National Invasive Species Council
Invasive Species Advisory Committee Visits Texas

This November, the National Invasive Species Council's Invasive Species Advisory Committee visited San Antonio, San Marcos and Austin, Texas. The committee, made up of nonfederal experts and stakeholders from across the nation, provides advice and consultation to the National Invasive Species Council (NISC). NISC members are the secretaries and administrators of 13 federal departments and agencies that provide high-level coordination on invasive species issues. Their work ensures that Federal programs and activities to prevent and control invasive species are coordinated, effective and efficient. 

The theme of the meeting was "Managing Invasive Species in Urban Areasm," focusing on protecting the built environment, human communities and landscapes from invasive species. The council learned about issues in Texas, including Arundo donax control by the City of Austin, the zebra mussel campaign and Hydrilla control by Texas Parks and Wildlife Department, and new research on fire ants and tawny crazy ants at the University of Texas at Austin. 

This visit by the Invasive Species Advisory Committee will help the federal government to better manage and respond to urban invasive species issues. To learn more about the National Invasive Species Council, visit


Texas Parks and Wildlife Department Aquatic Invasive Species Biologist, Monica McGarrity educating ISAC about Texas' zebra mussel campaign. 

Invasive Species Advisory Committee members viewing a Hydrilla control project on Lake Travis while on an Austin Duck Adventure. 
Emerald Ash Borer... boring more than ash?

A researcher at Wright State University has found evidence that the emerald ash borer, which has devastated forests across the eastern seaboard, has spread to a new host tree. 

Wright State University biology professor Dr. Don Cipollini, recently noticed distinctive 'D' shaped exit holes on a white fringetree (Chionanthus virginicus) in Dayton, Ohio. White fringe tree is a native deciduous shrub to small tree that can be widely found from New Jersey in the north and as far south as Texas. Like ash, it is a member of the olive family.

After peeling back the bark of the white fringe tree, Cipollini saw telltale signs of emerald ash borer larval feeding galleries. He then investigated more white fringe trees at an arboretum in Dayton and a cemetery in Springfield.

This discovery is the first time emerald ash borer has been documented attacking a host tree that is not a Fraxinus species. Cipolini fears that white fringe tree and the birds, insects and wildlife that depend on the species will be in peril as the emerald ash borer continues to spread nationally.      

Read more at Wright State Newsroom

Learn more about the emerald ash borer and report a suspected sighting. 

Adult emerald ash borer (Agrilus planipennis). Image credit: Museum Victoria Pest and Diseases Image Library,

White fringetree (Chionanthus virginicus). Image credit: John Ruter, University of Georgia,

Invasive Spotlight:
Redbay Ambrosia Beetle
(Xyleborus glabratus)

The redbay ambrosia beetle is native to Southeast Asia and was first detected in the United States in 2002 in a pest survey trap near Port Wentworth, Georgia. It has since spread to Florida, Georgia, Mississippi and North Carolina. 

The invasive beetle introduces a fungal symbiont, (Raffaela sp.) known as laurel wilt disease. The host range of the species is currently unknown, but it includes avocado, northern spicebush, redbay, sassafras and swampbay in the United States. 

Trees infested with laurel wilt typically have a dark discoloration in the outer sapwood and display wilted foliage with a red to purplish coloration. The fungus, once introduced, moves rapidly through the xylem, plugging the flow of water and killing the tree.

Most recently, the pest was identified in Louisiana sassafras trees in Union Parish. Read more in IPM South.  

Follow the link to learn more about redbay ambrosia beetle. If you believe you have identified this pest, please REPORT IT.

Redbay mortality. Photo credit: R. Scott Cameron, Advanced Forest Protection, Inc.
More News

Disease Devastating Amphibian Populations in Europe Likely Coming to US
A parasitic fungus, which originated in Asia has been devastating frogs and salamanders across Europe. In a new study released by the University of Maryland, it is a question of when, not if, this fungus will reach North America. The fungus targets salamanders and newts exclusively and will kill within a week, as it eats away the animal's skin. Read more at Tech Times

Austin Recognized For Using Technology and Data to Solve Problems

The work by the City of Austin to use citizen science data to identify, understand and manage invasive species was recently recognized at ThinkForum in Manhattan. ThinkForum seeks to use the computer industry to engage leaders from around the world to talk about how analytics can help change cities, countries and industries. Learn more and see other novel technological applications by visiting A Smarter Planet Blog.

Stephen F. Austin University Research Highlighted By State Representative Clardy
At an event organized by State Representative Travis Clardy, researchers at Steven F. Austin State University shared information with state and regional leaders about water quality, availability and invasive species. In addition to studies on the development of wetlands, stream monitoring and water availability, Dr. Shiyou Li presented on endocide, a new method to control giant salvinia. Learn more at The Gilmer Mirror

Calling All Bird Watchers! Look For Holes in Trees!
With 20% of US residents identifying themselves as a bird watcher, bird lover or birder, teaching bird watchers to identify the signs of invasive pests while bird watching can significantly increase eyes in the field. To assist this effort, Don't Move Firewood has developed a special handout called the "Birdwatcher's Guide to Holes in Trees." To learn more and download the resource, visit

Firm Invests 18.7 Million to Establish Asian Carp Processing Plant in Kentucky
Founded in 2013 to capitalize on the prolific population boom of Asian carp throughout US and Great Lakes, Riverine Fisheries International will invest 18.7 million to build a fish processing operation in Fulton County, Kentucky. The plant will focus on Asian carp that are invading the region, including Kentucky Lake, the Mississippi River and Tennessee River. Learn more at Area Development

Commander Ben Brings Invasive Hunter Academy to Camp Fire Nature Celebration
Recently, Commander Ben the Invasive Hunter, educated those attending the Camp Fire Nature Celebration about the damage invasive species plays on our economy and environment. To illustrate  the effects of invasive species on native ecosystems, participants created their own battles with invasive species action dioramas. Learn more about Commander Ben's excellent work by visiting

Galapagos Island Endangered Giant Tortoise Stabilizes Following Invasive Removal
After dropping to a population low of only 15, the giant tortoises of the Galapagos island of Espanola have reached stable levels. This is the result of an effort that began 40 years ago, with a combination of captive breeding and the removal of introduced goats. The goat, introduced by sailors almost 100 years earlier, had a devastating effect on the islands' vegetation, leading to the tortoise population crash. Learn more at Washington Post

Caldwell County Increases Bounty on Destructive Feral Hogs
In an effort to protect water quality in Plum Creek, the Caldwell County Feral Hog Task Force has doubled the bounty on the destructive species to $10 for each tail. The bounty program was instituted following unsafe E. coli bacteria levels in the creek, it was determined that wild animal feces made the water unsafe for recreation. Learn more in the San Marcos Mercury

Hunting or Camping this Fall? Don't Pack Firewood
In a message from neighboring Arkansas, hunters and campers taking advantage of cooler temperatures to hunt, fish or camp are reminded not to bring firewood. Firewood can move invasive pests like emerald ash borer, or eggs and fungal spores that can't be seen with the naked eye. Buying firewood where you plan to burn it will protect your favorite recreation area. Learn more in the High plains Journal

Free Book: Plant Invasions in Protected Areas
To honor the 2014 World Parks Congress, the book, "Plant Invasions in Protected Areas: Patterns, Problems and Challenges" has been made available at no cost for the next three weeks. This is a great resource which normally costs over one hundred dollars in hardcover. Download your copy today by visiting  

On-Demand Online Training
Would you like to learn about invasive species and become involved in the Invaders of Texas Program but don't have time to attend a workshop? Consider signing up for online training, which you can complete on your own schedule. Topics include GPS use, detection reporting and much more. Get involved today by visiting

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


Scientist of the Month
Patty Manning

Patty Manning, who retired as the greenhouse manager at Sul Ross State University in May after 17 years of service, recently was awarded a lifetime achievement award for her "amazing botanical contributions" as one of the state's more influential field botanists at the 2014 Texas Plant Conservation Conference in Austin. The event was sponsored by the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center, Texas Parks and Wildlife Department and the US Fish and Wildlife Service. 

Although retired, Patty is but not finished with her botanic contributions. Recently, Patty has been active in West Texas with a lot of field work. Her latest accomplishments include a vegetation assessment in the Guadalupe Mountains National Park.

This December, Patty will be visiting Boquillas Canyon with the National Park Service to monitor populations of Arundo donax. Read more in the Alpine Avalanche.

Way to go Patty! We will see you in the field!

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

Patty Manning (Left) and Liz Brewer (Right) in the Guadalupe Mountains National Park. Image Credit: Justin Bush, Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center

Giant reed (Arundo donax).  Image Credit: Chris Evans, Illinois Wildlife Action Plan,

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 designed to help organize and track volunteer-based eradication efforts.

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

Upcoming Workshops:

Saturday, January 17, 2014
Location: High Island Volunteer Fire Department (High Island, TX)
Contact: Richard Gibbons

Saturday, March 13, 2014
Location: Jesse H Jones Park & Nature Center (Humble, TX)
Contact: Rose Holmes

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