2014 awardee reports are in!
Five aggressive invasive species control projects were funded through our 2014 SEWISC Assistance Program, which was generously sponsored by the We Energies Foundation. These efforts are summarized below:
SEWISC awarded $1,000 to the Friends of Lapham Peak to clear buckthorn, honeysuckle and black locust along the old Government Hill Road in Lapham Peak. Funding was used to purchase herbicide needed to complete the project which included cutting, stacking and burning the woody species with the aid of volunteers known as the “Buckthorn Busters” who dedicated 430 hours to the effort. Other partners involved with the project included the Ice Age Trail Alliance and local school groups such as the Kettle Moraine High School. Foliar spraying of the buckthorn re-sprouts is planned for fall of 2015, followed by dispersal of native seeds such as shooting star, bottlebrush grass and Virginia wild rye.
Riveredge Nature Center (RNC) was awarded $1,000 for a 5-acre vernal pond restoration project in the Riveredge Creek State Natural Area. The project focused on the continual removal and management of reed canary grass through chemical and mechanical techniques. This vernal pond serves as crucial breeding habitat for many reptiles and amphibians and is a hub for biological diversity and educational activities at RNC. SEWISC Assistance program funds were used to compensate RNC staff members, who organized and conducted the control efforts with the help of their dedicated volunteer base.
A $1,488 award was given to the River Revitalization Foundation (RRF) for removal of dense thickets of buckthorn and honeysuckle along the river, as well as re-establishing healthy sedge meadow by planting and seeding native southern hardwood forest tree species and understory species, such as nodding onion, compass plant, fox sedge, cardinal flower, and pale purple coneflower in the Milwaukee River Greenway. Management efforts were conducted on 26 riparian acres owned by RRF, as well on riparian land owned by partners, including Milwaukee County Department of Parks, Recreation & Culture, and the Milwaukee Area Technical College. Our support provided RRF with supplies to effectively control common teasel, Japanese knotweed, buckthorn, honeysuckle, reed canary grass, thistle, garlic mustard, and burdock. RRF worked collaboratively with many student volunteers including the Cambridge Woods Neighborhood Association.
SEWISC awarded $1,150 to the Caledonia Conservancy Land Trust for invasive species control on 5 separate land parcels covering approximately 100 acres of mixed woodland, wetland, grassland and river floodplain habitat. The funds were used to purchase herbicide and personal protective safety equipment. This project focused on eliminating woody invasive species using the Conservancy’s dedicated volunteer base which includes several high schools within the Racine Unified School District as well as the Prairie School and UW-Parkside. The Conservancy Land Trust will also continue to engage local schools by hosting the School to Nature Program at several sites throughout the year.
A $766.50 award went to the Silver Lake Management District for a project using SCUBA divers to control a small population of Eurasian watermilfoil located near the south west corner of Silver Lake in Waukesha County. The funds provided by SEWISC were used to purchase equipment needed for the project. The Lake District engaged and educated 21 volunteers who helped to remove and bag the milfoil pulled by the divers.
Thank you to We Energies Foundation for supporting these vital efforts!