TIPPC Declares Position on H.B. 338

The Texas Invasive Plant and Pest Council is in opposition to Texas H.B. 338. H.B.338 represents a great step backwards in Texas’s long and ongoing battle to prevent and limit the introduction and spread of noxious and invasive species. The language of H.B. 338 undermines the validity of concerns about invasives expressed by other government agencies, universities, and organizations; diminishes the intellectual value of research and publications on invasive species; is ambiguous on the definition of “invasive species”; and would place an undue financial burden on organizations wishing to inform the public about noxious and invasive species. TIPPC encourages you to act quickly and contact your legislators and express your opinion on H.B. 338. - For More Information

Scott Walker
President, Texas Invasive Plant & Pest Council

H.B. 338: Passed House

A committee substitute has been added to H.B. 338 and has passed through the House of Representatives.

Committee Substitute House Bill 338 would require a public entity, other than the department, that produces for public distribution to commercial or residential landscapers a list of noxious or invasive terrestrial plant species that includes a species growing in this state shall provide with the list a disclaimer that states:

“This plant list is only a recommendation and has no legal effect in the state of Texas. It is lawful to sell, distribute, import, or possess a plant on this list unless the Texas Department of Agriculture labels the plant as noxious or invasive on the Department's plant list”

Finally, Real Numbers on Feral Hogs

One great myth about feral hogs is their actual numbers in Texas. A common number that has been bantered about for years is 1 to 4 million, but now Dr. Roel Lopez from Texas A&M University, using GIS, was able to quantify the extent of the feral hog habitat in Texas, and estimates that approximately 134 million acres, or 79 % of the state’s 170 million acres, represents feral hog habitat. By knowing the range of feral hog habitat and the species population density in various types of Texas environments, Lopez narrowed the population estimate to 1.9 million to 3.4 million. - Learn More

TIPPC Supports New Rules to Curtail Cactus Moth Invasion

First found in Florida in 1989, the destructive South American cactus moth (Cactoblastis cactorum) has spread as far north as South Carolina and as far west as Louisiana. The moth is now spreading westward toward Texas and other southwestern states. To prevent further introductions of this pest, the Texas Invasive Plant and Pest Council supports a proposed rule by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to amend its foreign quarantine regulations to prohibit the importation of prickly pear cactus nursery stock or their edible fruits and pads from countries infested with the moth. The new rules are now open for public comment. - Learn More

Invasive Spotlight: Island Applesnail
(Pomacea insularum)

Native to South America and introduced through the dumping of aquariums into freshwater ecosystems, the island Applesnail (Pomacea insularum) has historically been confused with the channeled Applesnail. The shell of the island applesnail varies from 1.5 - 2.3 inches wide and 1.75 - 3 inches high (about the size of a baseball or human fist). Patterning on the shell varies, but is usually banded brown, yellow-tan, or even blackish. Body color of applesnails vary from yellow to brownish black, with or without dark spiral bands. Their presence is often first noted by observation of their bright pink egg masses.

Negative ecological effects of this herbivorous snail include impacts on wetlands and wetland restoration, competition with native snails, and the introduction of exotic parasites. Serious economic loss from damage to rice crops has been documented in Asia, and, in Texas, rice farmers experience increased maintenance costs for levees in fields with large populations of applesnails due to the constant burrowing by snails.

Learn more about island applesnail and other Texas Invasives.
More News

Registration Open: Urban Wildlife Management and Planning Conference: May 22-25, 2011, Austin, TX - More Information

13th Annual Southeast EPPC Conference: May 3-5, 2011, Lexington, KY - More Information

Save the Date: 2011 Texas Invasive Plant & Pest Conference: November 7-10, Austin, TX

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


Citizen Science Success

In 2007, astronomer Chris Lintott and his colleagues were drowning in data, 1 million images of galaxies to characterize and only one graduate student to do it. So Lintott and his collaborators set up a Web site in hopes of attracting some volunteers. Hoping for a few thousand helpers, the site Galaxy Zoo "went viral," and the current count is 375,000 people working from the comfort of their own homes. More than 20 astronomical papers have come out of the project, including the discovery of two astronomical phenomena. Now Lintott's team has expanded its citizen-science efforts to other projects, including studies of the moon and an analysis of old ship logs for climate data. - Learn More
New Continuing Education Online Module: Emerald Ash Borer

Don't forget, we have added an Emerald Ash Borer training module to the Citizen Science Online Training. The purpose of the module is to train citizen scientists about the history of EAB introduction and how to identify and report this pest. This is a required module for all citizen scientists. Please visit the Online Training and complete the module soon.
Invaders of Texas Citizen Science Workshops

Saturday April 2, 2011
University of the Incarnate Word, San Antonio, TX

Saturday April 16, 2011 [Advanced Training]
Angelina College, Jasper, TX

Saturday May 21, 2011
Comal County Extension Office, New Braunfels, TX

Friday July 1, 2011
Botanical Research Institute of Texas, Ft. Worth, TX

For more information or to request a workshop, please visit our Workshop Page.