Buffalo, NY – The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE), Buffalo District, in coordination with the Engineer Research and Development Center (ERDC), has begun its third year of multiple aquatic invasive plant species management at Times Beach Nature Preserve, Buffalo, NY.
As part of the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative (GLRI), the ecosystem restoration project team has planned, designed, and is implementing a full-scale project to demonstrate means of removing and controlling aquatic invasive plants in concert with restoration of valuable native species. A particular area of focus is control of the non-native perennial grass Phragmites australis (common reed). General treatment options identified for implementation include: mechanical removal, chemical treatment, and habitat modification (restoration).
To begin the third-year, of the current five-year contract awarded in 2012 to Ecology & Environment, Inc., teams will begin chemical treatment of the 31 acre site in early September. To date the contractor has removed approximately 250 tons of invasive biomass, and has cut and treated stands of Japanese knotweed, common buckthorn, and mugwort at the site.
“Observations after the first mechanical cutting and herbicide treatment show a noticeable difference at the site,” said Kris Erickson, Ecology and Environment Inc. “As this project continues, we should see an increase in native plants and a reduction of biomass being removed from the site.”
Nuisance plant management and native restoration strategies were developed jointly by USACE Buffalo District, ERDC and the contractor, with focus on applying adaptive management as the project progresses.
Monitoring ecosystem responses to management is an important component of the project.
“The USACE Buffalo District, ERDC, and the contractor were very cognizant of the important role Times Beach plays in regards to the bird population,” said Craig Forgette, USACE Buffalo District project manager. “Before work was started, and during, bird surveys were completed to ensure the bird population was not harmed. Birds surveys will also be indicators of change in ecological function of the site as the project progresses.”
In 2010, the Obama Administration created the multi-year, multi-agency initiative to restore the Great Lakes. GLRI funds are administered and distributed through the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. For additional information about the GLRI program visit: http://www.lrb.usace.army.mil/Missions/CivilWorks/GreatLakesRestorationInitiative.aspx.
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