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EPT TO CONDUCT TARGETED SPRAYING AGAINST INVASIVE PLANTS
EPT TO CONDUCT TARGETED SPRAYING AGAINST INVASIVE PLANT SPECIES
For immediate release Contact: Kathe Dillmannn 362-1667
The Equinox Preservation Trust has approved the targeted application of foliar herbicides this Fall to help control several exotic invasive plant species that have overtaken some of the forested lands in the 900+ acre Preserve surrounding Equinox Pond in
EPT has targeted a 40-acre site crossed by the popular Flatlander and Snicket trails in the lower sections of the Preserve and has contracted with Vegetation Control Services, Athol, MA, a firm that has worked in the
The chemical products that will be used in this effort will be carefully targeted at the foliage of the undesirable growth. It will be used in very low concentrations and poses no threat to trail users or pets during or following the application. The affected areas will be posted before and during treatment to alert visitors to the activity. Signage will also be placed at the two entrance kiosks alerting visitors of the dates when the application will occur.
Both the Nature Conservancy and The Vermont Land Trust, which hold conservation easements on several important sections of the Preserve, and ecologists familiar with the Equinox Preserve have been consulted to insure there is no conflict or threat to rare plants or natural communities considered vital to the overall ecological health of the Preserve. They support the practice as a method of restoring parts of the forested community to their natural composition.
The invasive exotic species are non-native plants that have been introduced to the Preserve through movements of human, animal and birds. The species targeted in this program include honeysuckle, glossy buckthorn, Japanese barberry and multiflora rose. Hand pulling invasive plants is an alternative control method; however, these species are now so dense in places that only an application of herbicides by a certified professional can be considered as a cost-effective means of control.
According to Alan Calfee of Calfee Woodland Management, a local firm, “If left unmanaged, invasive species are a major threat to the health and resilience of forest ecosystems. Species such as honeysuckle have almost completely taken over the understory in some places and have severely limited the growth of native species. There is a ripple effect of this kind of infestation on song birds, small mammals and amphibians, thus these invasives affect far more than just the vegetation.”
Calfee’s company has recently produced a long-range forest management plan for EPT to guide its oversight activities over the coming decade. EPT is charged with maintaining the 12-mile trail network, developing educational programs for the community and schools, promoting environmental research within the Preserve and raising awareness of the important ecological attributes found on the Preserve lands, as well as the careful long-term stewardship of the forest that will allow for all of these uses.
The woody stems left behind after the herbicide treatment takes affect will eventually decay, and native species such as spring woodland flowers, hardwoods and white pine will move into the void. The EPT board acknowledges that the early results of this control program will, in the short-term, cause some unsightly areas along the two popular trails for at least another growing season, possibly longer. The EPT board recognizes that this initial application will not completely eradicate these invasive species from the targeted portion of the Preserve, and that it will also require some follow up work in about two years to help achieve maximum benefits over the long term.
Technical and financial assistance for this project are being cost-shared through the USDA Environmental Quality Incentives Program, directed by Resource Conservationist Jenny Kimberly. The USDA cost-shared programs are available to help landowners with a variety of habitat improvement and conservation oriented projects.
For more information about the control of invasive plant species in the Equinox Preserve, as well as details of the Preserve itself and programs associated with the Preserve, or to contact members of the EPT board of directors, please visit www.equinoxpreservationtrust.org. Questions regarding the upcoming invasive treatment may be directed to Calfee Woodland Management at 802-362-1472.