By July 30, 2015 1 Comments Read More →

Terrestrial Response Team Back in Action this Summer

The Adirondack Park Invasive Plant Program (APIPP) has contracted with Invasive Plant Control (IPC) Inc. again this summer to provide the services of a terrestrial response team. This team will allow APIPP to extend its reach in managing harmful terrestrial invasive plants across the region. The response team consists of a four member crew dedicated to early detection and rapid response of invasive plants such as Japanese knotweed, common reed, yellow iris, and others. The Nashville based IPC disperses teams nationwide for a variety of invasive species survey and management related projects. This is the fourth summer that APIPP has contracted with IPC to provide an Adirondack response team.

Crew leader Vance Brown isn't afraid to get dirty to reach invasive plant infestations such as this Japanese knotweed.

Crew leader Vance Brown isn’t afraid to get dirty to reach invasive plant infestations such as this Japanese knotweed.

Recently, I had the opportunity to tag along with APIPP’s terrestrial coordinator Zack Simek and half of the response team as they treated phragmites and Japanese knotweed sites along State Route 3. The team splits into pairs each day in order to increase work efficiency and cover as much ground as possible given the Adirondack’s short growing season. Vance Brown, certified pesticide technician and leader of this summer’s response team, explained that because the Park is so large they began by tackling the southern portion of the Adirondacks. This plan was driven by the fact that the plants in the southern part of the region tend to be further along in the growing season. Herbicide treatments are most effective when plants are nearing full growth, thereby increasing the management success of the response team’s efforts. As summer progresses the team is moving north and expanding their management activities into the interior Adirondacks. Infestations within the interior Adirondacks are relatively small, averaging about a tenth of an acre in size. By addressing these infestations now, the response team is able to prevent them from becoming large, destructive infestations that have a low likelihood of complete eradication.

A single phragmites plant at this infestation is a significant decrease from past years.

A single plant can be hard to spot. The lone phragmites plant found at this infestation is a significant decrease from past years.

When I met Vance and his partner Matt out in the field, they were easily spotted by the large “Invasive Species Management Crew Ahead” safety signs that they use to inform motorists of their work sites.  Vance and Matt had been focusing on treating infestations along State Route 3 between Saranac Lake and Star Lake. Referring to previous years maps on their Trimble GPS units, they revisit historic invasive plant management sites as they make their way along the road. Using these same units Vance and Matt are also able to record any new findings and document their treatment. This information will eventually be incorporated into APIPP’s invasive plant management database. At the first site, Vance and Matt were on the hunt for a small phragmites infestation just inside the forest. They found only a single plant, a significant decrease from the previous year’s observation, but equally critical to treat in order to prevent re-colonization. Throughout the rest of the day, we visited several other previously managed phragmites infestations, each consisting of phragmites plants growing intermixed with native vegetation. Effective treatment of such sites requires both an expert eye and a trained hand. However, we also encountered sites in which the team did not find any invasive plants though there were records of them in the past, a big step towards beating an infestation.

Vance prepares his backpack sprayer before treating a phragmites infestation.

Vance prepares his backpack sprayer before treating a phragmites infestation.

While no member of the response team had visited the Adirondacks prior to this summer, together they have experience managing over 50 different species of invasive plants across the country. As a forestry graduate of the University of Maine, Vance in particular feels a sense of familiarity in the Adirondack wilderness and the species it consists of. He is happy to have returned to the Northeast, an opportunity the team is fully taking advantage of with off-time activities such as hiking and sight-seeing.

Matt marks a Japanese knotweed plot on his Trimble GPS unit.

Matt marks a Japanese knotweed plot on his Trimble GPS unit.

The terrestrial response team will be working in the Adirondacks until mid-September. Be sure to give them a wave or honk your horn in appreciation if you pass them on the road this summer!

 

 

Posted in: Posts

1 Comment on "Terrestrial Response Team Back in Action this Summer"

Trackback | Comments RSS Feed

  1. Suzanne McGraw says:

    I am delighted to read that there is an attempt to respond to terrestrial invasives in the southern areas of the Adirondacks!
    We here at Hunt, Jenny and Efner Lakes, just inside the Blue Line, sometimes feel we are not considered partof the “real” Adirondacks, yet stopping invasives here would certainly benefit the middle and northern Adirondacks by slowing their movement northward.
    We would be very happy to have any or all members of the response team look at County Rte. 10 going toward these lakes from the Village of Corinth. In the past several years, we are threatened by roadside phragmites and Japanese Knotweed and have been unable to find help. Saratoga County, who owns the roadside, seems to have no immediate plans to deal with these invasives.
    Can we please be considered for a Rapid Response effort?

Post a Comment