SALEM — Oregon stayed the course in its battle against invasive species in 2012, maintaining an overall grade of A- on its annual report card, similar to 2011.

The report card from the Oregon Invasive Species Council is intended to assess how Oregon is doing in the battle against unwanted invasive species. The report card includes assessments on the state’s success at:

• keeping the 100 worst invaders from creating a home in Oregon;

• maintaining a reporting system for invasive species;

• outreach and education initiatives;

• the statewide action plan; and

• administering the council’s trust account.

In addition, the report card offers recommendations on how grades can be improved in each category.

Dan Hilburn, Chair of the Oregon Invasive Species Council in 2013 and Oregon Department of Agriculture’s Plant Division Administrator, discussed the continuing threats Oregon faces from invasive species.

“From 2007 to 2008, Oregon had 20 new state records of insects and snails in Oregon — two of the species were potentially important pests, one was new to science, and one was identified as a host for human lung fluke,” Hilburn said. “From July 2008 to 2012, Oregon had 22 new state records of insects and mites in Oregon — five were considered potentially important pests. Clearly, we continue to experience new invaders to Oregon, and must have prevention strategies in place in a climate of reduced federal and state agency budgets.”

One area of success in the fight against invasive species was right here in Ontario.

The Oregon State Marine Board and the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife implemented the third year of the Aquatic Invasive Species permit program, which included watercraft inspection stations and decontamination washes in locations throughout Oregon, including one in Ontario. This program is critical to Oregon’s efforts to keep hydrilla and zebra and quagga mussels out of the state and has proven successful to-date.

Just one day after it was opened, Ontario’s inspection station discovered quagga mussels on a motorboat.

In total, Ontario conducted about 1,600 inspections during the season, nearly 23 percent of all inspections conducted in Oregon, Rick Boatner, ODFW invasive species coordinator, said.

Approximately nine watercraft with invasive species was located by the Ontario station, Boatner said, or half of the 18 that were located statewide.

“So far, we haven’t gotten any reports of the mussels getting into the state,” Boatner said. “We had a very successful season.”

Elsewhere, control and survey activities for yellowtuft alyssum (Alyssum murale and Alyssum corsicum) continued in 2012 as the Oregon Department of Agriculture, the US Forest Service, The Nature Conservancy, Bureau of Land Management, and volunteers addressed the invasion, and entities worked toward eradication.

2012 marked the third year of no growth of a pioneering stand of Spartina alterniflora at the mouth of the Skipanon River near Warrenton, and can be considered eradicated. There are ongoing efforts at eradication of Spartina patens in the Siuslaw Estuary. PSU continued Spartina early detection efforts through aerial and ground surveys.

Success at preventing the establishment of invasive species in Oregon.

Oregon improved its grade in this category in 2012, achieving an “A” rating for its success in preventing the establishment of invasive species in Oregon.

Oregon passed legislation to prevent the introduction of wood boring pests and plant diseases in imported firewood. Invasive species, including emerald ash borer, Asian longhorned beetle, and sudden oak death can be vectored by firewood. The legislation requires that firewood imported from outside the Pacific Northwest (Oregon, Washington, Idaho) be heat-treated and labeled.

Oregon was successful in preventing the introduction of marine aquatic invasive species from Japan when a floating dock containing numerous live marine invasive species, including several on Oregon’s 100 Worst List, beached ashore near Newport, Ore. Oregon’s multi-agency response, including burying the invasive species and dismantling the dock received national attention and served as a model for collaboration and coordination.

A stand of the invasive Phragmites australis haplotype, also near Warrenton, was successfully retreated in 2012 and a second site near the lumber mill in Warrenton showed no signs of regrowth in 2012.

All known infestations of Nymphoides peltata are either being treated with the goal of eradication or eradication plans are being developed.

A single gypsy moth was detected in Eugene, Oregon, and the Oregon Department of Agriculture will continue monitoring efforts to determine if future action is needed.

Thirty-six Japanese beetles were trapped in Portland and Troutdale, indicating several small breeding populations persist. Eradication treatments will continue next year. No Japanese beetles were caught in Cave Junction after eradication treatments there were successful.

No new noxious weed species were found in Oregon in 2012.

To improve the grade in 2013, Oregon needs to prevent all species on the OISC 100 Worst List from becoming established in 2013, document that target established invaders are decreasing or holding steady, and continue to identify policy gaps and steps needed to close those gaps. The state must also ensure early detection/rapid response plans are in place, support federal legislation aimed at invasive species, develop and promote Oregon legislation to deal with state-specific issues during the 2013 legislative session, and expand Oregon’s watercraft inspection stations.

Includes reporting by William Lopez, of The Argus Observer.

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