Alle-Kiski Valley native, ecologist Bier appointed to fifth term on state's Invasive Species Council
Alle-Kiski Valley native and ecologist Charles Bier was recently appointed to his fifth term on the state's Invasive Species Council.
Bier, 58, of Buffalo Township is senior director of conservation science at the Western Pennsylvania Conservancy, where he has worked for 30 years.
“He is truly one of the most talented and knowledgeable people I've had the privilege of being around when it comes to nature and the environment,” said Jim Bonner, executive director of the Audubon Society of Western Pennsylvania.
Gov. Ed Rendell created the Invasive Species Council in 2004 to combat non-native species that impact biodiversity in Pennsylvania. The council is chaired by the state secretary of agriculture and includes members from six other governmental agencies and nine nongovernmental agencies.
The council makes recommendations on how to manage and prevent the introduction of non-native plants and animals like the destructive gypsy moth and multiflora rose bush.
“One of our missions is to work to protect nature and biodiversity, and one of the real challenges to doing that is that there are a lot of non-native species that are present or being introduced into America,” Bier said. “They work against the continued existence of our natives.”
During his time on the Invasive Species Council, Bier said members have strategized about how to control two of more recently discovered invasive species: Asian carp and feral swine.
Asian carp can grow up to 2 feet long and weigh 20 pounds. It has a voracious appetite and depletes the food chain in rivers to the extent that native species can no longer survive, Bier said.
Feral swine, which are a wild type of swine native to Europe, have been moving up from the southern states and weren't known in Pennsylvania until a few years ago, he said. The swine damage farms and private property and carry diseases that can be transferred to farm animals.
The state implemented a trapping program for the swine based on a council recommendation.
“So far, the population hasn't exploded,” Bier said. “There are a lot of states that are struggling with this.”
An O'Hara native, Bier pursued his interest in nature as a student at Fox Chapel High School. He participated in the Junior Audubon program, leading nature hikes and helping to publish a student newsletter focused on the outdoors.
He became the Audubon Society of Western Pennsylvania's first paid employee. He worked at Beechwood Farms Nature Reserve in Fox Chapel when the Audubon opened its headquarters there in 1977, Bonner said.
Bier continued his service with the Audubon Society by helping to manage the Todd Nature Reserve, which is located near his home.
“He has been invaluable in helping to steward the reserve and in helping us with a whole host of things out there,” Bonner said.
At the Western Pennsylvania Conservancy, Bier is seen as the go-to scientist for information about Pennsylvania's flora and fauna, said Tom Saunders, president and CEO of the conservancy.
One of Bier's true talents is his ability to share his deep experience and knowledge with others, he said.
“He has an amazing ability to educate and connect with people about the natural world,” said Saunders. “I've been in a room full of people who don't know much about nature, and they listen with rapt attention as he talks about some place he's been. He brings it alive and makes you realize how important it is.”
Jodi Weigand is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 724-226-4702 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- 3 charged in East Deer home invasion
- Harmar-based company’s expansion into Tarentum adds jobs
- Harrison fire victim helps others while on road to recovery
- Authorities investigating grocery store robberies Plum, Monroeville
- Monroeville man charged with bad-check racket
- Return of Verona’s Doughboy statue delayed
- Butler County initiative aims to find employment for struggling job-seekers
- 4 plead guilty to charges of luring, beating man at Harrison gas station
- Bed and breakfast proposed at former Liperote Mansion in South Buffalo Township
- Generous Leechburg boy receives Christmas surprise from secret Santa
- Hays ‘eagle cams’ reinstalled for 2015 nesting season