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.
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.