New Resource for the Management of Feral Pigs

Mary Pearl Meuth, manager of the Texas Master Naturalist Program at Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service, has announced a great new resource for wild pig management that has been developed!  Check out the new Wild Pig Management Video Series
Mark Tyson and Josh Helcel, AgriLife Extension associates with the Wildlife and Fisheries unit at College Station, collaborated with Texas Wildlife Services personnel in compiling a Wild Pig Management Video Series. It consists of an all-inclusive trailer and five other videos that focus on contoling feral pigs.

These videos clarify many management points not always easily understood through other media. Doing so should help land managers effectively manage this destructive nuisance species to reduce their impacts on native habitat, wildlife, livestock, water quality and agricultural production.
The production of the video series was supported by a Renewable Resources Extension Act Grant. The grant was funded by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture and was administered through the Texas A&M Institute of Renewable Natural Resources.
Additional information on feral pigs and their management is available on the Coping with Feral Hogs website at: .

See also this link for mor information on feral pigs.


Photographer: Billy Higginbotham
Source: Texas AgriLife Extension Service


Source: Texas AgriLife Extension Service
Invasive Spotlight:
Giant Hogweed
(Heracleum mantegazzianum)

Giant hogweed (Heracleum mantegazzianum) is originally from Eurasia. It is an aggressive competitor. Because of its size and rapid growth, it out-competes native plant species, reducing the amount of suitable habitat available for wildlife. It prefers moist, disturbed soils such as riverbanks, ditches and railroad rights-of-way, but can be found in a variety of habitats. Giant hogweed dies back during the winter months, leaving bare ground that can lead to an increase in soil erosion on riverbanks and steep slopes.

Giant hogweed is a biennial or perennial herb in the carrot family (Apiaceae), growing 15 to 20 feet in height with stout dark reddish-purple stems and spotted leaf stalks. Hollow stalks and stems produce sturdy bristles. The compound leaves with three leaflets may expand to five feet in breadth. It resembles cowparsnip (Heracleum maximum) (which can also cause rashes) but its leaves are more dissected and pointier than those of cowparsnip. (Cowparsnip isn't found in Texas, however.)

It is not found in Texas -- YET! We would like to keep it that way. PLease report it using the Report It! website if you think you have found some.

WARNING! Giant hogweed contains a substance within its sap that makes the skin sensitive to ultra violet light. This can result in severe burns to the affected areas, producing swelling and severe, painful blistering. If you plan to eradicate it, be sure to wear gloves, long pants and a long-sleeved shirt.

Follow this link to learn more about giant hogweed.


Photographer: Terry English


Accessed Aug 31, 2015.


Invaders of Texas Funding for 2016: Growing the Sentinel Pest Network

The Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center was awarded Farm Bill funding to continue and grow the Sentinel Pest Network and Invaders of Texas Citizen Scientist Program. The award supports the statewide partnership to address invasive species by funding public education efforts, including free workshops and webinars.

The team and cooperators are excited to continue this engaging 10-year partnership with the United States Department of Agriculture to prevent the introduction and spread of invasive species. 

More News

Revision: The French Connection between Texas and Carrizo Cane
Last month we published a news item about how USDA and the Texas State Soil and Water Conservation Board are looking to cooperate in managing carrizo (or giant) cane. We would like to revise our earlier item as following:
John Goolsby, a U.S. Department of Agriculture research entomologist, is the project leader for the Arundo donax (carrizo cane) biological control program, which is set to release French wasps to manage corrizo cane. The State Soil and Water Conservation Board has been tasked by Gov. Abbott to develop a program to control the cane on the Rio Grande. The State is hoping to partner with USDA to implement an integrated mechanical and biological control program. Learn more about the biological control program at Arundo at bloomberg.

MiCorps Finds New Invasive Species Trying to Replace Old
Volunteers with the Michigan Clean Water Corps (MiCorps) made a startling discovery during a vegetation survey at Eagle Lake: starry stonewort (Nitellopsis obtuse), a large alga, had taken over after management efforts had reduced the invasive Eurasian watermilfoil (Myriophyllum spicatum) population. Rapid response measures are a focus of the Cooperative Lakes Monitoring Program, which trains the members of MiCorps through their Exotic Plant Watch program. Learn more about how Michigan is protecting its lakes from aquatic invasive species at Michigan State.

Grazing Sheep to Control Invasive Species
The Vermont towns of Randolph and Putney have returned to the practice of grazing sheep on public and conservation lands in an effort to curb the spread of invasive plant species. Where other invasive plant removal methods have failed, sheep have shown success. The sheep provide a cheaper and safer alternative to mowing and spraying herbicides on public fields and hard-to-reach conservation property. Read more about how groups like Goat Girls and UVM Center for Sustainable Agriculture are changing how invasive plant species are managed at VPR.

SeaCURE: An Advance in Ballast Water Management Systems
Ballast water will often act as a vehicle for small marine organisms that can become invasive when they are released into foreign bodies of water. Ballast water management systems (BWMS) are designed to stop the spread of these organisms by neutralizing or killing them before they are released, and employ different methods. A novel method that engineers are developing is the SeaCURE, an electrochlorination BWMS that uses electrolytic cells to convert salt water into a common bleaching agent, sodium hypochlorite. Read more about electrochlorination at SeaCURE.

Using Shade to Mitigate Invasive Species Along The Upper Niagara River
A study conducted along streams in the Upper Niagara River watershed has given researchers insight in how invasive plant species are affected by native assemblages. Using the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) Stream Visual Assessment Protocol (SVAP), researchers intended to study how propagation affected invasive species distribution but instead discovered that the presence of shade along riparian zones negatively impacted the growth of common invasive plants. Read more about the study at Niagara River.

Testing Carp Fertility to Help Save the Eastern Great Lakes
As a biocontrol method, grass carp (Ctenopharyngodon idella) have been introduced into many North American waterways in an effort to control invasive aquatic plants. Because it has a voracious appetite, breeding populations have the potential to destroy riparian habitat. Therefore, it is illegal to buy or raise fertile carp in Ohio; all released carp must be sterile. To help ensure only sterile carp are used, researchers are developing a field test capable of determining the fertility status of invasive carp species found around Lake Erie. The field test uses known physical abnormalities in red blood cell nuclei to differentiate between fertile and sterile fish and would reduce the cost and wait time of the more traditional lab test. Learn more about the field test at grass carp.

Saving the Tasmanian Devil and Controlling Invasive Species in Australia
Once widely spread across Australia, mainland populations of the Tasmanian devil (Sarcophilus harrisii) went extinct around 3,000 years ago and face population decline in Tasmania due to facial tumor disease. In an effort to save Tasmanian devil populations and control invasive species, researchers with the University of New South Wales have been using computer modeling to determine how the reintroduction of the Tasmanian devil to mainland Australia would affect ecosystems. The findings are promising as the model shows the Tasmanian devil would reduce the numbers of feral cats, foxes and some small grazing animals. Learn more about impact the Tasmanian devil has on Australian ecosystems at Tasmanian devil.

New Database Reveals Impact of Invasive Species
Invasive species in all their forms have been previously estimated to cause $1.4 trillion dollars in damage to the world economy. A new study sheds light on what that looks like. This new database finds 3.9% of the world’s plant species have become naturalized outside of their native range. This is up from 1-2% from previous studies. Read more at The Guardian.

Battling Florida’s Invasive Species
A recent multi-agency summit in Davie, Florida highlights the difficulties in managing Florida’s invasive species problem. Burmese pythons have spread farther north and have begun to hatch earlier while African rock pythons, melaleuca, Australian pine and cattail control efforts have been successful. The summit sought to help the agencies and researchers who work together on invasive species issues better coordinate their efforts. Learn more about Florida’s ongoing battle to control invasive species at The Miami Herald.

Time a Major Factor in Exotic Species Invasion
What factors are the most important in predicting the invasion of an exotic species? James E. Byers and colleagues decided to conduct a comprehensive analysis to determine which variables were most influential. "There is a lot of emphasis in invasion ecology in looking for predictive factors that can tell us what species or what habitats may be most at risk," Byers said. They were surprised to learn that time since introduction was the most important factor in predicting an invasion by an exotic species. Read more about Byers’ research at sciencedaily.

Urgent action needed to protect salamanders from deadly non-native fungus
The deadly fungus Batrachochytrium salamandrivorans could cause salamander population declines and extinctions if brought to North America via international trade, biologists warn. They are calling for the federal government to place an immediate ban on salamander imports to the United States until a plan is in place to detect and prevent the fungus' spread. Learn more at sciencedaily.


If you would like your invasive species event or news listed in the next iWire, please send the details to

Sentinel Pest Network and Invaders of Texas Species Workshops

Invaders of Texas workshops train volunteers to become citizen scientists to detect and report invasive species. Workshops include information on the Sentinel Pest Network which serves to increase the awareness of early detection of Emerald Ash Borer, Cactus Moth, Asian Longhorned Beetle, and other pests of regulatory significance.

Workshops are tailored to meet the interests of your volunteer group, and supplementary session examples include an introduction to the TX Invaders mobile application and the Eradicator Calculator, a feature on designed to help organize and track volunteer-based eradication efforts.

Upcoming Workshops:

CHANGED! Saturday, December 12, 2015
Location: Edith L. Moore Nature Sanctuary, Houston

For more information or to register to attend a workshop, please visit the Workshop Page.