Texas Marine Educators Association to Hold April
Aquatic Invasive Species
Workshop at Caddo Lake

Between April 11th and 12th, the Texas Marine Educators Association will be holding an invasive aquatic organism workshop in Uncertain, Texas at Big Pines. 

The workshop will highlight several aquatic invasive organisms and show how they impact Texas' aquatic environments. Participants will have the opportunity to identify and learn about both native and invasive aquatic plants and also tour Caddo lake on a pontoon boat.

While the workshop is geared toward teachers and environmental educators, all are welcome and would find value in participating. To view the workshop flyer click the link or check out the full agenda

Photo credit: Texas Parks and Wildlife Department
Sign Up Today for
Emerald Ash Borer Webinars

The Texasinvasives.org team, in partnership with US Department of Agriculture Animal & Plant Health Inspection Service Plant Protection and Quarantine program, the Texas A&M Forest Service and Texas Invasive Species Institute will be holding two free webinars in May to raise awareness about the emerald ash borer. 

On May 12th, webinar participants will receive an introduction to the emerald ash borer problem, including identification, impacts and signs of infestations. This webinar will also present an overview of trapping efforts in Texas, to identify whether an infestation is present. To register for this free webinar, please visit the May 12th registration page

On May 14th, webinar participants will learn how to prevent the introduction and movement of forest pests like emerald ash borer to Texas. It will also feature a new initiative by the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center to identify and map ash tree (Fraxinus sp.) locations statewide for a future seed collecting and storage for use in research and restoration. To register for this free webinar, please visit the May 14th registration page.

Emerald ash borer larvae. 
Adult emerald ash borer.

Photo credits: David Cappaert, Michigan State University, Bugwood.org 

Invasive Species

Bastard Cabbage
(Rapistrum rugosum)

Bastard cabbage is native to the Mediterranean, northern Africa, central Europe and temperate Asia. This species was introduced through contaminated seed mixes. It is an annual herbaceous plant that grows from 1 to 5 feet in height and has a large taproot. The leaves are deep green, lobed, wrinkled and can have a reddish cast. 

Bastard cabbage flowers from early spring into summer, bearing clusters of small, showy yellow flowers at the tips of its branches. Seeds from this plant germinate early in the growing season and quickly establish a blanket of leafy rosettes forming a monoculture. The dense patches easily outcompete seeds and seedlings of native plants, especially the beloved bluebonnet. 

Follow the link to learn more about bastard cabbage. Become a citizen scientist and report this species. Pull it out and save a bluebonnet. 

Texas counties with Rapistrum rugosum present. Source: EDDMapS.org
More News

National Grass Carp Report
The combined efforts of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Services and the Mississippi Interstate Cooperative Resource Association, the National Grass Carp Report, is now available.  Learn more and download the report at misin.

Bacteria Could be Key to Controlling Cheatgrass
An invasive grass, cheatgrass has changed the range lands of the Western United States.  Microbiologists are working with native soil bacteria to control cheatgrass growth.  Read more about their efforts at agininfo.

Michigan Recieves $2.5 Million in Grants to Combat Invasive Species
The federal government has awarded Michigan $2.5 million in grants as a part of the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative.  The grants will fund programs designed to combat invasive species. Read more about the programs at mlive.

Feds Ban Four Snake Species
The federal government announced the banning of four large constricting snake species from import into the U.S. and interstate travel.  The ban on green anaconda, reticulated python, Beni anaconda and DeSchauensee’s anaconda will go into effect in April. Learn more about the ban at thehill.

Hurricanes Aid in Invasive Species Distribution
Researchers at Nova Southeastern University have discovered that hurricane altered ocean currents aid and accelerate the distribution of invasive marine species.  Usually barriers to young organisms, the strong north and northwestern flowing ocean currents change course during hurricanes and can act as marine superhighways.  Read more about the impacts hurricanes can have on ocean currents and the spread of invasive marine species at sciencedaily.

Little Mussel is Big Threat to the Amazon
A small Chinese mussel, the golden mussel, would spell disaster for the Amazon River, but Brazilian researchers are working to stop the mussel before it gets to the river.  A doctoral student, Marcela Uliano da Silva, has a plan to use the mussel’s DNA against it.  Learn more about her and her colleagues’ efforts in mapping the genome at citizenvoice.

The Age of Exploration and Invasive Species: Fire Ants Traveled by 16th Century Ship
Researchers have compared genetic diversity and 16th century Spanish trading routes to find that fire ants were traveling by ship to infest new territory.  Tracing the diversity throughout the New World, researchers found the ants invading the Old World were most closely related to those of Mexico. Read more about the genetic links with the emerging global commerce of the 16th century at fire ants.

Preservation Attempts Face Two-Fold Challenge
Northern Minnesota has over a million acres of black ash forest.  Winters are expected to become warmer in this area and researchers are worried this will increase the chances that the emerald ash borer will move north. Without the ash, experiments have shown the forest will become a grass-dominated wetland. Read more about how researchers are attempting to save this forested wetland at mprnews

State Bill a Win for Honeybees
Washington’s state House of Representatives has passed a bill mandating that invasive plants be replaced with high-pollinating native plants to provide for honeybees.  The state Senate is also proposing a bill that would give beekeepers the same tax breaks as farmers.  Learn more at Yakimaherald.

Hydrogels Shown to Control Invasive Ants
Associate professor of entomology at Purdue University, Grzegorz Buczkowski, has helped develop a novel way to deliver pesticides to the invasive Argentine ant: hydrogel.  This method can deliver a more effective dose to the ant without the complications, costs, and hazards of more traditional methods.  Learn more about the Argentine ant and the hydrogels that can control them at sciencedaily.

Using Grit to Blast Away Weeds
Using a sandblaster filled with corn cob grit, Frank Forcella and his colleagues created a new organic weed management device called Propelled Abrasive Grit Management. Read more about the organic weed control device at agprofessional.

Hydrilla Harbor Bacteria that Kills Birds
Invasive Asian hydrilla is common in most of the lakes and reservoirs that attract large flocks of birds.  Some of these bodies of water act as death traps because of a highly toxic bacteria hiding on hydrilla leaves.  While eagle deaths have garnered the most attention, no bird is safe.  Learn more about the bacteria and how it’s impacting bird populations at ipmsouth

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


Changing of the Guard

The Texasinvasives.org team would like to announce that Justin Bush, Invasive Species Coordinator for the Texasinvasive.org partnership is leaving his position at The University of Texas at Austin, Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center after joining the program in 2013. Justin will now be managing riparian noxious weed projects in Seattle, Washington working for the King County Noxious Weed Control Program, one of the premier weed control programs in the United States. 

In addition to managing the Texasinvasives.org partnership, the Invaders of Texas Citizen Scientist Program, the Sentinel Pest Network and coordinating the Texas Gulf Region CWMA, Justin served as a conservation ecologist and GIS manager for several plant conservation projects across Texas. Justin's departure leaves room for a new hire, please stay tuned for a request for qualified applicants in the near future.

f you need to contact the Texasinvasives.org coordinator in this interim period, please email invaders@texasinvasives.org.

From the Guadalupe Mountains to the Coastal Bend and everywhere in between, Justin thoroughly enjoyed his time working to detect and manage invasive species. 

Sentinel Pest Network and Invaders of Texas 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:

Saturday, April 4, 2015
Location: EcoCentro (San Antonio, TX)
Contact: Lonnie Shockley

Saturday, April 11, 2015
Location: Polk County Chamber of Commerce (Livingston, TX)
Contact: Timi Maples

Saturday, April 25, 2015
Location: Sibley Nature Center (Midland, TX)
Contact: Lana Straub

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