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2007 "Volunteers Working With Invasives"
Grants Report Form

Display Report


Project Title: Swallow-wort control on Mt. Tom to protect rare species
Region: 5
Station: SOCNFWR
Contact Person:
Name and Phone Number
Cynthia Boettner 413-548-8002 x115
Project Description:
(Up to 250 words)
The Mt. Tom Unit of the refuge is located on an unusual traprock ridge that is home to migratory and nesting bird species, including nesting wood thrushes (BCC list); over 40 occurrences of 13 state-listed plants; and several state-listed herps. Nesting bird habitat and rare plants are being threatened by a large infestation of pale swallow-wort (Cynanchum rossicum), a very aggressive invasive plant which is rapidly spreading from open fields into forested habitats. This is the third year of a multiple year project to use an herbicide to kill the swallow-wort (and successive new or seed bank crops of swallow-wort) before it can overtake and displace the forested nesting habitat and the rare plants. With the funds, a licensed contractor was hired for the herbicide work. We were also able to hire a seasonal employee (the same person that helped in all capacities of the program in previous years) to flag the rare plant populations, oversee the spray operations, and assist with monitoring. Volunteers used hand tools to pull and cut the swallow-wort and pull seedpods within the buffers where herbicide is prohibited around rare plants on refuge-owned lands. In a related project, refuge staff worked with partners to teach staff of local and statewide agencies and organizations and the public about the threats of swallow-wort and other new invaders and how to report new occurrences. Another invasive plant presentation will be given at the Great Falls Discovery Center that will include information about future volunteer opportunities on Mt. Tom.
List of Invasives Species Targeted:Common NameScientific Name
  pale swallow-wort Cynanchum rossicum
Project Status: InProgress
Project Completion Date
or Estimated Completion Date:


Volunteer Affiliation:
(Check all that apply)
VA_FriendsGrp                                 VA_Other
Volunteer Involvement:
Describe the type of work the volunteers performed. (Up to 150 words)
Volunteers pulled and hand-cut swallow-wort plants within rare plant buffers where herbicide could not be used. They also pulled pods from swallow-wort missed by the herbicide applicators. New volunteers will be recruited for work on Mt. Tom through a presentation to be given at the Great Falls Discovery Center this coming fall or winter.
Total Number of Volunteers: 4
Total Number of Volunteer Hours: 20
List both new and existing partnerships utilized in this project. (Up to 150 words).
Abutting landowners (The Trustees of Reservation, MA Department of Conservation and Recreation, Mass Highways) are also treating their swallow-wort and other invasive plant populations, in some cases using the help of volunteers and youth crews. We are also working in close contact with the MA Natural Heritage Program to continually refine our strategy to protect the rare plants in the course of control. They provided a staff person to do targeted herbicide control of swallow-wort in some of the rare plant buffers.


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).
Although herbicide is the only viable means to actually control swallow-wort, the volunteers helped us slow down the swallow-wort in areas off limits to herbicides and by picking seeds of untreated plants. We won't know the results of the herbicide treatment until next spring, but based on the success of the 2006 spray, we are expecting an overall 90% drop in populations from 2005. We hope to strengthen our volunteer force by offering a presentation to our Friends and the public about volunteer opportunities on Mt. Tom. Other invasive species on site are more easily controlled by mechanical means, so there will be even more opportunities in the future.
Number of Acres Treated: 38
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:

$ $15,000

Breakdown of Expenditures:


Total $ Spent
% of Total Grant
Equipment / Supplies
Chemical $13,540 90
Biocontrol Agents
Volunteer Stipends
Volunteer Coordinator Salary/Contract $1,460 10
Restoration Materials
TOTAL $15,000 100

Recommendations: (OPTIONAL)
How useful was this program for meeting refuge invasive species objectives and how can it be improved?


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