Humans adores trees. But humans also migrate and trade, habits that led to the accidental introduction of insects and diseases that harm trees and alter the landscape. Examples are easy to find and may be outside your front door: American elms that once dotted streets across America succumbed to Dutch elm disease. Now all colors of ash species – black, green, white, pumpkin, and blue – are threatened by emerald ash borer. The already uncommon butternut tree, also known as white walnut, faces the possibility of extinction from a mysterious attacker. Many invasive insects and fungi come from regions where native trees have evolved to resist their attacks. When these species enter the United States, they find trees that lack this resistance. There's no immediate end to this dismal pipeline, but there is hope on the horizon.
Invasive Species Resources
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Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission.
Now is the time to register for the 2020 Lionfish Challenge! The Lionfish Challenge is an incentive program that rewards harvesters for their lionfish removals. With a tiered system, everybody can be a winner. The participant who harvests the most lionfish will be crowned the Lionfish King/Queen. The Challenge is open now and will run through November 1. You can register for the 2020 Lionfish Challenge and find more information at FWCReefRangers.com/Lionfish-Challenge. Questions regarding the challenge can be sent to Lionfish@MyFWC.com.
Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission.
On Jan 10, 2020, the Florida Python Challenge™ 2020 Python Bowl officially kicked off in South Florida with more than 550 people registered for the competition to remove as many pythons from the wild as possible. Native to Southeast Asia, pythons pose a significant threat to Florida’s native wildlife. Under the direction of Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) and the South Florida Water Management District (SFWMD) have teamed up with the Miami Super Bowl Host Committee and other partners to support the Committee’s Ocean to Everglades (O2E) initiative, which features the Python Bowl. It’s not too late! People interested in taking part in the Florida Python Challenge™ 2020 Python Bowl can still register at FLPythonChallenge.org.
New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets.
The New York State Departments of Agriculture and Markets (AGM) and Environmental Conservation (DEC), and the Office of Parks, Recreation, and Historic Preservation (Parks) today announced an innovative effort to combat the spread of Spotted Lanternfly (SLF) in New York State. A new online interface will allow volunteer members of the public to assist in surveying for SLF and tracking associated data. The program encourages broader surveying for SLF and increased public awareness of this invasive pest, following confirmed finds of SLF in New York State this past fall.
The new initiative, which launched this week, invites volunteers to sign up to survey a specific area, or grid, of land on iMapInvasives. This online, GIS-based data management system is used to assist citizen scientists and natural resource professionals to protect against the threat of invasive species. Volunteers will also enter data from their survey work into iMapInvasives. More information about the program, including upcoming webinars, can be found at https://www.nyimapinvasives.org/slf.
If you are moving this year from a location within the gypsy moth quarantine area to a location outside the quarantine area, please inspect outdoor household items for pests. This is a federal requirement for homeowners moving from gypsy moth quarantine areas.
By complying with the law, you may also save a forest. Gypsy moths are destructive, invasive pests! European gypsy moth larvae feed on over 300 plant species including oak, aspen and elm. Gypsy moths have defoliated more than 83 million acres in the United States since 1970. About 70% of susceptible forests have never been infested and are at risk.
University of Georgia. Center for Invasive Species and Ecosystem Health; Wildlife Forever; USDA. Forest Service.
Wild Spotter is a nationwide effort to complete a comprehensive map and survey of prioritized invasive through on-the-ground activities accomplished by citizen science volunteers.
You can help fight back against invasive species in America's wild places by downloading the free Wild Spotter Mobile App on your smartphone or other mobile devices. You'll learn how to identify, map, and prevent the spread of these invaders in order to protect our rivers, mountains, forests, and all wild places for future generations. Learn more by watching the Wild Spotter Introduction Video. To become a volunteer, register either online or download the Wild Spotter Mobile App. Once registered, reach out to your nearest National Forest or Grassland to discover how you can volunteer to help support and protect these beautiful places from invasive species. Then, just get outside and enjoy America's wild places while keeping an eye out for those harmful invaders!