Texas Residents Reminded Not to Move Firewood

Texas residents are reminded not to risk the spread of invasive forest pests or diseases by moving firewood. You have the power to save Texas' trees and forests by not taking firewood with you on your camping trip, RV adventure, or up to your fish or hunting camp. Remember to "burn it where you buy it".

Buy or cut firewood near where you will burn it--the best practice is only to use firewood cut within 50 miles of where you will have your fire.

​Wood that appears clean and healthy can still have tiny insect eggs or fungi spores that can start new and deadly infestations. Don't assume that your wood is clean. Also, aged or seasoned wood is still not safe. Do not assume that dry wood is free of pests.

To download a free posters, factsheets and flyers, please visit Texasinvasives.org Resources webpage.

Arkansas Emerald Ash Borer Update: Emergency Quarantine Implemented

With the detection of emerald ash borer in six Arkansas counties, the Arkansas State Plant Board has implemented a twenty-five county quarantine to prevent the further spread of the invasive pest.

Effective September 11, firewood of all hardwood species and ash items will be quarantined. Quarantined ash items include nursery stock, green lumber with bark attached and other material, living, dead, cut or fallen. Logs, pulpwood, stumps, roots, branches, mulch and composted/un-composted chips (1 inch or greater) may also not be moved without certification or permitting. 

The emergency quarantine will be in effect for 120 days. After that time, the Arkansas State Plant Board will take steps to establish a permanent quarantine rule. 

Follow this link to learn more about the emergency quarantine

Image credit: David Cappaert, Michigan State University, Bugwood.org

Image credit: USDA APHIS PPQ

Invasive Spotlight:
Water lettuce
(Pistia stratiotes)

Water lettuce is a floating herb that was introduced to the U.S. from Africa or South America by natural means or by humans. It was noted as early as 1774 in the St. Johns River in Florida. 

The plant is capable of forming vast mats that block sunlight from submerged plant and animal communities and also interferes with water movement and navigation. 

Water lettuce is recognizable by its gray-green leaves on floating rosettes occurring singly or connected to others by stolons. The leaves are often spongy near the base and densely softly pubescent with recognizable parallel veins. Typically leaves are more broad than long and are widest at the apex. 

Flowers are inconspicuous, clustered and are present on small fleshy stalks nearly hidden by the leaf axils, with a single female flower below a whorl of male flowers above. The fruit is a green berry with many seeds.

This species reproduces rapidly by vegetative offshoots formed on short stolons. Seed production is also considered important to reproduction and spread. 

Follow this link to learn more about water lettuce.
Photo credit: Dave Brandes, Cradle of Texas Invaders

Pistia stratiotes distribution by County

Image credit: Early Detection and Distribution Mapping System, www.eddmaps.org
More News

New App Makes ID of Harmful Plant, Insects in Texas a Snap
A free mobile app is now available for identification and reporting of invasive species statewide. The TX Invasives app, funded by the Texas Department of Parks and Wildlife, with support from Texas A&M Forest Service and USDA APHIS is a streamlined tool to report where invasive species occur and to aid in early detection and rapid response. Learn more by visiting University of Texas at Austin News.

Can Trickery Help Save the Country's Ash Trees?
An international team of scientists and engineers have created a new tool to assist with detection and management of the invasive emerald ash borer. The team has created a small decoy female emerald ash borer, that is the same size and color of the real thing. When male emerald ash borers land on its back, they will be zapped with a 4,000 volt charge that will stun or kill the pest. Learn more by visiting ABC News

Seychelles UNESCO World Heritage Site Fights Invasive Species
Vallée de Mai Reserve, a United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization World Heritage Site are working to bring several introduced trees species under control. Located on the second-largest island of Praslin, the reserve is home to the famous coco de mer palm, which is endangered. Learn more by visiting the Seychelles News Agency.

Warming Atlantic Could Increase Expansion of Invasive and Native Species
New research from the National Oceanic and University of North Carolina-Wilmington have shown that rising water temperatures due to climate change could expand the range of both native species and invasive species to new depths. The research indicates that tropical species like lionfish may extend their range to new areas and additional depths with temperature changes. Learn more at Wind, Wake and Surf.

USDA Seizes Over 1,200 Giant African Land Snails
Since June, the U.S. Department of Agriculture has seized more than 1,200 live specimens of the giant African land snail, which is known to destroy crops and native plants, damage buildings and can cause meningitis in humans. USDA believes that most of the snails are being collected by hobbyists who want them as pets. Learn more by visiting The Journal Gazette.

Scientists in Iowa Map Social Networks to Better Mitigate Emerald Ash Borer Spread
Iowa State University scientists led a project studying how to sustainably manage urban and rural forests given the threat from invasive pests like emerald ash borer. The researchers analyzed how various stockholders exchange information, implement policies and respond to infestations. The team is now working to provide resources to encourage proactive, collaborative and adaptive responses to these threats. Learn more by visiting Agrinews.com

New Software Could Help Close Ports to Invasive Species
Conservationists and regulators struggle to determine how to effectively stop invasive species from entering international ports, but there may now be a solution thanks to a new computational analysis of the most at-risk regions. According to the researchers, by focusing on the top-20 world wide ports, it would be twice as difficult for species to propagate and spread. Learn more by visiting Nature World News.

Researchers Look to Asian Ash Trees to Stop Emerald Ash Borer
Unlike North American Fraxinus species, ash species in Asia have lived along with emerald ash borer for millennia and have evolved a special set of genes which allows them to resist the beetle's attack. Researchers at The Ohio State University are trying to crowd-fund a research project to identify which genes could be used to save ash trees in north America. Learn more at Entomology Today

Banned, Invasive Turtles in Montana Sent to Texas
The red-eared slider (Trachemys scripta elegans) is native to New Mexico and Texas but not northern states such as Montana, where they are considered invasive and have ecological impacts if released into waterways. Due to these impacts, Montana now requires an exotic species permit for owners and is offering a turtle turn-in program so residents can avoid fines. Happily, turned in turtles are being sent to a rehab center in Texas, which will eventually release the turtles back into the wild. Learn more and watch the video at KXLH

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


Citizen Scientists of the Month
Chris and Carl Kneupper

Chris Kneupper is a Texas Master Naturalist and native plant enthusiast in Brazoria County. He became a citizen scientist in August 2014 after an invasive species presentation by fellow Master Naturalist, Dave Brandes. 

Chris is passionate about conservation of native plants and thought mapping invasive plants would be a great father-and-son activity with his 14-year old, Carl. Together, they have used this opportunity to get outdoors and help conserve Texas' resources. He thought the use of the new mobile app would attract his son's attention and get him outdoors--away from video and phone games, while teaching the boy about conservation and invasive plants in Texas.

As part of Carl's Boy Scout Hornaday Badge awards, he is working together with his father to report 100 invasive plant observations and also do some control work at the Camp Karankawa Boy Scout Camp with the goal to rid the "Nature Area" of the camp of all invasives.

Additionally, they are momentarily stopping along roadsides while traveling--working to document infestations in areas that have little data. On a recent trip to San Marcos from their home, they were able to document over 80 invasive species populations. 

Excellent work Chris and Carl! You both are wonderful additions to the Texasinvasives.org team!

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.

  Submitted Observations

Giant reed, Arundo donax stand

Photo Credit: Carl Kneupper, Cradle of Texas Invaders

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.

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, October 25, 2014
Location: Texas Master Naturalist Annual Meeting, Mo Ranch (Hunt, TX)
Contact: http://txmn.org/2014-state-meeting/ 

Saturday, November 1, 2014
Location: Austin Downtown REI Store (Austin, TX)
Contact: Joanna Wolaver

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

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