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A Boar of a ProblemTuesday, 10 April 2012 09:31
Feral swine are an emerging threat to our region and state. This invasive species is unlike many that we frequently discuss, but has at least as much potential to harm our economy, environment and health as any of the others.
EAB Efforts ContinueWednesday, 21 December 2011 09:54
As 2011 comes to a close and we reflect on what we've accomplished this year I can't help but think about all the work CRISP has done on emerald ash borer (EAB) preparedness. This year marked new county detections in Orange and Albany County as well as an expanded understanding of the massive extent of our Ulster/Greene infestation (it is by far the largest infestation in NY State). The first round of CRISP sponsored Community Ash Tree Street Inventories took place in communities throughout the Catskills this spring and summer. This important first step in preparing has spurred on additional activites in those communities.
Yesterday I attended a workshop hosted by CRISP partner, Erin Brady of the NYS Dept. of Environmental Conservation for town highway department staff from Delaware County. These are the people who are clearing fallen trees from the roads and preventatively dealing with dead trees when they can. They are the frontlines in dealing with the aftermath of the emerald ash borer. It was great to see such a good turnout at this meeting and such interest in this topic. CRISP has been working to engage highway department staff, municipal officials and county agencies in EAB County Task Forces in Greene and Ulster County this year to begin preparation for the sudden and complete loss of ash trees that is expected over the next decade. Kick-off meetings were held in November and December and follow-up meetings will be happening early in the new year.
CRISP is also continuing survey efforts for early detections of EAB in parts of our region that aren't already infested. Our first report from the sentinal tree project came in yesterday too. The sentinal tree project asks landowners who already cut firewood and have ash on their property to girdle a single tree in the spring and then cut it down and peel back the bark in the late fall. The girdled tree is extra attractive to the EAB and if it is in the area it will likely go to the girdled tree before it infests a perfectly healthy tree. The larvae will then be visible under the bark when it is peeled. If no larvae are found, it is likely the EAB is not in that area. No EAB was detected in Davenport, NY. We will also be hosting an EAB survey in Hancock, NY on January 6th along the Route 17 right-of-way, following up on a report that it may be in that area.
These projects and more will continue in 2012. What are you doing to prepare for EAB? Do you have ash trees in your backyard? Get involved in the sentinal tree project or a county task force.
Asian Longhorned Beetle Public Awareness CampaignFriday, 04 November 2011 11:39
Help protect the Catskills and our healthy forests. The Catskills want YOU! CRISP has just launched a public outreach campaign aimed at getting the word out about the Asian longhorned beetle (ALB), a destructive invasive insect that especially loves our maple trees. It has been found in NYC, Chicago, New Jersey and Massachussets. Despite every effort to eradicate this beetle, more may be arriving through our ports over and over again. Each time a new detection has been found it has been by a concerned citizen who reported this strange looking beetle to the authorities. That is why we all need to stay on the lookout.
The idea behind this campaign is to create a group of citizens throughout the region that are armed with enough information to detect the signs and symptoms of the ALB and know how to report it. Working with Vibrant Creative, a media and marketing firm out of Oneonta, NY, we have developed posters, postcards and a brochure as well as a multi-media approach with facebook, twitter, a new www.catskillinvasives.com page and a youtube channel. You may have also heard our radio PSAs if you are within Roxbury's WIOX radio listening area. The website will be going online on Monday 11/7.
We hope you will like us on facebook, bookmark this new webpage, follow us on twitter, and most of all we hope you will join our citizen army and help us detect any introductions of the ALB to protect the balance in our forests!
120 Mile Trek - Eyes on InvasivesMonday, 22 August 2011 14:57
Boy Scout Troup 163 has a long road ahead of them. Fifteen scouts and their leaders are hiking 120 miles from the Ashokan Reservoir to NYC and they are helping CRISP and the DEP by looking for invasive species along the way. Walking transects looking for plants is a common way to inventory but 120 mile transect is a pretty long one to say the least. They will be looking for our two priority forest pests: the Asian longhorned beetle (ALB) and the emerald ash borer (EAB) as well as five terrestrial priority plants: Norway maple; giant hogweed; swallow-wort; mile-a-minute vine; and Asiatic bittersweet. The data they collect will be incorporated into the iMap Invasives online database and will be available to the public and professionals working on invasive species issues across the state.
The scouts were trained in the identification of these species on Saturday, August 20th, the second day of their trek as they camped out at the Ulster County Fair Grounds. Although the remainder of their trek will be outside the CRISP boundary, it is useful to have more information about the invasive species that are moving up the Hudson Valley. Frequently, species move along the river corridor and then spread westward into our region.
Learn more about the Trek, and read frequently updated blog entries from Troup 163 at: www.olivescouts.org.
ReLeaf Conference, Re- tree Our CommunitiesMonday, 18 July 2011 20:56
The NY State Urban and Community Forestry Council's annual ReLeaf conference took place last week at SUNY New Paltz and brought together professionals, students, government officials, and interested citizens working on urban and community forestry issues across the state. CRISP was lucky enough to attend as an exhibitor and share some of our successes and lessons learned through our Community Ash Inventory Project. It was great to meet so many people who were so concerned about street trees and preserving our urban and community forests and has led to a brainstorm of ways to help communities keep the street trees they have and replant for those trees (ash) that they will so enevitably lose. The answer here as it is in so many cases is going to be partnerships. We are going to have to work with communities to make the right partnerships to bring them affordable trees to replant along their streets.
In a region where forestry is so important it should be easy to fit the right pieces together to come up with a way to get street trees to communities at cost. I recently visited a non-profit in Dallas, TX called Texas Trees that did just that. They grew trees to the right size to plant (selecting only species that did well as street trees in the blazing Dallas heat) and then sold them, at cost, to communities for planting projects. If they can do this in Texas, we should be able to do it here, where trees don't need to be watered nearly as much.
Ashes, Ashes, They All Fall DownFriday, 13 May 2011 20:35
This past weekend marked a milestone in the response to emerald ash borer in the Catskills. The first public trees were taken down in Saugerties, a village that is at the heart of the Ulster/Greene infestation of this invasive forest pest. Three large ash trees that lined Main Street in front of the Saugerties Historical Society were felled and removed on Saturday, May 7th. While it is always sad to see a large tree go, we need to reflect on this as a positive step for a community -- realizing that it has trees that are going to pose a risk to public safety -- taking action. We have been working with the Saugerties Tree Commission to identify the community ash trees and discuss the next steps they can take to prepare.
Take a look around your community and your house. Do you see any ash trees that might fall and hurt someone?
SentinelTrees: What’s the controversy?Monday, 07 March 2011 19:05
Next Tuesday, March 15th the Catskill Regional Invasive Species Partnership will be hosting a workshop where we will be discussing the use of sentinel trees as a tool for the early detection of two of the most destructive invasive forest pests in New York – the emerald ash borer (EAB) and the Asian longhorned beetle (ALB).
A sentinel tree is one that attracts a target pest before other trees in the area, acting as a lookout for that pest. For the emerald ash borer, girdled ash trees act as a sentinel because stressed ash trees release chemicals that are attractive to the adult beetles that are searching for a place to lay their eggs. They will likely choose that tree over another ash tree in that area, allowing someone to cut down and thoroughly examine the girdled tree to determine if the EAB is present in that area. For the Asian longhorned beetle, a species of maple known as painted maple or Acer mono has been proven to be extra attractive especially to female beetles. ALB prefers maples over other tree species already, so painted maple is like the cherry on top version of their favorite snack. They will choose this tree over other favorites like the Norway maple, making planting one of these a quick way to check an area for ALB. It is so good at drawing them in, that it can be used as a trap in areas that are already known to be infested, like Worcester, MA.
“First, do no harm” is a doctor’s oath. “First, plant no exotic” would be the invasive species manager’s oath. Controversy over the use of painted maple as a sentinel has stemmed over the lack of knowledge of the invasiveness of this tree. Invasiveness is a measure of a species ability to take over a new community and cause harm ecologically, economically, or to human health. Norway maple is an example of an invasive tree that got here because we planted it. Now it not only lines many streets, but also does pretty well in the forests, beating out other trees like sugar maple (an important species for the economy). Its great ability to cast shade, which is why it was selected as a street tree, causes loss of sunlight and subsequently diversity of wild flowers in the forest.
What we do know is that if ALB arrives in our forests it would devastate a number of hardwood species, including the economically important sugar maple. If it is caught early, ALB has the potential to be controlled with some serious management and can even be eradicated. What we don’t know is what would happen if painted maple escaped into our forests. Will it be the next Norway maple decreasing the biodiversity of the region further? Should we avoid finding out because the risk is too great? Is the chance to catch an ALB outbreak early worth the risk? Join in our discussion at 1:00 pm at the Catskill Center on Tuesday, March 15th. Dr. Michael Smith from the USDA Agricultural Research Service – an expert who has spent several years studying painted maple and its use for ALB detection and trapping – will be here.
EAB on Our DoorstepTuesday, 27 July 2010 22:07
On July 15th the emerald ash borer, a bark boring beetle frequently referred to as EAB, was discovered in Ulster County. Those who follow the movement of invasive species were not surprised. We have resigned ourselves to an epic battle to preserve our forests in which we know the EAB will win the first fight. It will not be eradicated given the resources we currently have available. It is virtually impossible to detect until it is present in large numbers and it can move up to about a half mile in a year. While we can’t beat it outright, we are not going to sit idly by and watch it wash through our forests. Nature has a way of restoring order, to some extent. If we can help SLOW the spread, providing time for the rearing of biocontrol species (a pest or pathogen that attacks an unwanted species), then the destruction of the EAB may be minimized and more manageable.
Last week Alan wrote a blog entry about partnerships. One of the partnerships that the Catskill Center is actively involved in is CRISP, The Catskill Regional Invasive Species Partnership. Through CRISP we are working with various state agencies and representatives from a large number of other organizations throughout the region to coordinate efforts to stop the spread of invasive species and respond to early introductions of new species, as well as provide outreach information for management of established invasive species.
We are posting information as it becomes available on a new EAB Update webpage. Please help us to protect the Catskill Region from forest pests like the emerald ash borer. Here are a few things you can do:
1. Don’t move firewood! There are regulations in place that are designed to keep these pests contained. Visit the NYS Dept. of Environmental Conservation webpage to educate yourself on the rules: http://www.dec.ny.gov/animals/28722.html
2. Eyes on Ash! Learn to identify ash trees and keep an eye on those in your backyard. Check out the ID sheets on the EAB Update Page. By knowing where the beetle is, we can better anticipate where it will turn up next and concentrate our efforts to slow its move.
3. Attend the CRISP sponsored EAB/ALB Identification and Survey Workshop next week, Tues. August 3 – Thur. August 5 in Newburgh, NY. For more details click here.
Keep checking back to learn more about the status of the new discovery in Ulster County.
What else do you think we could be doing to spread the word about EAB?