Monday, October 26, 2009

Conference examines invasive species

Scientists, experts, and citizens’ groups concerned about invasive plants and animals will gather in Ketchikan Oct. 27-29 for two conferences.

The tenth annual Committee for Noxious and Invasive Plants Management Workshop will meet Oct. 27-28. The fourth annual Alaska Invasive Species Working Group Conference will follow on Oct. 29. The UAF Cooperative Extension Service will host both conferences at the Cape Fox Lodge.

Conference organizer Michele Hebert, an agriculture and horticulture agent with Extension’s Tanana District, said participants will include teachers, the public, and representatives from state and federal agencies who hope to raise awareness of the invasive species problem and to coordinate research and prevention efforts. Both conferences are in Ketchikan for the first time and include special sessions on marine invasive species.

A variety of speakers will discuss control efforts involving invasive plants and animals around Alaska. Gino Graziano, invasive weeds and agricultural pest coordinator from the Alaska Division of Agriculture, will provide an update on the Alaska strategic plan for invasive weeds and agricultural pest management. Margaret Brady of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration will talk about aquatic invasive species and federal legislation. University of Washington professor Sarah Reichard will talk about the ecological impact of knotweed, an aggressive plant that can damage spawning areas. Gary Freitag, an Alaska Sea Grant Marine Advisory Program agent, will discuss marine invasive species sampling in Ketchikan. Reichard and Freitag will also speak at a public lecture from 7 to 8:30 p.m. Monday, Oct. 26, at the Forest Service Discovery Center at 50 Main Street.

Other conference events will include a teacher-training workshop from 12:30 to 4:30 p.m. Oct. 26. The public is invited to a poster session from 5:30 to 7 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 27.

To register, visit UAF Cooperative Extension Service's website.

(One of Alaska's many invasive plants, the Common Tansy (Tanacetum vulgare), is pictured above.

Related reading:
"Alaska Invasive Species Conference coming up" SNRAS Science & News, Oct. 6, 2009

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