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Contact: Jeffrey Shreiner, (570) 296-6952 Ext. 28
BUSHKILL, PA: Superintendent John J. Donahue is pleased to announce that the park has collaborated with both Columbia Gas Transmission (Columbia), a NiSource Company and Met-Ed, a First Energy Company to control the non-native, invasive Mile-a-minute vine (Persicaria perfoliata), also known as Asiatic Tearthumb, within a 9-acre area of the park, including the utility rights-of-way in Bushkill. The vine will be treated with herbicides several times throughout the growing season.
A Pennsylvania-listed noxious weed, mile-a-minute vine grows and spreads quickly, degrading native plant communities and wildlife habitat. It can be recognized by its thorny stems, triangular leaves, and bright blue berries. Utility rights-of-way often provide ideal conditions for the spread of the plant due to abundant sunlight, disturbed soil, and foraging birds and mammals.
Representatives from Columbia and Met-Ed recently met with National Park Service officials and agreed to jointly fund a rapid response plan to contain the infestation and prevent its spread. "This is a good example of how taking a cooperative approach to solving a problem can be mutually beneficial to the park and the utility companies," said Superintendent Donahue. The project will also promote public safety by ensuring a clear and accessible right-of-way.
Treatment will be performed by WEEDS, Inc., of Aston, Pennsylvania and is expected to control 90% of the infestation within one year. The affected area, which lies between Winona Falls Road and Big Bushkill Creek, will be closed on the days of treatment and will re-open the days following. Signs will be posted on-site to notify park visitors. Seeds can persist in the soil and germinate for up to six years, so on-going monitoring and treatment will be necessary.
Mile-a-minute vine is one of many non-native, invasive plant species that compete with native vegetation and can change native ecosystems. You can do your part to combat invasive plants by planting native and non-invasive plants in your landscape, by learning to identify and remove non-native, invasive plants on your property, and by spreading awareness. Factsheets on invasive plants are available at the National Park Service's Weeds Gone Wild website.