A Neighborhood Watch... For Invasive Plants

Heutte

Get Involved | Learn More

Interested volunteers:
Receive more details and maps to report findings at a training on June 16 at 6PM at the Chesterfield Senior Center on Rt 143. Call us at 413.268.8219 for more information or to sign up.

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Find everything you've always wanted to know about invasives, including ideas for native alternatives at Invasive.org.

New England Wildflower Society offers a local guide to the spread of invasives in New England.

The Invasive Plant Atlas of New England is a comprehensive database of regional invasives.

Download The Trustees' guidelines on managing invasive plants.

Learn about the Highland Communities Initiative's Least Wanted campaign.

They are stealthy. They don’t respect property lines. And they spread surprisingly quickly for something rooted in the ground. When aggressive, invasive plants threaten the health of our local rivers, fields, and woodlands. That’s the time for neighbors to band together. 

That is why The Trustees have helped to form a watershed-wide partnership comprised of our own neighbors -- concerned volunteers, land trusts and government agencies -- to fight the spread of invasive species in the Westfield river watershed.

Called the Westfield Invasive Species Partnership (WISP), the idea was born from the concern of Trustees’ Regional Ecologist Julie Richburg, who saw that the watershed was beginning to experience rapidly spreading populations of invasive plants such as Japanese knotweed and garlic mustard. The plants were firmly established in certain areas, but had not yet reached others. The time to act to keep these species and other new ones on the way from spreading was now, and it required a larger focus area than the property of any single landowner or organization.

The partnership now includes representatives from The Nature Conservancy, Mass Audubon, the New England Wildflower Society, the Westfield River Wild and Scenic Advisory Committee, Westfield Environmental Center at Westfield State College, the Hilltown Land Trust, and the MA Dept. of Conservation and Recreation’s Service Forestry and Forest Stewardship programs. The goal of the partnership is to work with residents and landowners in the watershed by providing and collecting information on invasive species, and to join together to eradicate existing infestations of invasive plants and prevent new ones.

WISP builds on the momentum that The Trustees’ Highland Communities Initiative created last year with its ‘Least Wanted’ informational campaign about several species of top concern. With some funding from the federal stimulus program, The Nature Conservancy is providing staff time to help get the new effort up and running. One of the first steps for the partnership is to survey areas in the watershed that are both heavily infested with invasives and those that are relatively free from the aggressive invaders. Volunteers are needed to share their knowledge of such areas in their towns, as well as to head out in the field to collect new data.