Riparia graduate student Peter Backhaus was featured in the Centre County Gazette for his involvement in the release of purple loosestrife beetles (Galerucella calmariensis) in an affected section of the Governor Tom Ridge Wetland Preserve near Julian, PA. The preserve, originally constructed as a mitigation site for the construction of I-99, is being transformed into a wildlife education center by the Wildlife for Everyone Foundation. Backhaus implemented the biocontrol on behalf of foundation, who sought to control the recent loosestrife invasion with minimal physical disturbance and without the use of herbicides.
The story also covered previous releases of beetles within the county. Robert Brooks, director of Riparia, discussed the successful implementation of purple loosestrife biocontrols in Millbrook Marsh about 15 years ago.
The article is printed in the June 14-20, 2018 edition of the Gazette and is available online at this link.
Photo: Initial release of the loosestrife beetles (left) and damage to the same plant the next day (right). Photos by Peter Backhaus