Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Guest Article - The Continental Dialogue on Non-Native Forest Insects and Diseases

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, Illinois Forest Pest Outreach Coordinator,

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.

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

2014 Invasive pest awareness workshops will focus on emerging oak pests and diseases

Source: Stephanie Porter, 217-244-3254,

News writer: Stephanie Henry, 217-244-1183,

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:

• Identification/detection
• Life cycle/biology
• Hosts
• Sampling
• Management
• 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,

• Collinsville, Jan. 16 - Madison-Monroe-St. Clair unit branch office
Contact: Sara Ruth,

• Murphysboro, Feb. 20 - Jackson County Extension office
Contact: Sonja Lallemand,

• Rockford, Feb. 27 - Klehm Arboretum,
Contact: Candice Miller,

• Decatur, March 12 - Macon County Extension office
Contact: Jennifer Nelson,

• Joliet, March 27 - Will County Extension office
Contact: Richard Hentschel,

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.

Illinois Anglers Encouraged to be on the Lookout for Eurasian Ruffe in Illinois Waters

Eurasian Ruffe - USGS
SPRINGFIELD, IL – The Illinois Department of Natural Resources (IDNR) is asking for anglers to be on the lookout for and help with reporting any findings in Illinois waters of Eurasian ruffe, an aquatic nuisance species that has been in the Great Lakes since the mid-1980s.

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

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

Help Prevent the Spread of Invasive New Zealand Mud Snails

Recent find in Wisconsin prompts alert to Illinois residents and visitors
New Zealand Mud Snails
(Photo courtesy

SPRINGFIELD, IL – The Illinois Department of Natural Resources (IDNR) is asking for anglers, hunters, trappers and boaters to “Be A Hero, Transport Zero” and be on the lookout for a new aquatic invasive species now found in small streams of the Midwest. The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (WDNR) reports the New Zealand mud snail has been found in Black Earth Creek, Dane County, Wisconsin.

“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

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

More resources:

The Wisconsin DNR press release on most recent finding in the Midwest can be viewed at

Be A Hero – Transport Zero campaign video can be found at

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 website at this link:

Thursday, November 21, 2013

3rd Annual Bush Honeysuckle Survey Event at Trail of Tears State Forest

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:  (Latitude 37.485169; Longitude -89.358735).  Also here is a map of the site: 
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:  rtrcwma@gmail.comor 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

Ben Haberthur and Cathy McGlynn Receive Audubon Toyota TogetherGreen Awards

Cathy McGlynn and Ben Haberthur, TogetherGreen Award Recipients
Prestigious National Awards and Grants Further Efforts of Local Environmental Leaders

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. 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 (

McGlynn will launch a project to raise awareness about invasive garden plants in the Hispanic community in Waukegan, IL.  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 Mart├Źn 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 The complete list of 2013 Toyota TogetherGreen Grantees and details about their conservation projects can be found at

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

Monday, November 4, 2013

New Zealand mud snails discovered in Black Earth Creek, WI - First occurence in inland Midwest

photo from
MADISON – The invasive New Zealand mud snail that has been a problem in western U.S. streams has been detected in Black Earth Creek, a renowned trout stream in Dane County, Wisconsin.

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

Fungus that's killing millions of bats 'isn't going away'

Article from Los Anglese Times
by By Louis Sahagun

November 1, 2013, 1:27 p.m.
See original article HERE

A bat infected with white-nose syndrome. (Steven J. Taylor / University of Illinois)
University of Illinois researchers say that an infectious and lethal cold-loving fungus that has killed an estimated 6 million bats in North America can persist indefinitely in caves whether there are bats in them or not.

The fungus responsible for white-nose syndrome, which scientists know as Geomyces destructans, thrives on all the carbon and nitrogen sources found in caves – twigs, dead spiders and fish, guano, other fungi – making it a permanent menace, according to a study by mycologist Andrew Miller and graduate student Daniel Raudabaugh published this month in the online journal PLOS ONE.

“A hibernating bat is a sort of prime rib for this fungi – but the rest of the cave is its salad bar,” Miller said in an interview. “The only hope is that bats will develop some sort of immunity because the fungus isn’t going away.”

Since it was discovered in New York in 2007, the fungus has swept across 22 states as far west as Oklahoma and five Canadian provinces. A majority of the dead were little brown bats, which have lost an estimated 20% of their population in the Northeastern United States over the last six years.

The fungus seems to prefer the 25 species of hibernating bats, but each of the 45 species of bats in the United States and Canada may be susceptible to white-nose syndrome.

White-nose syndrome gets its name from the powdery, white substance that appears around muzzles, ears and wings of affected bats.

Bats with white-nose syndrome exhibit unusual behavior during cold winter months, including flying outside during the day and clustering near the entrances of caves and mines where they hibernate. Bats have been found sick and dying in unprecedented numbers near these sites during a time of year when there are no insects to eat.

Hibernating bats are vulnerable to the fungus because their internal temperature is reduced to slightly above the ambient temperature and the bat immune system is suppressed, the researchers said. The fungus degrades keratin, a key protein in skin, and causes severe skin lesions.

Mollie Matteson, a spokeswoman for the Center for Biological Diversity, described the University of Illinois study as “very troubling because it suggests that this is a very tough organism and it’s not going away any time soon, even if bats are wiped out by it.”

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Japanese stiltgrass Alert!

A population of Japanese stiltgrass (Microstegium vimineum) was recently discovered in DuPage County in Northeast Illinois. This plant is considered one of the most aggressive invaders in the forests of southern Illinois, and is known to occur across the southern edge of the Midwest . Fortunately, steps are being taken to control this population. This population, along with the discovery of populations in Will County in 2011 and in McHenry County in 2012, indicates that stiltgrass has the potential to establish anywhere in Illinois.

This species spreads quickly and is likely to show up in high-use areas such as campgrounds, picnic areas, trailheads, etc. Finding and controlling any new populations before they become well established is crucial to management. Please keep a look out for this species in the region or natural area where you work. If you find a suspect population, please report it. There are many people and programs available to help you with verification of ID and control strategies. If you are in NE Illinois, you can report populations to the New Invaders Watch Program at For areas outside of NE Illinois, you can report infestations to Chris Evans, Illinois Wildlife Action Plan Invasive Species Campaign Coordinator at See the updated alert flyer for more information on identifying stiltgrass and reporting new infestations at To learn about current management strategies, life history traits, and current research on stiltgrass, please go to the 2010 Stiltgrass Summit website at and also have a look at the stiltgrass identification guide

Please send this information on to coworkers, contractors, volunteers, forest landowners, and anyone else who would be interested in learning about this new invader.

Thank you,

Christopher Evans
Illinois Wildlife Action Plan
Invasive Species Campaign Coordinator
11731 State Hwy 37
Benton, IL 62812
Office: 618.435.8138 X 131
Cell: 618.364.7261

Debbie Maurer
Assistant Manager of Natural Resources & Ecologist
Lake County Forest Preserve District
1899 West Winchester Road
Libertyville, IL 60048
(w) 847-968-3285
(m) 847-276-6943

Cathy McGlynn
Northeast Illinois Invasive Plant Partnership
c/o Chicago Botanic Garden
1000 Lake Cook Road
Glencoe, IL 60022
O 847-242-6423 M 845-667-4981

2014 Illinois Invasive Species Awareness Month Call for Events

Invasive Species Affect Everyone!

Illinois Invasive Species Awareness Month is a statewide effort held each May to educate and inform citizens of Illinois about the threat of invasive species. The theme of 2014 Awareness Month is ‘Invasive Species Affect Everyone’. If you live in Illinois, work in Illinois, recreate in Illinois, or just simply breathe in Illinois, invasive species affect you!

Local events, presentations, workdays, and field tours are needed across the state to help make Awareness Month a success. Please consider planning an Invasive Species Related event in 2014 in Illinois . To have your events listed as part of Awareness Month and included on the ISAM calendar and website, please contact Chris Evans, ISAM coordinator at - Email:, Fax: 618-439-7376, or Mail: 11731 State Hwy 37, Benton, IL 62812. Include the following information about your event:

Event Title, Date, and Time

Event Location and Driving Directions

Description of Event and Contact

Any Other Relevant Information

  For more information on Illinois Invasive Species Awareness Month, go to  

VSN Herbicide Training & Testing Workshops 2013

Wednesday, November 20 AND Saturday, November 23, 2013
Registration Deadline: Friday, November 1
Hosted by the Volunteer Stewardship Network and the Forest Preserves of Cook County

Interested in becoming certified and licensed to use herbicides on public lands? All volunteers are invited to attend one of these train/test or test only sessions.

The Volunteer Stewardship Network is once again collaborating with the Forest Preserves of Cook County to offer volunteers an opportunity to obtain their public herbicide application license. There will be two days of training and testing opportunities with two train/test sessions and two test only sessions. The train/test sessions are limited to 50 people and the test only sessions are limited to 24 people. These spots will be open on a first-come, first-served basis with Cook County volunteers given priority, and remaining spots available to other volunteers within the Network.


Wednesday, November 20 and Saturday, November 23, 2013

Wed 11-20-13
9:00 am - 12:00 pm Test only  Capacity - 24
9:00 am – 12:00 pm, 1:00 pm - 4:00 pm Train/Test Capacity - 50

Sat 11-23-13
9:00 am - 12:00 pm Test only  Capacity - 24
9:00 am – 12:00 pm, 1:00 pm - 4:00 pm Train/Test  Capacity - 50


Both the Train/Test and Test only sessions will begin at 9 am each day. You may arrive as early as 8:30 am, but please be prompt for the actual sessions.


All sessions on both dates will be held at the Forest Preserves of Cook County’s Volunteer Resource Center located at 6100 North Central Avenue, Chicago, IL 60646. Directions at the end of this flyer.


Please bring your lunch (from noon – 1 pm) and a photo ID and calculator (please note: PDA’s and Palm Pilots are not allowed) for the testing sessions.


You are not required to attend a test session. Check with your volunteer coordinator/leader to obtain a copy of the manual and workbook. Study materials are also available by phone, fax, or mail order. Call 1-800-644-2123 for phone orders. Fax your order to 217-244-3469. To order by mail, write to the University of Illinois, PAT Program, 1201 S. Dorner Dr., Urbana, IL. 61801. Specify when ordering which study materials you would like (i.e., for the General Standards exam and/or for one of the Category tests). Allow 1-2 weeks for delivery. Forest Preserves of Cook County volunteers – order forms for manuals and workbooks are available online when your register.


These training and testing workshops are free of charge, however, the “public not-for-hire” herbicide licenses are no longer free. The cost is $15 for an Operator license and $20 for an Applicator license. Payment will be due to the IL Department of Agriculture AFTER the workshop when the agency/volunteer receives their application in the mail. Payment will be required when they return the signed application form. Volunteers may want to check with their agency on a possible reimbursement for this cost and to make sure payment is included with their follow up application form.


Please note: The Illinois Department of Agriculture does not send out renewal or retest notices until mid-November. If you are unsure if you need to re-test, contact your volunteer coordinator/leader first, then contact the Illinois Department of Agriculture’s Springfield office 217-785-2427.


Registration will be on a first-come, first-served basis. We will try our best to accommodate everyone.

Volunteers outside of the Forest Preserves of Cook County must register with Karen Tharp at by Friday, November 1, 2013. When registering, please provide: date of session requested (train/test or test only), name, phone number, landowner/sponsoring agency, what license you are pursuing (Operator or Applicator), if you are getting an Operator license, what is the name of your Applicator. If you are getting an Applicator license, what additional category you will be taking (Right-of-way and/or Aquatic). Questions call 1-866-876-5463 or Volunteers for the Forest Preserves of Cook County must register online at

Keep in mind, the training session is only a refresher. More space will be available in the test only morning sessions.

If possible, volunteers should study on their own and sign up for the test only session. The training Powerpoint presentation is available to those who want to study on their own, contact Karen Tharp at ktharp@tnc.or for a copy.


If you want to get licensed but are unable to attend these sessions, the Illinois Department of Agriculture (IDA) and Cooperative Extension Service offer other training and certification clinics, and testing is available at the IDA office in Springfield 217-785-2427 and De Kalb 815-787-5476 during the week. For training opportunities, contact the Cooperative Extension Services at 1-800-644-2123 or visit their web site However, please try to take advantage of this special training for VSN and Cook County volunteers, if at all possible.

* * * * * * * *

Volunteer Resource Center (VRC), 6100 N Central Ave, Chicago, IL 60646. Driveway, on the west side of Central, is marked by Forest Preserve sign which reads Mathew Bieszczat Volunteer Resource Center. Follow the driveway to largest, oldest Tudor cottage style building on site.

From the North, take I-94, exit at Touhy West. Take Touhy to Carpenter (Central) Ave (traffic light) and turn left onto Carpenter. Follow Carpenter/Central past Caldwell and after Prescott turn right into the VRC driveway.

From the South, take I-94, exit at Caldwell West. Follow Caldwell to Central Ave (traffic light) and turn left. Past Lehigh on Caldwell and after Prescott, turn right into the VRC driveway. Alternatively, take I-94 until exit to I-90 (stay to left) toward O’Hare Airport. Exit at Central Ave North and follow Central past Elston Ave; cross the North Branch Chicago River bridge and turn left into the VRC driveway.

From the West, take I-90 to Nagle Ave. Turn left from the exit ramp traffic light, cross the Expressway and turn right onto Bryn Mawr (traffic light). Follow Bryn Mawr to Central Ave (traffic light) and turn left. Take Central past Elston Ave; cross the North Branch Chicago River bridge and turn left into the VRC driveway.

From the East, follow Peterson Ave. across the Edens Expressway (I-94) where the road becomes Caldwell. Follow Caldwell to Central Ave (traffic light) and turn left. After Lehigh and Prescott, turn right into the VRC driveway.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Illinois First Detector 2014 Trainings - Save the Date


Early detection and response is key to managing invasive pests. Illinois First Detector Workshops are aimed at improving first detector training and invasive species awareness. Plan to attend these workshops focusing on current and emerging pests of landscape and nursery pests! Each location will have sessions devoted to emerging oak insect pests and pathogens and invasive plants. In depth training sessions will highlight identification, symptoms, management, and much more!

2014 Workshop Schedule:

  •  January 14 Peoria
  • January 16 Collinsville
  • February 20 Murphysboro
  • February 27 Rockford
  • March 12 Decatur
  • March 27 Joliet
Registration information will soon be available. Questions about program specifics should be directed to:

This project was supported by Extension IPM Coordination and Support Competitive Grant no. 2013-04102 from the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture.

Saturday, September 14, 2013

Reblog - rebuttal to opinion piece in New York Times

Here is a great rebuttal by Stephen Hiltner of an opinion piece by Verlyn Klinkenborg in the New York Times titled "Hey, You Calling Me an Invasive Species?, 9/713)

News Companion: Going Negative On Natives--New York Times Does It ...: The New York Times is one of the bedrocks of news, which makes it hard to understand why its opinion page would show a weakness for ill-info...

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Cultivating Awareness: Ornamental Plants Invading Natural Areas

Invasive plants are species that are non-native and cause or are likely to cause harm to the economy, the environment, or human health. Some popular ornamental plants are becoming invasive in natural areas. This video from the Midwest Invasive Plant Network demonstrates the impacts of these species on natural areas in the Midwest and provides information on how to make good choices for landscaping.

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

IL DNR Forest Health Workshops for Greater Illinois - Updated Dates and Locations for 2013

*Please note new locations and dates.  The previous workshops to be held during the week of August 19th were cancelled and workshops have been rescheduled for the end of September. Please note that there is no longer a Springfield workshop, instead there is a workshop in Bloomington.

The 2013 Forest Health Workshops are designed for IDNR District Foresters, forest landowners, Walnut Council Association, Commercial Arborists, City Foresters, Public Works Directors and green industry professionals.

New for 2013 - Participants are welcome to bring insect and disease samples to workshop for diagnosis and management suggestions

  Topics covered:
  • Diagnostics using microscopes and hand-lenses
  • Hands-on samples and activities
  • Update on insect and diseases seen in 2013
  • Invasive species update and technical information – thousand cankers of black walnut, Asian longhorned beetle, gold-spotted oak borer, and more
  • 2012 Drought repercussions
  • EAB management survey results –what are municipalities doing to manage EAB – what’s working, cost efficiency, and chemical options
Registration fee includes refreshments, lunch, and workshop supplies Roughly 6.0 CEUs will be available for ISA Certified Arborists and 6.0 CFE for American Foresters.

Registration can be paid by credit card through The Morton Arboretum Registrar (630) 719-2468 to register, Monday-Friday 8:30-4:00.

Bloomington Workshop
September 20, 2013
McLean County Extension Office
402 N. Hershey Conference Room
20 spaces available Register by September 13

Geneseo Workshop
September 27, 2013
Izaak Walton League Lodge
22870 Illinois 82
30 spaces available
Register by September 20

Mt. Vernon Workshop
September 30, 2013
Veteran’s Park, South Room
800 South 27th Street
30 spaces available
Register by September 23

All workshops are $35
Run from 8 a.m. – 4 p.m.
Min. of 10 registrants required, preregistration required, at door payment accepted

Questions? Contact:

Fredric Miller, Ph.D.
Phone (815) 280-2740
Stephanie Adams, M.S.
Phone (630) 719-7946
Andi Dierich
Phone (630) 719-2110

Monday, August 26, 2013

New Congressional Invasive Species Caucus Formed

Rep. Mike Thompson (D-CA) and Rep. Dan Benishek (R-MI) are co-chairing the newly formed bipartisan Congressional Invasive Species Caucus.

According to Rep. Thompson's website, the Caucus will serve to raise awareness about invasive species issues, support local communities who are bearing the brunt of this problem, and promote efforts to prevent and control the spread of invasive species. The Caucus will also provide opportunities for Members of Congress to meet with other policy makers, organizations and industry leaders that are working to prevent the spread of invasive species.

Press release from Rep. Thompson

National Invasive Species Management Plan

Getting Ahead of Invasive Species: The Morton Arboretum Restoration Forum

The Morton Arboretum Restoration Forum
Everyone who restores natural areas must grapple with invasive plant species, from Japanese stiltgrass to Oriental bittersweet to birdsfoot trefoil. The Morton Arboretum in Lisle, IL, will hold a two-day forum in September where restoration professionals and dedicated volunteer stewards from the Chicago region can learn and exchange practical information on weed management.

Friday, September 13 – Saturday, September 14, 2013
Thornhill Education Center at The Morton Arboretum
4100 Illinois Route 53, Lisle, IL 60532

Program: 9:00 a.m.–4:00 p.m.

Topics will include:
New invaders, their ecological impacts, and management practices
Site management strategies for tough invaders: Case studies and what really works
Management tips and tricks for our most challenging species
Networking and collaboration opportunities

Forum Speakers:

Chris Evans, Invasive Species Campaign of the Illinois Wildlife Action Plan
Bill Kleiman and Cody Considine, Nachusa Grasslands
Cathy McGlynn, Northern Illinois Invasive Plant Partnership
Joe Suchecki and Nick Fuller, Springbrook Prairie
Kurt Dreisilker and Mark Hochsprung, The Morton Arboretum
Geoff Zink and Kim Blaszczak, Integrated Lakes Management
Jason Zylka, Forest Preserve District of Will County

Arboretum Member: $55, Nonmember: $65, Student: $15 Event fee includes Arboretum admission, refreshments, lunch, and program materials.

Field excursions at:
Nachusa Grasslands
Springbrook Prairie
The Morton Arboretum

Visit for details. Register separately for field excursions.

Reserve your spot today or contact us for more information:
Click:; Call: 630-719-2468; Email:

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Forest Service Scientists Identify Key Fungal Species that Help Explain Mysteries of White Nose Syndrome

Original article: HERE

MADISON, WI, July 25, 2013 - U.S. Forest Service researchers have identified what may be a key to unraveling some of the mysteries of White Nose Syndrome: the closest known non-disease causing relatives of the fungus that causes WNS. These fungi, many of them still without formal Latin names, live in bat hibernation sites and even directly on bats, but they do not cause the devastating disease that has killed millions of bats in the eastern United States. Researchers hope to use these fungi to understand why one fungus can be deadly to bats while its close relatives are benign.
The study by Andrew Minnis and Daniel Lindner, both with the U.S. Forest Service’s Northern Research Station in Madison, Wis., outlines research on the evolution of species related to the fungus causing WNS. The study is available online from the journal Fungal Biology.
“Identification of the closest known relatives of this fungus makes it possible to move forward with genetic work to examine the molecular toolbox this fungus uses to kill bats,” according to Lindner, a research plant pathologist. “Ultimately, we hope to use this information to be able to interrupt the ability of this fungus to cause disease”.
The study is an important step toward treating WNS, according to Mylea BaylessBat Conservation International’s director of conservation programs in the U.S. and Canada. “This research increases our confidence that this disease-causing fungus is, in fact, an invasive species,” Bayless said, “Its presence among bats in Europe, where it does not cause mass mortality, could suggest hope for bats suffering from this devastating wildlife disease. Time will tell.”
White Nose Syndrome was first observed in 2006 in a cave in Upstate New York. Since then, it has spread to 22 states in the United States and five Canadian provinces and has killed large numbers of hibernating bats, a problem resulting in substantial economic losses. A marked decline in bat populations in the eastern United States was documented in a study published last month in PLoS One by Sybill Amelon, a research biologist with the Forest Service in Columbus, Mo., and co-authors Thomas Ingersolland Brent Sewall. The study found cumulative declines in regional relative abundance by 2011 from peak levels were 71 percent for little brown bats, 34 percent for tricolored bat, 30 percent in the federally-listed endangered Indiana bat, and 31 percent for northern long-eared bats.
In 2009, researchers identified the culprit behind WNS as a member of the genus Geomyces, resulting in its name Geomyces destructans, or G. destructans. Minnis and Lindner generated DNA sequence data and found evidence supporting a shift in the genus to which the fungus belongs, resulting in a new name: Pseudogymnoascus destructans, or P. destructans.
“This research represents more than just a name change,” according to Bayless. “Understanding the evolutionary relationships between this fungus and its cousins in Europe and North America should help us narrow our search for solutions to WNS.”
The study is based on a foundation of collaborative research among the U.S. Forest Service, the USGS National Wildlife Health Center, and the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, and is a continuation of pioneering research initiated by Canadian researchers at the University of Alberta and European researchers, including those at the Centraalbureau voor Schimmelcultures in The Netherlands.
“Collaboration is key to responding to problems as devastating as WNS,” said Michael T. Rains, director of the Northern Research Station. “We have come a long way since we first encountered WNS, in large part due to the cooperation among government agencies, universities and non-government organizations. For this study in particular, USGS and Fish & Wildlife Service partners played critical roles collecting the fungi used in these studies. Problems this large will not be solved without unprecedented cooperation, and this study is a great example of that.”

Monday, August 19, 2013

Southern Illinois - Invasive Plant and Forest Management Field Day

Saturday, September 14th, 2013
10:00am – 3:00pm at Trail of Tears State Forest

Event is Free with Lunch provided by The Great Boars of Fire (registration required)

Trail of Tears State Forest
White Barn
3240 State Forest Road
Jonesboro, IL 62952

Sponsored by NRCS, River to River CWMA, National Wild Turkey Federation, Shawnee RC&D   Learn about invasive plant identification, control techniques, forest management practices, and landowner assistance programs. This program would be beneficial to landowners, hunters, or anyone interested in learning more about conservation and management of forests in Southern Illinois.

Field Day Agenda

10:00-10:15 - Welcome and introductions
10:15-10:45 - Invasive Plant Control Techniques – Karla Gage, River to River CWMA
10:45-11:15 - Forest Management for Wildlife – John Burk, National Wild Turkey Federation
11:15-11:45 - Illinois Wildlife Action Plan, Forest Campaign – Tracy Boutelle Fidler, Wildlife Action Plan COA
11:45-12:15 - Landowner Assistance Programs – Ryan Pankau, Natural Resources Conservation Service
12:15-1:00 - Lunch – The Great Boars of Fire
1:00-3:00 - Field tour to view and discuss management techniques and invasive plant identification

Lunch is provided for free, but registration is required by Monday, September 9th. For registration information, directions or if you have any questions about the field day, please contact Karla Gage (618-998-5920,

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Stewardship Network Webcast - Fall prep for spring invasives control work

A note from the Stewardship Network:
Join us for the FREE Stewardship Network Webcast Wednesday, August 14th, "Fall Preparations for Spring Invasives Control Work"
Presentation by: Chris Evans, Coordinator of the Invasives Species Campaign of the Illinois Wildlife Action Plan; and Lisa Brush, The Stewardship Network
Date: Wednesday, August 14, 2013
Time: 12 noon to 1pm Eastern
Place: Your Computer!
Click here to view webcast! 
(Link will become live day of webcast)
Stewardship, including invasive species management, is a year-round endeavor. Each season brings different challenges and new opportunities. Knowing the correct timing for conducting invasive species work can greatly increase efficiency and reduce costs. When you think of invasive species work for fall, you typically think of treating woody invasive plants. However, there are a lot of other tasks that need to be completed in preparation for spring work. In this webcast, we’ll cover some of the basic tasks that managers and stewards can do in the fall to prepare for next year’s invasive species work, including scouting, mapping, firebreak installation, equipment maintenance, and planning.
Chris Evans- Chris is the Coordinator of the Invasive Species Campaign of the Illinois Wildlife Action Plan.  This position involves working with partners across the state to implement the actions set forth in the Wildlife Action Plan to address invasive species in Illinois.  Chris has a Master's Degree in Forest Biology from Iowa State University and a Bachelor's Degree in Wildlife Biology from Murray State University.  Before working with the Wildlife Action Plan, Chris coordinated the River to River Cooperative Weed Management Area in southern Illinois and served as an Invasive Species and Natural Resource Specialist for the University of Georgia's Center for Invasive Species and Ecosystem Health.
Lisa Brush - Executive Director, The Stewardship Network. Lisa has worked in the environmental field in Michigan for the last fifteen years. She is currently the Executive Director of the Stewardship Network and has been involved with the Network since its inception more than 10 years ago. She has a wealth of experience helping non-scientific people understand scientific issues. For over nine years, as she has built and coordinated The Stewardship Network, she has emphasized effective and meaningful stakeholder involvement in developing and implementing all aspects of this program. She has a M.S. in Natural Resources from the University of Michigan and a B.A. (Science in Society) from Wesleyan University.

New Aquatic Invasive Plant Factsheets Available from the Midwest Invasive Plant Network

MIPN has put together several new aquatic invasive plant fact sheets.  Fact sheets for the plants listed on their Aquatic Invasive Plants in the Midwest Flyer are included.  Check them out on the Early Detection Rapid Response webpage!

Monday, August 5, 2013

Forest Health and Protection: Announcing 2013 Forest Health Workshops

**Update - The dates and locations for this series of workshops have recently been altered.  To see an updated list, go to:

The 2013 Forest Health Workshops are designed for IDNR District Foresters, forest landowners, Walnut Council Association, Commercial Arborists, City Foresters, Public Works Directors and green industry professionals.

Topics covered:
  • Field diagnostics (Dress for the weather!)
  • Hands-on samples and activities
  • Insect and disease updates – Thousand cankers of black walnut, bur oak blight, Asian longhorned beetle, gold-spotted oak borer and more
  • IL DNR Forest Health and Protection program
  • Drought repercussions
  • Tree risk assessment

 Registration to each workshop is limited to the first 50 applicants Registration fee will include refreshments, lunch, and workshop supplies Roughly 6 CEUs will be available for ISA Certified Arborists. Registration can be paid by credit card through The Morton Arboretum Registrar (630) 719-2468 to register, Monday-Friday 8:30-4:00.


August 20, 2013
IL Dept. of Agriculture; Room 66, IL State Fairgrounds
8th St. x Sangamon Ave. Gate 11, Springfield, IL
8:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.
$25-registered by August 15; $35-registered after August 15

August 21, 2013
Veteran’s Park South Room
800 South 27th St., Mt. Vernon, IL
7:30 a.m. – 3:30 p.m.
$25- registered by August 15; $35-registered after August 15

September 6, 2013
The Morton Arboretum
4100 Illinois Route 53, Lisle, IL
8:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.
$40-registered by August 20; $55-registered after August 20

September 27, 2013
Izaak Walton League Lodge
22870 Illinois 82, Geneseo, IL
8:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.
$25-registered by Sept. 10; $35-registered after Sept. 10

Questions? Contact:

Fredric Miller, Ph.D.
Phone (815) 280-2740


Stephanie Adams, M.S.
Phone (630) 719-7946