Texas Gulf Region Forms New Cooperative Weed Management Area

The City of Port Aransas and partners, the Texas A&M Forest Service and Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center, have received a grant from the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation's Pulling Together Initiative to start one of the first Cooperative Weed Management Areas in the State of Texas.

More common in the northeast and western states, Cooperative Weed Management Areas (CWMAs), or Cooperative Invasive Species Management Areas (CISMAs), are informal, non-regulatory, regional organizations that bring together landowners and managers to coordinate actions and share expertise and resources to manage common invasive species issues in a given geographic area.

The Texas Gulf Region CWMA held a kick-off meeting on February 24th in Port Aransas with regional stakeholders. The group will be working together to address invasive Brazilian peppertrees along the Texas Gulf Coast between Packery Channel and Port O'Connor.

Read more about the new Texas Gulf Region CWMA in an article by the Port Aransas South Jetty.

Learn more about CWMAs and CISMAs at Texasinvaisves.org



BMPs for Preventing the Spread of Invasive Plants Video

The California Invasive Plant Council has released a 42-minute training video that features topics on preventing the movement of invasive plant propagules, the importance of minimizing soil disturbance, the need to incorporate prevention activities into project planning, and ways to promote invasive plant awareness within your organization.

Drawing on best management practices from land managers and transportation utility corridors handbooks, the video is a valuable new resource to start a discussion about prevention practices in your organization. 

To learn more about this new video, where you can view a trailer and order the DVD, please visit Cal-IPC

Invasive Spotlight:
Giant African Snail (Lissachatina fulica)

The giant African snail, from East Africa, can grow to 8 inches long and 4 inches wide. The species can live up to eight years and begins mating at six months of age, laying approximately 100 eggs a month. 

Currently only detected in Miami-Dade County, Florida, Texas residents should be aware of this species. It is known to eat over 500 different plant species and even the stucco off homes. In addition to devastating crops and desirable plants the snail can also sicken humans with a rare form of meningitis. 

To learn more and watch a short video about the giant African snail in Florida, follow the link to the Sun Sentinel

Follow this link to learn more about this species.

Report it!
More News

‚ÄčThe Nation Celebrates National Invasive Species Awareness Week
Invasive species managers around the United States held invasive species awareness events between February 23-28. NISAW reports that non-native plants, animals and pathogens can harm humans and the environment and impact our nation's economy. The damage done by invasive plants alone costs the U.S. an estimated $34.7 billion a year. Visit NISAW to find eight ways you can help stop invasive species.  

Texas Researchers Develop New Approach to Control Giant Salvinia 
Researchers at Stephen F. Austin University have developed a new method to control giant salvinia. By studying the bioactive properties of the invasive species, researchers learned that extracts from giant salvinia can inhibit growth or eliminate the plant. This extract, called endocide is currently in the process of being patented and could potentially be used to control other fast growing species. Read more about this new approach at KETK East Texas News

Traveling North? Check for Gypsy Moth 'Hitch Hikers'
People traveling to Minnesota and other northern states are reminded to check for gypsy moth when traveling to infested areas. Minnesota state officials are considering new regulations for residents, industry and tourists to require inspections for egg masses when leaving the area. Vacationers are reminded to look for the insect by inspecting their camping gear, RVs and picnic tables that could be carrying egg masses. Read more about gypsy moth and proposed rules at CBC News

Mystery Pest Threatens $1B Texas Crop
A tiny unknown pest is threatening the $1 billion Texas sorghum crop, reports Texas A&M. Spotted just over a year ago, what entomologists are calling the sugarcane aphid could be a new invasive pest, or could have switched hosts from sugarcane to grain sorghum. Whatever the case, growers have seen 50-70% reduction in yields and in some cases total loss, which is causing alarm for growers. Read more about this pest and learn how researchers are combating its effects in Texas A&M Agrilife Today

Wild Boar Striking Fear in Ireland
A familiar invasive species in Texas, wild boar have been introduced to Ireland and labeled "one of Ireland's most unwanted invasive species. Wild boar can spread foot and mouth disease, swine fever or rabies and can cause injury to humans if cornered. Read more in the Independent

Herbicides May Not be Sole Source of Declining Plant Diversity of Farms
According to Penn State researchers, factors beyond herbicide exposure may be more important to declining species diversity, rather than the use of chemical herbicides. Researchers compared the herbicide tolerances of rare and common plant species in an intensively farmed region, finding that both rare and common plants had roughly similar tolerances to three commonly used herbicides. This finding could indicate that herbicides may not have a persistent effect in shaping plant communities. Read more in Science Daily

Crazy Ant Uses Acid to Its Advantage
According to new research from the University of Texas, tawny crazy ants are replacing the notorious fire ant with the help of a newly identified chemical defense. Researchers have noted that the crazy ant uses it's own venom to detoxify fire ant venom, which is deadly to many other ants. Following exposure to fire ant venom, the crazy ants repeatedly spread their own venom over themselves, leading to a 98% survival rate. Read more about this new research in the New York Times

Third Citrus Greening Quarantine Established in Texas
Citrus Greening is one of the most destructive diseases of citrus worldwide. Once a tree is infected, there is no effective control or cure for the disease, which ultimately renders infected trees unsuitable for production. The Asian citrus psyllid, spreads the disease as it feeds on the leaves and stems of citrus trees. The Texas Department of Agriculture has established a new 5-mile radius quarantine in La Blanca, Texas to prevent spreading of the disease. By law, residents are not allowed to move citrus plants or citrus plant materials outside of the quarantine zone. Read more about the new quarantine and about this devastating disease at South Texas Citrus Alert

Invasive Species and Pest Damages Underreported in Developing Nations
New research shows that crop damage from plant pathogens and invasive species is likely far worse than current estimates. According the the University of Exeter, if all countries had levels of scientific or technical capacity similar to the developed world, the number of pests reported would be far higher and a better picture of the threat to global food production would be better understood. Read more about this new research in the International Science Times

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

Citizen Scientist of the Month
Commander Ben

Benjamin Shrader, known as Commander Ben--the Invasive Hunter, is no stranger to the fight against invasive species. He has been using his blog (www.commanderben.com) and videos to raise awareness about the dangers of invasive species and their environmental impacts to kids of all ages since 2011. 

Commander Ben received the Outstanding Citizen Scientist of the Year award by the Texas Invasive Plant and Pest Council at the 2014 state conference in Port Aransas. Previously, Commander Ben was awarded the 2013 Outstanding Terrestrial Invasive Species Volunteer of the Year Award fromthe National Invasive Species Council (NISC). He was also recognized as an International Young Eco-Hero by Action for Nature. 

He created the Invasive Hunter Academy and brought it to events around Texas and the U.S. Botanic Gardens in Washington D.C. to help kids learn about invasive species through fun activities and crafts... training future invasive hunters in the progress!

Way to go Commander Ben, keep up the fight! 

If you would like to highlight a successful invasive species project or nominate a special person to be highlighted in an upcoming iWire, please send the details to iwire@texasinvasives.org.

Commander Ben searches his
Sherlock Mind Palace for ways to
defeat invasive species. 

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 Texasinvasives.org designed to help organize and track volunteer-based eradication efforts.

Upcoming Workshops:

Tuesday, March 18, 2014
Location: Brady Housing Authority (Brady, TX)
Contact: Sheila Van Zant

Saturday, March 22, 2014
Location: Blanco County Annex (Johnson City, TX)
Contact: Tricia Timmins

Saturday, March 29, 2014
Location: Jesse H. Jones Park & Nature Center (Humble, TX)
Contact: Rose Holmes

Thursday, April 10, 2014
Location: Inks Dam Fish Hatchery (Burnet, TX)
Contact: Billy Hutson

Saturday, April 12, 2014
Location: Lost Pines Scout Reservation (Bastrop, TX)
Contact: Jessica Snider

Saturday, May 17, 2014
Location: University of Texas Winedale Historical Complex (Round Top, TX)
Contact: Judith Deaton

Saturday, June 14, 2014
Location: Collins Academy (Jefferson, TX)
Contact: Vanessa Adams

Wednesday, September 27, 2014
Location: River Legacy Living Science Center (Arlington, TX)
Contact: Registrar

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