Morning Read: Alien invasion(s) threaten NY, VT

The Burlington Free Press has a great, big-picture look at the threat of invasive organisms, as a growing number of non-native plants and animals spread closer to our borders.  Writer Candace Page begins with a what-if:

The emerald ash borer, an invading insect from Asia, spreads into the state from the Midwest. One hundred million ash trees die.

Or chronic wasting disease, a fatal illness, is confirmed in a wild Vermont whitetail deer. To keep the disease from spreading, teams of shooters kill most of the deer in a 300-square-mile area around the sick animal.

Or the Asian longhorned beetle is found in a Green Mountain woodlot. At best, hundreds or thousands of trees are cut down to eradicate the bug. At worst, the state’s maple-dominated forests are in deep peril.

Page points out that Massachusetts has already spent more than $60 million to eradicate Asian beetles.  And she notes that huge policy questions remain as biologists wrestle with the question of how (or if) to fight these invaders.

And just when you thought the list of invaders couldn’t get any more obnoxious, we now have wild hogs pushing into the Empire state.   This from YNN in Syracuse.

“Very smart. Can be very elusive,” said Paul Curtis, Wildlife Specialist at Cornell University.

They’re strong.

“They’ve got four inch razor-sharp tusks,” Curtis said. “They can be very aggressive and knock a person down and gore them.”

And I thought zebra mussels were bad…

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12 Comments on “Morning Read: Alien invasion(s) threaten NY, VT”

  1. Keith Silliman says:

    Invasive species are a real problem in Upstate New York. But the problem is one where we can all individually help avoid. Three simple things you can do– wash your canoe/kayk/boat (and trailer) before entering a new waterbody; fisherman– wash your waders; and don’t transport firewood.

    Please help.

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  2. tootightmike says:

    It’s time to be alarmed!! Maybe it’s already too late. The ash trees are dying of a thing called “Ash Yellows” right now in Madrid and Lisbon. The emerald as borer might not find anything to eat when he gets here.
    Just yesterday, I drove to the Massena airport, along the West Hatfield Rd, and the East Hatfield Rd. I look at trees and forests as I drive and , along that route, I would estimate that 90% of the trees are ash. There are young woods growing on old farm lots, older trees growing on beautiful hillsides, and neatly manicured trees in the yards along the river, but they’re ALL ASH TREES!! When this fungus or this bug gets here, and these trees die, the region will be denuded of trees.
    Take a drive, look at tree species, and be very afraid.

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  3. Mervel says:

    I didn’t realize that these wild hogs could handle our winters? I wonder with our milder winters if their spread up here is related to climate changes?

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  4. tootightmike says:

    Milder winters will bring all kinds of interesting stuff…poison ivy, west nile virus, lyme disease, and rattlesnakes to name a few.

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  5. Bret4207 says:

    “To keep the disease from spreading, teams of shooters kill most of the deer in a 300-square-mile area around the sick animal.”

    Does this person have any basis in fact for writing such an outlandish thing? I’ve read up on CWD quite a bit and never have I seen anyone support such an idea. Is this something new?

    Mike- If you’re in the Lisbon/Massena area then you already have poison ivy, Lyme Disease and Rattlesnakes are still found near Lake George. West Nile is nationwide IIRC.

    And yes, boar can handle our winters to an extent, and this winter was hardly “mild”, wouldn’t you say?

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  6. tourpro says:

    We should build a wall and station troops on it 24/7.

    Oh wait, wrong aliens…..

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  7. Zeke says:

    Define; “transport firewood”

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  8. Pete Klein says:

    Animals and plants are far more adaptable than anyone gives them credit. Long before any of the smart people were making global warming claims, in fact as far back as when the smart people were warning of the next ice age, turkeys were moving north into the Catskills and then the Adirondacks.
    Pigs, including wild hogs are smart and very adaptable.
    Back in the 1700′s, there was an island in the Detroit River that was called Snake Island because is was overrun with rattlesnakes. Farmers turned the hogs lose to kill the snakes, which they did. The hogs went wild and the island was renamed Hog Island. After the hogs were killed and the city bought out the farmers to convert the island into a public park, the island was renamed Belle Isle.
    And so it goes.l

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  9. Mervel says:

    It seems a natural combination to combine the SNIRT rally with a large hog hunt! This might all work out just fine.

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  10. Walker says:

    Zeke, do not move firewood distances greater than 50 miles. The idea is that you don’t want to give the critters a nice long ride into virgin territory. Make ‘em walk– takes a lot longer.

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  11. Walker says:

    Keith, washing your kayak won’t help with the hogs.

    Mervel, the trouble is, generally, the hogs, are a whole lot smarter than the SNIRT riders.

    As for our cold winters, I think the hogs that head up this way are probably going to be smart enough to become snowbirds.

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