White Mountain National Forest Celebrates 2012 Invasive Species Accomplishments

Release Date: Jan 7, 2013  

Contact(s): Leighlan Prout

WMNF Invasive Species

White Mountain National Forest wildlife and botany staff finished the 2012 field season with a total of 73.2 acres of NNIS treatment on the Forest, exceeding the target by 55%. For the first time, agreements with the New Hampshire Department of Resources and Economic Development and New Hampshire Department of Transportation allowed us to partner on NNIS treatment at Franconia Notch State Park, a “hole in the doughnut” surrounded by the WMNF and bisected by an interstate highway. A number of expanding roadside infestations of Japanese knotweed (Polygonum cuspidatum) were treated before they could become an overwhelming source of spread onto adjacent Forest lands. 

Monitoring of treated sites on the WMNF continues to demonstrate the effectiveness of past treatments. Most treatment sites this year were easily handled by small teams. Anticipated stretched budgets and reduced staffing levels, in conjunction with other high priority work like Tropical Storm Irene recovery, means other employees may have less flexibility to help with NNIS treatment in the future. This makes it imperative that we stay on top of infestations while they’re small and more easily managed.

Control efforts also continued at the New Boston Air Station via an inter-departmental agreement with the Department of Defense. Although a much smaller land base than the Forest, New Boston is heavily infested with a variety of NNIS. Funding from the Department of Defense covers part of a seasonal botanist’s salary, as well as paying for permanent WMNF staff to help with eradication projects.  This experience has proven useful for our staff, as they are exposed to NNIS infestations much different than what we see on the Forest. Not only are infestations much more extensive, but a number of species occur at New Boston that are not yet present on the Forest. This has allowed our employees to develop an ‘eye’ for these species, both close-up and at a distance, which should prove to be useful in our early detection efforts.