December 2018 meeting roundtable updates

Dear NEANS Panelists and ANS friends,

Please post to this page your Roundtable updates so that those not at the meeting will be able to read them and to keep the meeting summaries concise.

Thank you.

Michele L. Tremblay

8 thoughts on “December 2018 meeting roundtable updates”

  1. The Rhode Island Aquatic Invasive Species Management Plan (RIAIS Management Plan) as promulgated by the Coastal Resources Management Council (CRMC) was approved by the federal Aquatic Nuisance Species Task Force (Task Force) in November 2007. As such the Task Force recognized the CRMC as the lead state agency responsible for implementing the RIAIS Management Plan. This report describes the CRMC’s achievements toward meeting this goal during the performance period 4/13/17 through 6/30/2018. The tasks listed below are from the CRMC’s RIAIS Management Plan budget as approved by the Task Force under Agreement Number F17AP00238.

    I. OBJECTIVE: COORDINATION/COMMUNICATION

    Task 1F Coordinate AIS data collection, storage, and access
    Accomplishments: The CRMC coordinated with the RI Natural History Survey (RINHS) via a subgrant agreement with the RI Department of Environmental Management (RIDEM) to maintain a centralized, comprehensive database on the biota of Rhode Island, the Biota of Rhode Island Information System (BORIIS). BORIIS is a custom MS Access application and linked ArcGIS project and organizes species lists from field inventory projects including invasive species monitoring.

    II. OBJECTIVE: MONITORING
    Task 2A Monitor the introduction and spread of AIS in coastal ecosystems
    Accomplishments: The CRMC continued its volunteer-based AIS monitoring program established in 2009 to document the presence, distribution and abundance of AIS at floating docks at the following sites in Narragansett Bay:
    • Save The Bay headquarters, Providence
    • Allen Harbor Marina, North Kingstown
    • Roger Williams University, Bristol
    • Point Judith Marina, South Kingstown
    • Fort Adams State Park, Newport

    CRMC continued to hire an academic expert from the University of Rhode Island to provide training for volunteers interested in participating in field surveys. Field data continued to be collected at all five monitoring sites listed above this spring by trained volunteers. The academic expert hired by CRMC continued to provide in-the-field QA/QC for the volunteers.

    The larval settlement plate survey established in 2011 has also been continued. The settlement plate devices consist of a set of five PVC settlement plates attached to floating docks at each of five sites located throughout Narragansett Bay. The plates provide a substratum for larval settlement and growth, which is monitored from the spring through the fall when the growing season ends. Three plates are collected and replaced monthly at each site and two plates remain in place throughout the monitoring period; voucher specimens and field data are collected, stored, and maintained for further analysis. In this way spawning events are continuously recorded for all species and peak community development data is obtained. The settlement plate study is intended to be continuously conducted at the following seven sites:
    • Save The Bay headquarters, Providence
    • Allen Harbor Marina, North Kingstown
    • New England Boatworks, Middletown
    • Point Judith Marina, South Kingstown
    • Fort Adams State Park, Newport

    The CRMC’s eelgrass monitoring task has been continued, and for the second successive year was conducted in the following three coastal salt ponds: 1) Pt. Judith Pond; 2) Ninigret Pond; and, 3) Quonochontaug Pond. Nine 100 meter long transect lines were set in each salt pond and samples of eelgrass were collected along these lines at 10 meter intervals. All samples were examined for the presence of AIS growing on eelgrass shoots. The data will be statistically analyzed and the results described in a report on all three aspects of CRMC’s AIS Monitoring Project, namely, the floating dock survey, settlement plate study, and the eelgrass survey.

    Task 2B Monitor the introduction and spread of AIS in freshwater ecosystems
    Accomplishments: The CRMC coordinated with the Department of Environmental Management Office of Water Resources to continue surveys of freshwater lakes, ponds, rivers and streams for AIS. Funding has allowed DEM to continue to retain a seasonal employee to support its activities. Field investigations continue to be targeted toward water bodies currently lacking data on the presence or absence of AIS as well as waterbodies being actively managed for AIS. DEM also continues to build and manage the statewide dataset on AIS in freshwater bodies and update the corresponding statewide map. The map, which is updated annually, is available at: http://www.dem.ri.gov/programs/benviron/water/wetlands/pdfs/invasive.pdf

    III. OBJECTIVE: EDUCATION/OUTREACH/TRAINING
    Task 3B Initial and refresher training on ID of AIS for monitors
    Accomplishments: The CRMC coordinated with the RINHS through a subgrant agreement with the RIDEM, to maintain the capacity of citizen water quality monitoring programs in Rhode Island to include monitoring of freshwater invasive species among their reportable data. RINHS contributed taxonomic expertise and support for volunteer monitors to identify and document freshwater AIS in Rhode Island. The University of Rhode Island Watershed Watch Program also contributed to this effort by encouraging monitors’ attention to invasives during training and organizing and supervising volunteers in the field. In addition, RINHS conducted long-term monitoring at high risk or high value freshwater systems that not otherwise monitored for the presence of AIS.

    Task 3C Educate public on dangers of releasing non-natives into local waters
    Accomplishments ;The CRMC coordinated with the Department of Environmental Management Office of Water Resources and Divisions of Fish & Wildlife and Agriculture to continue a collaborative effort to develop and implement effective public awareness measures that will deter the public from releasing non-natives into local freshwaters. Outreach actions included bumper stickers and fact sheets distributed to targeted audiences including lake associations, the retail bait shops as well as expanded content on the DEM website. DEM maintains a display in the Office of Boating Registration that allows the public to pick up fact sheets. Educational bumper stickers continued to be provided to lake associations upon request.

  2. Program Update for December 2018 NEANS Meeting
    Massachusetts Office of Coastal Zone Management
    Marine Invasive Species Program
    https://www.mass.gov/czm-marine-invasive-species-program
    Cristina Kennedy
    Marine Invasives Program Coordinator
    cristina.kennedy@mass.gov

    Marine Invasive Monitoring and Information Collaborative (MIMIC):
    MIMIC is CZM’s marine invasive species early detection and monitoring network involving trained volunteers and partner staff who monitor docks, rocky intertidal zones and tidepools in Massachusetts, New Hampshire and Maine. Since 2006, volunteers have monitored for the presence/absence and abundance of 16 established animal and plant species, and looked for 7 potential invaders. In the past few years CZM has worked with the Massachusetts Division of Marine Fisheries to add eelgrass beds and artificial reefs to the monitored habitats.
    The 2018 monitoring season was the 11th year of the MIMIC program and was a pilot season for our program update with two new species added (Tricellaria inopinata and Colpomenia peregrina) and the potential invaders removed from our monitoring list. This winter we are updating our materials, including our id cards, datasheet and protocol for the 2019 field season.

    New Invader “Spaghetti” Bryozoan (Amathia verticillata):
    In the early fall of 2016, CZM staff observed a new invader that is not yet established in New England, although it has been observed a handful of times in Long Island Sound and once before in MA. The arborescent, colonial bryozoa called the “spaghetti” Bryozoan (Amathia verticillata) was observed at a monitoring site in New Bedford in the falls of 2016 and 2017. It is thought that this species cannot currently survive New England winter temperatures, but can have “blooms” in the late summer/early fall with warm water temperatures. It was not observed in 2018.

    July 2018 Rapid Assessment Survey
    From July 23-27, CZM staff and a team of scientific experts visited marinas from Buzzards Bay, Massachusetts, to Casco Bay, Maine, to observe, identify, and record native and invasive marine species found on floating docks and piers. The Rapid Assessment Survey (RAS), the sixth held since 2000, is critical for detecting new species introductions and identifying regional trends. During this survey, the team documented a number of established marine invasive species, such as the skeleton shrimp Caprella mutica, the red algae Grateloupia turuturu, the bryozoan Tricellaria inopinata, and several sea squirts. Some invasive organisms that were more common in the 2013 survey were absent or found in fewer numbers in 2018, such as the orange striped anemone (Diadumene lineata) and the European oyster (Ostrea edulis). Notably, native grass shrimp and invasive shrimp were commonly found along the docks in past surveys, but were collected at just one site in New Bedford this year. The final results of the RAS will be presented in a summary report once the RAS scientists have carefully gone through their samples and confirmed all identifications. Funding for the 2018 RAS was provided by CZM, the Casco Bay Estuary Partnership, and the Massachusetts Bays and Buzzards Bay National Estuary Programs.

  3. The watercraft inspection steward program app garnered 150,000 records from boat stewards throughout New York State. These records are being analyzed for watercraft movement patterns and compared with existing iMapInvasive species records. Plans for additional boat stewards to be placed in western NY, Finger Lakes, and Eastern Lake Ontario/St. Lawrence Seaway in 2019 are underway.
    -The large scale hydrilla control projects in Erie Canal/Tonawanda, Cayuga Lake, and Croton River completed their field seasons by early autumn.
    -Aquatic plant monitoring surveys of nearly 40 sites along the Hudson River yielded no discovery of hydrilla.
    – Six reports of additional hydrilla infestations in Suffolk, Richmond, Cayuga, and Tioga Counties were confirmed. Five were in smaller ponds and lakes. The sixth is near an existing infestation in Cayuga Lake (King Ferry).
    – The Finger Lakes Partnership for Regional Invasive Species Management has initiated their Starry Stonewort Collaborative and have hired a coordinator for this project.
    – Plans for aquatic plant monitoring of the Mohawk River in 2019 are in progress.

  4. Mark Malchoff staffed a Lake Champlain Sea Grant booth/table at three bass tournaments on Lake Champlain during August 2018. Anglers were provided with various AIS spread prevention materials, including watch cards, preserved specimens, and Invaders of the Great Lakes booklet. Anglers and co-anglers at the Bassmaster tournament also viewed a 20 minute slide presentation on AIS identification, impacts, and spread prevention.

    August 1 – Bassmaster tournament angler registration meeting, Plattsburgh, NY. N=394
    August 4 – New England Bassin’ Tournament weigh-in, Ticonderoga, NY. N=17
    August 10 – Cashion Rods Tournament registration meeting, Ticonderoga, NY N=67

  5. The Department has been working with Friends of Casco Bay has been tracking indices invasive tunicates. Vital Signs high school students have been analyzing waste products from lobster inspections to identify new invasions. The first annual Green Crab Working Summit was convened in Maine in the summer to find new markets for the species. Grateloupia turuturu was found near the Darling Center, which some fishers have indicated they have seen since 2014.

  6. We are pleased to show you the NAS regional map (https://nas.er.usgs.gov/viewer/ANSTF_regions/NEANS.aspx) view of the Northeast Aquatic Nuisance Species Panel (NEANS) states. This regional view of the NAS database is a subset of the species found in the region states and their immediate neighboring states. Searching for NAS records on the regional map view is the same as in the national map view, except the search results will only contain species from within the region states and their neighboring states (e.g., nonindigenous species found only in CA will not be listed in the search results for the Mid-Atlantic region states). However, species also found outside these states as well as inside, such as zebra mussel, will display all national occurrences on the map view results.

    Please try out the regional map view and let me know if you have any questions or concerns. You can find helpful tips on how to use our NAS map viewer when you click on the circled question mark icons.

  7. Maine Invasive Aquatic Species Program Update, October 2018
    John McPhedran, Maine Department of Environmental Protection (DEP)

    Maine DEP Invasive Aquatic Species Report Card
    Prior to 2018, no invasive plants were known to be in central Maine’s 5,500-acre Cobbosseecontee (Cobbossee) Lake. Unfortunately, Cobbossee now has not one but two invasive aquatic plant species. Surveyors from the Friends of the Cobbossee Watershed (FOCW) discovered an incipient population of Eurasian water-milfoil (Myriophyllum spicatum, EWM) in July 2018. During removal of EWM in August 2018, DEP staff found European frog’s-bit (Hydrocharis morsus-ranae), the first known population of this plant in Maine.

    At the time, the discovery of EWM in Cobbossee became only the second known EWM population in the state (see below for mention of the third). With staff assistance from the regional groups FOCW and the Cobbossee Watershed District, Maine DEP conducted weekly dives into the fall to survey for and manually remove scattered EWM plants. Based on results of 2018 plant surveys of the lake by FOCW, the EWM infestation is confined to a small cove in the north end of the lake. DEP and the lake groups will collaborate over the winter to plan continued response in 2019.

    The European frog’s-bit is more widely established (than EWM) in Cobbossee, found along several protected shorelines including islands. Surveys to date suggest that the most extensive growth of frog’s-bit is in a tributary and associated cove at the northeast end of the lake. DEP is grateful to a dozen lake residents who mobilized for three days of manual removal in this area of dense growth. Their catch: nine pickup loads of European frog’s bit deposited high and dry away from the lake, an outstanding start toward managing this infestation.

    The third new infestation in 2018 is EWM in a small pond with no public access in south-coastal Maine. This pond is about two miles from Maine’s first EWM infestation discovered in 2004. Unfortunately, the EWM is well-established in this new location. DEP will soon meet with shorefront residents to discuss spread prevention and plant management.

    Press on the Cobbossee Lake discoveries can be found at these links: https://www.centralmaine.com/2018/08/07/state-working-to-contain-milfoil-discovered-in-winthrop-end-of-cobbossee-lake/
    https://www.centralmaine.com/2018/08/15/european-frogbit-an-invasive-water-plant-discovered-in-maine-for-first-time/

    Courtesy Boat Inspectors Make Notable Saves
    A save occurs when a Maine boat inspector finds an invasive plant on a boat or associated equipment and removes the plant prior to launching into or after removal from a water body. Maine boat inspectors make saves each year but 2018 provided four Eurasian water-milfoil saves of note.

    The previous water bodies recorded by the boat inspector for these four saves were Lake Champlain, Candlewood Lake (CT), Lake Mendota (Madison, WI!) and the St. Lawrence River.

    The Champlain save was on a boat returning home to Long Lake in Harrison, ME. An experienced inspector for the local group Lakes Environmental Association was fortunately working that day and identified the plant. It’s not surprising that a fragment could remain viable from the Champlain Valley or, for that matter, Candlewood Lake to Maine. But the Lake Mendota save proves that plants (and other organisms) can move longer distances than we might expect. The Mendota EWM was partly dried, mixed with other species, and caught up in a sailboat trailer. After immersing the plant material in water, the EWM fragment was easily identified and appeared to be viable.

    Finally, the discovery of EWM on a boat entering Pennesseewassee Lake in Norway, ME reminds us of the threat of hitchhiking organisms. The plant was intercepted by a Lakes Association of Norway (LAON) inspector. Upon close inspection of the intercepted plant, DEP staff made an additional alarming discovery: an attached zebra mussel. The inspection information collected by LAON indicated the boat had been in the St. Lawrence River – host to non-native mussels. While the water chemistry of western Maine lakes is generally not favorable to zebra mussel, the hitchhiking mussel raises the stakes for Maine Courtesy Boat Inspection Programs like the one run by LAON.

    These saves highlight the continued potential for infestation from waters far beyond Maine’s border in addition to the spread threat from infested waters within Maine. The DEP is considering ways to strengthen Maine’s spread prevention measures.

    Some Good News
    The DEP can report encouraging management results on two infested waterbodies: Damariscotta Lake in Jefferson (Hydrilla verticillata, hydrilla) and West Pond in Parsonsfield (Potamogeton crispus, curly-leaf pondweed).

    Hydrilla was discovered in 4,686-acre Damariscotta Lake in 2009. Maine DEP’s initial response included manual removal, deployment of benthic barriers and herbicide treatment to knock-back the population. Over the last several years, the local group Midcoast Conservancy and DEP have teamed-up to monitor and manually remove any remnant hydrilla found. For the second year, biweekly surveys in 2018 found no hydrilla in Damariscotta Lake.

    Curly-leaf pondweed was confirmed in 167-acre West Pond in 2004. Much of the pond is suitable habitat for this invasive plant and there were several large, dense patches when first discovered. Under the dedicated management of one West Pond Association (WPA) member, the infestation has been managed using Diver Assisted Suction Harvesting (DASH). In addition to their own DASH, the WPA used an outside DASH contractor past the last three seasons. This combined approach has significantly reduced the volume of plant material harvested. A dive tow survey in October 2018 to assess new growth showed promised for continued reduction of the plant in 2019.

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

  8. Lake Champlain Basin Program/New England Interstate Water Pollution Control Commission update 11/30/18:
    LCBP was honored to host the NEANS Panel April 2018 meeting in Grand Isle, VT. Over the course of the summer season fishhook waterflea was detected in Lake Champlain by scientists that conduct the Long-term biological water quality program on the lake. The Lake Champlain boat launch steward program completed its 12th year of operation and focused efforts on the VT high use access sites and two sites in Missisquoi Bay in QC, while the Adirondack Watershed Institute covered the bigh use access sites in NY. Seven decontamination units were available on the NY side of the lake and 2-3 were available on the VT side of the lake.
    The water chestnut workgroup for Lake Champlain met to review 2018 management successes and challenges and began plans for the 2019 field season. Low water levels presented challenges for managing the species in 2018.
    LCBP hosted the USACE Invasive Species Leadership Team to highlight work on watercraft inspection and decontamination programs and water chestnut harvesting.
    The Champlain Canal barrier feasibility study for ANS is underway and there was a site visit in late fall to gather canal operational data and to investigate the hydrology of the study site.
    LCBP continues to administer aquatic invasive species spread prevention grants in the region and is dedicated to working on regional AIS spread prevention management plans, etc.

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