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Forest Service Recovery Act Funds Benefit Rhode Island

Two years of work is nearly complete on a project to eradicate what is considered one of the worst invasive exotic plants in parts of the eastern U.S.

An effort to grow and market locally sourced, locally grown and genetically diverse native plants (Rhody Native) in cooperation with nursery industry has been made possible with Forest Service Recovery Act funding. Photo Credit: Hope Leeson.

An effort to grow and market locally sourced, locally grown and genetically diverse native plants (Rhody Native) in cooperation with nursery industry has been made possible with Forest Service Recovery Act funding. Photo Credit: Hope Leeson.

The Japanese knotweed grows in thick, dense colonies that completely crowd out native species. Forest Service Recovery Act funds helped to tackle the infestation in the largest contiguous forest block in Rhode Island where the invasive occurs.

Since 2010, with the support of Forest Service Recovery Act funds, the Rhode Island Natural History Survey has been using previously underemployed green industry workers to map all knotweed locations, contact all affected landowners, and conduct herbicide treatments on 20,000 acres in and around the state’s Arcadia Management Area. The funds also helped created Rhode Island’s own Youth Conservation Corps for high school students that outside funding sources continued to support in 2011.

Forest Service Recovery Act funding created Rhode Island's own Youth Conservation Corps for high school students in summer 2010.  Outside funding sources continued this effort in 2011. Left to Right:  Robin Spears, Alex Nguyen, Kyle Audette (Photo Credit: James Barnes)

Forest Service Recovery Act funding created Rhode Island's own Youth Conservation Corps for high school students in summer 2010. Outside funding sources continued this effort in 2011. Left to Right: Robin Spears, Alex Nguyen, Kyle Audette (Photo Credit: James Barnes)

The work to eradicate this plant also included efforts to educate the public through a mail campaign and a heavily attended public meeting contributed to the project’s success, as did a training workshop for area municipal highway crews.

Forest Service Recovery Act funds also enabled contractors to erect deer enclosures at multiple sites to demonstrate, over time, the relationship between forest regeneration, invasive plants, and deer abundance.

Deer enclosures were erected at multiple sites to demonstrate, over time, the relationship between forest regeneration, invasive plants, and deer abundance. John Korfel Fence Company employees: Rob Castellano, Dean White, Mark Meltser (Photo Credit: James Barnes)

Deer enclosures were erected at multiple sites to demonstrate, over time, the relationship between forest regeneration, invasive plants, and deer abundance. John Korfel Fence Company employees: Rob Castellano, Dean White, Mark Meltser (Photo Credit: James Barnes)

In addition, Forest Service Recovery Act funding is supporting an effort to grow and market genetically-diverse native plants that are locally sourced and grown in cooperation with the nursery industry.

The Forest Health Works Project has designated and managed, using underemployed green industry workers, a cooperative invasive species management area in the largest contiguous forest block in Rhode Island for Japanese knotweed in cooperation with state, municipal, non-government agencies and more than 40 private landowners. Colin Gosselin, Aquatic Control Technologies: (Photo Credit: Grace Lentini)

The Forest Health Works Project has designated and managed, using underemployed green industry workers, a cooperative invasive species management area in the largest contiguous forest block in Rhode Island for Japanese knotweed in cooperation with state, municipal, non-government agencies and more than 40 private landowners. Colin Gosselin, Aquatic Control Technologies: (Photo Credit: Grace Lentini)

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