The ISN field crew has been spending the summer working on several projects for various partners. They’ve assisted in garlic mustard removal in all four counties, surveyed for invasives in Leelanau, treated invasive thistles in Grand Traverse, and removed Oriental bittersweet in Manistee. Last week, they spent time in and around Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore with The Nature Conservancy, digging up or spraying baby’s breath and other dune invaders.
The crew spent hours removing the tough plants from 4 acres at the Sleeping Bear Dunes plateau, then moved to Empire Bluffs for another 2 acres of digging. They traveled south to Arcadia Dunes to remove 20 acres of baby’s breath and invasive bladder campion that could be seeded from or seeding into those more northern populations. Herbicide came into play at Zetterburg Preserve, where the crew and others treated 11 acres of baby’s breath. Finally, 25 acres of invasive spotted knapweed was controlled using herbicide in a fallow field near some fragile dunes. Herbicide is a “necessary evil” in invasive plant control efforts; some areas are just too thickly covered by invasive plants for mechanical removal to make sense (and some plants aren’t controlled well by it). In fact, pulling invasive plants like spotted knapweed in heavily-infested areas stirs up the “seed bank” in the soil, bringing seeds that have been resting to the surface–in some cases sprouting several plants in place of the one you just pulled!
A total of 62 acres protected in just 4 days! And controlling knapweed in those 25 acres of fallow field, before they can move into our valued dune systems and negatively impact their unique inhabitants, is just as important. What’s the old adage? An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.
Keep up the great work, crew and partners!
Subscribe to ISN's monthly enewsletter