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Rhode Island Natural History Survey » Invasives
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Events &Invasives &News dgregg on 06 Sep 2011

Water chestnut pull is on for Saturday, Sept. 10

RINHS and Westerly Land Trust are coordinating another water chestnut pull at Chapman Pond in Westerly to replace the one we had to cancel because of Hurricane Irene. On Saturday, September 10, from 8 am to 12 noon, please come out for a muddy morning on the water and help preserve our wonderful pond for recreation and wildlife.

Meet at the DEM boat ramp off Town Landfill Road off of Rt-91 (Westerly-Bradford Road). Everyone should bring sturdy gloves that can get wet, clothes that can get wet and muddy, sun screen, and insect repellant. Canoes, kayaks, or small skiffs are welcome, but you don’t have to have one to help. If you bring a boat please bring life vests/jackets for you and your passengers. Plastic buckets (5-6 gallon size) or sturdy plastic totes are helpful so bring some if you can. Instructions will be provided. Call the Rhode Island Natural History Survey (RINHS) at 874-5800 if you have questions, or the Westerly Land Trust at 315-2610.

Water chestnut (no relation to the common Chinese-food ingredient) is native to Eurasia but is an invasive species in North America. It can grow vigorously and densely in shallow, nutrient-rich waters, obliterating native pond habitat, clogging waters to most recreational uses, and presenting a significant physical hazard to swimmers and waders due to its barbed seed pods. The discovery of water chestnut in Rhode Island in four water bodies is a serious development and one that must be handled aggressively to prevent damage to some of Rhode Island’s most valuable natural resources.

Luckily, water chestnut is an annual, meaning that if removed before their seeds drop, the plants cannot grow back. They are also fairly easy to remove, as they are lightweight and root loosely in soft pond-bottom substrate. Their seeds can remain viable for up to 12 years, so close monitoring of managed populations is necessary for some time to make sure the entire population has been removed.

The Westerly Land Trust, the Rhode Island Natural History Survey, the town of Westerly, and Rhode Island DEM have banded together to take the initiative of removing water chestnut in Chapman Pond before the population grows into an even larger problem than it already is. It is hoped that by connecting different parts of the community, a successful rapid response to an invasive species can occur, simultaneously raising interest and awareness of invasive species in Rhode Island. Please join us if you can.

Events &Invasives &News &Plants dgregg on 26 Aug 2011

Water Chestnut Pull August 27 CANCELLED

The water chestnut pull scheduled for Chapman Pond, Westerly, on Saturday, August 27, is cancelled. With the approach of Hurricane Irene, many of our most reliable volunteers have informed us they will be busy with storm preparations and can’t make it.

We are rescheduling the Chapman Pond water chestnut pull for Saturday, September 10, from 8 am to 12 Noon.

Events &Invasives &News &Plants dgregg on 19 Jul 2011

Pull Water Chestnut for Fun and Profit…Well, Just for Fun

Volunteers are needed to help pull the invasive plant water chestnut (Trapa natans) from Chapman Pond, in Westerly, on Sunday, July 24, from 8 am to 12 noon. Meet at the DEM boat ramp off Town Landfill Road off of Rt-91 (Westerly-Bradford Road). Everyone should bring sturdy gloves that can get wet, clothes that can get wet and muddy, sun screen, and insect repellant. Canoes, kayaks, or small skiffs are welcome, but you don’t have to have one to help. If you bring a boat please bring life vests/jackets for you and your passengers. Plastic buckets (5-6 gallon size) or sturdy plastic totes are helpful so bring some if you can. Instructions will be provided. Call the Rhode Island Natural History Survey (RINHS) at 874-5800 if you have questions, or Larry at the Westerly Land Trust at 596-9796.

Water chestnut (no relation to the common Chinese-food ingredient) is native to Eurasia but is an invasive species in North America. It can grow vigorously and densely in shallow, nutrient-rich waters, obliterating native pond habitat, clogging waters to most recreational uses, and presenting a significant physical hazard to swimmers and waders due to its barbed seed pods. The discovery of water chestnut in Rhode Island in four water bodies is a serious development and one that must be handled aggressively to prevent damage to some of Rhode Island’s most valuable natural resources.

Luckily, water chestnut is an annual, meaning that if removed before their seeds drop, the plants cannot grow back. They are also fairly easy to remove, as they are lightweight and root loosely in soft pond-bottom substrate. Their seeds can remain viable for up to 12 years, so close monitoring of managed populations is necessary for some time to make sure the entire population has been removed.

The Westerly Land Trust, the Rhode Island Natural History Survey, the town of Westerly, and Rhode Island DEM have banded together to take the initiative of removing water chestnut in Chapman Pond before the population grows into an even larger problem than it already is. It is hoped that by connecting different parts of the community, a successful rapid response to an invasive species can occur, simultaneously raising interest and awareness of invasive species in Rhode Island. Please join us if you can.

Events &Exec's Blog &Invasives &News &Plants dgregg on 24 Jan 2011

Memorial Service for Les Mehrhoff Scheduled

RINHS received the email below this morning through the invasive species grapevine (or would that be bittersweet vine?). It is from the family of late invasive plant guru Les Mehrhoff and announces a date for a memorial service. Someone from RINHS will definitely be going so anyone from the RI area interested in attending the service, there may be an opportunity to car pool. Please contact Kira at the office if you’re interested.

“Hello everyone,
Jessie and I have finally settled on a date and time for the memorial service. It will be held at the Storrs Congregational Church at UConn. The date is Saturday, March 12th at 11:00 AM.

We also want to thank all of you for your beautiful cards, endearing notes and well wishes. We received such an outpouring of love that it really meant a lot to us and truly gave us the strength to move forward. We were also overwhelmed by the stories of how many lives Les really did touch or impact in some way…it just completely filled our hearts with so much pride. We always knew we had a really special guy in our lives.

Thank you all again and we hope to see you at the memorial service.
Sincerely, Olga and Jessie”

Exec's Blog &Invasives &Natural History &News &Plants dgregg on 03 Jan 2011

Memories of Les Mehrhoff

With the unexpected death, on December 22, of Les Mehrhoff, the natural history family lost one of its greatest, most visionary members. Les–botanist, ecologist, teacher, founder and leader and leader of IPANE (Invasive Plant Atlas of New England), and all-round invasive plant guru–suffered a massive heart attack at his home in Connecticut. Les was working hard right to the end on one of the greatest priorities in conservation, one that he did much to bring to all our attention–mitigating the environmental damage caused by invasive plants. Les had been a long time adviser and supporter of RINHS and was a frequent companion to RINHS staff, board, and members in the field, at meetings and conferences, and in all manner of regular communication. Les presented at three of RINHS’s annual conferences–1999, 2003, and 2007–each time addressing a different aspect of invasive plants. Whomever was the nominal keynote speaker at the CIPWG (Connecticut Invasive Plant Working Group) annual meeting, everyone looked forward to Les’s appearances just as much.

Events such as Les’s unexpected passing, like the sudden loss of member and mycologist Doug Greene this spring, remind us how much we naturalists owe to each other for our interests and passions and how each such loss highlights a responsibility to share and promulgate those interests and passions so they do not pass with us, when it is eventually our time.

There will be a celebration of Les’s life organized in Storrs, CT, later in the winter and RINHS will pass word when we know more. You may also contact the RINHS office to be kept up to date. Les’s family has asked that we remember him by performing an act of kindness for the preservation of our environment.

Websites remembering Les include:
Published obituary
UConn Ecology and Evolutionary Biology
Walking the Berkshires [blog]

Conferences &Invasives &Plants dgregg on 25 Oct 2010

Stiltgrass Symposium Available Online

If you were investing in invasive plants then you’d put a “strong buy” recommendation on Japanese stiltgrass (Microstegium vimineum). This is a species that is already present in Rhode Island at a number of localities and that is proving difficult to combat. So to get all the latest information on a plant we’re probably going to be getting to know well, we’re super lucky that the the presentations from a Japanese stiltgrass conference, hosted by Illinois-based River to River Cooperative Weed Management Area, are available on line. Check them out at:
Stiltgrass Conference

Animals &Invasives &News dgregg on 22 Sep 2010

New Asian Longhorn Beetle Finds in Worcester Co., Mass.

The Massachusetts Introduced Pests Outreach Project made the following announcement on September 21, 2010. For our Rhode Island audience, learn to ID ALB and its damage to trees and keep a sharp lookout.

Comprehensive ID tools from Mass. DCR
DEM Fact Sheet

Report anything suspicious to the Rhode Island Tree Council at albfreeri@gmail.com, to RI DEM using their invasive sighting reporting tool: https://www.ri.gov/DEM/caps or to RINHS at invasives@rinhs.org.

***********************
STATE AND FEDERAL OFFICIALS EXPAND ASIAN LONGHORNED BEETLE REGULATED AREA
NEAR WORCESTER

BOSTON – The Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR) and the
U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) today
announced the expansion of the Asian longhorned beetle regulated area in Worcester County
after the discovery of additional trees infested with the beetle in the towns of Boylston and
Holden.

The current central Massachusetts regulated area has been expanded by 18 square miles,
creating a federal and state quarantine zone for the area that is now 94 square miles.
Inspectors working on the Massachusetts ALB cooperative eradication program found
additional infested trees in the town of Boylston and the town of Holden last month, forcing
expansion of the regulated area boundary. Eradication program activities include inspection of
every host tree within the regulated area to evaluate ALB presence. In Worcester County,
ground survey crews and tree climbers are continuing their inspections within the city of
Worcester and the towns of Holden, West Boylston, Boylston, and Shrewsbury.

Invasives &News dgregg on 11 Aug 2010

No News is Good News

A periodic reassessment of invasive species in the marine environment in New England has revealed…nothing new. That’s good given the list of potentially disastrous introductions that could occur (think Caulerpa taxifolia, mitten crab, or rapa whelk). RINHS was involved in the previous assessment, in 2001, and has been following the current assessment from a distance through its partners, NBEP and RI Aquatic Invasive Species Working Group. Species lists from both assessments will be included in RINHS’s BORIIS database. Get the full story here:

link to story on seacoastonline.com

Animals &Invasives dgregg on 10 Aug 2010

Humans as Biocontrol for Invasive Species

Okay, we get this question from time to time: why don’t we encourage people to develop a palate for invasive species as a way to control them? The usual answer is that encouraging human uses of invasive species encourages people to move them around, either intentionally, to create new populations for exploitation, or accidentally, because they’re bringing them along to cook later and they escape.

But here’s an interesting example from today’s news: Officials from NOAA are encouraging the development of a market for lionfish meat and a fishery to supply it as a way to control explosive population growth of a highly destructive invasive species.

Story at MSNBC

I’d like to know how they taste dredged through a thick beer batter and fried and served on a pile of french fries and a generous slosh of vinegar.

Events &Invasives &Plants dgregg on 14 Jul 2010

Water Chestnut Pull, July 17, 2010

Volunteers are needed to pull water chestnut from Chapman Pond, Westerly, this Saturday, July 17, from 9 to Noon. Westerly Land Trust and RINHS are organizing a morning sortie to combat the invasive pond weed water chestnut in Chapman Pond. The infestation in Westerly, the third detected in Rhode Island, was found in 2009. It is growing extensively around the northeast corner of the pond. In fall 2009 a similar effort removed over 1,600 pounds of weed. Volunteers with canoes or boats suitable to the shallow, weed choked waters are welcome, but boat-less volunteers are also very welcome. They can sign on as a deck hand in someone else’s boat or help land the catch and put it into the roll-off. Bring life jackets, sun screen and sun hats, drinking water, and gloves that can get wet. Meet at the boat ramp at the north west corner of the pond, off of Rt 91 on the road to the Westerly town dump/transfer station.


View Chapman Pond, Westerly in a larger map

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