Outline of Acton Invasives Work - Dec. 2002 1st Revised Jan 2003
Background - Needed Educational Material (first Q 2003?) Guide to identifying invasive species NEWFS article has excellent photos and notes - Just recently got permission to reprint photos! NHESP MassWildlife has out-of-print excellent invasives book. Library REF: 635.92 Gigi is following up on new editions and/or reprint rights. There are many other sources - so far these two are the best.
Identify and highlight some key local invasions Perhaps the 'Acton 10 most unwanted list' or some such. Photos and descriptions of a variety of species and locations. This process is useful in many ways: Prototype for later more thorough inventory Can get more people involved 'what's the worst invasion you know of around here' Material for Beacon article, web site, ConsCom, Earth Day, etc.. Learn and then document rules-of-thumb on approaching invasions (when to pick, when to give up, when to raise an alarm & bring in the heavy guns)
How to create & execute a plan
Gather Core Group - (first Q 2003?) Basic presentation to ConsCom: They'd potentially have ideas, resources, people, budget (in future years) etc. We'd need their permission eventually for most of our interventions. One or two more folks from LSCom and/or elsewhere for early core group would be good. Article in Beacon could help invite people to help the work of the group Make sure Dean Charter & Tom Tidman involved in some way. They have concern, skills, budget influence (for future years), and personnel.
Core Group education (2003?) More skills on identifying invasives in Acton. Use educational material when ready Walks as a group to teach other what we know (and start mapping) Learn from Arboretum work - master plan and interventions already made. Chat with Chris Mattrick re: general ideas on our efforts
Early Direct Actions (2003?) Document and teach basic non-chemical approaches. LSCom folks can do some opportunistic picking while they are walking their lands. Beacon article and web site can show general public how to approach stuff on their own properties.
Mapping (2nd Half 2003?) Decide on mapping system Gigi has started on Weatherbee land - learn from this experience. Other resources on web - sample maps Decide on mapping logistics Execute mapping Prepare maps for distribution Identify key habitat (2003-2004?) Aesthetics - some areas are particularly beautiful for people Rare or Endangered species More knowledge needed on rare or endangered species, esp. in Acton. Cultural or Historical Significance Special ecosystems
Money/Budget (Fall 2003 + ?) Tom Dean and ConsCom could guide us on budget issues.
Plan Document (2004?) Get sample invasive plans from web and from local groups and governments, including NEWFS. Draft plan Make sure to include follow-up plans. Most of this needs multi-year follow-up. Professional help to guide or review plan Formal review with interested parties ConsCom review for specific interventions
Public Education Component (2004?) Cooperate with garden society on influencing homeowners and garden supply places on using substitutes for common invasives. Publicize basic education materials, such as rules of thumb on dealing with invasives. Connect with schools. Invasives are already part of curriculum. talk to Brian Dempsey, for example.
Formal Execution (2005?) Train additional volunteers as needed Schedule manual and chemical treatments
Follow-up (2006?) Review, redraft plan, present results and adjustments to town. Re-inventory & update maps. Keep old maps to understand changes over time.
Open Questions At what point(s) in this process can we best use paid help to create & execute a plan? How do we learn how to triage & prioritize invasions? Do we need to rely exclusively on town applicators, or can us volunteers become usefully licensed? I have licensing info from state - insurance is an issue - would town cover us?