JULY 6, 2011
FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT:
BOB ROTATORI - 216-635-3263 -OR-
ERIC BARNETT - 216-635-7014
They are far from home, but they're everywhere you look. They're
pushing our biodiversity around like neighborhood bullies. And,
Cleveland Metroparks is fighting back harder than ever against
invasive plants in the Park District.
Invasive plants are not the same as lawn or garden weeds,
although they share many traits. These plants establish and spread
quickly to form dense monocultures in native habitats. They can
disrupt essential relationships between animals, plants and the
environment, such as food supplies, breeding habitat, water
availability, and the physical structure and components of
ecosystems. Invasive plants can arrive in waves, with multiple
species moving in together, creating cascading negative effects on
local biological diversity. In the worst cases, invasive plants are
game-changers, actually altering or degrading natural functions of
ecosystems, such as water quality or soil chemistry.
Cleveland Metroparks has its share of the worst invaders of
Northeast Ohio, including woody species (shrubs and trees), wetland
invaders, and upland grasses and forbs. The scope of the problem is
impressive: conservative estimates across the Park District put the
acreage of invasive plant populations at 1,000 to 1,400 acres. This
translates to an average cover of 11% per reservation, with a range
from one percent invaded area to 64 percent!
Some of the invasive plants include, but are not limited to:
buckthorns, honeysuckles, Japanese barberry, multifloral rose, and
Norway maple (woody species); cattails, phragmites, purple
loosestrife, and reed canarygrass (wetland species); and garlic
mustard, Japanese knotweed and lesser celandine (upland
Park District staff has been removing invasive plants for
decades. Now the Natural Resources Division and Park Operations
Department have joined forces for a multi-year, park-wide plan
targeting the worst of the plants. The action plan includes mapping
and prioritization of sites and species, seasonal "control
teams" for in-house control supplemented by contract labor on
some huge populations, and the development of volunteer "early
detection teams" to survey, assess and map invasives at all
This summer park visitors might see evidence of the work,
including all-terrain vehicles, brush removal crews, and selective
spray teams. Changes may be noticed, including "missing"
shrub layers and patches of dead vegetation. Bright pink
"Invasive Plant Management Area" stake flags will be
placed in work areas. And, the abatement of the
"invasives" and the recovery of the "natives"
should be evident.
In addition, Cleveland Metroparks Outdoor Education Division
also invites the public to get involved with the efforts to
eradicate invasive plants. The following programs are offered to
park visitors in May:
Help Stop the Invasion
Sunday, May 3 � 2 - 4 p.m.
BrecksvilleNatureCenter � Brecksville
The forests are being invaded by garlic mustard. Help us fight
back and pull this invasive plant to help protect our Park
District. Join Naturalist Kelly McGinnis over hills and off-trail
for 1 to 2 miles in search of garlic mustard.
BrecksvilleNatureCenter is located off Chippewa Creek Drive, off
the Route 82 entrance of Brecksville Reservation in Brecksville.
For more information, call 440-526-1012.
The Wrath on Grapes II
Saturday, May 9 � 8:30 a.m. - 12:30
Squaw Rock Picnic Area parking lot � South Chagrin
Beat back the alien invaders with Chief Naturalist Bob Hinkle.
This month, South Chagrin Reservation is the target in the quest to
cut and destroy alien grape vine thickets that threaten our
valuable hardwood forests. Hand tools provided. Participants need
to bring gloves, water and snacks. Registration is required for
this program for adults and children, ages 14 to 18 with parent or
adult guardian. Squaw Rock Picnic Area parking lot is located off
Hawthorn Parkway in South Chagrin Reservation, east of SOM Center
Road/Route 91 in Bentleyville. For more information or to register,
Garlic Mustard Hunt
Saturday, May 9 � 1:30 - 3 p.m. at
Johnson's Picnic Area OR 3:30 - 5 p.m. at Hinckley
What could be nicer than spending a May afternoon in Hinckley
Reservation? Helping Mother Nature while you're at it! Help control
invasive garlic mustard in beautiful Hinckley Reservation before it
becomes established. Tools and light refreshments provided.
Registration, beginning May 1, is required. Directions to specified
program start locations will be given upon registration. For more
information and to register, call 440-526-1012.
Park visitors can help halt the "Attack of the Aliens"
by getting involved with eradication efforts of invasive plants in
Cleveland Metroparks - part of your life,