Invasive Species News and Research, August 2021

Militaristic messaging isn't as effective as we thought. Researchers turn to biocontrol and genetic modification for hard-to-manage species. This and more from the invasive species news headlines.
illustration of zebra mussels covering boat motor with text: "zebra mussels impact fisheries and recreation"

Above, sample of a science-based invasive species prevention message, which performed as well or better than militaristic or nativistic messages in social media tests in recent new research. Artwork by Brooke Alexander, Wisconsin Sea Grant. 

The staff and board of the North American Invasive Species Management Association review invasive species headlines each month. This helps us stay on top of trends and further our mission to support, promote, and empower invasive species prevention and management in North America. We then share invasive species news most relevant for people who manage terrestrial and aquatic invasive species across the the United States, Canada, Mexico and the world.

Prevention, Outreach and Education

New Research Provides Guidance for Effective Public Messaging About Invasive Species Prevention

Wisconsin — Read on Sea Grant

Many communication goals, the team found, can be achieved by using fact-based or more positive message frames. In general, the science frame—a direct, factual approach—will always perform at least as well as nativist and militaristic frames.

TipSheet: Quagga Mussels — Worse Than Zebra Mussels and Maybe Headed Your Way

North America — Read on Society of Environmental Journalists

People need to know about these pests and how to avoid spreading them. This TipSheet for journalists is helpful for anyone who wants to do more invasive species outreach.

hand holding a rusty crayfish
Rusty Crayfish have not previously been documented in the wild in Kansas, making this official “discovery” the first of its kind. Photo from Kansas Department of Wildlife and Parks.

Invasive Rusty Crayfish Found in Kansas Fishing Lake

Kansas — Read on

During capturing efforts at the state fishing lake, university researchers collected multiple rusty crayfish. This is the first time rusty crayfish have been documented in the wild in Kansas.

New Research

When Resistance is Futile, New Paper Advises RAD Range of Conservation Options

United States — Read on EurekAlert

Resisting ecosystem transformation is not always a feasible approach. According to a new paper published today in the Ecological Society of America’s journal Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment, accepting and directing ecosystem change are also viable responses, and should not necessarily be viewed as fallback options or as last resorts. The paper presents a set of guiding principles for applying a “RAD” strategy – a framework that involves either resistingaccepting or directing ecosystem changes.

Scientists Study the Genetics of Invasive Mussels Seeking Ways to Turn Off the Genes That Allow Them to Spread and Survive

United States — Read on the Chicago Tribune

Now scientists are studying methods of genetic control — an approach that could spare other organisms from becoming collateral damage and potentially solve the scale problem.

illustration of hemlock tree being attacked

Detection, Management and Control

The Northeast’s Hemlock Trees Face Extinction. A Tiny Fly Could Save Them.

Northeast — Read on Grist

A story of biocontrol, economics, and climate change. The battle between adelgid and fly is a preview of future fights to curtail invasive species. 

Read about how one NAISMA partner is “Using Early Detection and Community Science to Slow the Spread of Hemlock Woolly Adelgid.”

Invasive Balsam Woolly Adelgid Confirmed in Kent County

Michigan — Read Michigan DNR News Release

First detection of this invasive bug in the state.

Toxic Invasive Poison Hemlock is Spreading into US Parks and Backyard Gardens

Midwest – Read on USA Today

Poison hemlock does well in moist soil conditions, Shaver said. So with the wet springs the Midwest has seen, it’s been the perfect environment for the toxic plant to explode. “It just hit this exponential rate of spread,” Shaver said. “Poison hemlock was nowhere and all of a sudden it was everywhere.”

Confirmation of COVID-19 in Deer in Ohio

Ohio — Read on USDA/APHIS

We are still learning about SARS-CoV-2 in animals. Based on the information available, the risk of animals spreading the virus to people is considered to be low.

silver carp
Silver carp, Hypophthalmichthys molitrix, photographed in Hungary. Wikimedia Commons, CC BY 3.0

Invasive Silver Carp Found in Texas Waters; Anglers Urged to Prevent Bait Bucket Transfers

Texas — Read on Texas Parks and Wildlife

“These are the first reports of silver carp from Texas waters, although they have previously been found in other areas of the Red River including just downstream from Lake Texoma in Oklahoma waters in 2019,” said Dan Bennett, TPWD fisheries management biologist. “Invasive carp pose a significant risk to Lake Texoma’s ecosystem and boaters and there is adequate flow and upstream river area for them to become established and reproduce in the lake if introduced.”


Cumulative Effects – the Impact of “a Tide of Change” on Indigenous Treaty ‎Rights

British Columbia — Read on DLA Piper
Going forward, we expect more comprehensive holistic reviews prior to approval of new industrial projects on treaty lands. The impact of this decision is to effectively broaden the duty to consult and accommodate.
Minnesota DNR Prairie podcast logo


Invasive Species Support Groups: How to Cope with Kentucky Bluegrass and Smooth Brome

Minnesota — Listen on Minnesota Department of Natural Resources

Listen to a chat with land managers and landowners about their experiences dealing with these two prairie nemeses. They’ll provide you with helpful tips and insights on how to manage for the long-term and make sure your prairie passes its next health checkup.

From wild herbs to feral pigs: should Australia manage invasive species by eating them?

Australia — Read on The Guardian

It’s been called ‘invasivorism’. Is it an environmentally friendly diet or a feel-good distraction?

Spain — Read on the Guardian

Estuaries and river deltas act as an early warning that all is not well, from rising sea levels to invasive species.

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