Stories tagged exotic species

May
15
2009

Emerald Ash Borer
Emerald Ash BorerCourtesy USDA
I went to the Minnesota Landscape Arboretum this morning with my mom and daughter. Arboretums are awesome in general, but especially this time of year when all the spring blooms are in full effect. It was fun. One bit of news I learned while I was there was a bit of a bummer though, the Emerald Ash Borer has been found in Minnesota.

Minnesota has more ash trees than any other kind of tree and has the second highest number of ash trees in the nation after Maine.

The Emerald Ash Borer is an invasive species that is native to Asia that was first discovered in the US in Michigan in 2002. The adult borers are not very harmful to trees, but the larvae are very harmful, eating the underside of the tree's bark and disrupting the flow of water and nutrients.

Many ash trees were planted to replace trees lost to Dutch Elm Disease in cities and towns, which was the big tree disease when I was a kid. Interestingly, Dutch Elm Disease was also spread by an invasive Asian beetle, though in the case of Dutch Elm it was a fungus the beetles spread that was harmful to the trees, not the beetles themselves. With over 7.5 billion ash trees in the US the Emerald Ash Beetle has the potential to be far more destructive. The good news is that the borers seem to spread slowly - but the bad news is that when a tree is infested it is usually dead within a year.

To learn more about the Emerald Ash Borer, follow the links in this blog. Click here to learn how to identify the Emerald Ash Borer.

Jan
11
2009

Cargo ships carry invasive species in ballst water
Cargo ships carry invasive species in ballst waterCourtesy AviatorDave
A recently released report warns that the Great Lakes have been invaded by foreign aquatic species resulting in ecological and environmental damage amounting to hundreds of millions of dollars.

Monitor, detect, and take required action

The findings support the need for detection and monitoring efforts at those ports believed to be at greatest risk. The report identified 30 nonnative species that pose a medium or high risk of reaching the lakes and 28 others that already have a foothold and could disperse widely.

The National Center for Environmental Assessment issued the warning in a study released (Jan 5, 09). It identified 30 nonnative species that pose a medium or high risk of reaching the lakes and 28 others that already have a foothold and could disperse widely. (click here to access report)

Flush out ship's ballast tanks with salt water

One preventive measure that works 99% of the time is to flush out the ballast tanks with salty sea water. This usually kills any foreign marine life hitch hiking a ride in the ballast tank water. Both Canada and the United States have made this a requirement for almost two decades now. Both nations also recently have ordered them to rinse empty tanks with seawater in hopes of killing organisms lurking in residual pools on the bottom.

Learn more about invasive species in the Great Lakes