Posts Tagged ‘Ashokan Streams’

Leprechaun Bees in Search of Native Plant Gold!

Posted on: March 23rd, 2018 by Samantha Kahl

It’s spring now and because St. Patrick­’s Day just passed, we are tak­ing a look at one of nature’s small­est lep­rechauns.… Augochlorop­sis metal­li­ca, a type of Sweat Bee. Native and metal­lic green, metal­li­ca is small­er than a Hon­ey Bee!

Augochloropsis metallica (head)

Augochlorop­sis metal­li­ca (head)

Since these bees are so small, it takes a keen eye to spot them. Augo­chorop­sis metal­li­ca is found through­out the Unit­ed States, from Ontario to Flori­da, and as far west as Ari­zona! They are usu­al­ly around from March until Novem­ber, with their flu­o­res­cent emer­ald green bod­ies shim­mer­ing in the day­light.

Augochloropsis metallica (back)

Augochlorop­sis metal­li­ca (back)

Augochloropsis metallica (side)

Augochlorop­sis metal­li­ca (side)

These beau­ti­ful­ly tiny native bees have been sight­ed in two loca­tions around the Ashokan Water­shed, Stony Clove Creek in Greene Coun­ty, and in Oliv­erea of Ulster Coun­ty! What makes this bee so spe­cial is that it plays a cru­cial role in pol­li­nat­ing our native plants, pro­vid­ing a fight­ing chance for our native plant species to stand up against inva­sive plant species.

A zoomed-in focus of Augochloropsis metallica sightings!  Note:  Stony Clove Creek & Oliverea!

A zoomed-in focus of Augochlorop­sis metal­li­ca sight­ings! Note: Stony Clove Creek & Oliv­erea!

If you want to try and see the emer­ald metal­li­ca bee, make sure to plant native plants in and around your yard!

To pur­chase your plants local­ly, the Ulster Coun­ty Soil and Water Con­ser­va­tion Dis­trict will be hold­ing their annu­al Bare Root Seedling Sale in April! Orders must be placed by Fri­day, March 30th using this order form, with pick-up dates being held on Wednes­day April 18th at Ulster Coun­ty Fair­grounds in New Paltz and Fri­day April 20th at Ulster Coun­ty Depart­ment of Pub­lic Works in Kingston. If you miss the dead­line, left-over sin­gle stem stock is usu­al­ly avail­able for walk-up pur­chase at the two loca­tions list­ed above.

Hap­py plant­i­ng, and thank you for sup­port­ing the bees!

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National Invasive Species Awareness Week 2018 — Japanese Knotweed

Posted on: February 26th, 2018 by Samantha Kahl

Feb­ru­ary 26th marks the begin­ning of Nation­al Inva­sive Species Aware­ness Week! Through­out this week, until March 2nd, we will be explor­ing dif­fer­ent inva­sive species present with­in our water­shed. To start off this week, we must first ask our­selves, “What is an inva­sive species?”. An inva­sive species is a species that is non-native to an ecosys­tem and has the poten­tial to cause envi­ron­men­tal harm to an area. Inva­sive species often out-com­pete native species, giv­ing native species lit­tle chance for sur­vival; this includes both ter­res­tri­al and aquat­ic plants and ani­mals.

Japanese Knotweed within the Watershed

Japan­ese Knotweed with­in the Water­shed

The first inva­sive species we’ll look at is Japan­ese Knotweed. This mon­ster of a plant came to the U.S. as an orna­men­tal plant in the 1800’s from East­ern Asia. Knotweed is iden­ti­fied by its large heart-shaped leaves, hol­low bam­boo-like stalks, and clus­ters of white or cream col­ored flow­ers. It is often found near streams or rivers and it can with­stand low-light, high tem­per­a­tures, drought, and poor soil qual­i­ty, mak­ing this inva­sive resilient to many dif­fer­ent types of envi­ron­ments. Knotweed can grow up to 15 feet tall, with deep rhi­zomes (roots) extend­ing into the ground, mak­ing it very dif­fi­cult and time­ly to erad­i­cate.

Photo of Japanese Knotweed leaves & flowers courtesy of http://www.nyis.info

Pho­to of Japan­ese Knotweed leaves & flow­ers cour­tesy of http://www.nyis.info

Col­lab­o­ra­tion and coor­di­na­tion from as many peo­ple and orga­ni­za­tions as pos­si­ble is the best way to tack­le Japan­ese Knotweed. In order to con­trol it, one must be dili­gent. The Catskill Region­al Inva­sive Species Part­ner­ship (CRISP) rec­om­mends con­tin­u­ous man­u­al removal of Knotweed approx­i­mate­ly 2–3 times each year for at least 3 years, or until it is erad­i­cat­ed. Accord­ing to New York Inva­sive Species Infor­ma­tion (NYIS), mow­ing or cut­ting of Japan­ese Knotweed will actu­al­ly spread the plant, rather than con­tain it. For those who would like to use her­bi­cides on large vol­umes of Knotweed, call your local CCE or Soil and Water Con­ser­va­tion Dis­trict office to get more infor­ma­tion on chem­i­cal reg­u­la­tions and safe­ty pre­cau­tions in your region.

 

Videos regard­ing Inva­sive Species in New York State:

Pre­vent the Spread of Inva­sive Species

Get to Know Inva­sive Plants

 

Fol­low us this week as we uncov­er more inva­sive species in our Ashokan Water­shed! Face­bookTwit­terInsta­gram

 

 

 

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