November 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

6 thoughts on “November 2016 meeting roundtable updates”

  1. VERMONT UPDATES November 2016

    New populations of three aquatic invasive plant species known to already exist in the state were confirmed this year. Two new water chestnut (Trapa natans) populations were confirmed, a wetland adjacent to Bullwaga Bay and St. Albans Bay, both in Lake Champlain. Both populations were managed. One new population of Eurasian watermilfoil (Myriophyllum spicatum) was identified and managed in North Springfield Reservoir in North Springfield. One new location of starry stonewort (Nitellopsis obtusa), in Lake Derby in Derby, was identified (see below).

    In August, Vermont Agency of Natural Resources staff confirmed the presence of Asian clams (Corbicula fluminea) in Lake Bomoseen. This invasive species had been documented in the surrounding region, most notably in Lake George, NY, but this is the first occurrence in a Vermont waterbody. The area in which the species was confirmed measures approximately 14 acres, with depths up to 8 feet. No Asian clams were found at any of the other public access areas or beaches surveyed, suggesting that the species has not spread throughout the lake. It is unclear how or when the species was introduced to Lake Bomoseen, or exactly where the initial introduction occurred, but the presence of large, adult individuals (up to 2.4 cm diameter) and relatively high density in the affected area (approximately 240 individuals per square meter) likely indicate that the clams have been there for a year or more.

    Vermont ANR will increase spread prevention efforts in the Bomoseen region, as well as strengthen efforts elsewhere in Vermont to protect against the further spread of Asian clams and other invasives. This will include increased availability of watercraft decontamination stations in the Lake Bomoseen region, as well as additional signage, educational materials, and other outreach efforts. The Agency will also consider measures, such as installation of mooring buoys in the affected area (thereby discouraging boaters from dropping anchors). However, the feasibility and potential benefit of such measures will need to be discussed further. The use of benthic mats was also discussed as an in-lake control measure for this new population, and was determined to not be a cost-effective approach for managing Asian clams in Lake Bomoseen. Staff determined that at least 10+ acres would require matting over multiple years, with eradication still being highly unlikely. Considering a conservative cost estimate of $40,000/acre, the project was deemed infeasible, especially considering that Asian clams are not likely to spread throughout Lake Bomoseen due to unsuitability of substrate.

    In the next legislative session, Vermont ANR will be suggesting changes to the current AIS transport law designed to strengthen AIS spread prevention regulations. Most notably, this includes restrictions on the transport of any water to and from waterbodies of the state.

    The second occurrence of starry stonewort, Nitellopsis obtusa, in a Vermont waterbody was confirmed in 207-acre Lake Derby in northern Vermont in September 2016.The find was made by a researcher affiliated with the New York Botanical Gardens investigating macroalgal biodiversity and climate change. The population in Lake Derby is estimated at 29 acres. Starry stonewort was first confirmed in Vermont in Lake Memphremagog in 2015 in one location, 24-acre Scotts Cove on the eastern side of the lake. Two additional locations were confirmed in the lake in 2016: the mouth of Scotts Cove in the main lake and 470-acre South Bay at the southern end of the lake. 2016 starry stonewort Lake Memphremagog density estimates are 23 of 24-acre Scotts Cove and 46 of 470-acre South Bay. With limited resources and effective control options for the size and density of these populations, VTDEC will focus on spread prevention initiatives at both lakes and in the region in general.

    No new lakes were found to have zebra mussels or spiny waterflea, based on 2016 sampling results.

  2. L. Champlain Sea Grant Education/Extension Events
    Introduction to L. Champlain Aquatic Invasives presentation at FLW Tour Bass Tournament Registration, June 22, Plattsburgh, NY. 360 anglers, co-anglers, and tournament officials

    Aquatic Animal ID Training, August 9, Old Forge, NY. 2-3 lakeshore property owners

    Introduction to L. Champlain Aquatic Invasives presentation at L. Champlain Fisheries Institute, August 30, Crown Point, NY. 17- anglers and/or natural history enthusiasts

    Introduction to L. Champlain Aquatic Invasives presentation at Bassmaster Tournament Registration, September 20, Plattsburgh, NY. 320 anglers, co-anglers, and tournament officials

  3. Maine Invasive Aquatic Species Program Update, October 2016
    Maine Department of Environmental Protection (DEP)

    Maine DEP Invasive Aquatic Species Report Card
    One new infestation, European naiad in Spaulding Pond (Lebanon), was reported in 2016. Variable water-milfoil was documented in same pond in 2008, thereby making this the second known waterbody in Maine infested with more than one species.

    The end of season marks 47 named waterbodies (24 contiguous systems) as infested.

    Najas minor, Major Challenge
    Maine DEP staff has been addressing the hydra-like details of controlling European naiad found in 684-acre Northeast Pond (Lebanon) in September 2015. Northeast Pond is part of Milton Three Ponds impoundment in the Salmon Falls River on the Maine/New Hampshire border.

    Robert’s Rules and invasive plant control: DEP and NH DES charted in late 2015 control measures including benthic barriers, diver removal and herbicide application. Herbicide (diquat dibromide) was proposed to control extensive, dense N. minor growth on the Maine side of Northeast Pond before the crop of 2016 seeds would form. To treat, however, calls for approvals from the two public water suppliers upon evidence that their intakes, 22 miles downstream, would receive nondetectable levels of the herbicide. This requirement is in Maine statute and DEP’s discharge permit. Assurances expressed in solute transport calculations provided by Maine Drinking Water Program, risk communication from DEP and several meetings between stakeholders and the two municipalities won these approvals in June.

    Concurrently, the Town of Lebanon has home rule authority to prohibit commercial, non-agricultural use of herbicides. As conversations between DEP and the town to place an herbicide project on a future town meeting warrant proceeded, DEP also received guidance from the Maine Attorney General’s office. According to the AG, state authority over management of public waters may preempt Lebanon’s ban.

    Potentially good news for DEP but, because a multi-year relationship with area residents was expected, the invasive species program put this finding in its back pocket and chose to pursue the town vote. Why? Because of the wisdom of knowing public ownership of a solution preempts authority in matters of perception, risk and especially pesticide use.

    Weed wrangling: Deferring to this public process, DEP contracted for 2016 a company that specializes in Diver Assisted Suction Harvesting (DASH) of invasive plants. Key to this method is to harvest European naiad before the spindly annual goes to seed—prior to late summer. Some $30,000 and sixweeks later, the DASH effort harvested approximately four acres within the densest upstream portions of the lake. This cost was shared with New Hampshire DES.

    DEP SCUBA divers and volunteer snorkelers also tackled spot removal of outlier populations by hand. These efforts—essentially being one with this plant species— revealed the tenacity of European naiad. Plant fragments are small, prolific and difficult to capture. Vegetation, often with attached seeds, gravitate inside and onto SCUBA and other gear, thereby demanding meticulous attention to post-harvest sanitation. DEP staff consensus on European naiad proliferation and management: this species demonstrates the capacity to be a formidable challenge.

    Elsewhere, volunteers from the local Three Ponds Protective Association (TPPA) along with York County Invasive Aquatic Species Project (YCIASP, under York County Soil and Water Conservation District), surveyed other portions of Milton Three Ponds. YCIASP’s Laurie Callahan, when not training TPPA volunteers, also surveyed downstream Spaulding Pond – approximately 2 miles down Salmon Falls River – to determine if European naiad had spread. Unfortunately it had, but the infestation was limited in extent and DEP subsequently manually removed known plants in late fall 2016. A special callout goes to volunteer and expert plant surveyor-photographer-wrangler Dennis Roberge who contributed many hours of service.

    Robert’s Rules Postscript: in late October, the attorney representing the Town of Lebanon advised the community and DEP that language in the herbicide ban ordinance does not pertain to DEP’s desire to control invasive plants and that the agency can treat with herbicides without a town meeting vote.

    Myriophyllum heterophyllum in Annabessacook Lake
    DEP rapid response to control variable leaf water-milfoil resumed in the 2016 growing season where it left off the year prior, namely manual removal (by hand) utilizing a single SCUBA diver and surface crew. DEP focused on a dense population in boat channel leading to the only ramp and outlier sites, conducting nine dive sorties in all that included the training of two Friends of Cobbossee Watershed divers to begin the area’s transition to local efforts. Total removal: approximately 730 gallons of the invasive plant. Annabessacook Lake is 1415 acres. Variable leaf water-milfoil was documented there in late 2014.

    Divers and OSHA Standards
    Maine DEP began requiring recipients of plant control grant funds to comply with Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) commercial diving standards. This impacts SCUBA and hookah use for plant control work. The additional costs of equipment, training and personnel are formidable, say non-profit, lake association or other grassroot efforts. In its grant making, DEP has included funds to meet some of these costs.

    General Permit (NPDES) for Herbicide discharge
    Currently underway are revisions/updates to the soon-to-expire-general permit allowing the invasive species program to control infestations with herbicide. There is no change to the five herbicides permitted for this purpose: 2,4-D, Diquat dibromide, Endothall, Fluridone and Triclopyr.

    For more information, please check DEP’s website
    or email

    For the performance period 7/29/15 through 6/30/2016
    (Grant Agreement No. F15AP00799)

    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 7/29/15 through 6/30/2016. The tasks listed below are from the CRMC’s RIAIS Management Plan budget as approved by the Task Force under Agreement Number F15AP00799.

    Task 1C Coordinate RI AIS activities
    Accomplishments: The CRMC coordinated with the RI Natural History Survey (RINHS) to organize and host a meeting of the Rhode Island Invasive Species Council at which the five attending organizations shared news on AIS early detection and response efforts and discussed forward looking prioritization of threats and risks; began planning for a second RIISC meeting to take place in December.

    Task 1E Maintain outreach/communication with stakeholder groups via seminars, list serve, websites, and other means
    Accomplishments: The CRMC coordinated with the RINHS to carry out three public programs on invasive species (Land & Water Summit, Arbutus Garden Club, Sogkonat Garden Club) reaching a total audience of approximately 115 people and distributing 78 copies of the eight-page flyer “Invasive Preparedness for Land Stewards.”

    Task 1F Coordinate AIS data collection, storage, and access
    Accomplishments: The CRMC coordinated with the RINHS 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.
    Task 1G Develop early detection/rapid response strategy for new AIS Accomplishments: The CRMC coordinated with the RINHS and provided taxonomic expertise and best management practices on aquatic invasive plants for volunteers working on five ponds including:
    • a private farm pond in Hopkinton detecting Trapa natans (water chestnut)
    • a field visit to and survey of Moscow Pond, Hopkinton, for the Locustville Pond Improvement Association where we identified and mapped Myriophyllum heterophyllum (variable water milfoil)
    • a private pond in Smithfield where we detected Myriophyllum aquaticum (parrot feather) and advised the owner about management
    • a private pond/drainage structure in Bristol infested with Phragmites where the home owner association sought management advice

    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. CRMC staff also participated in field monitoring events in this capacity.

    The grass shrimp survey initiated during FY10 has been incorporated in to the dock monitoring task. Interns and volunteers are trained to identify both the Oriental Grass shrimp Palaemon macrodactylus and the European Grass shrimp P. elegans. Hand nets are used to sweep along the edge of floating docks as well as their undersides and captured specimens are identified on-site prior to being preserved and added to the archival records. 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

    Finally, CRMC continues to implement its SCUBA based survey of AIS in eelgrass beds initiated in 2013. Three eelgrass beds were sampled at the following locations: 1) The Dumplings, Jamestown; 2) T-Wharf, Prudence Island; 3) Rose Island, Newport. While AIS have been seen growing on eelgrass at these locations, no specimens occurred within the 1/16th meter square quadrats that are placed every ten meters along the three 100 meter transect lines surveyed. Eelgrass beds in Narragansett Bay will continue to be sampled, but as a preliminary survey of eelgrass beds in some coastal salt ponds indicated the presence of many of the AIS regularly found during dock monitoring tasks, CRMC will begin to survey coastal salt ponds during the summer of 2017.

    In summary, the AIS Monitoring Project includes the following tasks:
    • floating dock survey
    • grass shrimp survey
    • settlement plate survey
    • eelgrass bed survey

    The CRMC continued to distribute AIS field identification cards plus t-shirts and hats with the Aquatic Invasive Species Monitoring Project logo to volunteers who participated in CRMC’s AIS field monitoring and training sessions.

    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:

    Task 3B Initial and refresher training on ID of AIS for monitors
    Accomplishments: The CRMC and RINHS, with other stakeholders, maintained 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.

    Task 6C Prevent/minimize AIS introductions from recreational fishing and boating
    Accomplishments: The CRMC coordinated with the Department of Environmental Management Office of Water Resources to continue the coordination of a multi-division effort within DEM to draft, promulgate and implement regulations imposing restrictions on the transport, possession and sale of prohibited aquatic invasive plants.

    Task 7C Streamline permitting for rapid response control methods
    Accomplishments: The CRMC coordinated with the Department of Environmental Management Office of Water Resources to review the effectiveness of rapid response actions pertaining to freshwater AIS. Research into the approaches of other states and internal agency briefings were conducted with support of seasonal employee. DEM is continuing work toward a refined agency policy regarding rapid response.

  5. What MassDEP has done since May 2016:

    • Two AIS Interns (Hana Cowell from UMass Amherst and Rachel Holland from Framingham State University) have worked on the MassDEP Invasive Species Database Development and Mapping Project since May 2016;
    • Met with Massachusetts Division of Fish and Game and coordinate with Harvard University to expand the Massachusetts Freshwater AIS database;
    • Completed Mapping the Distribution of Invasive Corbicula (Asian clam) in Massachusetts. A draft manuscript is completed and it is planned to submit it to Management of Biological Invasions in November 2016. This publication will be valuable to all New England States.
    • Additional data on Phragmites and Purple Loosestrife from historical MassDEP report have been added to the AIS database. Historically, these two species are only considered by MassDEP as wetland invasive species. Now they are part of the Lake/River AIS database;
    • Field Equipment/Boat Decontamination Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) for the MassDEP 2016 Field Season was successfully implemented and we had a very successful lake survey field season;
    • Coordinate an Aquatic Plant Identification training by Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation (MA DCR);
    • Provide two AIS Presentations to New York and Vermont through the NEIWPCC Lake Champlain Basin Program;
    • Provide presentation in a Cornell University AIS prevention and boat decontamination workshop;
    • Proofing AIS data for the 2011 – 2015 field surveys;
    • Continue public education and outreach;
    • Collaborating with State University of New York, a paper is in press in Management of Biological Invasions: Livewell flushing to remove zebra mussel (Driessena polymorpha) veligers;
    • Collaborating with Mussel Dogs®, a paper is in press in Management of Biological Invasions: The ability of scent detection canines to detect the presence of quagga mussel (Dreissena rostriformis bugensis) veligers.

    What MassDEP plans to do:

    • Working with MA DCR to establish a statewide protocol (SOP) for Sample Collection, Species Identification, and Confirmation by Experts;
    • Working with other agencies such as USGS to build a more complete AIS database and a more complete map for Massachusetts residents;
    • Attend the 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).

  6. Lake Champlain Basin Program Updates November 2016:
    Lake Champlain Basin Program has a new Director, Dr. Eric Howe.
    Aquatic Invasive Species Spread Prevention Grants in the Lake Champlain Basin are open (visit for more info) with applications due December 15th 2016.
    Lake Champlain Boat Launch Steward Program wrapped up the 2016 field season. Boat launch stewards at NYSDEC and VTFWD access areas collected 10611 surveys and interacted with 25,697 visitors launching and retrieving their boats from Lake Champlain. Stewards found aquatic organisms present on 15.8% of boats, trailers, and equipment coming and going from the Lake. All organisms were identified and it was determined that 6.7% of all the boats, trailers and equipment surveyed had confirmed aquatic invasive species hitchhiking on them. When asked if boaters take any measures to prevent the spread of AIS, 80% responded with one or more measure (wash, dry, disinfect, dispose of bait properly, etc.).
    LCBP continues to support water chestnut work in Lake Champlain – difficult harvesting season due to low lake levels.
    LCBP AIS Rapid Response Task Force responded to Asian clam in Lake Bomossen, first infestation in an inland lake in VT. VTANR working on a response.
    Slow progress on contract execution for a feasibility study for an ANS barrier on the Champlain Canal.
    Lake George Asian clam infestation spread to 2 new sites in the lake after lake wide survey was conducted in August/September. Partners interested in disturbance as a factor that may impact population density.
    Spiny water flea were detected by boat launch stewards on fishing gear from boats exiting Lake Champlain. Populations exploded in mid-June.
    NYSDEC posted an RFP for boat launch stewards and decontamination sites with mandatory implementation of decontamination stations at 3 additional NY Lake Champlain boat launch sites.

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