Robert Cushman Murphy County Park
This is our second year weed pulling an extremely invasive non-native vine. We're also hearing ticks are really bad this year, and that there is no obvious entrance to this County park. Quality Parks is planning a Community Talk at the Pine Barrens Trail Center regarding tick bite prevention and land management.
Last Updated June 14, 2017
June 4, went for a site check and brief weed pull. Spoke extensively with a local to learn about tick abundance and no park signage. Also observed many other invasive species that need to be inventoried. Mile-A-Minute weed growth extensive, especially in moister soils or mulch piles.
2016, early Sept - Nov
These photographs visualize the work we accomplished in our first year of weed control. The photograph on the left is not yet invaded by mile-a-minute. The photograph in the middle is what would have happened if we did nothing and let the plants cover and shade out native plants. The photograph on the right is an area we where we removed all mile-a-minute vines before they reached maturity. During the off season, we're following up on tick bite prevention, research and management, that is relevant to R.C. Murphy Park.
After Weed Pull
Quality Parks last weed pull was in late September when we came upon viable seeds.
2016, end July to early August
Monitoring continues, evidence of weevils eating leaves, but MAM continues to grow. No flower presence yet. Droughty season, growth does best in where moisture is present (near sweet pepperbush, composted yard waste, under fallen tree logs). MAM stems thicken as plant matures.
Monitoring and weed pulling with help from the Long Island Greenbelt Trail Conference's Monday Crew, Quality Parks strategy is to weed pull the larger ones. There is evidence of weevils eating leaves, but vines still growing. No flower presence yet.
Began MAM removal at end of May.
This Special Project also means being good neighbors. Google Map was directing traffic the neighbor's private road. This private road is adjacent to the invasive species pull location. Neighbors called Suffolk County Parks to complain. Suffolk County Parks said that's a Google, not us. Quality Parks responded by calling Google directly. It took Quality Parks about an hour to resolve the problem.
Quality Parks begins the long process of filing NYSDEC wetland permits, seeking political and technical support. One of our Master Naturalist took on the NYSDEC wetland application process as a relevant service project.Quality Parks requested and received a vote of support from the Sierra Club’s Long Island group who fully supports this project. We also received support letters from Cornell Cooperative Extension and Suffolk County Legislature Kara Hahn. This was followed by the Suffolk County Parks authorization letter.
Quality Parks also continued monitoring and removal of MAM along the Paumanok Path.
Quality Parks approached Pine Barrens Commission staff to actively work us, Suffolk County Parks, and others to develop a response plan. Quality Parks and Pine Barrens Commission staff went out in the field. Pine Barrens Commision staff noted that since the second location bordered a wetland, a NYSDEC wetland permit was required. They also helped with updating updating IMapInvasives for regional situational awareness, and later with confirming weevil presence. The Pine Barrens Commission withdrew interest at this point. However, a Quality Parks contact at Cornell Cooperative Extension advised, "The weevil is effective, but won’t accomplish eradication, so you would definitely need to keep a watchful eye on any isolated infestations. Best Management Practice (BMP) is to hand pull young plants from late April until early to mid flower/seed appearance which is in late July usually." Quality Parks also contacted the adjacent private landowner suggesting a summer removal date. At another time, Philip Marshall (Yale PhD trained Terrestrial Ecologist) accompanied Quality Parks to monitor, document, and measure the mile-a-minute infestation.
Posting the map below, Quality Parks spent several hours at the Riverhead County Center researching tax map parcels to identify who owned the parcels where the MAM invasive species were located. Quality Parks then contacted the immediately adjacent private property owner to the Suffolk County parcel (Robert Cushman Murphy Park), explaining the reason for our call. The property owner agreed to help with MAM removal. Quality Parks began contacting Pine Barrens Commission Staff with our concerns.
Itinerant Ecologist, John Black, held the strongest opinion that wild or prescribed fires created opportunities for invasive species to invade and degrade the ecological integrity of the Pine Barrens. This vine was the first reported case found post Spring 2012 wildfires). It was found by an outing led by the Long Island Greenbelt Trail Conference (LIGTC). Quality Parks later returned to assist LIGTC to remove the Mile-A-Minute. It took three plastic bags full of plant material to remove what appeared to be just one plant that had spread out to an approximate 10 by 10 foot area in one growing season. Dozens of its seeds had to be monitored in upcoming years as they would sprout. MAM is an annual vine where even unripened green sides can germinate. The site was also marked with white paint, M-A-M. Pine Barrens Commission staff attended the removal. Quality Parks explored the area in search of a possible 'mother' location (as shown in the map above, in red). Friends of the Long Pond Greenbelt also provided critical information about to continue proper removal and disposal.