Tuesday, January 29, 2013

That Cuddly Kitty of Yours is Deadlier than You Think

From the New York Times:

For all the adorable images of cats that play the piano, flush the toilet, mew melodiously and find their way back home over hundreds of miles, scientists have identified a shocking new truth: cats are far deadlier than anyone realized....

Full article can be found at:

Southern Illinois Indigenous Plant Symposium - March 16, 2013

Murphysboro, IL – The first southern Illinois Indigenous Plant Symposium will be hosted on Saturday March 16, 2013 by University of Illinois Extension Master Gardeners, SIU Carbondale- Department of Plant Biology, and Illinois Native Plant Society at the John A. Logan College Center for Business and Industry (Carterville, IL).

The goal of the symposium is to promote awareness of native plants, their use and impact on our environment. Internationally known mycologist Dr. Gregory Mueller from the Chicago Botanic Garden will be the keynote speaker, and will be joined by other environmental experts from southern Illinois. The symposium will start with guided hikes at Giant City State Park on Friday March 15, and end on Sunday with more guided hikes at Crab Orchard National Wildlife Refuge.

The event is open to everyone. The cost for the symposium of $20.00 per person includes lunch. However, space is limited and there will be no registration on site. Registration will be from February 1 to March 12, 2013. For more information on this and other UI Extension events, call 618.687.1727 or visit our website at http://web.extension.illinois.edu/fjprw/

The details for the symposium are under “Horticulture Events”, or you may pick-up a registration form at any Extension office. If you want electronic copies sent to you, contact: Sonja Lallemand at: lalleman@illinois.edu.

Monday, January 28, 2013

Southern Illinois Invasive Species Strike Team 2012 report now available online

The 2012 annual report from the Southern Illinois Invasive Species Strike Team is now available online on the River to River Cooperative Weed Management Area website HERE.

The Invasive Species Strike Team, is a collaborative effort between The Nature Conservancy, Illinois DNR, and the River to River CWMA.  The Strike Team works full time on monitoring and controlling invasive plants in Southern Illinois.

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Roundup of the Week's Invasive Species News Stories - Jan 24, 2013

We are continuing with our semi-regular series here on the ISAM Newsblog to highlight some recent news stories around the nation about invasive species.

Global plant diversity hinges on local battles against invasive species
Science Codex
Most studies of the effects of invasive plants are done at a single scale, report the scientists in this week's issue of the journal Science.

Invasive species changing Oregon's dunes
The Register-Guard
While sides battle over illicit OHV trails in the Oregon Dunes National Recreation Area, another major problem looms over the natural landmark. Vast expanses of open sand are being overrun, under attack from invasive plants

'Python Challenge' aims to curb Florida's invasive species
Peoria Journal Star (blog)
Wildlife officials say more than 1,000 people signed up for the competition that began Saturday and ends Feb. 10. The state hopes the hunters will help researchers collect more information about the pythons.

Partnership battles invasive Hog Weed in St. Lawrence County waterways
North Country Now
A partnership dedicated to battling invasive species in the North helped contain Hog Weed and limit the spread of Water Chestnut plants in St. Lawrence County waterways in 2012.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Mitigating Emerald Ash Borer Impacts on the Urban Forest: Municipal Grant Program

Reposted from the Illinois CAPS Program Blog at:

The Metropolitan Mayors Caucus is offering competitive, reimbursable grants to help local government agencies sustain their urban forests by reducing impacts from the Emerald Ash Borer (EAB.) Recipients must pay for 50% of project costs through direct or in-kind contributions. Communities within the Illinois EAB quarantine zone eligible to apply.

There are 3 categories of grants available:
  1. Reforestation Grants - For planting to replace ash trees;
  2. Technical Assistance Grants - For inventory and assessment of public trees and the development of plans to manage EAB; and
  3. Wood Utilization Grants - For reclamation and utilization of wood products from felled ash trees.
 Applications are due February 1, 2013.

Application and complete Grant Guidelines available as a pdf document here
Application only (in Word) available here

Two workshops will be offered to help applicants plan competitive EAB management and reforestation projects. Municipal and state officials will discuss EAB planning and management. Grant application information and tips will be presented.

January 17, 10am – Noon
Illinois Department of Agriculture
2280 Bethany Rd., Suite B
DeKalb, IL 60115
Call 815-787-5479 for reservations and parking directions

January 22, 10am –Noon
Metropolitan Mayors Caucus
233 S. Wacker Dr., Suite 800 (Willis Tower)
Chicago, IL 60606

For reservations for the Chicago workshop or general grant program information contact

Edith Makra, Metropolitan Mayors Caucus: emakra@mayorscaucus.org or 312-201-4506


Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Global Plant Diversity Still Hinges on Local Battles Against Invasives, Study Suggests

Interesting article from Science Daily about impacts of invasive species are different spatial scales.  I think this article does a great job at described why study results looking at impacts vary so much.

Link to Original Article

Global Plant Diversity Still Hinges  on Local Battles Against Invasives, Study Suggests

Jan. 17, 2013 — In Missouri forests, dense thickets of invasive honeysuckle decrease the light available to other plants, hog the attention of pollinators, and offer nutrient-stingy berries to migrating birds. They even release toxins to make it less likely native plants will germinate near them.

Why, then, are recent popular science articles recommending a recalibration of the traditional no-tolerance attitude toward non-native species, suggesting that we've been "unfair" to invasives and should stop "persecuting" them?

Kristin Powell, a graduate student in the lab of Tiffany Knight, associate professor of biology and director of the Environmental Studies Program in Arts & Sciences, together with consulting ecologist Jon Chase, think they've located one source of misunderstanding.

Most scientific studies of the effects of invasive plants are done at a single "scale." Some studies scrutinize biodiversity in meter-square "quadrats" and others scan biodiversity in entire islands or regions.

The problem, the scientists say in the January 18 issue of Science, is that the effect of invasive plants on species richness depends on scale. Invasives decrease species richness at small but not at large scales.

The recognition that findings are scale dependent reconciles at least some dueling scientific studies. "I won't say we've resolved the debate, but I think we've made an important contribution," Knight says.

Whether it will stop journalists from interpreting a quarrel over nuance as a complete reversal of opinion is another question, given the powerful editorial attraction to man-bites-dog stories.

Probing for scale dependence

The three scientists had long suspected that studies of invasive species came to different conclusions because of scale dependence. To test this notion, they analyzed 57 previous invasive studies and confirmed a pattern: invasive plants cause a large loss in species richness at small scales, but this effect diminishes at larger scales.

To test for scale dependence in the field, they then chose three study sites from very different ecosystems across the United States, each straddling an invasion front: a hammock forest in central Florida; an oak-hickory forest in eastern Missouri; and a tropical forest on the Big Island of Hawai'i.

The hammock forest, a mix of live oak, cabbage palm, sweet gum and pignut hickory, is being invaded by the flax lily (Dianella ensifolia). Native to Africa and Asia, the lily forms dense mats on the forest floor.

Amur honeysuckle (Lonicera maackii), a mid-story shrub introduced from East Asia as an ornamental and to provide bird habitat, is the black hat in the oak-hickory forests.

The fire tree (Morella faya), a canopy tree from Macaronesia that boosts nitrogen levels in the soil, making it inhospitable to native species and more suitable for other invasives, is the troublemaker in the Hawaiian forest.

Invasives don't just sweep the board

"We counted the number of species per unit area in plots that varied in size from one meter square to 500 meters square -- a quarter the size of a football field -- on either side of the invasion front, and then plotted the number of species against the size of the plot," Powell says.

"At small scales, invaded plots had many fewer species than uninvaded plots, but they picked up species more rapidly, and at broad scales the invasives' effect on diversity virtually disappeared," Powell says.

The main reason for this "scale effect" is just probability, says Powell. "Invasives reduce the sheer number of individual plants in a plot and if there are fewer plants, you'll find fewer species," she says.

The invaded sites can catch up with uninvaded ones, Knight adds, because the number of species does not increase indefinitely.

"At any site, if you sample larger and larger areas, the number of species will eventually plateau. You can keep sampling all you want and you're not going to find any new species because you've found every species that's present in that ecosystem type," Knight says.

At an invaded site, you reach that plateau later, but you do reach it eventually.

What it means for gardeners

The research helps to explain seemingly contradictory findings in the scientific literature, but what does it mean for people who have been hacking down honeysuckle in their backyards and brushing their boots before entering conservation areas to avoid bringing in garlic mustard?

Is it worth whacking invasives or not?

"Emphatically yes," Knight says. "Invasive species are a serious threat," Knight says, "and if we're going to deal with them we need the cooperation of the public. Invasive plants have negative impacts on plant communities at smaller scales -- the scales that are crucial for necessary ecosystem services, like water management and nutrient cycling."

Take that bush honeysuckle choking Missouri's natural areas, for example. It was seeded by birds carrying honeysuckle berries from backyards. To prevent it from turning beloved nature preserves into shrub monocultures, people must remove it from their yards or choose not to plant it in the first place.

While the small scale justifies the fight, the large scale offers hope.

"Invasive plant species are reducing the abundance of native plant species, but most species are still present when we search for them at broad spatial scales. That is to say, they haven't gone extinct yet," Knight says.

"This means it is not too late to restore the habitat and increase the abundances of these native species so that they can contribute to critical ecosystem services and are less vulnerable to extinction in the future," she says.

This research was funded by National Science Foundation grant DEB 1110629.

Thursday, January 17, 2013

EAB Workshop for city officials and managers - Mt. Vernon IL

The Morton Arboretum and Southern Illinois University present

 Emerald Ash Borer
Preparedness Workshop

 Many communities in the Midwest have already experienced the destruction caused by the tiny emerald ash borer beetle. Most do not have the funds to pay for the mass quantities of dead trees it leaves behind. When anticipating the beetle’s arrival in your town, a little bit of planning goes a long way. This workshop will provide you with unique perspectives, case studies from actual communities, and resources needed to en-gage your community!

  • Date: Tuesday, February 12, 2013
  • Time: 9:00am – 2:00pm
  • Where: Veteran’s Park, 800 South 27th Street, Mt. Vernon, IL
  • Cost: $15 dollars per attendee

Limited Space Available; CEU’s available—Ask when registering!

Registration: Southern Illinois University Forestry Department 618-453-2517 or urban.forestry@siu.edu

Registration deadline is February 4, 2013.

Workshop Includes:

  • Lunch along with hands-on activities and additional take-home resources!
  • Community Stories: Lessons learned from communities that have experienced EAB. Presented by staff from the Morton Arboretum.
  •  Stakeholder Panel: The threat and management options through the eyes of city agencies.  Representatives from Carbondale, Centralia, O’Fallon, Salem, and more...
  • Increasing Community and Council Engagement: How to increase awareness and funding for  EAB within your community, presented by various city administrators, trustees, city foresters,and non-profits.
  • Latest Research: Management options, insecticide research, and more. Presented by Fredric Miller of The Morton Arboretum.
  • Applicable Resources for Any Size Community

Co-Sponsored by: Society of Municipal Arborists, Illinois Park and Recreation Association, APHIS, the Illinois

Roundup of Invasive Species News Stories - Jan 17, 2013

We are starting a semi-regular series here on the ISAM Newsblog to highlight some recent news stories around the nation about invasive species.  

Expert panel explores Great Lakes Invasive Species
-- Great Lakes Echo
Detroit Public TV and The Nature Conservancy on Wednesday hosted a seminar on Invasive Species in the Great Lakes for Great Lakes Now. The first panel discussion featuring experts explaining invasive species, how they arrived and their impact is below.

Report invasive species on your smartphone
-- Great Lakes Echo
Smartphone owners can report invasive species sightings using an application by the Midwest Invasive Species Information Network. Users can then see real-time maps of a given species' distribution based on the data reported by other users.

Great Invaders: What Makes a Plant Invasive
-- Decoded Science
Uh oh, there it is again. It's that sneaky plant wriggling its way into the garden. While a 'weed' is really just a plant that you don't want in the garden, an invasive species is more than a weed. 

Winter time means it is a good time to control invasive species in the woods
-- Farm and Dairy
However, as you look out the window praying for that so-called “global warming” to kick in, you think, “This is a great time to take control of those invasive species in my woods.”

Tropical fish in South Dakota highlights threat posed by exotic species
-- Activist Angler
What resource managers long have feared would happen because of irresponsible fish hobbyists has become reality: An exotic species has established itself in a waterway far north of where it should be able to survive.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Best Management Practices for Preventing the Spread of Invasive Species

Here is a list of links to a variety invasive species BMPs from across the United States.  This list was compiled and placed online at The National Invasive Species Information Center at http://www.invasivespeciesinfo.gov/toolkit/preventionbmp.shtml#.UPayDydEHN0


Backcountry Road Maintenance and Weed Management (Jul 2003; PDF | 1.5 MB)USDAFS. Technology & Development Program.0371–2811–MTDC

Inspection and Cleaning Manual for Equipment and Vehicles to Prevent the Spread of Invasive Species (May 2010; PDF | 13 MB)DOI. Bureau of Reclamation. Policy and Program Services.Technical Memorandum No. 86-68220-07-05This manual provides recommendations for inspection and cleaning of vehicles and equipment as a prevention tool to limit the spread of invasive species. The manual will help equipment operators gain a better understanding of how invasive plants and animals are spread by contaminated equipment into new locations and has broad applications for many organizations and agencies.
Invasive Species BMP's DOCNOAA. National Marine Fisheries Service. Habitat Conservation.Includes: General Background, Cleaning of Land Vehicles & Equipment, Cleaning of Watercraft & Equipment, Decontamination of Crane Bags, Decontamination of Shells, Replanting Project Sites, Preventing Spread of Invasive Bivalve Species.

Invasive Species Program: PreventionUSDAFS. Invasive Species Program.Includes various videos and publication resources for prevention through education.

Guide to Noxious Weed Prevention Practices - Version 1 (Jul 5, 2001; PDF | 768 KB)USDA. Forest Service.

Prototype Weed Prevention MeasuresDOIBLM. Colorado.

Weed Prevention and Management Guidelines for Public LandsDOIBLM. California.


2008-20 Best Practices Handbook for Roadside Vegetation Management (Jul 2008; PDF | 4.8 MB)Minnesota Local Road Research Board.

Best Management Practices (Sudden Oak Death) and Nursery Management Best PracticesCalifornia Oak Mortality Task Force.

Best Management Practices for Controlling Invasive Plants in the Adirondack (New York) (DOC | 99 KB)Adirondack Park Invasive Plant Program.

Best Management Practices for Land Managers: What Every Land Manager Needs to Know About Invasive Plants (PDF | 678 KB)
Invasive.org.Archive from the Nature Conservancy, Global Invasive Species Team.Published by: Long Island Weed Management Area.

Best Management Practices for Preventing the Spread of Invasive Species: Presentation (PDF | 2.3 MB)Midwest Invasive Plant Network.Presentation by Kelly Kearns; Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources and Carmen Chapin, National Park Service

Best Management Practices for Roadside Invasive Plants (2008; PDF | 1.3 MB)New Hampshire Department of Transportation.

California Invasive Plant Council (Cal-IPC) Prevention Best Management Practice (BMP) Manuals (2012)California Invasive Plant Council.Cal-IPC has published two prevention best management practice (BMP) manuals: one for land managers, and one for transportation and utility corridors. The goal of the manuals is to present voluntary guidelines that help those managing wildlands in California to prevent accidental spread of terrestrial invasive plants. Cal-IPC's technical advisory teams included over fifty representatives from local, state and federal agencies, utilities, land trusts, and university extension. Also see Prevention Training Videos.
Guidelines, Toolkits and Best PracticesGlobal Invasive Species Programme.

Introductions of Invasive Species Through Construction and Development Activities: The Role of Local Agents in Stopping the Spread (Jul 2006; DOC | 47 KB)Massachusetts Association of Conservation CommissionsProduced by: Massachusetts Aquatic Invasive Species Working Group and the Massachusetts Association of Conservation Commissions.

Invasive Species Best Management Practices / Best Management Practices for Invasive Species & NR40: Presentation (PDF | 1.3 MB)Wisconsin Council on Forestry.Includes: 1) Forestry Best Management Practices for Invasive Species; 2) Best Management Practices for Preventing the Spread of Invasive Species by Outdoor Recreation Activities in Wisconsin; 3) Urban Forestry Best Management Practices for Preventing the Introduction and Spread of Invasive Species, and 4) Transportation and Utility Rights-of-way Best Management Practices for Preventing the Introduction and Spread of Invasive Species.

Invasive Species, Control Methods, and Best Management PracticesInvasive.org.Archive from the Nature Conservancy, Global Invasive Species Team.

Measures to Prevent the Spread of Noxious and Invasive Weeds During Construction Activities (PDF | 43 KB)University of Nevada. Cooperative Extension.Fact Sheet FS-03-59

Preventing the Spread of Aquatic Invasive Species – Best Management Practices for Boaters (Jul 2009; PDF | 70 KB)
California Coastal Commission. California Clean Boating Network.

Monday, January 14, 2013

White Nose Syndrome Fungus Persists in Caves Even when Bats are Gone

The fungus that has killed millions of bats in eastern North America since 2006 can survive in the environment for long periods of time, according to new research. This research has important implications for managing WNS and vulnerable bat species by revealing the important role that the environment plays in the disease. The findings suggest that susceptible bats may not be able to effectively re-colonize caves and mines that have been previously contaminated and that the reintroduction of certain bat species to such sites may not be a sound strategy for reestablishing lost populations.

More information can be found at a USGS Science Features blog post at:

Register for the Illinois First Detector Forest Pest Workshops

Early detection and response is key to managing invasive pests. The 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 invasive forest pests in Illinois. Each location will have sessions devoted to the emerald ash borer, thousand cankers disease, and invasive plants. In-depth training sessions will highlight identification, symptoms, management, and much more!

Registration for this program will be handled by various University of Illinois Extension host sites. You can easily register via the Extension links and contacts listed below.

February 12 – Springfield, IL –Springfield Extension Office
Hosted by University of Illinois Extension Logan-Menard-Sangamon Unit
Register at: https://webs.extension.uiuc.edu/registration/?RegistrationID=7542
(Registration will be open until February 5th.)
Contact: Jennifer Fishburn- fishburn@illinois.edu

February 26 – Moline, IL -Deere-Wiman Carriage House
Hosted by University of Illinois Extension Henry-Mercer-Rock Island-Stark Unit
Register at: https://webs.extension.uiuc.edu/registration/?RegistrationID=7407
(Registration will be open until February 26th.)
Contact: Martha Smith -smithma@illinois.edu or Tracy Mulliken- tmully@illinois.edu

March 7 – Mt. Vernon, IL –Jefferson County Extension Office
Hosted by University of Illinois Extension Bond-Clinton-Jefferson-Marion-Washington Unit
Register at: www.extension.uiuc.edu/bcjmw
(Registration will be open January 22nd until February 28th.)
Contact: Chelsie Keene- ckeene@illinois.edu

March 14 – Collinsville, IL – Collinsville Extension office
Hosted by University of Illinois Extension Madison-Monroe-St. Clair Unit
Register at: http://web.extension.illinois.edu/mms/
(Registration will be open January 7th until March 8th and cash, check, and charge accepted.)
Contact: Sarah Ruth- ruth1@illinois.edu

March 21 – Champaign, IL – Champaign Extension Office
Hosted by University of Illinois Extension Champaign-Ford-Iroquois-Vermilion Unit
Register at: http://web.extension.illinois.edu/cfiv/
(Registration due by March 18th. No refunds after March 20th.)
Contact: Sandy Mason- slmason@illinois.edu

March 26 – Lemont, IL- Midwest Golf House
Hosted by University of Illinois Extension Cook County
Register at: http://extension.illinois.edu/go/treepest
(Registration will be open December 1st until March 17th.)
Contact: Greg Stack -gstack@illinois.edu

A $25 registration fee covers on-site lunch and training materials. No registration at the door. If you do not cancel prior to the workshop, and do not attend, there is no refund.

All workshops 9:00 AM - 3:00 PM
*Each Workshop is worth 4.0 Continuing Forestry Education Credits
4.25 Continuing Education Credits (CEU’s) for IAA Certified Arborists
Questions: Contact Stephanie Porter at satterle@illinois.edu

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

USDA Guide to funding resources for invasive species

The USDA has recently released a guide to its grants and programs that address invasive species research, assistance, prevention, and control.  This can be very useful for landowners, researchers, communities, and organizations interesting in seeking funds to help with invasive species programs.

The guide can be found at:  http://www.invasivespeciesinfo.gov/docs/toolkit/usdagrants2013.pdf

Monday, January 7, 2013

New Coordinator for River to River CWMA

The River to River Cooperative Weed Management Area has a new coordinator, Karla Gage.  Karla is nearing the completion of her Ph.D., focused on weed ecology, from the Department of Plant Biology at SIUC. Her dissertation work examined the ecology of an economically important herbicide-resistant weed.  

Below is Karla's contact information.  

Karla Gage, Coordinator

River to River Cooperative Weed Management Area
8588 Route 148
Marion, IL 62959
Phone: 618-998-5920 (office), 618-303-6603 (cell)