Municipal working lands, such as stump dumps, fill stockpiles, transfer stations, and town sheds, are often habitats favorable to the growth of invasive vegetation. These invasive species may then be spread to nearby habitats via natural dispersal or may be spread more widely through human activities such as the transfer of fill. Through a grant funded by the Department of Agriculture Markets and Food, RCCD reached out to towns within Rockingham County to offer evaluations of their town working lands and create management plans providing recommendations on the control and prevention of invasive species spread. Optional herbicide application on up to one acre of invasive vegetation was also included as part of the project.
Nine towns expressed interest in the project and after initial site walks it was determined that all nine contained one or more invasive plant species at various stages of infestation. These walks helped us to prioritize sites and discuss general IPM strategies with town representatives. We were also able to determine that more towns showed interest in the pilot project than we could address through this grant.
Four towns were selected for 2018 and received invasive species management plans tailored for the specific sites. Three of the four sites, totaling approximately two acres of invasive plants were also treated with an herbicide application in the late summer. RCCD is hopeful that there will be funding available in the future to expand the project to include all interested towns within the county.
The goal of this project is was for the District to engage with towns in Rockingham County and provide them with the tools and resources they need to make informed decisions on invasive plant management. Invasive species are not only a threat from an ecological perspective but also economically. Reducing the spread of invasive species can reduce municipal maintenance costs, such as roadside mowing, and culvert maintenance, can provide better safety by not compromising sight distance, and helps preserve biodiversity in our natural systems.