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2005 "Volunteers Working With Invasives"
Grants Report Form

Display Report


Project Title: Invasive Species Monitoring and Treatment with Volunteers
Region: 5
Station: Patuxent Research Refuge
Contact Person:
Name and Phone Number
Marilyn Eames 301-497-5949
Project Description:
(Up to 250 words)
The FY05 grant supported four different initiatives for invasive species control on the Refuge, two of which were new this year. Among the new programs, seven Invasive Species Work Days were scheduled to draw one-time volunteers to the Refuge for the purposes of invasive species control. A new Invasive Species Warriors program was also created which trained returning Refuge volunteers in the identification and control of garlic mustard, mile-a-minute, and Japanese stiltgrass. Grant monies were used to purchase supplies and protective equipment for the work performed by these volunteers. Grant monies were also used to purchase a Trimble GeoXT GPS unit which was used by an intern hired to map infestations following the R5 regional protocol for the inventory and mapping of invasive species on NWRs. Lastly, funds were used to purchase herbicide and personal protective equipment (PPE) used in the control of problematic infestations.
List of Invasives Species Targeted:Common NameScientific Name
  Chinese lespedeza Lespedeza cuneata
Garlic mustard Alliaria petiolata
Mile-a-minute Polygonum perfoliatum
Japanese stiltgrass Microstegium vimineum
Canada thistle Cirsium arvense
Phragmites Phragmites australis
Project Status: Completed
Project Completion Date
or Estimated Completion Date:


Volunteer Affiliation:
(Check all that apply)
VA_FriendsGrp VA_Scouts                VA_GardenClub            VA_MGardener   
Volunteer Involvement:
Describe the type of work the volunteers performed. (Up to 150 words)
Returning refuge volunteers participating in the Weed Warriors program attended one of two two-hour training sessions to learn identification and control techniques for three invasive species common on the refuge (garlic mustard, mile-a-minute and Japanese stiltgrass.) Once training was completed, the volunteers were asked to contribute four hours per month towards invasive species control as their schedules allowed. This work could be performed any time the refuge was open to the public. Work performed was limited to hand-pulling of problem species. One-time volunteers participating in Invasive Species Work Days took part in a brief educational session discussing the problems posed by invasive species, and then participated in 2-3 hours of hand removal of the problem species mentioned above. Interns hired to map invasive species also helped with hand removal of target species, but additionally helped refuge staff set up study plots examining different treatment techniques and participated in chemical control.
Total Number of Volunteers: 48
Total Number of Volunteer Hours: 466
List both new and existing partnerships utilized in this project. (Up to 150 words).
Though no new partnerships were created specifically for or by the refuge's participation in this project, partnerships existing through other initiatives contributed to the project's success. Coordination with DOD's Fort George C. Meade and the Anne Arundel County Master Gardeners helped advertise events and raise public awareness. Local scout troops, the Chesapeake Bay Alliance and Friends of Patuxent also pledged volunteer hours towards the project.


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).
The project faciliated the purchase of a Trimble GeoXT GPS unit, which was used to map (with sub-meter accuracy) 88 acres of phragmites, thistle, lespedeza, stiltgrass and mile-a-minute. Lespedeza and stiltgrass had been previously unmapped and were essential to monitoring the success of control efforts. The volunteer programs spawned a great deal of interest and investment towards controlling invasive species on the refuge; 48 different individuals donated 446 hours of volunteer time over 15 sites and cleared 2.3 acres of garlic mustard and mile-a-minute by hand, allowing native species to flourish. The project also facilitated treating 33 acres of Chinese lespedeza with Garlon 4; initial results suggest 70% and 100% success respectively in areas where two different application rates were used. This information will be used in future applications to yield higher success rates. Equipment purchased to support the program in its first year included herbicides, backpack sprayers, PPE, flagging, weed-wackers, garbage bags, a GPS unit and associated software. These materials will be used to continue control efforts and support volunteer programs in future years. The funding made available through the grant kick-started programs which will be continued and built upon in future years.
Number of Acres Treated: 35.3
Number of Acres Inventoried and/or Mapped: 88
Number of Acres Restored: 2.3


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

Total Grant Amount:

$ 9600.00

Breakdown of Expenditures:


Total $ Spent
% of Total Grant
Equipment / Supplies 8190.78 85.3
Chemical 900.54 9.4
Biocontrol Agents
Volunteer Stipends 245.00 2.6
Volunteer Coordinator Salary/Contract
Restoration Materials
TOTAL 9336.32 97.3

Recommendations: (OPTIONAL)
How useful was this program for meeting refuge invasive species objectives and how can it be improved?
These new programs were extremely useful in meeting invasive species objectives, for several reasons. The most obvious result was the amount of control achieved by volunteers working as their schedules allowed, and without the need for direct staff supervision. A second and equally important benefit was the involvement of volunteers and the community in learning about and dealing with the threats posed by invasive species - lessons that were brought back to their own properties. The intern built on past efforts to map plant distributions and began mapping lespedeza and stiltgrass, essential to monitor the success of ongoing treatment efforts. We hope to improve next year in several arenas. First, the turnout to our work days was much less than we had hoped. We will work with organizations such as the Master Gardeners to plan and advertise these events with much more advance notice so that we can also recruit volunteers from their organizations for our workdays. Secondly, we will hire an intern for the full 5 months; a misunderstanding of funding constraints (I didn't realize grant money couldn't be used to hire an intern for spring of 2006, which was the plan), a $2000 FY05 allocation from Region 5 for a mapping intern, and the early termination of an existing intern resulted in only 1.5 weeks of intern stipend being charged to the grant, despite the funding available. Thirdly, we have learned from this year's experience and will begin controlling Japanese stiltgrass earlier, using volunteers to weed-wack mature plants. We hope these strategies will help us to build on this year's success, increasing the amount of control achieved, acreage mapped and volunteer hours donated towards control efforts.


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