Invasive species responses described

Sheboygan County Landowners are encouraged to attend a free public meeting at the Maywood Environmental Park (3615 Mueller Road, Sheboygan) on July 17 at 5:30 pm to learn about efforts to control highly invasive Phragmites and Japanese knotweed on private lands throughout Sheboygan County.

Lakeshore Natural Resource Partnership (LNRP) partners and contractors have identified populations of these problematic invasive species and are seeking participation of landowners in control efforts by granting permission to treat the target populations at no cost to the landowner. This meeting will provide a project overview and an opportunity to discuss planning efforts, treatment and control methods, landowner expectations, communication plans, and ways to help with the control efforts.

Populations of non-native Phragmites and Japanese knotweed have been identified and mapped throughout the project area and land owners have been sent letters requesting permission to treat their sites. However, there may be locations that are not mapped, so if you suspect that you have these plants on your property, please consider attending to learn more.

LNRP has been awarded grant funding from the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (WDNR) to conduct mapping and treatment of these invasive plant species across the County in partnership with Sheboygan County, Sheboygan River Basin Partnership, Ozaukee Washington Land Trust (OWLT), Southeastern Wisconsin Invasive Species Consortium, Inc. and Stantec Consulting Services, Inc. (Stantec). With grant funding, LNRP plans to control populations of Japanese knotweed and invasive Phragmites for a period of up to three years. The participating private properties will have their invasive species populations thoroughly treated during the first year (2018) from August – October, with followup treatments occurring as necessary the following years as funding allows.

Japanese knotweed grows rapidly and quickly develops large underground root systems, making control especially difficult. Japanese knotweed forms dense thickets of bamboo-like vegetation that aggressively outcompete native plants, and negatively impacts wetland and riparian areas. Dense stands result in reduced plant species diversity and wildlife habitat quality.

Invasive Phragmites is a perennial wetland grass introduced from Europe that grows rapidly and forms dense stands that will crowd out native vegetation, resulting in reduced plant species diversity and wildlife habitat quality. Invasive Phragmites is also a safety and fire hazard and will clog drainageways rapidly.

Efforts to control invasive Phragmites and Japanese knotweed across Sheboygan County are an expansion upon a regional and comprehensive approach made possible through ongoing collaborative work and WDNR and Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) grant funding.

LNRP and its project partners have been working to control non-native Phragmites in Manitowoc County over the past several years, beginning with treatment of shoreline areas and near-shore estuaries and expanding to cover inland townships. In 2017, OWLT and its contractors treated the shoreline of Ozaukee and Sheboygan Counties and Sheboygan Partners, along with the City of Sheboygan, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and Maywood Environmental Park treated along the Pigeon River corridor to restore plant and wildlife habitat as a part of the Pigeon River Estuary Restoration Project.

In addition, Bay-Lakes Regional Planning Commission is working on similar control efforts in Kewaunee County.

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