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Non-Native Plant Control Work to Occur at Fort Hill in June

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Date: May 29, 2008
Contact: Stephen Smith, Plant Ecologist, 508 487 3262

Cape Cod National Seashore Superintendent George Price has announced that the National Park Service Northeast Exotic Plant Management Team (EPMT) will visit the seashore from June 18-25 to work on exotic plant control at Fort Hill in Eastham. While the work is underway, some minor trail detours may be in effect.

“The Fort Hill area is a significant ecological and cultural resource within the park,” Price said. “Over the past few years neighbors and visitors have seen the results of our efforts to restore this important landscape to what it once was, a native grass and shrubland with sweeping views of Nauset Marsh. Our efforts to control non-native plants in this landscape continue.”

The team, which is based at Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area, travels around the Northeast region assisting parks with exotic vegetation problems. This is the second year that the team has come to Fort Hill to eradicate exotic shrubs and vines that are choking out native species and altering the normal structure and functioning of the ecosystem.

The EPMT will conduct spot applications of the herbicide Garlon 3A and Garlon 4 (2-3% in water), which affects broadleaf species and not grasses.  It is taken up by plants through the leaves. Once inside the plant, the herbicide mimics a natural plant hormone known as “auxin” in a way that causes uncontrolled growth that eventually kills the plant. Triclopyr, the active ingredient in Garlon 3A, has been classified by the EPA as “practically nontoxic” to mammals, insects, fish, and invertebrates. This is EPA’s lowest toxicity rating. According to the EPMT, there is no evidence that the chemical can leach out of the roots of the plants to which it has been applied.

Team members are experienced, licensed professionals who take extreme care in applying herbicides so that only the target foliage is coated. If Triclopyr were to come into contact with the ground surface, it would be rapidly decomposed by fungi, bacteria, and sunlight.  The final breakdown products are carbon dioxide, water, and other innocuous compounds.  

Following initial treatments, use is much more limited in subsequent years to control re-spouts and re-emergence. Controlled fire and mowing are subsequently used to maintain the desired vegetation structure and composition.

For more information, contact Stephen Smith at Cape Cod National Seashore: 508-487-3262 x104; or via the email link above.

 

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Did You Know?

Cape Cod

In the mid-19th century, Henry David Thoreau walked the Atlantic coastline of Cape Cod, recording his adventures in his narrative "Cape Cod". To literally follow in Thoreau’s footsteps today would require scuba gear. Cape Cod’s Outer Beach sees an average erosion rate of close to 4 feet per year.