Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Plant invaders

     Our suburban neighborhood has a green space that runs adjacent to a creek, Roland Run creek. The green space includes a baseball diamond, fields, a small woods, and the creek's levee, one portion of which doubles as a trail. Many sections of this green space, along with all of the riparian area along the creek, are overrun with invasive plants. According to the Maryland Invasive Species Council (MISC) almost all of the plant species I catalogued are considered species of concern. (I've included a few photos and species names below to give you an idea.) 
Porcelain-berry covering trees and shrubs along the creek.

Multiflora rose growing at the field's edge.

A tree-of-heaven stand taking root on the levee.

    Invasive plants are more likely to take over habitats made vulnerable by rising temperatures, disease, and fragmentation, which basically describes our suburban area. At this point chemical application would probably be necessary to remove the invasive plants along the creek. Still, I contacted MISC to learn more and see what else could be done. Many people, from "weed warriors" to DNR officials, responded. Apparently, most of this area is in the jurisdiction of the Highway Dept. under the Baltimore County Dept. of Public Works.
     In Maryland, a stormwater runoff bill has been passed, which may provide money to help combat invasive species problems like this in the future.  We'll see.
    In the mean time, if you're interested in learning more, getting involved, or registering a complaint, contact Baltimore County's Dept. of Public Works, local representatives, and/or attend this public meeting regarding the Roland Run floodplain.

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