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2005 "Volunteers Working With Invasives"
Grants Report Form

Display Report


Project Title: Control and Monitoring of Invasive Plant Species
Region: 5
Station: Assabet River NWR
Contact Person:
Name and Phone Number
Eileen McGourty 978-443-4661 x37
Project Description:
(Up to 250 words)
During a prior invasive plant inventory and mapping project at Assabet River NWR, several invasive plant species and their abundance and distribution were documented. Japanese knotweed, spotted knapweed, oriental bittersweet, black swallowwort, glossy buckthorn, autumn olive, and winged euonymus are of particular interest. These species are rapidly spreading throughout the refuge, forcing out native vegetation. For this project, stands of invasive species will be controlled on the 2,230 acre refuge using mechanical and herbicide control techniques. Vegetative response to actions taken will be monitored and documented. Success or failure of the different techniques will be summarized and distributed to other refuges and interested parties.
List of Invasives Species Targeted:Common NameScientific Name
  Japanese knotweed Polygonum cuspidatum
autumn olive Elaeagnus umbellata
oriental bittersweet Celastrus orbiculatus
black locust Robinia psuedoacacia
purple loosestrife Lythrum salicaria
black swallowwort Cynanchum louiseae
tree-of-heaven Ailanthus altissima
spotted knapweed Centaurea maculosa
glossy buckthorn Frangula alnus
Project Status: Completed
Project Completion Date
or Estimated Completion Date:


Volunteer Affiliation:
(Check all that apply)
Volunteer Involvement:
Describe the type of work the volunteers performed. (Up to 150 words)
Twenty volunteers contributed 200 hours of invasives control at Assabet River NWR. Volunteers have manually removed buckthorn, swallowwort, tree-of-heaven, autumn olive, oriental bittersweet, purple loosestrife and Japanese knotweed. Refuge staff and select volunteers applied herbicide to large patches of swallowwort, bittersweet, Japanese knotweed and spotted knapweed. Volunteers completed control efforts during four large scale work party days and several small group work days. Several volunteers also participated in an invasives species identification training program. Volunteers who participated in this program agreed to work 40 hours on the refuge over the next year to control and monitor invasives.
Total Number of Volunteers: 20
Total Number of Volunteer Hours: 200
List both new and existing partnerships utilized in this project. (Up to 150 words).
Friends of Assabet River provided the manual labor for control of invasive species. Volunteers from other refuges in the complex are also assisting the Friends group with invasives removal. MA Audubon has provided the invasive species maps and invasive species identification training for the Friends and other volunteers who are willing to commit to 40 hours of invasives removal and monitoring over the next year at Assabet River NWR.


Project Results:
Give an overview of the results of the project. Include quantifiable measure of success, such as maps produced, efficacy of control measures, number of sites where invasions were detected early and responded to, number of community contacts, etc. (Up to 250 words).
Twenty volunteers assisted with invasive control at Assabet River NWR. A total of 35 acres were treated, including 10 acres of wetland and 25 acres of upland. Approximately 20 of the upland acres treated were abandoned field habitat while the other 5 acres treated were in forested uplands. Staff and volunteers used both herbicide and manual control methods on Japanese knotweed, oriental bittersweet, buckthorn, autumn olive, black swallowwort, spotted knapweed, tree-of-heaven and black locust. Staff led volunteers in four large scale work party days and several smaller scale work days where only one or two volunteers assisted staff with herbicide applications. Volunteers worked without refuge staff on smaller projects that did not require use of herbicides including manual removal of purple loosestrife and Japanese knotweed in easily accessible wetland areas. Galerucella beetles were released by refuge staff in a large wetland to control purple loosestrife. Volunteers completed 200 hours of invasives control work on the refuge during this past summer and fall. Several volunteers also took part in invasive species identification training conducted by the Massachusetts Audubon Society. The volunteers that took part in the training have committed to working an additional 40 hours over the next year on control and monitoring. All sites treated this year will continue to be monitored next year and control will occur as necessary through volunteer efforts. Control methods and success has been documented and is available to interested parties.
Number of Acres Treated: 35
Number of Acres Inventoried and/or Mapped:
Number of Acres Restored:


Budget: Account for funds in broad categories such as equipment, volunteer stipends, travel, coordinator salary/contract, etc.

Total Grant Amount:

$ 6460

Breakdown of Expenditures:


Total $ Spent
% of Total Grant
Equipment / Supplies 476 7
Chemical 3264 51
Biocontrol Agents 2000 31
Volunteer Stipends
Volunteer Coordinator Salary/Contract
Restoration Materials
Other 720 7.2
TOTAL 6460 100

Recommendations: (OPTIONAL)
How useful was this program for meeting refuge invasive species objectives and how can it be improved?
This project was extremely useful in meeting refuge management objectives. We were able to continue to treat acres that had been treated in the past as well as expand our treatment to new areas. It has also helped to get a group of volunteers together who are willing to continue with invasives control work in the future. The funding provided the opportunity for volunteer training to increase volunteers identification skills and eventually their confidence in tackling some invasives control on their own. This was an extremely important step in facilitating the independence of the volunteers. Hopefully this will be just the beginning to getting more volunteers out on refuges and adjacent lands in an effort to control invasives.


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