Friends of ARNWR: Assabet Pulling Together

Name:  Dave Lange

Organization: Assabet Pulling Together

Where is the site located?: Along winterberry way to the wetlands on Taylor Way in ARNWR

Property Overview: ARNWR has a large wetland complex, small wetlands and vernal pools,and large forested areas. It also has 15 miles of trails. The land has a history of Native American settlement, agriculture,  and was an army base.

Management Site Description: Assabet Pulling together works to manage invasive populations across the refuge, but for the purpose of this case study, we have chosen to focus on the roadside area along Winterberry Way extending down Taylor way to the wetland area, as this has been the focus of efforts in the past year.  

How many acres are in the management area: about 7.2

Is it listed on EDDMapS?: No

Habitat Type: Upland/wetland edge, Field/forest edge, Roadside edge, Fields, Abandoned lot/home site

Initial Invasive Distribution Description: Dense patches along roadside mixed with native plants, generally thinning out as they extend into the forest

What this Early Detection Rapid Response (EDRR)?: No

What were the target species? Autumn Olive (Eleagnus umbellata), Black Swallowwort (Cynanchum louiseae syn. Cynanchum nigrum), Burning Bush (Euonymus alatus), Creeping Buttercup (Ranunculus repens), Garlic Mustard (Alliaria petiolata), Glossy Buckthorn (Frangula alnus), Japanese Knotweed (Fallopia japonica), Japanese Stiltgrass (Microstegium vimineum), Multiflora Rose (Rosa multiflora), Narrow-leaf Bittercress (Cardamine impatiens), Purple Loosestrife (Lythrum salicaria), Wineberry (Rubus phoenicolasius), Japanese hops

What was the initial percent cover of invasives?: 26-50%

What were the management objectives?: Monitoring for EDRR, removing invasives (goals vary from eradication to control based on species and level of infestation), education of neighbors, and identification of areas recommended for chemical treatment.

What was the approximate project start date?: 04/01/2014

Project Summary: From Spring to fall each year, volunteers come out each Saturday to work on manual control of invasives.

Control Method: Manual, Some removal of larger tree-like species with help of tools and a pickup truck

Disposal Method: Brush Pile, Incineration, Bagging, Left on site

Detailed Project Timeline:

Invasives were mechanically controlled by volunteers each Saturday from March-early December. About 1200 hours were donated by volunteers in 2016.

Early March-early May: Winged euonymus
Late March-early May: Japanese Barberry
Late April: Celandine majus, Garlic Mustard
Early May-early July: Wild parsnips
Mid May- Early July: Narrowleaf bittercress
Mid May and Mid Sept: Japanese Honeysuckle
Late May: Star-of-Bethleham
Late May-late July: Black Swallowwort
Mid July: Porcelain berry
Late July-Mid October: Oriental Bittersweet
Late July-early Sept: Japanese hops
Late July-early Oct: Purple loosestrife
Mid-Sept: Spotted knapweed
Mid-Sept: Boston Ivy
Late October: Autumn Olive
Entire season: Glossy Buckthorn, Japanese knotweed, Japanese Stiltgrass, locust species, Multiflora Rose

Was there a restoration component?: Yes

Restoration summary (if applicable): In a small area along the road, volunteers planted natives with a focus on pollinator plants.

Funding Sources: Friends of the Assabet contribute funds for tools and supplies

Final Acres in Management Area: about 7.2

Resulting Percent Cover Invasives: Varied

Final Invasive Distribution Pattern:

Glossy Buckthorn we have greatly reduced in the areas we have worked on, better than 95% reduction.  Locusts less so but still a high number - say 60-80%.  Then there is Garlic Mustard and Japanese Hops: this year we found as many plants as last year, pulling everything we find and hopefully few get past us to produce seeds, hopefully the seed bank will get used up, and then we find new spots a short distance away - so 0 or negative progress?

Any comments or takeaways?

Caution against using paper bags for seeds which remain viable for long periods.
Monitor to catch invasives early
Brush grubber can prove a very useful tool for larger buckthorn, autumn olive, mulitflora rose, and locust species
Including a native planting component to the work allowed the group to engage and educate different volunteers than they had for invasive pulls.
Assabet pulling together has worked with manual control of many different invasive species and is a useful resource for anyone looking for methods of control that can engage volunteers.

Is your site open to the public?: Yes

Are you able to provide a tour?: Yes