Hartford’s David Chang Conservation Area Invasive Plant Control
Since 2003, the Hartford Conservation Commission has managed the 6.5 acre David Chang Conservation Area which is located on the Ottauquechee River in Quechee. In the summer of 2021, with financial assistance from the AVCC Tiny Grant, the Hartford Conservation Commission carried out a follow-up on invasive plant control started in 2020 in the David Chang Conservation Area. Located along the Ottauquechee River and is known to support three rare/threatened/and endangered species: Great Saint John’s-wort (S2), Garber’s Sedge (S1), and Shinning Ladies’-tresses (S3). European black alder, Japanese knotweed, black swallow-wort, non-native honeysuckle, common buckthorn, and other invasive plants have inundated the site and become to threaten the habitats of these special plants.
Bob Popp (a botanist with the VT Department of Fish and Wildlife) and Dana Hazen (a forester with Redstart Inc. and Hartford Conservation Commission member) spent time on the site in June of 2020 to identify and locate the rare and threatened plants so that they could be protected during the summer invasive plant treatment. In July of 2020, Dana Hazen and Jon Bouton (Conservation Commission Member) returned to the site to perform an initial treatment of the invasive plants. Dana and Jon’s volunteer efforts effectively treated a 50-foot buffer from the Ottauquechee River, which was the most heavily infested area, and the largest threat to the rare and threatened plants. A combination of methods were deployed from using a small handheld spray bottle containing a foliar herbicide application to precisely target invasive plants; cut stem injections of herbicide into the stocks of knotweed, cut stem applications of herbicide to large European black alder stems, and mechanically hand-pulling of smaller woody invasive plants.
In 2021; Dana Hazen (Forester with Redstart Inc and Hartford Conservation Commission member), Bill Musson (Forester with Redstart Inc), and Tom Kahl (Hartford Conservation Commission – Chair) returned to follow-up and expand invasive plant treatments at Hartford’s David Chang Conservation area. Not only did Dana, Bill, and Tom re-treat the 50’ Buffer that Dana and Jon performed initial treatment on in 2021; they also carried out a thorough treatment of the remaining acreage of Hartford’s David Chang Conservation Area. Dana Hazen (and possibly other conservation commission members) intend to revisit the site in late August to observe the effectiveness of these efforts.
All in all, the project was a success, and forced the invasive plants to retreat off the stream edge preserving the critical habitat for the rare and threatened plants on the site. Although the invasive plant populations are greatly reduced, it is likely that future monitoring and control efforts will be needed. It is likely that future control efforts may be carried out by volunteers using mechanical control methods.
A big thank you to AVCC for providing the Tiny Grant to help cover the costs of material used on this project, Redstart Inc. for volunteering experienced and professional invasive plant specialists, Bob Popp for volunteering and identifying the rare and threatened plants, and the rest of the Hartford Conservation Commission for providing additional volunteer support!
Recognizing the importance of protecting rare and threatened plants on this property from invasive plants, the Hartford Conservation Commission decided it important to take action. Hartford Conservation Commission member and Forester for Redstart, Inc. Dana Hazen took the lead and was critical to the success of the project.
Invasive plants are challenging to control. This requires regular monitoring and treatment.