Striking Out Invasive Plants in New York

August 11, 2017
Spencer Barrett, ISF Crew Leader
New York-New Jersey Trail Conference


Striking Out Invasive Plants in New York
Invasives Strike Force Trail Crew. Photo by Amber Ray.


The Trail Conference’s Invasives Strike Force (ISF) Conservation Corps is at it again for their 2017 season!  

Knocking back over 80,000 invasive plants before the halfway point of the season, the crew has been travelling all over the Lower Hudson Valley targeting emerging invasive species that threaten our native ecosystems.  Some of the project highlights include:

Giant hogweed work has continued this year as ISF tries to combat this dangerous plant with partners Trillium Invasive Species Management (ISM) and NYS Department of Environmental Conservation. Handling hogweed can result in chemical burns, so New York State has been sponsoring removal efforts.  After completing our visits to all of the hogweed sites in the region, we’ve seen that the populations from last year have been in decline so hopefully this plant is on its way out of town.

In the Zofnass Family Preserve, a Westchester Land Trust (WLT) property, glossy and common buckthorn had become a pest, taking over a wonderful wetland area.  ISF worked to protect native species such as winterberry and spicebush by treating as much as they could.  Volunteers, ISF, and WLT staff worked to beautify the main trail as well, targeting wineberry, Japanese honeysuckle, burning bush, and oriental bittersweet off the path.  

One of the more substantial sites that ISF has dealt with has been the population of Salvia glutinosa at the Appalachian Trail section in Dover, New York.  Right near the Connecticut border, this plant has the potential to spread quickly, especially along a much-traversed trail like the AT.  The crew worked in coordination with Trillium ISM again to treat multiple properties in the area. While there, the squad also took out Japanese Spirea and Mile-a-minute vine.

The crew has also been putting in work at Old Croton Aqueduct State Historic Park, working alongside the NYS Excelsior Conservation Corps.  The work there has mainly focused on clearing as much burning bush as possible, along with a number of emerging invasive species: Seibold's viburnum, linden viburnum, wintercreeper, English ivy and more.  


Whether you're interested in protecting our parks, preserving our native plants and wildlife, or learning how to tame that vicious vine in your home garden, the Invasives Strike Force Conservation Corps Crew invites everyone to learn more about the "problem" plants affecting our natural areas. Find out how to get involved.