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Volunteer Invasives Mapping Project Report

Display Report


First Year of Project
Station: Eastern MA NWR Complex
Region: 5
Contact Person: Eileen McGourty
Contact Phone Number: 978-443-4661 x37
Date Report Submitted:

List Type and/or Affiliation(s) of Volunteers: Friends of Assabet River, Friends of Oxbow, refuge volunteers
Total Number of Volunteers Trained to Map: 23
Total Number of Volunteer Hours Spent Mapping: 195

List of Invasives Species Mapped:Common NameScientific Name
  Garlic Mustard Alliaria petiolata
Black Swallow-wort Cynanchum louiseae
Oriental Bittersweet Celastrus orbiculatus
Japanese stiltgrass Microstegium vimineum
Bush honeysuckles Lonicera spp.
Multiflora rose Rosa multiflora
Japanese knotweed Polygonum cuspidatum
Tree of Heaven Ailanthus altissima
Japanese barberry Berberis thunbergii
Which, if any, of these Species are Early Detection Species: Japanese stiltgrass
Total Number of Acres Mapped (since project initiation): 60
Have You Shared Mapping Data with USGS in Ft. Collins? No

Describe Projects Initiated with Follow-Up Funds ($10,000): The follow up funds were combined with additional grant money ($14,500) to contract out the mapping project with the Massachusetts Audubon Society's Ecological Extension Service. Due to issues we had with our original mapping units and the WIMS program we decided it was time to invest in new units and a new mapping methodology that would provide the information the refuge needed and still allow volunteers to feel productive while mapping in the field. The Ecological Extension Service produced a protocol that divided the refuge into a 50m X 50m grid and then identified the invasives species within the grid along with abundance information. The Extension Service recruited volunteers, trained them on the new mapping units and protocol, and oversaw the project for the first field season in 2008. To date the new units and protocol are working great and the refuge is using the information to assist in invasive control management. In addition to the mapping project, the Ecological Extension Service also led 5 volunteer work parties in 2008 and also held a program on invasive species identification for the public. The Ecological Extension Service also continues to work on the invasive management plan for Assabet River which will also outline how to maximize the use of volunteers in invasive plant control. This plan should be completed by the end of 2009.
Total Number of Acres Treated with Follow-up Funding: 30
Total Number of Acres Restored with Follow-up Funding: need to continue to monitor to determine if "restored"
Total Number of Volunteers Engaged in Treatment and/or Restoration: 19


How has this Project Benefited Invasive Species Management Efforts at Your Station? This project has provided the refuge with information on location and abundance of invasive plant species needed to make management decisions. It has also provided the opportunity to educate the general public regarding invasive species, their impacts and management.
What are some of the Lessons Learned and/or Troubleshooting Points that could be Shared with Others Engaged in Similar Activity?
Equipment, especially GPS units need to be dependable and easy to use. It is helpful to team people up, especially when starting off with new volunteers to the mapping program. This way they can help each other learn the technology and plant identification. A protocol that is easy to use and allows volunteer to make visible headway in mapping acres is also helpful. Some mapping protocols provide lots of detail but it can take several hours to map a single acre, depending on the number of invasive plants found. Identification of plants is essential, but it is helpful to hold trainings throughout the year, as plants look different at their different stages and some plants are more easily seen during different times of the year.


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