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FSU Takes On Invasive Species


By Joe - Posted on 21 July 2013

Students from Fitchburg State University participated in an invasive species removal lab exercise on the Wekepeke Brook on Friday July 19th. Led by Dr. Erin Rehrig, the students learned to identify some of the common invasive plants in Massachusetts and worked to remove them from a section of Trout Unlimited Embrace A Stream Restoration site in Sterling. A great deal of muliflora rose and Japanese barberry was identified and removed along with small amounts of other species. 

Invasive plants can out compete native flora and take over the forest floor. Their overabundance can lead to increased erosion, changes in food availability for animals and have even been associated with increases in the population of deer and dog tics.

The students were also able to identify native species that will benefit from the removal program. The lab was part of a collaboration between Trout Unlimited and Fitchburg State University facilitated by the Wekepeke Watershed Restoration Initiative. The Trout Unlimited project will remove concrete retaining walls and stone piles that restrict a small portion of the brook. After the stones are removed, Trout Unlimited will once again work with Fitchburg State to restore the river banks by planting native grasses and shrubs. A second group of students will complete the invasive plant removal this week.

 

 

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