Texas Invasive Plant
and Pest Conference
Early Registration Ending

Tuesday, February 11th is the last day to register at the discount rate of $150 for the Texas Invasive Plant and Pest Conference. Students can also register early at the low cost of $50. 
Register today!

The upcoming conference will be held in Port Aransas from February 26 to February 28. The 2014 conference will be a professional level meeting including keynotes, concurrent sessions, poster sessions, workshops and field trips. Visit the conference website to view schedules, abstracts and other information.

Spread the Word
Please share this information with family, friends or professionals that are interested in invasive species. A printable conference flyer describing the event can be found here.

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Coming Soon: An Updated
TX Invaders App!

The Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center has been awarded $18,400 from the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department, Wildlife Diversity's 2013-2014 Horned Lizard License Plate Grant Program to 
upgrade the TX Invaders mobile app. The new app will include several new features and replace the existing TX Invaders app, already in use by over 1,900 trained citizen scientists statewide.

Funds received from the sale of Horned Lizard License Plates provide support for conservation projects in Texas. To learn more about the Horned Lizard Conservation License Plate, or to show your support for natural resource conservation projects in Texas, visit www.conservationplate.org.

Horned Lizard License Plate

Invasive Spotlight:
Tropical Soda Apple (Solanum viarum)

Tropical soda apple is on the Federal Noxious Weed List. The plant reduces biodiversity in natural areas by displacing native plants and disrupting ecological integrity. Plant spines can restrict wildlife grazing and create a physical barrier to animals. The plant contains solasodine, which is poisonous to humans and is a host for several viruses that infect important vegetable crops. 

Tropical soda apple is native to Argentina and Brazil and was introduced to Florida in the 1980s. It has since spread to other southern states, including Alabama, Georgia, Tennessee and the Carolinas. The species is not widespread in Texas, but has been reported in eastern counties. 

The species is also causing problems in Australia, where it threatens farmland in New South Wales. Follow the link to read about the "weed from hell" in Australia

Follow the link to learn more about this species.
More News

Heavenly Bamboo Found Invading Oregon
A familiar invasive species in Texas, Nandina domestica has now been located in Oregon. This invasive species causes problems for wildlife and birds due the the toxic berries it produces. This is a good reminder to plant native species in your home landscapes. Read more about heavenly bamboo in The Oregonian.

10 Major Austin Environmental Actions of 2013
The City of Austin's invasive species initiative has been highlighted in a 2013 CultureMap review of major environmental actions. To help gather baseline information of invasive species distribution on city lands, 150 volunteers received training in identification and monitoring. Read more about the major environmental actions in Austin from 2013 at CultureMap.

Tasmania Takes Novel Approach to Mapping Wildlife and Invasive Species
A Tasmanian partnership is taking a novel approach to mapping  wildlife and invasive animal predators. Officials are calling for volunteers to sign up for "poo patrol" at the upcoming Great Poo Hunt event. Participants will collect animal droppings in remote areas, which will be DNA sequenced at the University of Canberra. This project will provide important data for informing conservation and invasive species programs. Read more in the Herald Sun

Giant Salvinia Team Plans New Approach at Caddo Lake
A newly-formed team to address giant salvinia at the Caddo Lake Wildlife Refuge is expanding production of a biocontrol for invasive salvinia. The team is combining weevil releases and herbicide application in the hope of beating back the invasive species, which has greatly impacted Caddo Lake. Read more about the project in the Longview News Journal.

Australians Use Pilot-less Helicopter to Fight Invasive Plants
The Wyong Shire Council has a new remote-controlled helicopter made by Yamaha to control noxious weeds in remote areas. The helicopter, which cost $100,000 has two containers capable of accurate application of herbicides. Noxious weed officers report the system will assist control efforts in areas that have previously been too expensive or dangerous to access. Read the full article in the Newcastle Herald.

Minnesota Uses Wasps in War on Emerald Ash Borer
After killing millions of ash trees in 20 states and 2 Canadian provinces since it was introduced from Asia in the 2002, officials believe they have found success in managing the destructive pest with a natural predator. Tetrastichus planipennisi, a parasitic non-stinging wasp and natural predator to the emerald ash borer have shown promise to control the invasive where well established. Read more about the wasp in the Star Tribune

War on Lionfish Shows First Promise of Success
Scientists at Oregon State University, Simon Fraser University and others have released a new study that confirms for the first time that controlling invasive lionfish populations can pave the way for the recovery of native fish. It may take a legion of SCUBA divers armed with nets and spears, but computer models and field tests have indicated that reducing lionfish numbers will allow the rapid recovery of native fish and may aid larger ecosystem recovery as well. Read more in ScienceDaily

Zebra Mussels Confirmed in Lake Lavon
The presence of zebra mussels has been confirmed in Lake Lavon. A team of U.S. Geological Survey scientists have been monitoring north Texas reservoirs, searching for the presence of juvenile and adult mussels, as well as the presence of zebra mussel DNA. Lake Lavon's water samples recently tested positive for zebra mussel DNA. Read more about the find and how to prevent spreading zebra mussels from the Texas Department of Parks and Wildlife.

USDA Invasive Plants - Issues, Challenges, and Discoveries Webinar Series
Beginning in January, the USDA Rocky Mountain Research Station will be hosting a series of 7 webinars that will share cutting-edge information about invasive plants and their management. Land managers, professionals, scientists, and other interested people are encourages to attend. For more information, visit the Rocky Mountain Research Station

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

Take action and join the fight against invasive species at an upcoming Brazilian peppertree control and tree planting event in Port Aransas on February 25th. 

This volunteer event, held prior to the Texas Invasive Plant and Pest Conference will be hosted by the City of Port Aransas, Texas A&M Forest Service and the Texas Invasive Plant and Pest Council. 

In conjunction with the volunteer event, volunteers can network and partake in an open house to learn about Brazilian peppertree biology, impacts, management and a new community partnership addressing invasive species in the Texas gulf region. 

For more information or to get involved in this open house and work event contact David Hyde at (dhyde@cityofportaransas.org). 

Learn more about the Brazilian peppertree in the Invasives Database.

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.


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.

We have funding from USDA APHIS and the Texas A&M Forest Service for 10 workshops in the upcoming months, so schedule your free workshop, today!

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: TBD (Marble Falls, 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.