Summer Fruit Tortrix Moth. All three of these moths
have an extremely large host range that could impact several fruit commodities
grown in Illinois. A second part of this survey looked for two state pests of
concern – the brown marmorated stink bug and spotted wing drosophila. To date, we
have confirmed spotted wing drosophila in several Illinois counties.
We are also in our second year of surveying for thousand cankers disease (TCD)
in Illinois. It was our first year in utilizing a newly released lindgren
funnel trap and pheromone combination that attracts the vector of TCD, the
walnut twig beetle. While samples are still being processed from this past
summer, we are looking forward to getting these traps out again in 2013.
Surveying for Illinois Invasives with the CAPS Program
by Kelly Estes
exotic bark beetles
Gathering data on recently introduced pests. Information gathered during surveys is summarized and entered into National Agricultural Pest Information System (NAPIS) database. The NAPIS database stores and manages pest survey data that is collected by CAPS and other USDA-APHIS-PPQ programs. Maps are summarized and made available to the public through the NAPIS Pest Tracker Website. The Pest Tracker Website provides maps detailing surveys conducted around the U.S. for different invasive species as well as sharing links to pest news and information for the different states.
|Survey results for 2011 TCD Survey|
Also in 2013, we will be starting a new survey targeting oak pests. Over 53% of the forest cover in Illinois consists of oak and hickory – and this doesn’t include any oaks planted in urban areas. There are several invasive oak pests that if established in Illinois, would not only threaten the diversity of our natural areas, but dramatically impact our forest product industry and nursery trade. Pheromone traps will be placed targeting the oak ambrosia beetle, Egyptian cottonworm moth, rosy gypsy moth, and golden tortrix moth. We are also excited to be utilizing a new biosurveillance survey technique that monitors Cerceris wasp colonies. This buprestid-hunting wasp offers another approach to monitor for not only emerald ash borer, but also the oak splendour beetle, goldspotted oak borer, and European oak borer. The thousand cankers disease survey will continue with both walnut twig beetle trapping and monitoring the visual health of walnuts across the state.
Kelly Estes is the State Survey Coordinator for the Illinois CAPS program. Please check out the CAPS blog and website to keep up to date on invasive species information in Illinois.