February 26th, 2016 | Posted by admin
From the National Wildlife Federation
“Invasive species” — it doesn’t sound very threatening, does it? But these invaders, large and small, have devastating effects on U.S. wildlife. Invasive species are one of the leading threats to native wildlife. Approximately 42% of Threatened or Endangered species are at risk primarily due to invasive species.
Human health and economies are also at risk from invasive species. The impacts of invasive species on our natural ecosystems and economy cost billions of dollars each year. Many of our commercial, agricultural, and recreational activities depend on healthy native ecosystems.
What makes a species invasive?
An invasive species does not have to come from another country. For example, lake trout are native to the Great Lakes, but are considered to be an invasive species in Yellowstone Lake in Wyoming because they compete with native cutthroat trout for habitat. An invasive species can be any kind of living organism—an amphibian (like the cane toad pictured left), plant, insect, fish, fungus, bacteria, or even an organism’s seeds or eggs—that is not native to an ecosystem and which causes harm. They can harm the environment, the economy or even, human health. Species that grow and reproduce quickly, and spread aggressively, with potential to cause harm, are given the label of “invasive”
What you can do to help curb the spread of invasive species
- Plant native plants and remove any invasive plants in your garden. There are many good native plant alternatives to common exotic ornamental plants.
- Learn to identify invasive species in your area. Report any sightings to your county extension agent or local land manager. Learn more about invasive species in your state.
- Regularly clean your boots, gear, boat, tires and any other equipment you use outdoors to remove insects and plant parts that may spread invasive species to new places.
- When camping, buy firewood near your campsite (within 30 miles) instead of bringing your own from home, and leave any extra for the next campers. Invertebrates and plants can easily hitch a ride on firewood you haul to or from a campsite — you could inadvertently introduce an invasive to a new area.
For more information visit: https://www.nwf.org/Wildlife/Threats-to-Wildlife/Invasive-Species.aspx
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February 21st, 2016 | Posted by Lee
Something We on the River Know Too Much About
National Invasive Species Awareness Week is this week, February 21st-27th. Non-native plants, animals and pathogens harm humans and the environment and cause significant negative impact to our nation and the River region’s economy.
Invasive species have always been a threat to the River. To-date 186 invasive species have been documented in the Great Lakes and River. Almost 60 aquatic invasive species have been introduced by way of ballast water since opening the Lakes and River to ocean-going ships. The resulting harm to indigenous species has cost many millions of dollars in control and mitigation efforts.
Even with increased regulations commercial shipping still poses a threat and opens the door for new invasive species to enter the River. And relatively new research has produced a list of ten species of eastern European fishes that are at high-risk of invading the Great Lakes and causing significant harm if they are successful even with strict enforcement of saltwater flushes of the ballast of ocean-going ships.
The threat of Asian Carp has been an imminent danger to the Great Lakes and River. Other threats include the live trade of exotic plants and animals and the transport of recreational boats and equipment from one waterbody to another without proper cleaning – an all too common practice that poses a threat to all waters when owners use their boats in different locations.
Last year New York State took a step forward to help prevent the spread of aquatic invasive species and to protect our waters. Now all boats and floating docks launched in New York State must be clean of plant or animal matter. The intent of the new law is to prevent the spread of invasive species from one waterbody to another.
Cleaning your boat and trailer between waterbodies has long been a best practice to stop the spread of invasives. We hope that the state will follow up with extensive public outreach and education. Voluntary compliance is always preferable to enforcement.
The Department of Environmental Conservation is developing new regulations that will more clearly define how boaters must clean their vessels before entering the water. For a step-by-step guide on how to prevent the spread of aquatic invasive species visit:http://www.dec.ny.gov/animals/48221.html.
For more information on DEC boating regulations visit:http://www.dec.ny.gov/outdoor/349.html.
For more information about invasive species click here.
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July 15th, 2015 | Posted by admin
How invasive species changed the Great Lakes forever, published by the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, by Dan Egan.
A primer on invasive species in the St. Lawrence River and Great Lakes. Worth a re-read this Invasive Species Awareness Week.
an excerpt: ” . . . the consequences of opening a nautical freeway into the Great Lakes for globe-roaming freighters proved disastrous — at least 56 non-native organisms have since been discovered in the lakes, and the majority arrived as stowaways in freighter ballast tanks.
These invaders have decimated native fish populations and rewired the way energy flows through the world’s largest freshwater system, sparking an explosion in seaweed growth that rots in reeking pockets along thousands of miles of shoreline. The foreign organisms are implicated in botulism outbreaks that have suffocated tens of thousands of birds on the eastern shore of Lake Michigan. They are among the culprits responsible for toxic algae blooms on Lake Erie that threaten public water supplies.”
The whole series deserves a close read. Find it here: http://ow.ly/PCvWJ
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