Non-Native Invasive Species - Overview

Fallopia

Fallopia
Illustration by Anne Hunter

Native plant populations throughout Vermont are being supplanted by non-native invasive plants. To the extent these invasions are successful, habitat "services" provided by native plant communities - food, protection from prey and weather, places for breeding and nesting, regulation of water temperature, and others - are diminished. Along streams and rivers, water quality too is impaired, as organic inputs are altered, runoff regimes are changed, and banks are destabilized by plant species whose roots are rhizomatous and ill-equipped to protect banks from erosion. And in forests, regeneration is reduced when non-native species move in.

In 2015, BCCD was awarded a grant for $36,700 from the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation to create a Batten Kill Watershed Comprehensive Invasive Species Management Association (CISMA). The two-year initiative produced a partnership agreement between seven partners – the Batten Kill Watershed Alliance, the Bennington County Conservation District, the Bennington County Regional Commission, Calfee Woodland Management, the Equinox Preservation Trust, the Green Mountain National Forest, the Natural Resources Conservation Service, and the Vermont Land Trust. Those partners prepared a five year management plan and a communications plan, and hired a coordinator for the 2016 field season. 

Our coordinator organized the treatment of about 30 acres of barberry (with scattered specimens of other invasive forest species), 0.6 acres of loosestrife, and 4 acres of Japanese knotweed on seventeen different public and private parcels of land. Using mailings, workshops, press releases, summer camp presentations, and social media, she reached about 700 people with news of the CISMA’s barberry and Japanese knotweed treatment program, or of other CISMA initiatives such as our early detection, rapid response project.

In September 2017 we welcome a full-time CISMA Habitat Steward through the Vermont Eco-AmeriCorps program.  Our goals for 2017-2018 are to treat and/or improve two miles of river or tributaries and 50 acres of parks or public lands, and reach out to a minimum of 60 individuals.
Our Steward will help us strengthen existing partnerships, create new ones and further the process of making the CISMA a stable, viable organization working for the betterment of landowners in the watershed.

In 2012, the State of Vermont updated its Noxious Weed Quarantine rule to regulate the importation and movement of a number of invasive plants. Many of them are familiar to gardeners and naturalists in the region, and include goutweed, garlic mustard, bush honeysuckles, buckthorns, and purple loosestrife. New to the list are burning bush, the barberries, and Norway maple. It is illegal to move or sell these species.

Excellent information on invasive plants and animals can be found here: www.vtinvasives.org

Common buckthorn

Common buckthorn
Illustration by Anne Hunter

To learn more about non-native invasive plants common to Bennington County and how to manage them, refer to our brochure, "Guests Who Won't Go Home: Managing non-native plant species in home landscapes, fields and forests in Bennington County, Vermont".

 

 



Batten Kill Watershed, Vermont
Common buckthorn