Spring is here, flowers are blooming and Rapistrum rugosum is sprouting along the highways faster than you can drive! Please read on for this month's news:

Welcome Llano Estacado Invaders
We recently took a trip out west, to the town of Midland, recruiting more Invaders citizen scientist.The Llano Estacado Master Naturalist hosted a very nice workshop at the Sibley Nature Center. Burr Williams was a great host, and took us on a field trip to see all the salt cedar and even some prairie dog colonies. Keep your eye out for recorded salt ceders and Russian thistles popping up on the map. 

The EradicatorsEradicators.jpg
The Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center has begun a new pilot project called the Eradicators. The Eradicators are a volunteer based corps that is working within the City of Austin to eradicate invasive species in wild areas. They had their first event March 7th, clearing out Ligustrums, along with other invasive plants, from Blunn Creek. Blunn Creek is an urban creek that has been overly infested with all sorts of invasive plants, and the City of Austin has needed a lot of help bringing it back to its natural state. The, team consisting of 12 volunteers, removed a good portion of Ligustrum, Nandina, photinias, and some Chinaberry trees. This would be a great volunteer corps for everyone to start in their local areas.

Boy Scout trying to pass Invasive Species Legislation
A boy scout, from Austin, is trying to get legislation passed that would educate Texans about invasive species sold in nurseries. He convinced Senator Watson and Representative Howard to introduce the bill that he has helped author. The bill states "A plant nursery shall make available to its customers a printed copy of the brochure developed by the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department under Section 12.0105, Parks and Wildlife Code, that describes the benefits of native plant species and the problems associated with invasive plant species". Click here to view the entire language of the bill. You can also view the TPWD brochure by clicking here.

Spotlight Invasive Plant: Bastard Cabbage
While driving down I-35, or I-20, or I-37, or I-10, you have probably noticed the bright yellow flowers of Bastard Cabbage (Rapistrum rugosum) blooming all along the highways. Since it is so noticeable this time of year, it has earned the spotlight invasive plant for this month. The introduction of bastard cabbage into the U.S. is uncertain. It appears to be spreading through contaminated grass seed mixes or RARU.jpg mulching materials. Because its seeds are similar in size to those of wheat and rye, weed seed screens may fail to remove it from grass seed mixes. Bastard cabbage is an early successional plant that develops a broad, robust mass of basal leaves, which allows it to successfully out compete native plant species. In some places, it forms a monoculture (a vegetative cover of mostly one species). Bastard cabbage has long been established on agricultural fields, roadsides, and disturbed lands and is becoming invasive in natural areas such as open forests and along streams.To learn more about Bastard Cabbage visit our Plant Detail page.

Upcoming Training Workshops
There are several workshops scheduled for any new citizen scientist needing training, or any veteran Invaders that could just use a refreshers course. If you are interested in attending one of the following workshops, please visit our Workshops page to contact the workshop host and find more information.

Saturday March 28, 2009
9:00 am - 4:00 pm
Dallas, Texas, Trinity River Audubon Center

Saturday April 4, 2009
9:00 am - 4:00 pm
Kellyville, Texas, Kellyville Community Center

Saturday April 18, 2009
9:00 am - 4:00 pm
Weslaco, Texas, Estero Llano Grande State Park

Saturday May 2, 2009
9:00 am - 4:00 pm
Southlake, Texas, Bob Jones Nature Center

A million thanks to everyone that has been hard at work reporting in their area. With your continued hard work and support we can all help "Stop the Spread". 


Invaders of Texas Program Coordinator

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4801 La Crosse Avenue  
Austin, Texas 78739