Friday, July 2, 2010
ConsCom approves biosurveillance training, wildlife study
The Conservation Commission (ConsCom) on June 24 authorized the U.S. Forest Service to conduct a second training session at Foss Farm to teach service and state agency personnel to find and identify ground-nesting wasps. One non-stinging species, Cerceris fumipennis, is being studied as a possible indicator of the presence of the Emerald Ash Borer (Agrilus planipennis).
This invasive beetle, native to Asia, attacks and can kill ash trees (Fraxinus spp.) by eating their inner bark. C. fumipennis parasitizes the Borer larvae, preventing them from maturing. According to Conservation Administrator Sylvia Willard, the sandy substrate at Foss is good habitat for ground-nesting wasps. An initial session was held in 2008. The current training is scheduled for July 6 or 7, with a rain date of July 14.
Blanding’s Turtle studies
A land-use permit was granted to wildlife ecologist Bryan Windmiller, Director of the Great Meadows Blanding’s Turtle Conservation Project, to continue monitoring the rare turtles on the Greenough Conservation Land. Blanding’s Turtle (Emydoidea blandingii) was first found in Carlisle in 2005 when a Brook Street resident found a female laying eggs in her lawn. (See “BioDiversity Corner: Blanding’s Turtle,” Mosquito, July 1, 2005. This article includes a photo of a Blanding’s Turtle.)
Windmiller’s method for studying the Blanding’s population dynamics is to capture individuals using baited hoop traps, then mark, measure and release them. Some are fitted with radio-tracking devices and their long-term movements monitored. His work in Carlisle began last year (see “Blanding’s Turtle study to begin this season,” Mosquito, April 17, 2009). According to Windmiller’s June 24 Summary of Findings of 2009 work, over 100 nights of trapping yielded a single Blanding’s individual that has been tracked for over a year. One additional turtle was found by Tom and D’Ann Brownrigg, but is not being radio-tracked. Windmiller indicated that lack of funding will prevent radio-tracking any additional individuals found in Carlisle this year. ∆
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