Fighting Invasives Before They Invade

Volunteers Clare Kitchin and Mark Sykes surveyed invasive plants at Forty Caves.
Volunteers Clare Kitchin and Mark Sykes surveyed invasive plants at Forty Caves.

As new non-native invasive plant species arrive in our region, SVT and other conservation organizations are fighting them with a technique called Early Detection and Rapid Response (EDRR). We take a survey of the plant life at a property, map the location of any new invasives, and then fight the interlopers before they become established.

We’re focusing on those species considered the most problematic for this region, such as kudzu, mile-a-minute vine, and Japanese stiltgrass. We've chosen these plants based on guidance from CISMA (Cooperative Invasive Species Management Area), which has produced a watch list of problematic plants that are new to our region or are expected to arrive soon.

SVT has begun using the EDRR technique at Forty Caves Conservation Area. This area is a good candidate for EDRR, because it is a healthy property that has not been overrun by invasives. SVT AmeriCorps member Paige Dolci and several volunteers surveyed Forty Caves this summer and tracked where they found the new invasives. Our Stewardship staff will now take steps to eradicate the plants so we can keep Forty Caves healthy for wildlife and people.