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2009 "Volunteers Working With Invasives"
Grants Report Form

Display Report


Project Title: Controlling Invasives on Coastal Habitats
Region: 4
Station: Savannah NWR
Contact Person:
Name and Phone Number
Chuck Hayes 843.784.9911
Project Description:
(Up to 250 words)
The primary mission of the Savannah NWR is to protect and conserve wetland-dependent wildlife, especially migrating and wintering waterfowl. The Savannah NWR winters approximately 20% of South Carolina’s wintering waterfowl and control of invasive species, both exotic and native, is paramount to ensuring quality seasonal wetland habitat. Giant cutgrass, cattail, American lotus, water hyacinth, and sesbania all present problems in managing the 3,000 acres of moist soil units on the refuge. One aspect of this project will focus on a 230-acre impoundment that is virtually covered in giant cutgrass and American lotus with some scattered cattail and water hyacinth. The impoundment will be aerially sprayed with herbicide to reduce the amount of cutgrass and lotus and provide open water for waterfowl and other wetland-dependent birds. Volunteers will be used to help monitor post-treatment vegetation response and collect plant samples for an educational herbarium. In addition, the refuge and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers partnered five years ago to create an offshore nesting island utilizing material from Tybee NWR. This nesting island was immediately successful in fulfilling the void of quality beach nesting habitat. Over twenty thousand birds utilize the island for nesting making it the largest tern colony in Georgia and South Carolina. However, invasive plant cover and fire ants currently threaten the quality of the island. Prior to nesting season, in the spring of 2010, refuge personnel and volunteers plan to utilize chemical and mechanical control to eradicate invasive species from the four-acre island.
List of Invasives Species Targeted:Common NameScientific Name
  Giant cutgrass Zizaniopsis miliaceae
Cattail Typha latifolia
Sesbania Sesbania spp.
American lotus Nelumbo lutea
Water hyacinth Eichhoria crassipes
Bermuda grass Cynodon dactlyon
Lambsquarters Chenopodium album
Red imported fire ants Solenopsis invicta
Project Status: InProgress
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)
The Friends of the Savannah Coastal Wildlife Refuges will provide much of the post-monitoring support and assist with collecting voucher specimens for the plant collection. Volunteers will be trained to identify invasive plants, not just those targeted in this project, and will assist in conducting the vegetation monitoring to evaluate the effectiveness of the herbicide treatment. Also, volunteers will be instrumental in providing the labor to hand-spray bermuda grass and pull many of the Chenopodium plants and create more suitable open, sandy habitat for the terns.
Total Number of Volunteers: 5-10
Total Number of Volunteer Hours: ~100
List both new and existing partnerships utilized in this project. (Up to 150 words).
The newly formed Friends of the Savannah Coastal Wildlife Refuges will be used extensively in this project. The group is growing and can provide a cadre of volunteers with varied backgrounds to assist with this project and others associated with controlling invasives on the Savannah NWR and Tompkins Island.


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).
Specifically for the moist soil impoundment, this project will target one large impoundment, Pool 1 (230 acres), which is 95% covered in invasive species, namely giant cutgrass and American lotus. Only a small portion of the impoundment is open water, which is important to waterfowl. Other invasive species include water hyacinth and cattail. Reduction of cutgrass and lotus will increase the amount of open water and the amount of more desirable waterfowl food plants as well as providing open-water habitat for other wetland-dependent birds. In addition to the vegetation response, bi-monthly waterfowl counts will be conducted and compared to numbers from previous years to determine any changes in use. The goal of the project on Tompkins Island is to produce open, sandy nesting habitat for nesting terns. Results will be determined in numbers of nesting terns and the amount of open sandy habitat restored through mechanical and chemical control of the vegetation.
Number of Acres Treated: 175
Number of Acres Inventoried and/or Mapped: 230
Number of Acres Restored: to be determined


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

Total Grant Amount:

$ 9,300.00

Breakdown of Expenditures:


Total $ Spent
% of Total Grant
Equipment / Supplies 1,045.00 11.3
Chemical 8,255.00 88.7
Biocontrol Agents
Volunteer Stipends
Volunteer Coordinator Salary/Contract
Restoration Materials

Recommendations: (OPTIONAL)
How useful was this program for meeting refuge invasive species objectives and how can it be improved?
The program is proving to be very useful to the refuge. Providing a little seed money - the more the better - allows the refuge to equip the volunteers with the necessary tools to efficiently get the job done. In this case the herbicide was the big expense but motivated the volunteers and will allow them to show great success on a relatively short term.


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