The Burlington Free Press from Burlington, Vermont on November 9, 2003 · Page 33
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The Burlington Free Press from Burlington, Vermont · Page 33

Burlington, Vermont
Issue Date:
Sunday, November 9, 2003
Page 33
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Sunday DAVE BARRY: Scientists want to build a space elevator but what about the 'close door' button? 7D SECTION ! Sunday, November 9, 2003 Features Editor Becky Holt 660-1856 or (800) 427-3124 INSIDE Calendar 4D Books 5D Couples .....6D LV NG Facing up to INVASIVE SPECIES aggressive , 1 V intruders Stories by TIM JOHNSON . Free Press Staff Writer CTJ3 he invasion of Shelburne I Farms took place quietly, II in the shadows of the 11 stately elms that lined M the lanes. Birds pre pared the way, simply by doing what they always do. They fed on berries below, perched in the branches above and pooped. By the time the elms had to come down, something else was growing underneath something nobody had really noticed. Today, nearly three decades later, that something is still there. It's more than 10 feet high, and it runs all along the lanes where the elms once stood. It might well have spread into the fields if the groundskeepers hadn't cut it back every year. Trimmed along the roadside, it looks like just another hedge, but it's not one that any land-scaper intended. It's buckthorn common buckthorn, one of two species deemed "invasive" in Vermont Common and glossy buckthorn are among 21 "Class B noxious weeds" on the state's quarantine list, which means that their "movement, sale andor distribution" is against the law, subject to a fine of up to $1,000 for each "violation." In Vermont and across the nation, scores of "invasives" are spreading through the countryside and creeping into public consciousness, with growing economic, ecological and aesthetic consequences for virtually every onein the form of higher food prices, or exam ple, and duller i t n. l 'X wnai a plant species "inva sive"? The use of the term varies, S but the prevailing definition comes from the federal government In 1999, President Clinton issued Executive Order 13112, which established a federal Invasive Speck Council, called for a fee eral "Invasive Spec: Management Plan," and set forth a definition that applies strictly to species that are "alien" common synonyms are "exotic" and "non-native." '"Invasive species' means an alien species whose " introduction does or is likely to cause economic or environmental harm or harm to human health " the order reads. Common' and glossy buckthorn are considered invasive for two main reasons: (1) They're native to Europe and Asia, among other places, not Vermont; they are believed to have been introduced to North America before 1800, perhaps for use as hedges. (2) They tend to crowd out, or "outcompete" native trees such as white pine or sugar maple. Over the last decade or so, people in Vermont have grown accustomed to hearing about invasive species from the 7fhra mnecplc water Victnntc and Eurasian watermilfoil impingingJIS on lakes, to the purple loosestrife arid 47 Japanese knotweed sprouting in wet-See INVASIVE, 3D Alien plants and animals that crowd out our home-grown favorites and threaten to overrun our landscape: These "intruders" pose major ecological threats globally, some environmentalists warn, and should be curbed or rooted out before they run amok and "homogenize" the natural world.. Other observers question the severity of the problem and the growing public expenditures more . than $1 billion federally to address it. Vermonters have been hearing about invasives regularly for the last decade or so from zebra mussels to purple loosestrife. Like most jl other states, Vermont has a list of banned species, and legions of volunteers who spend huge amounts of time and energy and how harmful are they? This series 21st century. trying to subdue them with mixed results. Just what are these invaders explores what may well become a hot-button environmental issue of the 1 FIRST OF TWO PARTS: Coming next Sunday: 1 What's so special about native species, and what are the policy implications of defending them against "invaders"? ALEWIFE (Alosa pseudoharengus) An anadromous fish that ranges from 3 to 10 inches in length ORIGINDEBUT: Alewife is native to the East Coast, where it grows to maturity in the ocean, then migrates inland to spawn. Discovered in Lake St. Catherine, in Rutland County, in 1997; possibly introduced through.' use as bait. RANGE: Lake St. Catherine " IMPACT: The alewife outcompetes other species, such as yellow perch, walleye, bass ' trout and salmon, for food, particularly zoo- ut jjicii irujn( ii iccuo uii eggo ai iu laivac ui nj other fish and has been linked and salmon. . Eurasian Trc iAatprmilfnil Also: gizzard shad, common carp, white perch, European rudd Quarantine No. 3 of the Vermont Depart ment of Agriculture, Food & Markets lists 21 noxious weeds "found in Vermont that are not native to the state" and that "pose a serious threat to the state." Movement, sale andor distribution of these weeds is prohibited, subject to a $1,000 fine per violation. Some examples: ?4 Purple Loosestrife PURPLE LOOSESTRIFE (Lythrum salicaria) Perennial with purple flowers common to wetlands ORIGINDEBUT: Native to Eurasia; first seen on the Northeast coast in 1814. RANGE: Now found in most parts of the United States and most sections of Vermont. IMPACT: Outcompetes native plants, such as cat-tails and other wildlife food plants, such as various sedges and grasses. Absorbs nitrogen and phosphorus from surface water, provides habitat for many insects, spiders, birds. EURASIAN WATERMILFOIL (Myriophyllum spicatum) Stringy aquatic plant ORIGINDEBUT: Native to Europe, Asia and . northern Africa. Introduced to North America in the 1940s; appeared in St. Albans Bay of Lake Champlain in 1962. RANGE: As of October, found in 57 Vermont lakes and ponds, including Lake Champlain, Lake Memphremagog and Lake Bomoseen. Also found in Lake Champlain tributaries, Connecticut River and West River (Brattleboro). ' IMPACT: Outcompetes native aquatic plants, reducing plant diversity; dense beds offer poor spawning areas for fish; surface mats in shallow bays interfere with fishing, boating and swimming. Also supports many invertebrates that are potential fish food. WATER CHESTNUT (Trapa natans) Annual aquatic plant with both submerged and surface leaves ORIGINDEBUT: Native of Europe, Asia and Africa; brought to New York state in the late 1800s, then spread via connected waterways to Vermont. RANGE: Found In a 55-mile range in Lake Champlain, from Whitehall, N.Y., north to Charlotte. Also found in six Lake Champlain tributaries, Lake Bomoseen and Lake Paran, Porters Lake, North Springfield Reservoir, three ponds and Lemon Fair River. IMPACT: Outcompetes native vegetation, forms dense mats that interfere with boating, fishing and swimming. Good habitat for invertebrate fish food organisms. Successful Lake Champlain control program begun in the '50s ended in 1971; population revived by 1982, diminished again in the '80s, then rebounded. In the last five years, population in Lake Champlain has been significantly reduced between Charlotte and Benson. Water kIt chestnut 1 BTV. More plants and list of animals including zebra mussels on page 3D. Illustrations by SIIAWNBRALEY for the Free Press The Lyric Theatre Company presents 'Jesus Christ Superstar,' the riveting musical from Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice. - Km ILi By Victoria Welch Free Press Correspondent 2D BOOKS: Toni Morrison explores the mysteries of human relationships in 'Love' sd I n I IDYLL BANTER We Played Our Cards,' an upcoming book from Burlington author Joseph Corbett, collects World War II veterans' memories. sd

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