May 2023 meeting 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

7 thoughts on “May 2023 meeting updates”

  1. The Office of Aquatic Invasive Species (OAIS) was established at the Connecticut Agricultural Experiment Station (CAES). OAIS is an expansion of the existing CAES Invasive Aquatic Plant Program (IAPP) and formalizes Connecticut’s commitment to protecting its lakes, ponds, and rivers from nonnative species. OAIS is charged with (1) coordinating research to reduce duplication of efforts and costs, (2) serving as an aquatic invasive species data repository, (3) performing surveys on the health and ecology of waterways, (4) providing public education, (5) advising municipalities, (6) serving as a liaison among government and private entities, and (7) collaborating with the Connecticut Invasive Plants Council. Funding for OAIS provides for a scientist and two technician positions. The three positions are now filled. Jeremiah Foley IV, PhD fills the scientist position and brings expertise in invasive species fieldwork, data analysis, and experimental design. He comes from the USDA-Invasive Plant Research Laboratory in Fort Lauderdale. Summer Stebbins and Riley Doherty fill the technician positions. Summer has spent five years with CAES IAPP specializing in aquatic plant surveys and geospatial technology. Riley spent a summer with CAES IAPP and over three years with the Eightmile River Wild and Scenic Watershed. She specializes in water quality, geographic information systems, and community outreach.

    Under the lead of USACE a coalition of entities including CAES, have begun the process of performing demonstration studies on controlling CT River hydrilla with herbicides. Quantification of water movement using rhodamine dye and phenology studies are planned for 2023. Herbicide trials are scheduled for 2024. CAES has installed real time data loggers to correlate the growth of hydrilla with water temperature (

    Grass carp introductions in several CT lakes have resulted in near complete removal of all vegetation. In

    Candlewood Lake, CT DEEP has begun grass carp removal.
    CT DEEP is in the process of awarding the 2023 AIS grants from funds derived from boat registration fees. Details were not available at the time of this writing.

  2. Maine, May 2023
    New staff:
    Toni Pied joined DEP’s Invasive Aquatic Species Unit March 1, 2023. Toni brings two decades of natural resources-related work in Maine, much of that focused on invasive aquatic plants. Her experience includes managing boat inspection programs, conducting aquatic plant surveys, training staff and volunteers in plant identification, and directing plant removal programs. She’s an outstanding addition to the program.

    Good news, too, from Maine DIFW: they recently filled a new full-time Invasive Aquatic Species Coordinator with a focus on aquatic invasive animals. This is the first DIFW position dedicated to AIS work.

    Annual Summit – in person!
    On April 28th, 2023, approximately 125 people attended the Maine Summit on Invasive Aquatic Species (formerly the “Milfoil Summit”). The Summit was held at the University of Southern Maine’s Lewiston-Auburn campus.

    DEP’s Invasive Aquatic Species Unit partnered with Lakes Environmental Association to organize/host the Summit. Updates regarding the status of invasive aquatic species in Maine’s inland waters were delivered by Maine DEP and DIFW staff. Other topics included Courtesy Boat Inspections, ballast tanks and legislative updates presented by DEP staff, Lakes Environmental Association, Maine Lakes, and a state legislator. Canadian Rivers Institute’s Meghann Bruce and University of New Brunswick’s Kristin Elton traveled to the Summit and presented their response to confirmation of zebra mussel in Quebec, just a mile north of the Maine/Canada border. The summit concluded with a panel discussion about prevention, early detection, and mitigation of invasive aquatic species in Maine. Panel contributors included: John McPhedran (MDEP, Moderator), Francis Brautigam (MDIFW), Chris Reily (MDEP), Mary Jewett (LEA), Lucy Leaf (Toddy Pond Association), Meghann Bruce (UNB), Kristin Elton (NBISC), Denise Blanchette (MDEP), Sharon Mann (7 Lakes Alliance), Cliff Cabral (New England Milfoil).

    Following the Summit, a Courtesy Boat Inspection training was held by Lakes Environmental Association staff and Maine DEP’s Chris Riley.

    Grants in 2023:
    Twenty groups are receiving funds for invasive aquatic plant removal this summer. Total amount granted for plant control in 2023 is $522,406. Sixty-one groups are receiving funds for prevention work (Courtesy Boat Inspections) in 2023. Total amount granted for boat inspection grants (for infested lakes AND un-infested lakes) is $334,190. Additionally, a grant for $80,000 has been allocated for early detection training, monitoring and tracking work in 2023.

    The 2023 session included two bills to increase fees to support IAS prevention and control in Maine. One bill was defeated in committee while another very similar bill will be carried over to the 2024 session. Meantime, Maine DEP and DIFW will develop a needs assessment and budget for legislators to consider when they take-up the funding bill in 2024. A version of a bill requiring draining before launching and after retrieval of boats passed in committee (6 to 3 with 4 absent). As of this update, Maine DEP hasn’t seen the final version of that bill which obviously needs approval of the full legislature to become law.

    Clean Drain Dry Campaign (CDD)
    Maine DEP will continue to promote CDD through boat inspectors interfacing with boaters and statewide installation of new CDD signs. The stakeholder group formed in 2021 by Maine’s DEP and DIFW and the Interagency Task Force on Invasive Aquatic Plants and Nuisance Species will meet again in 2023 to consider additional ways to improve invasive aquatic species spread prevention in Maine. The new sign is included at the end of this update.

    Courtesy Boat Inspection (CBI) Program
    In 2022, there were 88,357 inspections performed by courtesy boat inspectors. Inspection data shows 128 saves in 2022. A save is when inspectors find and remove invasive aquatic plants from boats, before or after launching. The Courtesy Boat Inspection program is the primary prevention program administered within the state of Maine. Over the past few years, one of the challenges organizations have faced is finding enough staff to cover planned inspections. Review of the past 20 years of boat inspection data have shown it may be beneficial for groups to schedule inspections during the first few weeks of September, when there is still plentiful boat traffic and plant fragments present.

    DEP Infestation Management
    In addition to the significant work done annually by local lake and watershed associations to manage established infestations, Maine DEP’s control plans for 2023 include three new herbicide treatments as follows:
    • Portions of Clifford Bay in Big Lake in Downeast Maine for Myriophyllum heterophyllum
    • Portion of Lake Arrowhead, Limerick and Waterboro for Najas minor (primary target) and Myriophyllum heterophyllum
    • Collins Pond, Windham: Myriophyllum heterophyllum x laxum.

    Maine Statute allows only the DEP or DIFW to use chemicals to manage aquatic invasive species. For herbicide treatments, DEP is the permittee and must apply for coverage under a General Permit that requires public notification, a public meeting, review for impacts on RTE species, etc. DEP is in the midst that process as of May 2023.

    DEP will continue work on projects in Cobbosseecontee Lake (M. spicatum and M. heterophyllum), the ME/NH border water Northeast Pond (Najas minor) in coordination with NH DES, and two private ponds with M. spicatum and M. pinnatum respectively.

    DEP will also work closely with the new DIFW staff person mentioned above, and with colleagues in New Brunswick, on prevention and detection plans for the recently confirmed zebra mussel in Quebec.

    DEP Marine Program Update:
    The Marine Unit here in DEA has been monitoring two sites as part of the Marine Invasive Monitoring and Information Collaborative (MIMIC), a largely volunteer marine invasives monitoring effort led by Massachusetts Office of Coastal Zone Management. Here in Maine, the coordinator is Jeremy Miller from Wells National Estuarine Research Reserve. Dep has volunteered staff to monitor several sites. I’ve been coordinating monthly monitoring (May – October) at the Spring Point Marina site in S. Portland, which features fouling organisms (mainly) attached to floating docks and the kelp substrate colonized by many of the invasives as the season progresses. Emily Zimmerman started in 2022 coordinating monitoring at a tide pool site at Rachel Carson Salt Pond, which is an intertidal habitat very different from the dock site. Both sites have had their first monthly visit in 2023 as of last week. We monitor invasive species presence, note abundance, and collect salinity and temperature data.
    DEP coordinated mapping of seagrass in Casco Bay in 2022 and observed a major (54%) decline in cover since our prior survey in 2018 (link to report: The last time we saw a major loss of eelgrass in Casco Bay (2011-2012) as documented in 2013, the predominant stressor was determined to be green crabs via disturbance from burrowing and direct grazing. There is a strong suspicion green crabs played a measurable role in the loss of eelgrass leading up to the 2022 survey, though other factors are likely contributing. Manomet is monitoring green crab abundance at three sites in Casco Bay and saw some impressive increases in abundance in 2021 and 2022 compared to the few prior years.

  3. US Geological Survey

    New NAS alerts for the Northeast Region
    16 new alerts since our last meeting Nov. 29 (most were from earlier last year but not reported until later).
    Includes American lotus (VT, NY), sacred lotus (MA), swollen bladderwort (NY, MA, RI, NH), yellow-floating heart (NY), Asian clam (CT), mud bithynia (VT), ringed crayfish (CT), red-eared slider (NY, CT), and Cuban tree frog (MA).

    NAS database enhancement meetings
    Two meetings were held to the public in March to discuss design and feature additions and improvements to the NAS database. Included modern website design, new dashboard interface, new data delivery options, better interoperability between databases, and new data sources. Contact Wes Daniel if you want more details (

    NE Climate Adaptation Science Center project on freshwater aquatic invaders due to climate change
    Thank you again for your participation in previous stakeholder meetings related to our project on aquatic invasion risk to the northeastern U.S. due to climate change. We have been making good progress since we last met in January, focusing on finalizing the species list, compiling information about the selected species, and developing the predictor layers for models.

    The research team created the initial priority aquatic species list, focusing on known high-priority nonnative species established in the southeast and Midwest U.S. That initial list of species was refined by managers, state experts, and stakeholders that reviewed the list, voted on the highest priority species, and suggested additional species. The final list, attached, represents all nonnative species to receive votes, all suggested species that fit the project’s criteria, and any species already on an available state invasive species list.

    Our team is working to compile life history and habitat tolerance information for the selected taxa, such as nutrient requirements, temperature thresholds for lethality and spawning, and preference for lentic or lotic habitat including size, depth, and flow rate. Many of these fields have tolerance range limits where taxa may be affected at different life stages. We are looking at distinguishing those life stages when information relating to their tolerances is available. The goal is to relate these habitat tolerances to conditions in the northeast under future climate scenarios to assess risk of new introductions into discrete spatial units. We are also collecting information introduction pathways that these taxa potentially utilize based on general knowledge of each taxon and the availability of recorded known pathways in the NAS database, such as cultivated, stocked, hitchhiked, natural dispersion, and in captivity. We plan to combine these data of previous introduction pathways with future climate habitat suitability predictions to assess relative importance for potential pathways quantitatively and inform likelihood of new introductions in the northeast.

    The project team is generating predictors for the aquatic habitat suitability models from the NHDPlus High Resolution Dataset and its accompanying Value-Added Attribute datasets, focused on those discussed during stakeholder meetings with you. The attached image demonstrates a portion of a value used to average landscape data: total upstream drainage area in km2. The resulting habitat suitability outputs will be restricted to waterbodies like those above, encompassing all the freshwater streams, lakes and wetlands characterized in the National Hydrography Dataset.

    Please reach out if you have any questions. We will schedule another meeting when we have some species models to review.

  4. Lake Champlain Basin Program Update (May 2023)

    *The Lake Champlain boat launch steward program will start its 17th year of operation at VT, QC, and northern NY launch sites Memorial Day weekend with 17 stewards and 4 decontamination stations in VT (up 1 from last year).

    *LCBP is coordinating the work of a UVM grad student population the Lake Champlain Aquatic Nonindigenous Species Information System with shared support from Lake Champlain Sea Grant. The UVM student has great advisors from NOAA Great Lakes Research Laboratory and USGS (thank you very much!).

    * Round goby early detection monitoring has begun in the Champlain Canal by USGS and USFWS with support from LCBP. NYSDEC is also conducing electrofishing surveys. Champlain Canal opened for navigation May 19th 2023 as did the Chambly Canal in QC. Round goby rapid response task force meetings continue with updates on sampling results, planning for sampling in the Richelieu River and Chambly Canal. The round goby rapid response plan has been updated for 2023. Lots of round goby education and outreach and baitfish signage is being coordinated by the AIS Outreach Specialist Erik Reardon.

    *LCBP is coordinating the phase 2 study for an aquatic invasive species spread prevention solution in the Champlain Canal with NYSDEC, NYS Canal Corporation, USFWS, USACE, and LCBP. The Phase 2 scope of work will include further studies, NEPA process, and work to optimize the selected alternatives.

    *LCBP will support lots of great research for AIS management, spread prevention programs, and equipment purchase through recent competitive grants with Environmental Protection Agency funding. Updates on those programs and projects will be forthcoming.

    *LCBP continues to support CT River hydrilla response efforts.

    * The updated Lake Champlain AIS ID guide is available:

    What MassDEP has done since Fall 2022:

    • Reviewed and issued 253 Chemical Application Licenses for invasive species management in Massachusetts. In addition, 401 Water Quality Certifications were also issued to individuals/towns, providing conditions with best management practices on waterbodies with invasive species to prevent their further spread to other waterbodies

    • Assessing MA waterbodies with invasive species infestation and add them to the CWA 303d List and 303b report

    • Continuous technical supports to communities on invasive species prevention, detection, and management

    • David Wong did a presentation: Invasive Swollen Bladderwort Utricularia inflata in Massachusetts Lakes and Rivers. 24th Northeastern Aquatic Plant Management Society Conference. Hyannis, MA. January 12, 2023

    • David Wong’s book, “Invasive Animals and Plants in Massachusetts Lakes and Rivers – Lessons for International Aquatic Management”, was published by CRC Press (Taylor & Francis): Many NEANS panel members reviewed and provided valuable comments to different chapters of the book. This book covers the biology, invasion ecology, sightings, and control techniques of 4 invasive animals and 15 invasive plants documented in Massachusetts lakes and rivers, including: Asian clam (Corbicula fluminea), zebra mussel (Dreissena polymorpha), Chinese mystery snail (Bellamya chinensis), northern snakehead (Channa argus), hydrilla (Hydrilla verticillata), curly-leaf pondweed (Potamogeton crispus), Eurasian water milfoil (Myriophyllum spicatum), variable milfoil (Myriophyllum heterophyllum), parrot feather (Myriophyllum aquaticum), fanwort (Cabomba caroliniana), European naiad (Najas minor), South American waterweed (Egeria densa), swollen bladderwort (Utricularia inflata), water chestnut (Trapa natans), water hyacinth (Eichhornia crassipes), European water-clover (Marsilea quadrifolia), yellow floating heart (Nymphoides peltata), common reed grass (Phragmites australis), and purple loosestrife (Lythrum salicaria).

  6. New York State
    -Treatment of hydrilla by NYSDEC and partners continues in the Erie Canal (Erie County), Niagara River (Niagara County), Cayuga Lake (Cayuga, Seneca, and Tompkins Counties), Spencer Pond, Little Nanticoke Creek, Kuhlman Pond (all in Tioga County)
    -Treatment of hydrilla by NYS Parks at Sebago Lake (Harriman State Park, Rockland County) begins this season
    – Treatment of Ludwigia and European frogbit in the Peconic River (Suffolk County) continues
    -eDNA collection and analysis continues for tracking the distribution of Northern Snakehead in the Bashakill Wildlife Management Area and Round Goby in the Hudson River
    – Restoration of Vallisneria americana will begin in both Stockport Creek and Croton River in 2023
    – Statewide restoration program is being piloted at several locations
    – Development of a statewide Hydrilla Management Plan continues
    – Region 1, 7, and 9 AIS Coordinators are joined by a Region 3 AIS Coordinator who started in April
    – NYS Watercraft Inspection Steward Program kicks off its season on Friday, May 26th and continues through Labor Day weekend or Indigenous People’s Day in some cases. We are debuting our coloring books this season!

  7. Monitoring

    Lake Protectors – Our volunteer and partner early detection monitoring program. Virtual training in June; In person in July and August; For more information:

    Lake Management Tracker – A modified point intercept survey that volunteers conduct to monitor the effectiveness of AIS management. In 2023 we will continue with existing lakes and work with a couple of new ones. Working with all communities to create AIS adaptive management plans to guide their work plans, monitoring, and goals. For more information:

    Early Detection Team – APIPP employees a team to conduct monitoring and mapping of Adirondack lakes. This season the team will work for 9 weeks in the northern region of our Adirondack PRISM.

    eDNA monitoring for early detection – Setting up a new monitoring program to search for early detection of AIS on high recreational use waterbodies. Working with Cornell University on the species panel of ~40 species.


    Lake Champlain Boat Launch AIS Removal at 5 launches on NY side of lake. This is a project to test a potentially new BMP to see if local removal of AIS by DASH will reduce the amount of retrieving boats with AIS plants on them. This project is funded by LCBP. New England Aquatic Services is the contractor to remove Eurasian watermilfoil and Curly leaf pondweed in the 5-10 acres around the boat launch; AWI stewards monitoring the boats for AIS presence; APIPP will collect aquatic plant data.

    Within Lake Vulnerability Analysis – Wrapping up project that used past data to build a model that predicts locations within a lake that are most vulnerable to plant AIS establishment. We worked with a data scientist team to build four models and test their accuracy. We selected a model and ran the prediction for thousands of lakes in the Adirondacks. Report and webmap will be available on in June.

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