Northeast Aquatic Nuisance Species Panel Forum

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December 2015 meeting roundtable updates

It’s never too early to share your roundtable updates with your peers. Please post your updates here and never hesitate to contact me if I may provide any assistance with your information sharing on this forum.

Thank you,

Michele L. Tremblay
MLT@naturesource.net
603.796.2615

Comments

Comment from Leslie Surprenant on December 9, 2015 at 12:01 pm

Updates from NYS:

New Regulations Adopted – Effective 3/10/15; Prohibited and Regulated Species – Part 575
• Aimed at commercial sales of IS
• Lists 3 algae and cyanobacteria, 70 plants, 15 fish, 17 aquatic invertebrates, 13 terrestrial invertebrates, 6 vertebrates, 4 fungi as prohibited
Lists 2 algae and cyanobacteria, 6 plants, 11 fish, 3 aquatic invertebrates, 6 vertebrates as regulated. FMI, link to “Part 575” on this webpage:http://www.dec.ny.gov/regs/2490.html

New Law: S 35-d of Navigation Law: law is here: http://public.leginfo.state.ny.us/lawssrch.cgi?NVLWO: AIS Spread Prevention Signs – directs NYS Dept Env Conservation to design and post universal sign for download on web and each public boat launch must have conspicuously posted sign not 70% NYers heard of Stop Aquatic Hitchhikers campaign
• > 80% WI
• NY anglers and boaters know more about ZM than Hydrilla

Recommendations –
Have good consistency with messages re Inspect, Remove, Drain
Less consistent Wash and Dry messages

• Build on beliefs and concern about AIS
• Make taking actions easier

New Hires IS Coordinators – DEC contract with SUNY ESF

Education and Outreach – will lead work team to make recommendations to NY ISC
Response and Management –

Interns – IS all taxa – ~ 20 per year, most Forest Health, IS removal, Stewards, Database, Policy review, etc.

Outreach Projects upcoming

• Fact sheets
• AIS brochure
• PRISM brochure
• Hydrilla webpage

IS Response and Management Priorities

Hydrilla – Croton (continue Cayuga Inlet and Erie Canal)

Starry Stonewort
Grass Carp

Other Projects – under Great Lakes Restoration Initiative – boat steward programs, hydrilla and water chestnut control, eDNA citizen science

Comment from John McPhedran on November 24, 2015 at 1:33 pm

Maine Invasive Aquatic Species Program Update, November 2015
John McPhedran, Maine Department of Environmental Protection (DEP)

Infestation Status

Salmon Falls River: Maine’s latest documented find, European naiad (Najas minor), now bumps up by two the Pine Tree State’s named infested waterbody total to 49. Found initially in early September by ace-volunteer plant monitor Dennis Roberge, Maine and New Hampshire officials soon after confirmed the discovery in the 1040-acre impoundment within Salmon Falls River, a border water body with shorelines in Lebanon and Acton, Maine and Milton, New Hampshire. The impoundment in Maine includes Northeast and Milton Ponds.
Aiming to monitor the extent of the infestation so as to consider interstate responses for 2016, DEP along with volunteers from York County Invasive Aquatic Species Project and the Three Ponds Protective Association found well-established populations in Northeast Pond and in the narrow thoroughfare leading to Milton Pond with the thickest growth in northern portions of Northeast Pond.

Maine DEP and NHDES distributed invasive species warning signs for posting at boat ramps and issued a 6 October press release (http://www.maine.gov/dep/news/news.html?id=659186 ). Also notified were boat ramp and other land owners, fishing tournament organizers, and fisheries and warden services from both states. DEP and NHDES staffers will huddle this winter to determine control strategies.

European naiad has been confirmed in one small Maine Pond in Kittery and in a handful of New Hampshire water bodies.

Annabessacook Lake: DEP’s rapid response effort engaged staff in eleven rapid response/manual removal visits to manage variable leaf water milfoil (VLM, Myriophyllum heterophyllum) in 1,400-acre Annabessacook Lake. The infestation was confirmed in the Winthrop lake in September 2014. The most widespread and dense plant VLM populations share ideal plant habitat with native milfoil species thereby challenging in situ identification. Also, this habitat resides close to a channel leading to a busy public boat ramp. Because DEP staff observed prolific regrowth after removal of VLM within this area, the agency is considering for 2016 options for boat traffic management as well plant control strategies to be undertaken by area partners Annabessacook Lake Improvement Association, Cobbossee Watershed District and Friends of the Cobbossee Watershed.

Damariscotta Lake: DEP continues to report stability in controlling hydrilla (Hydrilla verticillata) in Damariscotta Lake. Weekly surveillance of Davis Stream, a tributary found in 2010 to host a nascent population of hydrilla, resulted in another season of no detections. The last pulls from this inlet stream were four plants in 2013.

What remains, however, is the quest for the perfect benthic barrier for the Cranberry Point 0.3-acre lagoon—Damariscotta Lake’s pioneer population of hydrilla found in 2009. Through control measures that range from hand removal, herbicide, deployment of a variety of benthic barrier materials and more hand-removal, the hydrilla’s shag carpet-dense biomass has been reduced to mere individual plants.

In 2015, however, labor-intensive barrier management now eclipses plant removal because of substantial off-gassing from the lagoon’s organic substrate which billow barrier materials. Also, the varied composition of emergent native vegetation within the lagoon precludes opportunities to cover the entire lagoon uniformly.

Because of this the DEP staff considered the ultimate benthic barrier—a permanent pond liner weighed down with rip rap deployed on top of the coming winter’s ice. The theory: encourage reestablishment of native plants from the fringing sphagnum mat on top of a newly defined substrate. NPDES permitting and land owners’ approval were explored as was the state of the art in permanent pond liners able to purge off-gas.

Then came early autumn rainstorms that raised water levels. And the resultant discoveries of robust hydrilla plants outlying rehydrated habitat among pickerel weed beyond the reach of existing benthic barriers.

With theory dashed, DEP informed Midcoast Conservancy (née Damariscotta Lake Watershed Association) in November that their continued surveillance and hand removal efforts remain essential to hydrilla management. At that time, DEP also piloted a bolt of yet another type of benthic barrier material—this time, a woven geotextile.

DEP continues to ponder permanent solutions to this now relatively small infestation.

Pickerel Pond: Pickerel Pond, Maine’s other – and first – hydrilla infestation, remains hydrilla free. DEP’s lake-wide survey of the Limerick pond using SCUBA divers, subsequent surveillance by York County Invasive Aquatic Species Project and frequent vigilance of the Pickerel Pond Association continue to find no offending plants in 2015. The last find was in 2012, a single plant, during a DEP SCUBA survey. The pond was treated with fluridone for nine consecutive years beginning in 2003.

Because of the insidious nature of hydrilla and the challenges in surveying all available habitat, the DEP continues to keep Pickerel Pond on its infested waterbody list.

Salmon Lake: DEP SCUBA divers continued to survey a 6-acre outlet cove of Salmon Lake for Eurasian water milfoil (EWM) (Myriophyllum spicatum) in 2015 and found none. No EWM has been detected in the Belgrade lake since 2009 when it was treated with 2, 4-D. DEP removed the lake from its list of infested state waters in 2013. EWM was first detected in 2008.

Invasive species scorecard: With inclusion of 2015’s finds, Maine still reports an enviable record of having documented invasive aquatic plants in only 0.85 per cent of all named waterbodies.

Outreach

King Middle School: DEP-ers Denise Blanchette and Karen Hahnel led approximately eighty 7th graders from the Portland school in a hands-on workshop to identify VLM using live aquatic plants.

The students are undertaking an 8-12 week program focused on invasive plants and the use of remotely operated vehicles (ROVs). In this case, the ROVs—all 35 of them—are submersible, designed and built by the students themselves in an attempt to identify VLM and other aquatic invasive plants.

Blanchette and Hahnel also accompanied students in field testing the ROVs as surveillance tools.

Ducks Unlimited: Just in time for the hunting season, DEP contributed an article to the northern New England Duck Unlimited members-only online newsletter in September that stressed the importance of checking and cleaning hunting gear for invasive aquatic plants.

Duck hunters use unique equipment such as decoys, decoy anchoring equipment and poles (for propelling boats) which can snag and permit transport of vegetation if left unchecked.

For more information, please check DEP’s website http://www.maine.gov/dep/water/invasives/
or email milfoil@maine.gov.
—30—

Comment from Ann Bove and Josh Mulhollem VTDEC on November 16, 2015 at 3:31 pm

VT AIS Program Summary

The Program welcomed Josh Mulhollem in April. Josh comes to the Program with a strong background in AIS spread prevention and decontamination. He heads up VT spread prevention efforts and is the Program’s animal lead.

A recommendation of the LCB AIS Rapid Response Task Force after the confirmation of SWF in Lake Champlain, the program produced a SWF sign and posted it at all Lake Champlain VTDFW public launch sites and many inland VT public access launches.

Two new water chestnut populations were confirmed this year, Coggman Creek (connected to already confirmed Coggman Pond) and an unused quarry pond in Blissville. Both populations were managed. Six new locations of European frogbit were identified, all in wetland locations. One species not previously confirmed in the state, the macroalgae starry stonewort was confirmed in an isolated cove of Lake Memphremagog. See VIP post below. Management of this species is under consideration.

Roughly 30 public access greeter programs were active in 2015. Staff conducted seasonal site visits to all programs, providing technical assistance, sample identification and general support. Four trainings were offered in locations statewide in the spring. Greeter Programs submit annual data in December; a program summary will be available in 2016.

Two, day-long Vermont Invasive Patrollers (VIP) workshops were attended by 21 people. VIP staff conducted four practice (educational) surveys with 29 VIPs and lake residents at Lake Memphremagog (13, also representing Holland Pond, Bliss Pond, and Lake Willoughby), Lake Eden (10), Lake Iroquois (4), and Mirror Lake (2). Surveys are still coming in. As of September 24th, VIP staff had been notified that 20 volunteers contributed over 80 hours collectively in their surveying efforts of 15 Vermont lakes. A trained VIP on Memphremagog reported, and VT DEC staff confirmed, a new aquatic invasive macroalgae, Nitellopsis obtusa or starry stonewort. This is the first time this species has been recorded in Vermont. For more information, visit http://vtwatershedblog.com/2015/09/16/new-aquatic-invasive-species-confirmed-in-lake-memphremagog/

Contracted and VTDEC staff-initiated water chestnut management operated for the first time in 33 years without the guidance of a field supervisor. Despite this handicap, 2015 management was successful and continued to make progress in reducing population densities and preventing spread in Lake Champlain and at 25 other waterbody sites. Adequate funding, high water levels and experienced contractors contributed to this success. Data processing is underway.

Motorboat Registration Fund and Army Corps of Engineer funds supported $463,430 in Aquatic Nuisance Control grant funds awarded to 34 municipalities implementing aquatic invasive species management in the state. 37 municipalities applied for these funds, requesting a total of $1.31M.

Four hot-water pressure washer units intended for watercraft decontamination against aquatic invasive species were purchsed. The purchased units were NorthStar gas powered hot-water pressure washers that run on 13 horsepower Honda engines. They are capable of sustaining water temperatures of 250 degrees F at 3,000 PSI and 4 gallons/minute. A 12 volt battery and 4 gallon/minute diaphragm pump was also purchased for each unit so that they can be operated near waterbodies where no domestic water supply is available. The total cost of each unit with associated pumps and batteries was approximately $3,685. Beginning in 2016, the units will be strategically placed at public access areas in Vermont where they will be used to supplement current aquatic invasive species spread prevention efforts. In conjunction with Vermont’s Public Access Greeter Program and LCBP’s Lake Steward program, voluntary watercraft decontaminations will be offered to those members of the public at high risk of transporting invasive plants and animals. Two or three of the units will be employed in the Champlain basin with the intent of preventing new introductions of invasives to Lake Champlain and to prevent those species currently in the lake to be transported to other Vermont waterbodies. One unit will serve as a mobile decontamination station, and will be used at numerous locations around the state. These units are an excellent boost to Vermont’s AIS spread prevention efforts, both in the decontamination service they provide and because they will prove to be valuable outreach tools.

VTDEC partnered with NHDES to bring internationally recognized didymo researcher, Max Bothwell, Ph.D to Vermont in October. Dr. Bothwell presented the case of Didymosphenia geminata, an overview of the understanding of this species from 1993 to present, ending with, “The proximate cause of [didymo] blooms is P limitation. Blooms are the consequence of oligotrophication, not a new variant with bloom-forming tendency.” (See Taylor and Bothwell, 2014. BioScience.)

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