In this issue of PISC News, you’ll learn which widely used landscaping tree was just added to the Pennsylvania Noxious Weed List and which 25 other invasive plant species we’ve recommended for consideration for the list.
We also share actions the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission has taken to educate anglers to curb the spread of two major aquatic invasive species and a few resources and events that can help your organization learn about and get involved in efforts to reduce invasive species in Pennsylvania.
Please help us spread the word on the Pennsylvania Invasive Species Council’s work to address invasive species: Consider sharing this issue or the newsletter sign-up with your networks. If you have any questions about PISC or the newsletter, please contact me.
―Kris Abell, Coordinator, Pennsylvania Invasive Species Council
Callery Pear among New Additions to List of Plants Illegal to Propagate or Sell in Pennsylvania
Callery pear flowers in spring
Callery pear (Pyrus calleryana) and Eurasian water-milfoil (Myriophyllum spicatum) have been added to the list of plants that are illegal to propagate or sell in Pennsylvania.
The Controlled Plant and Noxious Weed Committee added these species to the Noxious Weed List on November 17, 2021, and the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture placed a notice in the Pennsylvania Bulletin on December 11, making it official.
The action becomes effective 60 days after the Bulletin notice. The first two years of enforcement will be incremental to allow for outreach to plant merchants, landscape professionals, and other states to enable the industry to work toward compliance.
The two invasive species are designated Class B, meaning they’re widely established in Pennsylvania and can’t be feasibly eradicated.
Callery pear (also known as Bradford pear) is a popular nursery and landscaping tree. The Department of Agriculture has developed an exemption procedure that may be considered for breeders who own the rights to varieties that have been researched and proven sterile.
Noxious weeds are determined to be injurious to public health, crops, livestock, and agricultural land or other property and cannot be sold, transported, planted, or otherwise propagated in Pennsylvania.
For questions regarding the listing of these two species as noxious weeds in Pennsylvania, please contact the Department of Agriculture.
PISC Recommends 25 Invasive Species Be Added to the Pennsylvania Noxious Weed List
Common buckthorn leaf in spring
In its advisory role on regulatory and policy changes, the Pennsylvania Invasive Species Council has identified 25 invasive plants it considers to have the greatest harmful impact on Pennsylvania’s environment and economy (PDF).
The council selected the plants based on results of a survey in which members ranked more than 150 invasive plants in Pennsylvania. The council has recommended these “top 25” offenders to the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture’s Controlled Plant and Noxious Weed Committee for inclusion on the state Noxious Weed List.
Addition of these 25 plants to the Noxious Weed List would provide the regulatory authority needed to more effectively prevent and manage their harmful impacts.
Many of the species on the list, such as privet, Norway maples, and English ivy, are commonly sold throughout Pennsylvania, and their addition to the list would be a critical step to mitigating their negative impacts.
The Controlled Plant and Noxious Weed Committee will consider two of the species on the PISC list, common and glossy buckthorn, at its next meeting on January 20. One species, Eurasian water-milfoil (Myriophyllum spicatum), was just added to the list.
Pennsylvania’s Controlled Plant and Noxious Weed Law, Act 46 of 2017, established a list of plant species that are illegal to distribute, cultivate, or propagate and grants the Department of Agriculture authority to take enforcement action for violations.
The law defines a noxious weed as “a plant part or plant in any stage of development that is determined to be injurious to crops, livestock, agricultural land or other property, including forest land and bodies of water.”
The law also established the Controlled Plant and Noxious Weed Committee with the authority to add and remove plant species from the list.
Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission Sign Campaign Aims to Prevent Illicit Bait Bucket Spread of Invasive Crayfish and Round Gobies
Bait bucket introductions are a vector of concern for the spread of aquatic invasive species such as small fishes and aquatic invertebrates that anglers use as live bait.
Bait bucket introductions occur when anglers collect bait organisms, transport them to a drainage where they’re not present, and release them there, rather than properly disposing of them after fishing.
Of particular concern in Pennsylvania are aquatic invasive species regulated under 58 Pa. Code Chapters 71 and 73 that may be spread by bait bucket introductions, such as the round goby (Neogobius melanostomus) and all crayfish species.
The Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission and Pennsylvania Sea Grant have developed and posted signs to educate anglers about state regulations regarding the round goby and crayfish species and help prevent bait bucket introductions of these organisms into new uninfested waters.
The signs are posted along waters in western Pennsylvania where round gobies and invasive crayfish species occur.
Round goby signs specify identifying characteristics of this fish to help anglers avoid unintentional collection and emphasize that live possession and transport of this species are unlawful.
Signs were posted at LeBeouf Lake/French Creek and the Fairview Gravel Pits in Erie County and at Lake Erie access points.
Invasive crayfish signs communicate the presence of this species at posted waters and emphasize regulations regarding using crayfish as bait: Heads must be removed behind the eyes for all crayfish species, unless they’re used as bait in the same water from which they were taken.
Signs were posted at Pymatuning Reservoir (Crawford County), Presque Isle Bay (Lake Erie), Slippery Rock Creek (Lawrence County), and Evergreen Community Park (Allegheny County).
Resources and Opportunities for Your Organization
Ten Early-Detection-Priority Invasive Plants Identified in New Fact Sheets
Finding emerging invasive species in Pennsylvania and eliminating them are the most efficient way to reduce the threat from nonnative plants to ecosystems. Natural resource professionals and citizen scientists can help locate and get rid of them before they become widespread.
The Pennsylvania iMapInvasives team at Western Pennsylvania Conservancy created fact sheets on 10 plants they’ve prioritized for early detection. These plants are aggressive invaders outside of their native range. So far, their distribution in Pennsylvania is limited or hasn’t yet been detected.
The fact sheets provide many images to help with identification as well as details on the background, identifying characteristics, distribution in North America, habitat, means of dispersal, similar species, ecological impacts, and how to report your findings—all organized in a user-friendly storymap format.
Check them out, and consider how your organization can be part of the early detection effort.
Lake Erie Environmental Forum Meeting: A Look at Carp and Other Aquatic Invasives in Lake Erie Watershed
The first Pennsylvania Lake Erie Environmental Forum of 2022 will be held this month and focus on the impacts of invasive species in the Lake Erie watershed, with a special emphasis on the threat posed by carp.
The forum is virtual, free, and open to the public, and offered by the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection and Pennsylvania Sea Grant.
Speakers from the U.S. Geological Survey, the Illinois Office of Water Resources, the Pennsylvania Invasive Species Council, and the Great Lakes Commission will talk about invasive carp biology, the billion-dollar Brandon Road Inter-basin Project, PISC, and water statistics and regulations in Pennsylvania.
Invasive species like carp are nonnative species that spread quickly, with detrimental impacts on ecosystems and native species, and can be very expensive to control.
They vigorously compete for food and shelter and prey on native species. Ill equipped to defend against nonnative invasive predators, native species are at risk.
Lake Erie Environmental Forum
1:00–4:00 pm | January 25, 2022
If you are interested in participating in future forums, would like to suggest science-based topics for consideration, or want to learn more about issues related to the Great Lakes, contact Amber Stillwell.
National Invasive Species Awareness Week Offers Look at Federal-level Efforts and More
National Invasive Species Awareness Week (NISAW) is February 28 – March 4. Organized by the North American Native Species Management Association, NISAW raises awareness about invasive species, the threat they pose, and what can be done to prevent their spread across the United States.
Representatives from local, state, and regional organizations gather in Washington, D.C., to discuss legislation, policies, and actions that can prevent and manage invasive species.
Visit the website to learn how you can get involved and view recordings of last year’s presentations.
Pennsylvania Invasive Species Council
2301 North Cameron Street
Harrisburg, PA 17110
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