Buffelgrass (Pennisetum ciliare) is an invasive plant that impacts native desert plant and animal communities in the Southwestern US. It creates substantial fire risk in ecosystems that are not adapted to large-scale intense burning. This summer, the USA-NPN developed a Pheno Forecast, our first for an invasive plant, to predict when buffelgrass reaches a level of greenness where herbicide treatment is most effective. These maps are based on known precipitation thresholds and predict green-up one to two weeks in the future. We invite managers and community members to report their sightings of buffelgrass and the level of greenness at buffelgrass.usanpn.org. Learn moreabout other the USA-NPN's other Pheno Forecasts.
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Buffelgrass Pheno Forecasts inform time to treat invasive grassThursday, August 8, 2019
Asian longhorned beetles are emerging in the NortheastMonday, July 1, 2019
Invasive wood-boring Asian longhorned beetles (ALB) pose a significant risk to northeast forests, as generalist pests. Adult beetles are now emerging.
While the non-native Asian longhorned beetle (Anoplophora glabripennis) is contained to four quarantine areas, its expansion would cause widespread damage to eastern forest, particularly since it feeds on a wide variety of trees.
The beetles overwinter as both eggs and pupae. Adults are now emerging during the summer months, and are typically active until late fall. Females lay eggs just beneath the bark of trees, which look like little wounds on the tree, and you can sometimes see the chew marks on the edges. After the egg hatches, the larva tunnels into the growing layers of the tree and eventually into the woody tree tissue; if you have a fallen branch or are cutting wood, you may see this tunneling. As the larva tunnels and feeds, it often pushes sawdust-like material or excrement, called frass out onto the ground around the tree or onto the tree branches. Adults then emerge from the tree leaving perfectly round exit holes.
You can use USA-NPN’s Pheno Forecast to find out when the first generation of adults are emerging from their overwintering pupae in your area. This helps with detection, and also with preventing the spread of the insect, because infested trees need to be reported and properly destroyed.
If you observe an adult Asian longhorned beetle, report it online immediately to USDA (or call 1-866-702-9938). Additional resources are available through USDA, Ohio, New York and Massachusetts Extension.
You can report the life stages and any tree damage you observe to the USA-NPN Pest Patrol campaign to help better understand the species and check the forecast.
USA-NPN wins USGS's Shoemaker Award for Communications Product ExcellenceThursday, May 23, 2019
Our Status of Spring webpage has won the US Geological Survey's 2018 Shoemaker Award for Communications Product Excellence in the Webpage/Website category! This award recognizes the best efforts among USGS programs to communicate science to non-technical audiences. The Status of Spring webpage is a powerful tool that provides a clear and engaging way to track the progression of spring across the country.
USA-NPN on PBS Nature's American Spring LIVEMonday, April 29, 2019
American Spring LIVE is a three-night NATURE event that presents the change from winter to spring in real time from iconic locations across America. The show aired April 29-May 1 at 8 pm ET on PBS and Facebook. The full episodes can be viewed at PBS.org. The third and final episode on May 1st, "Connections", featured the USA-NPN's Track a Lilac project. This is a special project to invite the public to submit one-time observations of leafing and flowering in lilacs. After testing the waters of citizen science, interested participants are invited to join Nature's Notebook for long-term observations.
How typical is this year's spring?Wednesday, March 20, 2019In places where spring has sprung, how how often have we seen a spring like this one? The USA-NPN's spring leaf out shines light on where leaf out of early season plants has occurred across the country. In the map at left, darker colors represent springs that are unusually early or late in the long-term record. Gray indicates an average spring.