Monday, October 21, 2019

Invasive species workshop comes to Fairbanks

The Alaska Invasive Species Workshop, Oct. 22-24 in Fairbanks, will highlight early detection and prevention of invasive species.
Although the presence of winter moose tick has not been confirmed
yet in Alaska, it afflicts mule deer in the Yukon, and some mule
deer have migrated to the Interior. A presentation about the risk
of ticks and tick-borne pathogens will take place Thursday, Oct. 24
at the workshop. iStock photo

The annual event kicks off with a public lecture at 6 p.m. tonight at the Morris Thompson Cultural and Visitors Center. Katherine Wyman-Grothem, of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service in Minnesota, will talk about how to analyze the risk of aquatic invasive species when deciding where to direct prevention efforts. Wyman-Grothem's experience is with the Great Lakes region, which has had more than 100 invasive species.

The University of Alaska Fairbanks Cooperative Extension Service and the Alaska Invasive Species Partnership will host the workshop at Pike’s Waterfront Lodge, 1850 Hoselton Drive.

Coordinator Gino Graziano said the workshop helps coordinate invasive species management efforts and makes individuals or agencies aware of new concerns, particularly those that could cause economic or environmental damage.

One relatively new concern is the spread of nonnative ticks and tick-borne pathogens. A researcher from the University of Alaska Anchorage will discuss which ticks are here and which ones have pathogens. The information comes from a surveillance project conducted by UAA, the Alaska Department of Fish and Game and the Department of Environmental Conservation.

“There is real concern that moose winter tick is up here,” Graziano said.

Although it has not been spotted in Alaska, Graziano said the tick is present among mule deer in the Yukon, and some deer have migrated to the Interior. The ticks suck substantial amounts of blood and make animals scratch, which causes damage to their insulating winter coats.

Several workshop presentations concern the detection and management of elodea, an invasive aquatic species that aggressively crowds out native species and is difficult to control. Graziano said the plant can grow into places where salmon spawn and present navigation risks to boats and planes.

Other presentations will cover prevention efforts, including watercraft and seaplane inspections, public outreach and wildland fire training. Reports will describe management efforts to control northern pike in Shell Lake and Prunus padus, a type of chokecherry tree that has spread in Fairbanks, Anchorage and other communities.

The agenda and registration information are available at For more information, contact Graziano at 907-786-6315 or

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