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Local Wetland and Roadside Invaders. Who they are and How You Can Help. Japanese Knotweed Pepperweed Phragmites Purple Loosestrife Polygonum cuspidatum Lepidium latifolium Phragmites australis Lythrum salicaria. The Invasive Species Threat.
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Local Wetland and Roadside Invaders Who they are and How You Can Help Japanese Knotweed Pepperweed Phragmites Purple Loosestrife Polygonum cuspidatum Lepidium latifolium Phragmites australis Lythrum salicaria
The Invasive Species Threat Japanese knotweed • In their native environment species are kept in check by natural controls, like predators and food supply. They are part of a balanced system. • When a species is introduced into a new landscape, and it is able to survive and establish itself, the consequences for the environment can be devastating. Oriental bittersweet Perennial pepperweed
What is an Invasive Plant? • “Non-indigenous (non-native) species or strain that become established in natural plant communities and wild areas, replacing native vegetation.” • “An alien species whose introduction does or is likely to cause economic or environmental harm or harm to human health.” Japanese knotweed Oriental bittersweet Perennial pepperweed
Be Aware of Low-Maintenance Garden Plants! What makes a plant Invasive? • Adaptable to wide variety of growing conditions • Highly productive (by seeds or vegetative growth) • Purple loosestrife can produce 6 million seeds per plant • Phragmites rhizomes can grow over 30 feet a year; monocultures of 7,000 acres • Competitive advantage • Grow rapidly, compete for sun • Some emit chemicals that make it hard for other plants to grow. (Chemical allelopathy ) • No natural enemies
What’s so bad about invasives? • Out-compete and replace native plants • Decrease biological diversity of native ecosystems • Decrease the quality of fish and wildlife habitat • Reduce threatened and endangered species habitat • Reduce water quality and availability for native fish and • wildlife species; • Cause soil erosion; clog lakes and waterways and other wetlands • Very difficult to control
Strategies for Combating Invasives • Invasives will take over if we “Do Nothing” • Pick our battles • Pick successful methods • Tackle the worse invaders • Take on the newest invaders • Work with partners • Continue to monitor (3 to 10 years) • Share success and failure • * Balance need for control with impacts of control*
How You Can Help Control Invasives • Learn to identify the worse or newest invaders in your area. • Keep invasive plants out of your yard • (or under constant control) • Don’t buy invasive plants from garden centers • Educate your town and your neighbors about landscaping with natives • Volunteer for community invasive control projects such as mapping and pulling. • Report new invasives to local conservation organization
“Invasive species have become the greatest environmental challenge of the 21st century in terms of economic, environmental, and human health costs, with an estimated impact in the U.S. of over $138 billion per year.” --USGS Invasive Species Program
We are most concerned about these wetland and roadside invaders Japanese Knotweed Pepperweed Phragmites Purple Loosestrife Polygonum cuspidatum Lepidium latifolium Phragmites australis Lythrum salicaria
What You Can Do: All Species • Scout your town and document where current infestations are occurring. With many of these plants this can be done year round. • Map sites on-line. www.Citsci.org • Project: MA-NH-ME Wetland Worries & Roadside Invasives” • Share your maps, and the BMPs for your species with local property owners and concerned citizens in your town such as the Conservation Commission and DPW.
Spring: Help Pull Perennial Pepperweed In June and early July students and citizens help pull pepperweed. Do this with Mass Audubon or PRNWR to make sure you dispose of pepperweed properly. It is important to prevent further spread by pulling before the plants go to seed.
Mass Audubon’s Salt Marsh Science Project Started in 1996 Primary Focus: Investigating the invasive reed Phragmites. Fall: Help Monitor Phragmites australis
Classroom teachers & Mass Audubon staff lead student field studies with students grades 5-College. • Collecting real data • Participating in a wider scientific study • Investigating sites in their own towns and watersheds • Monitoring sites before and after restoration
10 of our sites have been restored since 1997. Students help us know if restoration is successful by monitoring before and after restoration. Tidal Restoration reduces Phragmites To learn more about this project Contact Liz Duff at firstname.lastname@example.org Website: http://www.massaudubon.org/saltmarsh/ Curriculum: http://www.massaudubon.org/saltmarsh/resources.php
Spring: Map and/or Rear Beetles to control Purple Loosestrife Eastern Point Gloucester Purple loosestrife is easy to identify when in blossom. Lessoning Loosestrife
A unique solution—biological control! • Specific to target and self-perpetuating • Long-term control of purple loosestrife (but not eradication) • Requires lower inputs (but possibly longer to realize effects) Biological control (biocontrol) defined~ The use of natural enemies to reduce the damage caused by a pest population, such as an invasive plant. Ultimate goal: Restore wetland habitat and function; give native species a competitive chance.
Meet the Beetles Galerucella species Adults Eggs Larva
Mapping Initiative You can add your observations to the map on line! Report observations via Google Maps Beetles have dispersed as far as 10 miles from release sites. http://www.mass.gov/dfwele/der/freshwater/loosestrife/observation_and_reporting.pdf
Release plot Photo reference point Fall and Spring Monitoring • Standard methodology used across the U.S. • Monitoring plots are 1x1 m quadrats, marked with wood stakes or PVC pipe. • Monitor twice each year for at least three years. • Document changes at site (and of each plot) with photos 10m
Lesson Plans Available On-line http://www.massaudubon.org/Lessoning_Loosestrife/
Many Thanks To • Funding From • National Fish and Wildlife Foundation • National Science Foundation • Community Service Learning Grants • Local Foundations • Massachusetts Environmental Trust • New England Biolabs • General Electric • Partners for Fish and Wildlife Program USFWS • Coastal Americas Foundation • Corporate Wetlands Restoration Partnership • EPA 5-star Restoration Program & grant team • Site coordinators and volunteers • Image and slide use • Donna Ellis – CT Beetle Farmer Program • MSU Purple Loosestrife Project • Partnerships: • 8 Towns & the Bay Committee • Gulf of Maine Institute • NBPT GOMI Team • Great Marsh Habitat Restoration Team • Plum Island Ecosystems Long Term Ecological Research (PIE-LTER) • Parker River National Wildlife Refuge • Salem Sound Coastwatch • Special Thanks In Memory of Great Marsh Stewards • Ruth Alexander • Stubby Knowles • Deb Melvin