Northeast Aquatic Nuisance Species Panel Forum

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May 2016 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 Jason LeBlanc on May 11, 2016 at 2:42 pm

Nova Scotia Fisheries and Aquaculture Update
May 11, 2016

Freshwater Monitoring
Most of our efforts in freshwater continue to be focused on invasive smallmouth bass and chain pickerel.
Project 1 – Investigation into an illegal introduction and subsequent establishment of smallmouth bass in Cannon Lake, Queens County which flows into waters of Kejimkujik National Park. A project has begun to assess the impacts and reduce the risk to native fish communities as well as emigration to Park waters and subsequently the upper Mersey watershed. Smallmouth bass are being removed with an electrofishing boat (night), fyke nets and targeted angling. Project 2 – Control of chain pickerel and smallmouth bass in Hebb Lake, Lunenburg County continues despite no sightings of endangered Atlantic whitefish since 2014. The project includes targeted removals of both species using the electrofishing boat (night). It includes a combination of linear sites and multi-sweep depletion estimates. Goals include reducing the risk of predation on endangered Atlantic whitefish, assessing e-boat efficiency and feasibility of using e-boat to manage AIS in the context of whitefish recovery.

Chinese mystery snail has established in one lake in Halifax County and two empty shells were identified from a lake in Colchester County.

Outreach and Education
Additionally, invasive species discussion threads have been incorporated into classroom discussions and curriculum for our Learn to Fish (L2F) Program that targets approximately 2000 youth between the ages of 8-12 annually. http://novascotia.ca/fish/sportfishing/education-promotion/ Our Marine Division is reviewing Vermont’s greeter program and hopes to improve AIS education around marine launch ramps throughout Nova Scotia.

Tunicate Monitoring by Fisheries and Oceans
Dawn Sephton is retiring from Federal Fisheries so all future contact should be directed to Dr. Claudio DiBacco (Claudio.DiBacco@dfo-mpo.gc.ca) for further information, or to report sightings of AIS in marine environment.
Dawn has provided the following summary which outlines the results of the DFO Maritimes Region, Science Branch Aquatic Invasive Species (AIS) Monitoring Program for 2015.

Ciona intestinalis (vase tunicate), Botryllus schlosseri (golden star tunicate) and Botrylloides violaceus (violet tunicate) are the most common, established non-indigenous tunicates in MAR Region (southwest New Brunswick and the Atlantic coast of Nova Scotia). In southwest New Brunswick, C. intestinalis and B. schlosseri were present at 13 of 14 stations monitored, and B. violaceus was present at half of the stations monitored. Only one station in this region; Musquash, remains free of non-indigenous tunicates. On the Atlantic coast of Nova Scotia, B. schlosseri and C. intestinalis were found at 83% and 76% of monitoring locations, respectively. while B. violaceus was present at 62% of monitoring stations.
Styela clava (clubbed tunicate), first discovered in Nova Scotia in 2012, is now established in Bedford Basin, Lunenburg Harbors, and in Chedabucto Bay, and no new locations were recorded
In 2015. Ascidiella aspersa (European sea squirt) and Diplosoma listerianum (Compound sea squirt) were not found in 2015.

Didemnum vexillum, the pancake batter tunicate first detected in Nova Scotian waters in the Minas Basin in 2013, was not detected on any monitoring collectors deployed along the coast of southwest New Brunswick or Nova Scotia in 2015. Benthic groundline collectors, successfully tested in 2014 off Parrsboro as monitoring devices for D. vexillum, were deployed in several locations in 2015 (off Campobello and Deer Islands, NB and off Kingsport, Parrsboro, Harborville, Meteghan in NS). Unfortunately, many of these groundlines were not retrieved. New collectors will be deployed in 2015 at these, and additional, high-risk locations to delineate the distribution of this species. DFO Science Maritimes Region staff will continue to communicate information pertinent to the identification of this species to other DFO Sectors, the fishing industry and stakeholders. This species has been identified as a high risk invader for the Bay of Fundy,

Comment from David Wong on May 9, 2016 at 2:45 pm

What MassDEP has done on AIS since 2015
• Established an AIS initiative within the statewide biological monitoring framework mandated by the Clean Water Act;
• Proposed an AIS Internship Project and an intern has been on board since January 2016;
• Completed an AIS database (Excel and Access) collected from 1990s to 2010 in rivers/streams/lakes based on targeted and non-targeted monitoring strategies;
• Completed an AIS Map for Massachusetts based on data collected from 1990s to 2010;
• Updated 2016 Field Equipment/Boat Decontamination Standard Operating Procedure (SOP)
• Provide an AIS Presentation to the Green Team of MassDEP at Worcester in January 2016;
• Provide an AIS Presentation to the E-Coffee Group of MassDEP Boston in March 2016;
• Collaborating with State University of New York, a paper published in Journal of Shellfish Research (2015, Volume 34: 1029-1036): COMPARISON OF THREE SODIUM CHLORIDE CHEMICAL TREATMENTS FOR ADULT ZEBRA MUSSEL DECONTAMINATION (Davis, Wong, Harman 2015);
• Met with Jim Straub, Anne Carroll, and Vanessa Curran from Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation (Mass DCR) on potential collaborations such as developing a shared AIS list/database for Massachusetts freshwater invasive species;
• Created a standardized Master AIS Template for Mass DCR.
What MassDEP is Doing Now
• Proofing AIS data for the 2011 – 2015 field surveys;
• Initiate the new Field Season boat and equipment inspection program;
• Continue public education;
• Plan to meet with Massachusetts Division of Fish and Game/Harvard University to expand the Massachusetts Freshwater AIS database.
What MassDEP plans to do
• Establish a statewide protocol (SOP) for Sample Collection, Species Identification, and Confirmation by Experts
• Massachusetts Annual Interagency Meeting on AIS to keep everyone updated about field observations and Deliverables;
• Interaction/relation to marine invasives program (e.g. for coastal freshwater areas).

Comment from Meg Modley on May 9, 2016 at 2:13 pm

Lake Champlain Basin Program Updates, May 2016
The Lake Champlain Basin Program’s Director, Bill Howland, will retire in June 2016 after seventeen years of leading water quality initiatives in the Lake Champlain Basin.
The Lake Champlain Boat Launch Steward Program will enter its tenth year in 2016. Partnering with VTDEC, LCBP stewards will have two boat wash stations available at the Shelburne Bay and Guillemette boat launches in Vermont to address high risk vessels that may be carrying aquatic invasive species. Boat washing is voluntary. Additionally, there will be two boat wash stations at Ticonderoga and Plattsburgh, NY that will be operated by Adirondack Watershed Institute stewards in partnership with LCBP. The Lake Champlain Steering Committee supported the addition of two stewards at Quebec launches on Missisquoi Bay on Lake Champlain for 2017. LCBP has also worked with QC partners to create an AIS rack card in French which should be printed in time for the field season.
The spiny water flea population in Lake Champlain is doing well. According to the Lake Champlain Basin Program’s Long-Term Monitoring Program the species has first shown up (first detections of the field season in 2014 and 2015) at stations in the Main Lake and in Shelburne Bay. Impacts to the phytoplankton community is already evident.
Asian clam management in Lake George continues with a limited number of priority sites for eradication, the rest are managed for containment.
Lake Champlain Basin Program is working with the ANS Task Force on the Boat Design Ad-hoc Workgroup to work with ABYC on developing recommendations for boat design to reduce the spread of AIS.
The Lake George mandatory boat wash and decontamination program has completed its two-year pilot program and the Board of the Lake George Park Commission voted to make the regulations permanent.
The Lake Champlain Basin Program has participated in the development of a strategic landscape level AIS spread prevention plan for the Adirondack region. 2016 is the second year of a pilot program where stewards and decontamination stations are being deployed throughout the Adirondack region at critical points and invasion spread hubs (infested waters with outbound traffic to uninvaded lakes as well as at high use waterways that link heavily visited lakes in the region) based on the boat launch steward data collected by partner programs.

Comment from Josh Mulhollem, Ann Bove on May 9, 2016 at 12:08 pm

In late August 2015, Program staff confirmed the presence of starry stonewort (Nitellopsis obtusa) in an approximately 24-acre cove of 5,966-acre Lake Memphremagog in northern Vermont. Dense mats a meter or more thick were found in 50-75% of the cove but not outside of the cove in the main lake. This is the first confirmed population of this species in a Vermont waterbody. In April 2016, the Watershed Management Division of VTDEC submitted a request for a temporary closure of Scotts Cove under the Vermont Use of Public Waters Rules – Subsection 4.1. The requested closure of Scotts Cove to both persons and vessels represents an attempt to contain and minimize further spread of starry stonewort while additional surveys of the main lake can be conducted to determine if the species exists outside of Scotts Cove and to give further consideration to management options for the Scott’s Cove population. Scotts Cove is somewhat isolated from the main lake due to a well-established beaver dam and stand of the emergent invasive, common reed.

Over $450,000 in State Motorboat Registration Fund and Army Corps of Engineer funds will support 38 municipal Aquatic Nuisance Control grants for 2016 aquatic invasive and nuisance species management projects. Projects vary from: Eurasian watermilfoil control – chemical and non-chemical management; public access greeter programs; plant monitoring; to the mechanical harvest of nuisance native aquatic plants. Municipal requests for 2016 funds totaled $1.21 million.

State of Vermont fees are reviewed on a three-year cycle. In 2016, the Agency of Transportation proposes an increase in motorboat registration fees across all classes or motorboats, an elimination of all surcharge fees for every boat class and dealer registration, and changes to the fee allocation structure. Currently VTDEC receives 25% of revenues to support aquatic invasive and nuisance species control, including grants to municipalities, and all of the surcharges to support grants to municipalities, per legislation (see above). With the current fee structure, total revenues to VTDEC average $400,000 per year. The proposed fee increase is likely to pass and would take effect July 1, 2016. If so, VTDEC’s annual revenues to support aquatic invasive and nuisance species control are estimated to increase by roughly $45,000.

In 2016, program staff will continue to spearhead the management of water chestnut (Trapa natans) in over 88 Lake Champlain miles representing both Vermont and New York shores and in 29 other inland Vermont water bodies. This $919,000 plus annual effort involves program staff oversight, management and survey time; contracts for mechanical and hand harvest; access, spoils dewatering and compost agreements; hand harvest partner grants; and the support of many partners.

A repeal of Vermont’s felt-soled wader ban is likely beginning July 1, 2016. The Vermont Agency of Natural Resources supported the repeal, citing the changing science of Didymo and public safety concerns.

In conjunction with the Lake Champlain Basin Program, VTDEC will be overseeing the operation of four hot-water, high pressure watercraft decontamination units in 2016. An additional three will also be operating in Vermont under the direction of local municipalities with technical support from VTDEC staff. More information on the program can be found at (https://vtwatershedblog.com/2016/04/18/watercraft-decontamination-stations-popping-up-across-vermont/).

Vermont’s Public Access Greeter Program inspected over 22,000 watercraft (a new record!) at 28 locations in 2015. Trainings for the 2016 season are already underway.

Comment from Karen on May 9, 2016 at 11:17 am

Maine Invasive Aquatic Species Program Update, April 2016
John McPhedran, Maine Department of Environmental Protection (DEP)

Pet Store Finds
Flora: Maine DEP staff visited 33 pet stores from December 2015 through January 2016 in search of Maine’s eleven prohibited invasive aquatic plants. Aquatic plants were found at 23 stores. Prohibited plants were found at four stores. Representatives of the stores with prohibited plants provided Maine DEP with plants for genetic testing and/or disposal. Key findings regarding these prohibited plants are as follows:
• M. aquaticum was found at all four stores selling restricted plants. Species identification was confirmed by Project Aquagen Laboratory at Grand Valley State University in Michigan.
• All stores selling prohibited plants had the same regional distributor: Fish Mart (CT).
• One store was selling Egeria densa and Cabomba caroliniana in addition to M. aquaticum.

The plant identified as M. aquaticum through genetic analysis was purchased by Fish Mart under the name M. simulans from a distributor in Florida, Florida Aquatic Nurseries. Additional testing of plant samples generously provided by both Fish Mart and Florida Aquatic Nurseries confirmed the identification of M. aquaticum.

Both distributors have been cooperative through the process, have readily communicated with DEP staff and have clearly expressed desire to conform to state laws. Since confirmation of the additional milfoil samples, both distributors have agreed to end sale of M. simulans to stores in Maine.

Fauna: In a tale of interagency collaboration, DEP staff discovered in April 2016 a freshwater mollusk in the genus Corbicula at a pet store. Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife (DIFW) lists unrestricted fish and wildlife species, i.e., species that do not require an importation permit or possession permit and may be traded by commercial pet shops. No species of freshwater clam is on Maine DIFW’s unrestricted list. Within hours of receiving the clam notification from Maine DEP, Maine DIFW’s Warden Service reminded the store owner of the regulation and removed remaining specimens from the fish store tanks. Identification to species is pending.

Divers and OSHA Standards
Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) commercial diving standards may apply to plant removal programs that compensate SCUBA and/or hookah divers for plant control work. To the extent plant removal operations are subject to OSHA commercial diving standards, Maine DEP is requiring that recipients of 2016 grant funds comply with these standards. These standards require additional equipment, training and personnel that could have a significant impact on costs incurred for lake associations to run aquatic plant removal programs with divers.

Citizen Scientist Recognized
Lake advocate and plant removal pioneer Dennis Spinney, of West Pond in Parsonsfield, Maine, accepted Down East Magazine’s 2016 Environmental Award on behalf of all Maine volunteers working to prevent and control invasive aquatic plants. See http://downeast.com/the-weed-wackers/
for the article about Dennis and his pet bass, Buddy.

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

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