The Ozaukee Washington Land Trust (OWLT) has just completed their U.S. EPA approved Great Lakes Restoration Initiative grant as of Sep
tember 30th, 2015! The project entitled ‘Partners in Preservation for Invasive Species Removal’ reached significant milestones, thanks to the many partners that were able to be part of the effort along the way.
The project area comprised six counties in the Lake Michigan Basin, and had an end goal of treating and protecting 1,500 acres from four aggressive invasive plant species. To reach this goal, OWLT partnered with over 45 organizations throughout the life of the project, including work carried out with non-profit organizations, local units of government, state agencies and volunteer led groups. Projects ranged in size from five acre nature preserves to three county-wide interstate corridors, and involved groups such as County Highway Departments, Parks and Recreation Departments, Cooperative Invasive Species Management Areas and the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources.
To date, OWLT and partners have treated and protected 1,635 acres of wetland, riparian, and shoreline habitat from the invasion of Phragmites, Japanese knotweed, lyme grass, purple loosestrife and other common wetland invaders. These invasive plant species were of particular concern as they severely degrade Wisconsin’s native ecosystems, and can require large amounts of funding to control.
To establish an inter-jurisdictional program for this project, OWLT coordinated educational workshops open to dedicated volunteers, land managers and interested public citizens. Included here were the River Alliance’s Project RED (Riverine Early Detection) workshops, AIS Bridge Snapshot Day trainings and events held with local governments, such as Washington County’s Land and Water Division.
In addition to working in Wisconsin’s native habitats, OWLT also wanted to manage invasive species present along roadsides. Invasive species thrive in disturbed landscapes, so areas such as right-of-ways most often offer exceptional habitat to many invaders. To address this issue, OWLT’s partner the Southeast Wisconsin Invasive Species Consortium (SEWISC) held meetings with 118 municipalities that covered roadside Best Management Practices (BMP’s) and the state law NR-40. OWLT also partnered with the Wisconsin Department of Transportation to treat 161 stands of Phragmites along the I-94 interstate corridor.
Other accomplishments include supporting the development of technologies geared towards the management of invasive species. For example, OWLT partnered with UW-Extension to further develop the mobile app called GLEDN, which helps to map invasive species and report sightings. For more information, please visit www.gledn.org.
More information about invasive species, best management practices and helpful resources posted on our partner’s websites can be found under the "Aquatic Invasives" tab on the top of our web page.