This article was featured in the 2023 summer newsletter by Robert Smith-SLELO PRISM.
2023 Early Detection Surveys:
This year’s Early Detection Surveys are currently in progress. We have targeted 11 PCAs and 156 HPAs to conduct both aquatic and terrestrial surveys. 29 of these areas have active treatments occurring and we will be evaluating these for post-treatment success. We are also conducting native species surveys at these PCAs to get a better idea of what species we are protecting and which to use in restoration area plantings.
Emerald Ash Borer (EAB) Biocontrol:
We are currently releasing three species of parasitoid wasps (Spathius galinae, Tetrastichus planipennisi, and Oobius agrili) that target EAB at Rice Creek Field Station (SUNY Oswego). This is the 2nd year of the USDA’s two year release program. Last year, we released a total of 5689 Wasps in 8 releases. So far, this year, we have completed four releases for a total of 2914. We still have four more releases and expect a similar total as last year.
We have four cages set up for Hypena opulenta moths- the biocontrol for swallow-wort; two of these are at Wehle State Park, and two of these are at Grenadier Island. 40 Pupae were placed in each cage on June 6. Unfortunately, only 1 cage had adults emerge. We are not alone in this lack of emergence. Other Hypena Biocontrol Sites also had no emergence. Pupae from different sites were brought to SUNY ESF, where Dylan Parry, an entomologist involved in the biocontrol program is examining them, to determine cause of non-emergence. We will be getting a new shipment of Hypena Moth (larvae, pupae, adult) on July 25. Hopefully, these will do much better than the first release. A June Trail Survey for evidence of overwintering was conducted by SLELO PRISM and OPRHP and did not find evidence of presence. All trails are being surveyed again in July and August. Residents of Grenadier Island have received training on how to identify Hypena and evidence of their presence. They are actively searching for their properties when traveling around the island. So far, no reports of Hypena presence.
Hemlock Woolly Adelgid (HWA) Biocontrol:
In May, OPRHP with assistance from SLELO PRISM released 1,347 Silver Flies at Selkirk Shores State Park. There are plans to release Laricobius Beetles at Independence Park this Fall and hopefully, we will be able to release silver flies next spring at Independence Park. There are three species of insects that are used for HWA. These are a beetle (laricobius nigrinus) and silver flies (leucopis argenticollis) and (Leucotaraxis piniperda). The biocontrol insects are provided by the New York State Hemlock Initiative.
2023 Restoration Sites:
Last year, we conducted surveys and plantings at four restoration sites, which were management/treatment sites where natural establishment of native species seemed unlikely. This year, we have added four more sites for a total of 8 restoration sites. Three of the sites were managed for phragmites, two sites for yellow iris, two sites for Japanese knotweed, and one site for pale swallowwort. Our restoration surveys record the native, nonnative, and target invasive species found in the treatment area and in a 20ft buffer zone around the treatment area. Vegetation plots were also randomly selected and surveyed for the percent cover of trees, shrubs, grasses, sedges/rushes, and forbs. Additional plantings will occur at these restoration sites in the fall and will be based on the results of our surveys. Our goals and objectives include completing the initial site assessment in the 1st year, increasing native species richness of the treatment area to at least 50% of the surrounding region in 3 years, and reducing target invasive species by 95% within 5 years.