The Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission (PFBC) is urging anglers to report and dispose of any invasive Northern Snakehead fish that may be caught in the lower Susquehanna River. This advisory follows the documented movement of 21 Northern Snakeheads past the Conowingo Dam into the Conowingo Pool, a 14-mile-long section of the Susquehanna River located between the Conowingo Dam in Maryland and the Holtwood Dam in Pennsylvania. Anglers are reminded that possession, transport, and importation of a live snakehead is unlawful in both Pennsylvania and Maryland. Any of these invasive fish that are caught should be killed and disposed of properly or consumed. Anglers who suspect they have caught a snakehead are encouraged to NOT release it, and report it to the PFBC at (610) 847-2442 or by sending an email to firstname.lastname@example.org. For more information on Northern Snakeheads in Pennsylvania, including an identification guide, visit the PFBC snakehead resource page.
Invasive Species Resources
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Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission.
USDA. Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service.
The United States Department of Agriculture's Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) has analyzed the potential environmental effects of establishing an integrated management strategy to control cogongrass in Alabama, Georgia, Mississippi, and South Carolina. The draft environmental assessment is now available for comment. Cogongrass is an invasive exotic grass found on public and private property, along roadways, in forests, and on farmland. This federally regulated noxious weed grows rapidly, reducing forest productivity, harming wildlife habitat and ecosystems, and encroaching on pastures and hayfields. Because of cogongrass' impact on agriculture and forest industries, Congress has given APHIS funding to partner with Alabama, Georgia, Mississippi, and South Carolina to control the spread of this weed. APHIS is proposing is an integrated management strategy that uses preventive, cultural, mechanical, biological, and chemical methods to control cogongrass in key areas of its distribution. APHIS invites the public to review and comment on this environmental assessment by April 1, 2020.
Vermont Department of Health.
State Agriculture and Health officials announced that the Asian Tiger mosquito (Aedes albopictus) has been identified for the first time in Vermont. This normally tropical/subtropical species is a known disease vector for Zika, chikungunya and dengue viruses, infecting humans in countries where these diseases are present. The mosquitoes found in Vermont do not currently carry these viruses. Natalie Kwit, public health veterinarian with the Vermont Department of Health, said that while the discovery of Aedes albopictus in the state is notable, Vermont's climate is currently inhospitable for the mosquito species for most of the year, making it unlikely they will be spreading new diseases here any time soon. "The diseases they can carry are not endemic to our area, and in fact are rarely found anywhere in the United States," said Kwit. For more information, visit Vermont's Mosquito Surveillance Program.
University of Guam.
The University of Guam received another round of funding in September under the U.S. Department of Agriculture Plant Protection Act for the surveying and monitoring of invasive pests of solanaceous crops that are on USDA’s Priority Pest List for 2021. Solanaceae, or nightshades, are a family of flowering plants that include tomato, eggplant, and chili pepper. As part of the national effort this year, UOG was awarded $38,000 to survey and monitor for two pests: Tuta absoluta, which is a moth and type of leafminer capable of destroying an entire crop, and Ralstonia solanacearum race 3 biovar 2, which is a bacterium, known as a bacterial wilt, that infects through the roots and is deadly to plants.
The work through UOG better prepares the island to manage these invasive species if or when they arrive. "There are certain pathogens and insects that have a reputation of being really bad. These are two of them," said project lead Robert L. Schlub, a researcher and faculty member of UOG Cooperative Extension and Outreach with a doctorate in plant pathology. "They aren’t on Guam, but if they show up, we want to know so we can help get them under control."
Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks.
Montana watercraft inspection stations have intercepted 13 boats carrying invasive mollusks into the state this year. As of May 30, inspectors have caught 12 boats with invasive zebra or quagga mussels and one boat with red rim melania snails attached to watercraft.
DOI. Office of Insular Affairs.
U.S. Department of the Interior Assistant Secretary, Insular and International Affairs, Douglas W. Domenech announced the release of $3,442,389 in fiscal year (FY) 2020 grant funding to suppress and control the brown tree snake (BTS), Boiga irregularis, primarily on Guam. Funds also support prevention, detection, and rapid response efforts in the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands (CNMI) and Hawaii, in addition to research and development on how to improve suppression methods and potentially eradicate the snake on Guam. The Office of Insular Affairs (OIA) Brown Tree Snake Control program FY 2020 funds are divided among several federal, state, and territorial agencies that collaborate in support of the three pillars of BTS suppression: $1,229,296 is used for control in rapid response and research activities, $1,724,210 is used for interdiction, and $488,883 is used for prevention through coordination and outreach.
DOI. Office of Insular Affairs.
U.S. Department of the Interior Assistant Secretary, Insular and International Affairs, Douglas W. Domenech announced $942,206 in fiscal year (FY) 2020 Coral Reef and Natural Resources Initiative grants to eradicate and control the spread of invasive species in the U.S. territories of Guam and the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands (CNMI), as well as in the Republic of Palau, and Yap, in the Federated States of Micronesia (FSM). Funding will be used to introduce biological control of coconut rhinoceros beetles, control and eradicate feral cats and monitor lizards, and destroy wild vines, all of which are disruptive to ecological systems and impacting communities and livelihoods in the islands.
DOI. Office of Insular Affairs.
Doug Domenech, U.S. Department of the Interior Assistant Secretary for Insular and International Affairs this week announced $1,488,890 in fiscal year 2018 grants to combat invasive species and protect natural resources in the U.S. Territories of American Samoa, Guam, the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, the U.S. Virgin Islands, as well as the freely associated states of the Federated States of Micronesia and the Republic of Palau. "Invasive species in the islands are disruptive for both marine and terrestrial resources in the islands, which already face a delicate balance," said Assistant Secretary Domenech. "Secretary Zinke and I are pleased to help control and eradicate invasive species in the islands in order to protect public health, livelihoods, and fragile environments and economies."
United States Department of the Interior.
Interior Acting Assistant Secretary for Insular Areas Nikolao Pula made available $409,885 to preserve natural and cultural resources and protect against invasive species on Guam. “We are especially pleased that Congress was able to provide some extra funding in FY 2017 to mitigate and control the coconut rhinoceros beetle and little fire ant on Guam,” said Pula. “All funding supports Governor Eddie Calvo’s efforts in protecting Guam’s natural resources now and for the future.”
DOI. United States Geological Survey.
For the first time, an invasive brown treesnake population has been found on Cocos Island, an 83.1 acre atoll located 1.5 miles off the southwest coast of Guam. The brown treesnake was a major contributor to the loss of nine of 11 native forest birds and significant population declines of several native lizards, bats and other bird species on Guam. They now pose a threat to the wildlife of Cocos Island. Guam Department of Agriculture Division of Aquatic and Wildlife Resources is working with partners to better understand how many brown treesnakes are on the island and the best way to remove them.
Montana Fish, Wildlife, and Parks.
The U.S. Bureau of Reclamation announces a $837,000 grant to Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks to combat invasive mussels in Montana. These grant funds will be used to improve inspection/decontamination stations; provide campsites for inspection staff; purchase inspection and decontamination equipment, materials and supplies, outreach materials, storage sheds, and shelters; and also provide for sampling and analysis.
Michigan Department of Natural Resources.
For landscapes plagued by autumn olive or entangled in oriental bittersweet, a new website offers help identifying and managing woody invasive plants like these. WoodyInvasives.org, developed by the Woody Invasives of the Great Lakes Collaborative, contains a wealth of information about how to distinguish woody invasive species from similar beneficial plants, an interactive map showing how these species are regulated by Great Lakes jurisdictions, detailed management approaches and noninvasive woody plant ideas for gardeners and landscape designers. "We developed the WIGL Collaborative website to help people learn to identify the woody invasive plants around them and to feel empowered to start controlling them on their properties or in their favorite green places," said Clair Ryan, coordinator of the Midwest Invasive Plant Network, the organization leading the effort.
Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture.
Pennsylvania Agriculture Secretary Russell Redding today announced that twelve counties have been added to Pennsylvania's Spotted Lanternfly quarantine zone ahead of the 2020 spring hatch. With this addition, the quarantine (PDF | 506 KB) for this invasive pest is now at 26 counties. The new dozen counties are not completely infested, but rather have a few municipalities with a known infestation (PDF | 803 KB) which led to a quarantine being placed on the entire county out of an abundance of caution. Allegheny, Beaver, Blair, Columbia, Cumberland, Huntingdon, Juniata, Luzerne, Mifflin, Northumberland, Perry, and York have been added to the quarantine for 2020. For more information on Spotted Lanternfly in Pennsylvania, visit https://agriculture.pa.gov/spottedlanternfly.
Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources.
Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources Secretary Cindy Adams Dunn announced that the department is launching an effort at nine state parks this summer to help prevent the spread of aquatic invasive species, and get boaters involved in invasive species detection. "Boats, motors, and trailers have ideal hiding spots where species may attach, and be transported to new locations," Dunn said. "Boaters must be involved in helping us protect state park waters from invaders, to benefit our environment and avoid very costly measures to treat lakes once these non-native species take hold." Starting this week, DCNR staff will be doing voluntary boat and trailer checks at boat launches on park lakes, handing out informational brochures and demonstrating how to do an inspection.
Pennsylvania State University.
An $800,000 grant from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service will support a two-year effort to control and prevent the spread of aquatic invasive species across Pennsylvania, with an emphasis on the Lake Erie Basin. The funding, through the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative, supports efforts to implement Pennsylvania’s Aquatic Invasive Species (AIS) Management Plan. It will directly support nine field projects to prevent or control the spread of aquatic invasive species, including: targeted control of Hydrilla (Hydrilla verticillata) in Pymatuning Lake; the removal of red-eared slider turtles from Presque Isle Bay; and surveys of Natural Heritage Areas within the Lake Erie watershed.
Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture.
Tests by the National Veterinary Services Laboratory in Ames, Iowa have confirmed the presence of Asian, or longhorn tick, Haemaphysalis longicornis, in Pennsylvania. An invasive species that congregates in large numbers and can cause anemia in livestock, the tick was discovered on a wild deer in Centre County. It is known to carry several diseases that infect hogs and cattle in Asia. So far, ticks examined in the U.S. do not carry any infectious pathogens. Native to East and Central Asia, the tick was originally identified in the U.S. in New Jersey, where it was found in large numbers in sheep in Mercer County in 2017. It has also been found in Arkansas, New Jersey, New York, West Virginia and Virginia.
Pennsylvania Sea Grant College Program.
Aquatic invasive species (AIS) pose a significant threat to Pennsylvania’s economy, freshwater resources, and native aquatic species. Pennsylvania Sea Grant announces 'there’s an app for that' with the launch of "PA AIS," a new, easy-to-use smart phone application. The "PA AIS" app is now available in the Apple App Store, with an Android version anticipated. The "PA AIS" app can be used in airplane mode or in areas outside of coverage, making it ideal for use in the field. Users can identify AIS and submit a report to the state AIS coordinator, including the location, severity, and photos of the suspected infestation. Illustrations help users learn more about each species to ensure accurate identification in the field. Prevention tips help educate freshwater enthusiasts such as anglers and boaters about the steps they can take to properly clean gear and ensure that AIS are not transported from one water body to another.