Metropark Cooperative Targets Invasive Species, Improving Native Habitat

Workers help clear invasive species out of Grimm Fen, restoring native habitat to the area. Photo courtesy of Cleveland Metroparks.

Workers help clear invasive species out of Grimm Fen, restoring native habitat to the area. Photo courtesy of Cleveland Metroparks.

Project Summary: Cleveland-area parks removed invasive plants, shrubs, and reeds, allowing native species to return.

Project name: Cuyahoga Cooperative Weed Removal

Location: Greater Cleveland, Ohio

Description: Many sites around the Great Lakes have problems with invasive plants. These aggressive, non-native species take over marshes, forests, fields, and prairies, crowding out native species that provide a rich habitat for wildlife in the Great Lakes ecosystem. The strength and persistence of these invaders also makes them hard to remove from an area once established. Thanks to a grant from the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative, several groups in the Cleveland metropolitan area have formed a cooperative weed management area to more efficiently and effectively combat invasive plants in the region. In three years, a small crew of people worked to clear almost 4,000 acres in the Cleveland Metroparks, the Summit County Metroparks, and areas adjacent to the Cuyahoga Valley National Park. The grant funded the removal of dense, woody underbrush, as well as aquatic invasive plants, such as phragmites, in area wetland.

Approximate cost of project: $363,195

Resource challenge addressed: Invasive plants, lack of native plants, lack of plant diversity

Key partners (public and private): Great Lakes Restoration Initiative, Cleveland Metroparks, Summit County Youth Employment for Success, Summit Metro Parks, Cuyahoga Valley National Park, Tinkers Creek Watershed Partners, Ohio Department of Natural Resources, Geauga Park District, the Nature Conservancy

Types of jobs created: invasive plant removal crew

Results and accomplishments: In three years, the crew removed invasive species like Asian bittersweet, autumn olive, glossy buckthorn, Japanese knotweed, multiflora rose, phragmites, purple loosestrife, and reed canarygrass, in almost 4,000 acres. The hard work of this crew has opened up space and native species are returning, which will benefit area wildlife. This successful collaborative has been given another Great Lakes Restoration Initiative grant, allowing this restoration work to continue.
Website: http://bit.ly/1HTtW8g

Originally published: February 12, 2016

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