Out With The Invasive, In With The Native

Posted on: September 12th, 2016 by Caroline Stupple

On Saturday, September 10th the Catskill Interpretive Center (CIC) held a volunteer invasive pull event on their property. The area is to be prepared for a Riparian Buffer Demonstration project lead by the Catskill Streams Buffer Initiative (CSBI). The CIC received funding from the Ashokan Watershed Stream Management Program (AWSMP) and CSBI to remove the invasive species, replace them with native trees and shrubs, and create educational material to inform the community on the importance of streamside buffers.

Bobby Taylor, CSBI Coordinator, teaching the volunteers how to identify common riparian invasive plant species.

Our day started off with a short pre-event rain storm that helped to cool off the previous mugginess of the day. Once all of the volunteers gathered, CSBI coordinator Bobby Taylor held an educational talk about invasive species’ role in the environment and different important management options. We were pleased to learn just how much our participants already know about invasives and how passionate they are about limiting invasive species spread and managing them on their own properties. Our conversations touched on just how easily invasive species outcompete native species and decrease biodiversity and how they can drastically affect native organisms that rely on native habitat. It is always inspiring to interact with community members who are dealing with and care about the same issues we are tackling.

With shovels, pickaxes, uprooters, bugspray, and sheer determination in hand, the volunteers set out with one mission; to get those pesky plants out! And boy did that determination go a long way! We were utterly blown away at how great of a team the volunteers made and how much material we were able to clear. As our day wound down we had a lovely picnic lunch, provided by the CIC, and got to sit down with the volunteers and get to know them a bit. Our productive day ended with good food and great company!

Volunteers identify and pull invasive species at the Riparian Buffer Demonstration project site at the CIC.

At the root of the pull project and the impending riparian restoration in the fall, is the importance of stream buffers to water quality, habitat, and floodplain stability.  A small ephemeral stream, one that has flowing water during and following a rain fall or snow melt event, runs through the back of the CIC property; adjacent to the stream is the special zone called the floodplain. These floodplains are highly susceptible to invasive species because seeds and fragments of plant material can so easily be carried by flowing water and deposited downstream.

This issue is far from only being a streamside problem. Many people, groups, and even government agencies deal with invasive species management on a daily basis. It takes all members of a community to really stop the invasion and eliminate the future introduction of nonnative and invasive species. Our amazing group of volunteers was not only hardworking, but also enthusiastic about environmental protection, continuing their own fight against invasives on their properties, and helping to educate others to do the same.

CSBI, AWSMP,the CIC, and the NYS Department of Environmental Conservation wants to thank all those who participated and made our Invasive Pull Event a success on all levels!

If you would like to learn more about invasive species, what you can do, or about the support available to streamside landowners please visit the CSBI website at http://catskillstreams.org/ or contact CSBI Coordinator Bobby Taylor at bobby.taylor@ashokanstreams.org. If you would like to learn more about the Ashokan Watershed please visit AWSMP’s website at ashokanstreams.org or contact us at 845 688 3047.


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