Delivering citizen science data to our local road crews
Over the past 2 years, SEWISC developed and delivered educational presentations designed to share locally mapped invasive plant species information and management training to government officials and roadside managers throughout Washington, Sheboygan, Ozaukee, Milwaukee, Racine and Kenosha counties. This is the location data that you (our SEWISC volunteer teams) collected over three seasons! Our staff scheduled individual meetings with the local officials of 118 cities, towns and villages located in those coastal counties. Of the 118 local governments, 98 agreed to meet in-person with SEWISC staff, and 20 meetings were held via telephone with information packets delivered both in-person and through electronic means. The enthusiasm with which highway managers received this information and assistance was very encouraging, and demonstrated that our local governments understand that invasives on the roadsides can no longer be ignored.
The main purpose of the meetings was to deliver the locations of invasive plant populations surveyed by local resident volunteers in 2011, 2012 and 2013 in both paper and electronic Geographic Information System (GIS) formats, and to provide each local government with a customized roadside management plan. Meeting topics also included current statewide NR-40 rules and Best Management Practices, the statewide noxious weed law, local weed ordinances, and the roles of weed commissioners.
Electronic and telephone notice of the correct time to mow was delivered to those governments and these notices will also be sent again each year. Our goal is to empower local governments and residents to manage invasive plant species in their communities by giving them the information they need to effectively time their management regimes, strengthen their local ordinances, educate their neighbors and leverage the efforts of their local weed commissioners and other technical resources.
This project increased communication and shared resources regarding invasive species identification and management in the southeastern Wisconsin coastal area. City, town and village staff responsible for roadway management received training, maps and written control plans to aid in preventing the spread of those species along our roadways and into our backyards, parks, natural areas and farmland. SEWISC and our volunteers will continue to provide in-person advice and consultation to roadway crews, helping them to identify invasive plants and time management efforts effectively.
This outreach program would not have been possible without the assistance of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the Ozaukee Washington Land Trust and the GIS and Highway staff members of the six counties. Funding for the program was provided by the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative and we are currently searching for additional funding to complete this vital work in Waukesha and Walworth Counties.
New addition to Wisconsin’s prohibited species list
Along with garlic mustard and browsing herbivores, a new threat to our native woodland flora is lesser celandine (Ranunculus ficaria) which grows as an herbaceous groundcover with kidney to heart-shaped leaves and showy, daisy-like yellow flowers. The species rapidly reproduces and spreads into new areas through bulbils, tubers and viable seed (up to 70 seeds per plant).
The plant begins growing soon after snow melt. After flowering in March and April, aerial vegetation dies back and entire plants can be dead by June. This provides a very narrow window for which to search, identify and control this invader.
Lesser celandine thrives in partial sun and moist soils, but also tolerates drier, sunny sites. Poisonous to livestock and humans, the plant invades forests, wetlands, river ways and uplands including pasturelands and residential lawns making it an enemy of farmers, homeowners and natural area managers alike.
Infestations of lesser celandine threaten spring ephemeral communities in woodlands, eliminating our sensitive native plants. Natural area managers in Ohio and other northeastern states have been struggling with managing this plant for many years. In one Cleveland park, approximately 400 acres are dominated by lesser celandine. Wisconsin Species Assessment Groups were assembled recently to recommend a legal classification for each new species considered for NR 40 (Wisconsin’s Invasive Species Rule). The recommendation for lesser celandine was based upon a literature review developed by the department.
Mechanical control includes hand-digging individual plants, being careful to remove all bulblets and tubers. Hand-digging is difficult in larger populations due to the high degree of soil disturbance and abundance of small tubers which are not removed when you just pull the plant. It is very important to monitor the site in subsequent years for residual plants. Herbicide treatments must be carried out early in the spring, prior to the emergence of native spring ephemerals and amphibians. Glyphosate herbicide (e.g., Roundup®) applied to foliage at the standard 1.5% dilution of the concentrate is effective for control. That is 2 oz. of the 40-50% glyphosate concentrate per gallon of water. If you get in the habit of mixing a dye in the herbicide you use for foliar spray, you will never want to go back to spraying herbicide without dye again
SEWISC is currently partnering with the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (WDNR) and two landowners in our region to control populations of lesser celandine. Help us identify any additional populations in southeastern Wisconsin to expedite early detection and rapid response efforts by reporting any populations of this invading plant immediately to the WDNR.
Fourteen excellent proposals were submitted for funding to the 2015 SEWISC Assistance Program, which was graciously sponsored by the We Energies Foundation. Although a challenging task, the selection committee chose four extraordinary on-the-ground invasive species control projects which will be conducted in our region over the next few months. The projects are summarized below:
Private landowners, Jacki Lewis and Dick Adduci were awarded $1,600 for selective mechanical removal of invasive species on oak savanna habitat that they are working to restore. Funding will be used to purchase herbicide and for mechanical removal of buckthorn and honeysuckle within 4-acres of their 35-acre property. They have been managing common buckthorn, honeysuckle, spotted knapweed, garlic mustard, and oriental bittersweet on their land since the early 1990’s. Funds will also be used to create an access trail and firebreak within the project area to allow further prescribed burn management. This property will be a demonstration site for the Forest Weed Management Grant administered by the Friends of the Mukwonago River, providing training to the public on various techniques for invasive species removal. The property has also served as a demonstration site for Wild Ones and the “Got Buckthorn?” program in the Town of Mukwonago.
$1,400 was awarded to the Friends of the Mukwonago River, Inc. to support education, inventory, and control programs for Japanese knotweed throughout the Mukwonago River Watershed. This project will recruit and train citizen monitors to identify and report knotweed populations, inventory infestations, and treat established knotweed in highly visible public locations within the watershed. Funding will be used to hire a private contractor to conduct mowing and herbicide control on publically accessible plots of knotweed under the management recommendations included in the SEWISC Roadside Invasive Plant Management Plan. The project will also implement watershed-wide citizen education and monitoring workshops. Other project partners include The Nature Conservancy and the Eagle Springs Lake Management District.
The Sheboygan County YMCA – Camp Y-Koda was awarded $840 for control and management of teasel, common buckthorn, garlic mustard, and Dame’s rocket within the Sheboygan River Area of Concern. Funding will be used to purchase herbicide and bark oil, as well as personal protective equipment. YMCA staff will host volunteer outings that will promote citizen-led stewardship opportunities for continued control and education within the project area. The outreach and control components of this project will involve several long-time partners such as UW-Extension, Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, and the Sheboygan River Basin Partnership.
$1,290 was awarded to the Friends of the White River County Park for implementing prescribed burns and herbicide applications to control honeysuckle and buckthorn within the public park’s high quality natural areas. Since their formation in 2014 The Friends have already held several volunteer work days to control invasive species within the park. Funding will be used to purchase herbicide, bark oil, backpack sprayers, rubber fire flappers, a water pump, and a drip torch. The proposed project area also contains a large cedar barn that will provide space for outdoor educational programming with local schools, scout troops, and/or conservation groups. Project partners for the project include Walworth County, the Geneva Lake Conservancy, and Kettle Moraine Land Trust.
Thank you to We Energies Foundation for supporting these vital efforts!
The competition is underway - support your favorite team today!
Volunteers are actively protecting the woodlands of their neighborhoods by teaming up to pull and bag garlic mustard and dame’s rocket throughout southeastern Wisconsin. This year, our goal is to collectively pull 5,000 pounds and raise essential funds for the fight against invasive species. This annual spring event is a competition, a fundraiser, and a way for people to join together and have a positive impact on their environment.
University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee Conservation Club
All proceeds will be will be used for invasive species education, prevention and control in southeastern Wisconsin. All pledge contributions are tax-deductible. A trophy and bragging rights will be awarded to the team with the most bags of pulled garlic mustard/dame’s rocket by June 30, 2015.
Do you have questions about ornamental plants that may be considered invasive and want a list of alternative plant options that are available? If so, the Midwest Invasive Plant Network (MIPN) has created a great resource for you – a publication called Landscape Alternatives for Invasive Plants of the Midwest. The brochure lists invasive plants sold in the ornamental trade industry and offers similar, alternative species (native and non-native) which MIPN recommends as replacements.
Landscape Alternatives is also available as a mobile App for android and apple products. MIPN staff has recently updated this Application to include four additional invasive species: English ivy (Hedera helix), Chinese silvergrass (Miscanthus sinensis), porcelain berry (Ampelopsis brevipedunculata), and callery pear (Pyrus calleryana)along with 36 recommended alternatives to those species.
The brochure can be purchased from the MIPN website (www.mipn.org) and you can download the App here!
Spread the word about this resource and help limit the purchase (and spread) of invasive plants throughout the mid-western United States!
Protect the Places Where You Play: Keep Invasives Out!
The 2015 Annual Invasive Species Awareness Month of June will be filled with events, a video contest, the annual Invader Crusader Awards, the 5th annual Invasive Species Education Summit, and more. Click here to browse the online event calendar.
Do you have your events all planned and just need to promote? Email the ISAM Coordinator to register your invasive species workday, workshop, or other event. Then check out Event Leader Resources for tips on leading and publicizing events.
Changes to Chapter NR-40 (Wisconsin’s Invasive Species Rule) are now final and the official listing of NR-40 is available. The species tables are also available on the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (WDNR) website. These changes are the result of dedicated work by many individuals, and we thank everyone who assisted with the process. There will be more changes ahead so please continue to watch for new invaders and report those species to WDNR staff. This is a way that you can help to keep the rule current and reduce the impact of invasive species in Wisconsin.