There's An App for That!

Thanks to a grant from the Natural Resources Conservation Service, we now have web-based smartphone and tablet apps that enable users to identify, collect, inventory, use, track and transmit digitized data on invasive species of concern. 

Developers at the University of Georgia's Center for Invasive Species & Ecosystem Health have created an app that now provides an easy-to-use, reliable means for people to accurately report sightings of invasive species in the Garden State.  The app eliminates the need for cumbersome printed field guides, clipboards and gps devices – it will allow smartphone users to submit geo-tagged photos and information via online data entry forms. Data is uploaded directly into the Strike Team database, where it is verified before being entered into the national Early Detection & Distribution Mapping System database which is being used to gain an accurate picture of invasive species distribution across the United Sates. Both the state and national data can then be searched, queried and downloaded in a variety of formats, and the maps generated will help us fill in information gaps and identify likely locations of undetected invasive species populations.

To download the Android version of the app, please follow this link.

To download the Apple version of the app, please follow this link.


August is Tree Check Month

It is potentially a nightmare environmental and economic scenario. A devastating invasive pest with no known natural predators threatens recreational areas, forests, and suburban and urban shade trees. The recreation, timber, nursery, and maple
syrup industries alone could suffer severe losses. Once a tree is infested, it must be removed.

The Asian longhorned beetle (ALB) has led to the loss of more than 130,000 trees since it was first discovered in the United States in 1996, after having arrived here probably inside wood-packing material from Asia.

The USDA is urging the public to look for signs of the ALB in August, a peak time for emergence of the beetle. Early detection is crucial to limiting the spread of the invasive pest... Read more...

May 21, 2014 - Emerald Ash Borer Detected Here

The New Jersey Department of Agriculture today confirmed that the emerald ash borer (EAB) has been found in Somerset County by a landscaper investigating unhealthy trees in a Bridgewater retail area last week. Inspectors sent insect larvae samples to the USDA where the specimens were confirmed. 

For the past four years the Departments of Agriculture and Environmental Protection (NJDA and DEP) have participated in an Emerald ash borer survey but no beetles were found in more than 300 traps set up around the state. Emerald ash borer had already been detected in Pennsylvania and New York bordering New Jersey. Read more...

Photo: Leah Bauer, USDA Forest Service Northern Research Station,

New York State Proposes First-Ever Ban on Invasive Species

It would be illegal for New Yorkers to possess any of more than 120 invasive species under proposed state rules, although bans would be held back temporarily for two invaders now being sold commercially — an ornamental plant common at nurseries and a boar used for hunting.


Photo: John Carl D'Annibale / Times Union archive

Microbes Facilitate the Persistence, Spread of Invasive Plant Species by Changing Soil Chemistry

Invasive species are among the world's greatest threats to native species and biodiversity. Once invasive plants become established, they can alter soil chemistry and shift nutrient cycling in an ecosystem. This can have important impacts not only on plant composition, diversity, and succession within a community, but also in the cycling of critical elements like carbon and nitrogen on a larger, potentially even global, scale. Clearly, both native and exotic plants form intimate relationships with bacteria in the soil that facilitate the extraction and conversion of elements to biologically usable forms. Yet an unanswered question with regard to plant invasions remains: could the changes in soil biogeochemistry be due to an advantage that invasive plants get from interacting with their microbiome?



Denville Group Removes Invasive Plants

Protect Our Wetlands, Water and Woods (POWWW), a 26 year old Denville township-based environmental group, successfully completed its semi-annual invasive plant removal work party in year 4 of a 10 year commitment to restore forest habitat in Jonathan’s Woods. POWWW and the Morris County Park Commission (property owners) entered into a grant agreement four years ago and erected a deer exclusion fence surrounding 3 acres of forested wetlands and uplands. It is POWWW’s responsibility to manage invasive removal, and replant native species if necessary. 

Guidebook for Horticultural Alternatives to Invasives

A team from the Long island Invasive Species Management Area has put together a full-color guidebook on horticultural alternatives to invasives for New York. All the plants featured were selected based upon their similar ornamental characteristics and cultural requirements compared to the invasives, but we caution you that many of the alternatives suggested are cultivars and non-native plants, some of which are also invasive, including cotoneaster, spirea, and doublefile viburnum. This guidebook may be useful to New Jerseyans, and we encourage you to check it out! Click here for a link to the guidebook.



Model developed to track eggs of Asian grass carp

Asian carp are knocking on the door of the Great Lakes, but managers now can better pinpoint strategies to control their rapidly increasing population, according to a new model for tracking carp eggs developed by researchers at the University of Illinois and the United States Geological Survey.


Photo: U.S. Geological Survey

Cannibal shrimp: The invasion has begun.

The influx of the jumbo-sized shrimp has increased 10 times in the last year, according to a report from the U.S. Geological Survey—from 32 in 2010 to 331 in 2011. The shrimp-eating shrimp have been spotted in waters from North Carolina to Texas.

Emerald Ash Borer detected in Bucks County!

Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture confirmed that Emerald Ash Borer (EAB) has been detected in Warrington, Bucks County. Emerald ash borer (Agrilis planipennis) is a threat to all ash species in Pennsylvania.

Eating what we don't want (invasive species) and what we do (oysters).

Eating with the environment in mind has fueled foodie trends like eating organically, eating locally and sustainable diet trends of all kinds. Radio Times explores the growing fad for eating invasive species, those weeds and unwanted animals that are outcompeting native species.


Invasive plant, insect species threaten local ecology.

Invasive plant species can displace and alter native plant communities, impede forest regeneration and natural succession, change soil chemistry, alter hydrologic conditions, cause genetic changes in native plant relatives through hybridization, and some serve as agents for the transmission of harmful plant pathogens.

National Invasive Species Awareness Week puts the spotlight on efforts to prevent or slow the spread of invasive species.


Strike Team aims to halt invasive flora and fauna.

Scores of non-native plant, animal and pathogen species are finding their way into local woodlands, parks and waterways, posing a risk to native populations and playing havoc with delicate natural ecosystems.

Funded by the Watershed Institute grant program of the Stony Brook-Millstone Watershed Association, the strike team uses scientifically based early detection and rapid response protocols to find and destroy new populations of invasive plants, animals and pathogens that threaten New Jersey’s diverse natural acreage.


Stinging nettle quiche and other wild foods are delicious.

If I’d been blindfolded and someone fed me from dishes at the Invasive Species & Wild Food Potluck held earlier this month at the Readington River Buffalo Farm I never would have guessed the crazy stuff I was eating.

Chestnut and hen of the woods (a wild foraged mushroom) soup? Yep, tastes like a creamy mushroom soup. The garlic mustard and stinging nettle quiche went down just fine, no sting at all.