Friday, August 2, 2013

LaPlatte River Marsh: Invasives Nightmare!

By Juliane Menezes and Sylvia Kinosian

Our favorite natural area

Julie and Sylvia went to Shelburne Bay, only a few minutes south of Burlington, to start working in the LaPlatte River Marsh Natural Area. Mollie Klepack, who works with The Nature Conservancy (TNC), showed us around the area and told us about a few projects that have previously been done in the area to remove the invasives. In a few weeks, a large scale invasvies removal effort will begin, implemented by Restart Forestry. This private consulting company has been hired by TNC and funded by a special grant to do some much needed removal of the invasive infestation. Our project was unique among the other STPs in that TNC asked to create our own monitoring protocol for invasive species monitoring. We decided to use a random plot sampling method to estimate the percent cover of the invasives present; the centers of each one of our 20 plots were marked with GPS waypoints as well as rebar stakes so finding them again will be very easy to find during future monitoring efforts.

Simplicity and ease of use was one of our top priories when creating our monitoring protocol because it will be used by TNC interns and volunteers to collect data after the removal effort; future data will be compared to the baseline data that we collected and used to measure the effectiveness of the chemical and mechanical procedures used on the invasives.
A most beautiful of maps. Oh ArcGIS, how we will miss you.
Over the 8 weeks working with LANDS, we have never seen a place dominated by invasive species like this section of the LaPlatte! We spent most of our time in the field bushwhacking a dense population of honeysuckles and dogwoods. We were basically swimming in a sea of honeysuckle! Hopefully the removal effort be a a success and someday soon the LaPlatte Rive Marsh will be a lovely, invasive free natural area for all to enjoy.

Honeysuckle ocean
In addition to our field work, we had the company of Joshua Brown: writer, photographer, and professor at UVM. He decided to include us, LANDS, in his article for the UVM website. Now we can say that we are Forestry superstars! 
"Hmm, indeed, this Lonicera sp. had got to go" - Sylvia and Julie, Stars of Forestry
Photo Credit: Joshua Brown

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