Texas Implements Zebra Mussel Public Awareness Campaign and Expands Rule Statewide

Our lakes and rivers are under attack by zebra mussels, a destructive invasive species that harms aquatic life, damages boats and even affects your water supply. Currently, Lake Texoma, Ray Roberts, Lewisville, Bridgeport, Belton and Lavon are already infested--and without your help, zebra mussels could spread throughout the state.

Prevent the spread of zebra mussels by following these steps: Clean off any vegetation, mud or foreign objects on the boat, trailer or your gear before you leave the lake. Drain all the water from the boat. Dry the boat and trailer for a week or more before entering another water body.

Effective July 1, all boaters statewide must drain all water from their vessel, including live wells, bilges, motors, and any other receptacles, before approaching or leaving a water body. This applies to all types and sizes of boats used on public waters.

To get the word out, the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department and its partners will be installing stencils at lakes and boat launches, displaying billboards, advertising at gas stations within a 12-mile radius around each of the infested lakes, placing radio ads (click to listen!), placing digital ads on many apps and websites and also distributing printed materials to boaters and anglers. 

Learn more about preventing zebra mussels at Texasinvasives.org.

Receive zebra mussel printed materials by requesting publications. 

Photo credits: Texas Parks and Wildlife Department
Scientists Propose New Classification Scheme for Invasive Species

Invasive species cause negative impacts on a world-wide scale. In a world with limited resources to address these issues, a group of researchers have proposed a new classification scheme to assist in directing our attention and resources.

 The proposed methodology will create a "Black List", that could allow researchers and policy makers to compare impacts of invasive species at different levels and scales. 

Follow this link to read the full article in PLOS Biology.

Image credit: University of Washington Conservation Magazine

Invasive Spotlight:
Common Water Hyacinth
(Eichhornia crassipes)

Common water hyacinth is a free-floating, aquatic invasive species native to South America. It has stalks of showy blue-violet flowers. Plant height may vary from a few centimeters to more than a meter tall. 

Leaves are broad and leathery and are held above the water by a swollen, spongy leaf base that forms a mat with the ability to float. Fibrous roots dangle in the water from the underside of the mat. 

Originally introduced as a water-garden plant in the late 1800s, it has since spread to more than 30 states. It rapidly spreads vegetatively, but also can produce seed in favorable conditions.

Dense mats harm native vegetation and fish communities by lowering light penetration and using up dissolved oxygen. They can also impede recreation, boat traffic on waterways and clog irrigation canals and intake pumps.

Follow this link to learn more about common water hyacinth. 
Photo credit: Joe Pase, Texas A&M Forest Service

More News

City of Seguin and Master Naturalists Wage War on Invasives
The City of Seguin and Texas Master Naturalists of Guadalupe County chapter are working together to remove bamboo, Chinaberry, Ligustrum species and other invasive species from a newly acquired 47-acre park. The partnership will clear invasive species from the dense woodlands, creating a healthy habitat for wildlife and park visitors. Read more in the Seguin Gazette

National Fish and Wildlife Foundation Provides Assistance to Pull Together
The National Fish and Wildlife Foundation has released a Request For Proposals for the 2014 cycle of the Pulling Together Initiative. The initiative is one of the only public-private partnerships to address invasive weeds nationally. Learn more at the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation.

Blog Investigates Invasive Plant Volunteer Programs Around World
Invasive Plant News queried various list-serves around the world for examples of volunteer-based early detection and rapid response programs. The response was phenomenal and provides an interesting view into how different areas are addressing these issues. Read more at Invasive Plant News.

New Boat Designs Could Help Fight Against Invasive Species
Changes in boat designs could help stop the spread of aquatic invasive species, such as zebra mussels. Representatives from boat manufacturers are working with the Aquatic Nuisance Species Task Force to find solutions to prevent invasive species movements on recreational boats. Read more at KSTP TV.

Emerald Ash Borers Were Likely in US Long Before Detection 
New research from Michigan State University has indicated that the emerald ash borer was introduced at least 10 years before first detection. First identified in 2002 in Michigan, researchers believe that the pest was feeding on ash trees in the early 1990s. Learn more at the Montana State University Today.

Fearing Emerald Ash Borer, Vermont Community Inventories Ash
The community of Dummerston, Vermont has taken a proactive approach to the threat of emerald ash borer. The Dummerstron Conservation Commission has been inventorying ash trees so they can be monitored and removed if found to be infested. Learn more in the Brattleboro Reformer.

Crazy Ants and Fire Ants Battle For Texas
According to researchers at the University of Texas at Austin's Brackenridge Field Laboratory, it is likely that crazy ants are going to displace fire ants from much of the southeastern United States. According to a recent study, the crazy ant has a special defense that will give it the upper hand. Learn more at Click2Houston

Fungus May Help Stop Tree of Heaven
Researchers from Pennsylvania believe a naturally occurring fungus could be injected into tree of heaven (Ailanthus altissima) that could be used to control the invasive species. There are still many tests and studies to be done, but  the treatment could be used as a biocontrol agent throughout the United States. Read more in Science Daily

Asian Longhorned Beetle Declared Eradicated in Boston
In a big win for Boston, the city has announced that the Asian longhorned beetle, first detected in 2010, has been eradicated. After searching nearly 150,000 trees in the Boston area, federal and state officials have declared victory and lifted a ban on moving wood in or out of the city. Read more at CBS Boston

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
Karen Treu

Karen Treu became interested in invasive plants after a training by the Alamo Area Master Naturalists in fall of 2012. She later attended an Invaders of Texas Citizen Scientist workshop sponsored by the Balcones Invaders satellite group.

Since then, Karen has worked on invasive species removal in many San Antonio parks and natural areas. As she drove to different events she became increasingly aware of the presense of these plants in her home neighborhood.

Karen has since focused on her community of Hollywood Park, a residential community with large lots, an abundance of trees and many natural areas along creeks. In these areas she has submitted observations for many species, such as giant reed, Chinaberry, Vinca, Nandina domestica and others. Karen has now been working with the Hollywood Park council persons and tree committee members to start addressing the problems she has identified.
Keep up the great work Karen, you are doing excellent work bettering your community!

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.

Upcoming Workshops:

Saturday, May 31, 2014
Location: Mitchell Lake Audubon Center (San Antonio, TX)
Contact: Paul Pruitt

Saturday, June 7, 2014
Location: Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center (Austin, TX)
Contact: Audrey Ambrose

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

Thursday, July 17, 2014
Location: University of Texas Marine Science Institute (Port Aransas, TX)
Contact: Katie Swanson

Saturday, 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.