Hello Kitty, Goodbye Songbird!

A new, peer-reviewed report titled, Feral Cats and Their Management from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, has put the annual economic loss from feral cat predation on birds in the United States at $17 billion, and suggested that Trap-Neuter-Release is not a recommended method to eliminate colonies of feral cats.

Other findings included, cats are responsible for the extinction of at least 33 species of birds, cats kill far more native wildlife species than nuisance (invasive) species, and cats will kill wildlife no matter how well they are fed.

Read the entire report.

NECIS Unveils New Web-based Resource on Invasive Species

The National Environmental Coalition on Invasive Species (NECIS) has launched a newly redesigned website and resource on invasive species. The site, necis.net, is a dynamic source of news and information about invasive species, featuring updates on current NECIS initiatives and timely information on how to help improve invasive species policies across the nation.

Invasive Honeysuckles Harboring Lone-star Ticks

Invasive plants have long been known to snuff out native plants, but scientists in the Midwest have discovered that one such nuisance plant—invasive honeysuckle—also increases the risk of tick-borne diseases.

Scientists at the University of Missouri at St. Louis found that areas infested with Amur honeysuckle had greater populations of lone star tick than areas populated with native plants. The lone star tick does not transmit Lyme disease but is the only tick species to transmit southern tick-associated rash illness.

The next question is, if honeysuckle can harbor carriers of human diseases, what about other invasive species? – Read More

Invasive Spotlight: Japanese Chaff Flower
(Achyranthes japonica)

The River to River Cooperative Weed Management Area (RTR-CWMA), in Illinois, is tracking the distribution of a relatively new exotic invasive plant, Japanese Chaff Flower (Achyranthes japonica). So far it seems to be concentrated along the lower Ohio River Valley, but has been reported in TN, AL, and GA (MAP).

In the winter it can be easily identified by its bright straw-color and long seeds that lay flat against the spike. This plant grows well in forested bottomlands, ditches, fencerows, and upland forests. It is a perennial forming dense populations that, in some areas, can outcompete stiltgrass. The seeds readily stick to clothing or fur, aiding in spread.

RTR-CWMA is interested in knowing of any locations where this plant might be growing. If you are familiar with this plant and know of any locations (particularly in new states), please enter them into EDDMapS or contact Christopher Evans.

More News

Emerald Ash Borer Program: December weekly report.

Mexican Feathergrass becoming invasive in California. - Read more

Job Posting: EDDMapS Data Coordinator, University of Georgia, Tifton, Georgia USA
Application: https://www.ugajobsearch.com/applicants/jsp/shared/position/JobDetails_css.jsp

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


A Citizen's Guide to Controlling Invasives

Many invasive plants seem impossible to control with current levels of resources, yet groups of volunteers are making a difference. A Citizen’s Guide to the Control of Invasive Plants in Wetland and Riparian Areas offers a survey of methods used by volunteers in efforts to control invasive plants in natural areas. Though written for the Chesapeake Bay Area, the information can be adapted for Texas. The case studies are presented as a model for other similar organizations to mobilize volunteers for the control of invasive plants. - Read the entire guide
Using GIS to Predict Invasions by Weeds

With globalization comes increased introduction of non-native plants, and quick action is required to control their spread. Ecologists from the U.S. Geological Survey have developed a simple geographic information system (GIS) analysis for developing watch lists for early detection of invasive exotic plants. The tool develops “environmental envelopes” based upon the known distribution of the species and then predicts other potential habitat where the weed may strike next, offering an important management tool for early detection. - Read More
Geotagging on Images

A recent New York Times article brought to light the concept of geo-tags on digital pictures. Since all Invaders of Texas citizen scientists are required to submit a geographical location with their pictures this is not a concern for our program, but it does offer a reminder to be respectful of private property. Please do not take photographs on private property without permission from the property owner, and please avoid taking pictures with houses, addresses, license plates, etc. in the background.
Invaders of Texas Citizen Science Workshops

We currently have one workshop scheduled and have funding for 9 more workshops this year. To request a workshop, please visit our Workshop Page.

Saturday February 26, 2011
Hays County Extension Office, San Marcos, TX