On Tuesday, USDA released a Forest Service report that documents the significant efforts to increase the pace and scale of restoration on the landscape to create resilience within forests and natural resources. The report highlights the extensive work the Forest Service has undertaken over the last few years to confront serious challenges facing forests and grasslands.
The first initiative that is highlighted is the Collaborative Forest Landscape Restoration Program, with a spotlight on the Grandfather Restoration Project. Out of 20+ projects across the country, the fact that we were chosen as the highlight in this high-impact report says a lot about the hard work and great collaboration here on the Grandfather!
Grandfather Restoration Project North Carolina: The Grandfather Collaborative Forest Landscape Restoration Project brings together diverse partners to restore the forest health and resilience of a unique section of the southern Blue Ridge Mountains. The project is reducing fire risk, removing invasive species, improving wildlife habitat, and increasing recreation opportunities. One of the project’s many successes is the work across ownerships to remove Japanese knotweed from the Wilson Creek Wild and Scenic River Corridor. This invasive plant species takes over riparian areas, competing with native vegetation and reducing the quality of trout habitat in the waters of Wilson Creek. Successful treatment of Japanese knotweed requires removing the plant from both the National Forest System and privately owned land in the river corridor. The Forest Service, North Carolina Wildlife Resource Commission, and the partner group Friends of Wilson Creek are working on National Forest System lands and with private property owners to remove Japanese knotweed, with plans to eradicate Japanese knotweed from the area by 2017.
Check out the full report here: From Accelerating Restoration To Creating and Maintaining Resilient Landscapes and Communities Across the Nation
The Grandfather Restoration Project has been highlighted in the news once again! A story detailing the invasive species work being done at Wilson Creek was featured on the front page of the Sunday edition of the Lenior, NC Newspaper, The Lenior News Topic.
“In the 1920s, Bill Crump ordered a packet of seeds from a Sears Roebuck catalog to help him stave erosion after a flood washed through his woodworking mill in Cary’s Flat, near the headwaters of Wilson Creek.
In the 70 years since then, the plant that grew from those seeds, Japanese knotweed, has multiplied exponentially, migrated down the creek and taken up residence along uninhabited stream banks.
Today, what was supposed to be a fix has become a big problem for the ecology in the Wilson Creek area.”
The story brings attention to the Japanese knotweed overtaking the Wilson Creek Corridor, and highlights both the work of the NC Wildlife Resource Commission and the US Forest Service.
Read the full article on the newspaper’s website here: Japanese Weed a Growing Problem at Wilson Creek
The Wilson Creek Wild and Scenic River corridor in Caldwell County is a priority area for non-native invasive species treatments under the Grandfather Restoration Project. One of the most prevalent and destructive invasive species along the river is Japanese knotweed (Reynoutria japonica), which takes over riparian areas, competing with native vegetation and reducing the quality of trout habitat in the waters of Wilson Creek. First planted on private property in the early 1900’s for erosion control, the Japanese Knotweed can now be found throughout the Wilson Creek area.
Volunteers work to remove Japanese Knotweed from riparian areas along Wilson Creek
Wilson Creek has mixed ownership, with Forest Service lands in the headwaters and downstream. Treating Japanese knotweed only on Forest Service property would not accomplish the objectives of the Grandfather Restoration Project, as plants would continue to wash downstream from private property. In order to fully eradicate Japanese knotweed from the river corridor, it is critical that individual property owners work with the Forest Service to properly treat infestations on their portion of the river.
In order to educate both private property owners and the visiting public about Japanese knotweed, the Grandfather Restoration Project has posted flyers throughout the area that highlight the species as Wilson Creek’s Most Unwanted Invasive Species. Already, several property owners, including the Wilson Creek Visitors Center run by the non-profit organization “Friends of Wilson Creek”, have expressed interest in controlling the species on their riverfront properties. With the help of these private landowners, as well as the North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission, the Grandfather Restoration Project hopes to eradicate Japanese knotweed from the area by 2017.