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2013 Invasive Plant Conference:
Path to Restoration Success

Wednesday, July 31 & Thursday, August 1, 2013
National Conservation Training Center in Shepherdstown, West Virginia



U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
National Conservation Training Center
698 Conservation Way,
Shepherdstown, West Virginia 25443

The conference is co-sponsored by the Mid-Atlantic Invasive Plant Council and the Morris Arboretum of the University of Pennsylvania.

The conference focused on the importance of having a restoration plan prior to invasive plant removal. This is critical to avoid regrowth and re-infestation by targeted and other invasive species. The conference is geared to land managers, restoration specialists, garden managers, and others interested in learning more about invasive plants and habitat restoration.

Registration | Conference Brochure

Day One:

    9:45am -- Break
    10:00am -- Restoration Successes: Forest, Floodplain, and Meadow Projects - Before and After
    Carole Bergmann, Forest Ecologist/Field Botanist, Maryland National Capital Park & Planning Commission
    In this description and comparison of recent restoration projects Carole concentrates on three or four sites and includes a variety of habitat types including forest, meadow, and floodplain. This is a "before and after"/"how we did it” talk. Carole, who founded the citizen volunteer based Weed Warrior Program in 1999, will also discuss effectively using volunteers in restoration projects.
    10:30am -- Invasive Species Control Strategies and Forest Restoration Projects…Getting the Biggest Bang for your Buck
    Michael Van Clef, Ph.D., President, Ecological Solutions
    Michael will discuss invasive species control strategies and forest restoration projects at the 1,400-acre Ted Stiles Preserve at Baldpate Mountain near Trenton, New Jersey. Topics include utilization of soil restoration ahead of tree planting, deer management, invasives mapping, and control strategies that acknowledge impacts of past land use and critical threats to highest conservation values.
    11:00am -- Prescribed Fire as a Management Tool for Historic Landscape Maintenance
    Ed Wenschhof, Chief Ranger, Antietam National Battlefield
    This session focuses on efforts at Antietam National Battlefield to use prescribed fire as one of several landscape management options to restore and sustain the historic landscape, manage invasive vegetation, and improve wildlife habitat. Topics covered will be burn planning, implementation, and resource monitoring.
    11:30am -- Question & Answer Session
    12:00pm -- Lunch
    2:00pm -- Assessment of Plant Community Restoration Following Tree-of-Heaven Control by the Fungus Verticillium albo-atrum
    Norris Muth, Ph.D., Assistant Professor of Biology , Juniata College
    Tree-of-Heaven (TOH) is a highly invasive woody species incurring substantial investment in control efforts across its extensive adventive range. A recently isolated strain of the fungus Verticillium albo-atrum has been found to cause near 100% mortality of TOH in laboratory and field tests. Here we present our findings on the plant communities in experimentally infected TOH stands 5-6 years post treatment in comparison to uninfected control stands.
    2:30pm -- Integrating Biological Control and Native Plantings to Restore Sites Invaded by Mile-a-Minute Weed in the Mid-Atlantic
    Judith Hough-Goldstein, Ph.D., Professor Entomology & Wildlife Ecology, University of Delaware
    The mile-a-minute weevil, Rhinoncomimus latipes, first released in North America in 2004, has since shown good activity in suppressing mile-a-minute weed, Persicaria perfoliata, but in some cases other invasive plants have replaced the target weed. Ongoing experiments suggest that presence of a strong native competitor can prevent this "invasive species treadmill" effect. Depending on the initial plant community, restoration planting may be necessary to ensure such competition.
    3:00pm -- Break
    3:15pm -- Restoration of a Xeric Limestone Prairie in West Virginia
    Mike Powell, Land Manager, The Nature Conservancy
    Xeric limestone prairies are open, nonforested areas where herbaceous plant communities occur on shallow, rocky soils derived from calcareous substrates. These grasslands are characterized by the dominance of C4 perennial grasses (Schizachyrium scoparium and Bouteloua curtipendula in WV) and are distributed in eastern US from Missouri and Pennsylvania south to Arkansas and Georgia. Restoration techniques in the Smoke Hole Canyon in West Virginia involved canopy manipulation to mimic forest disturbance in order to provide more sunlight to herbaceous communities. Non-native invasive species removal and monitoring efforts are ongoing but preliminary observations indicate a positive response to this management technique.
    3:45pm -- Steep Slope Invasive Plant Management and Native Plant Restoration at Pittsburgh's Mount Washington Scenic Byway and the Nine Mile Run Brownfield Redevelopment Site
    John K. Buck, Soil Scientist/Project Manager, Civil & Environmental Consultants, Inc.
    John Buck will provide an overview of invasive plant management and native plant restoration at the Nine Mile Run brownfield redevelopment site at an abandoned slag dump and at a more natural setting on the steep slopes below the iconic view from Pittsburgh's Mount Washington neighborhood. At Nine Mile Run CEC worked on design-build ecological restoration in the Nine Mile Run stream corridor and adjacent areas at the southern end of Frick Park. The effort included 15 acres of revegetation of steep slag slopes without using soil, 60 acres of invasive plant management (including Frick Park), and assessment of invasive and native plant communities on approximately 100 acres in and around the greenway. On the slopes of Mount Washington, CEC is controlling erosion and establishing native plant communities on steep (up to 1:1 horizontal:vertical) slopes on Pittsburgh's famous overlook. Fast-growing, mostly-invasive vegetation has caused an ongoing eyesore and maintenance burden for the City of Pittsburgh as these plants eclipse the spectacular views of Pittsburgh and her rivers from Mount Washington In concert with control of invasive plants, a major goal is to stabilize soils against erosion while establishing appealing, low-growing vegetation which, in conjunction with other management measures, will significantly resist re-infestation with problem plants.
    4:15pm -- Question & Answer Session
    4:45pm -- Adjourn
    5:30pm -- Social Hour in Lounge

Day Two:

    9:00am -- Mid Atlantic Invasive Plant Council Business Meeting
    Steve Manning, MAIPC Vice President
    10:00am -- Break
    10:15am -- Outdoor Session: Using Mobile Technology to Enhance Your Invasive Species Management Program
    Steve Manning, Invasive Plant Control, Inc.
    During this session we will demonstrate new technologies that have been developed specifically for invasive species managers. We will begin by heading outside to see some of the techniques used for controlling invasive species surrounding NCTC. Part of the demonstration will include the use of IPC's newly developed online tools called IPC Connect (online tracking mapping and project management tools) and IPC Logic (a mobile smart tool for prescribing invasive plant management techniques). We encourage participants to bring along their smart phones or tablets so they can access and demo the tools while in the field. The field exercise should take about 45 minutes. Once complete we will head back to the classroom for a 30 minute online presentation highlighting the benefits of these tools.
    11:30am -- Lunch
    1:00pm -- Invasive Plants and Pollinators: Enhancing Ecosystem Services in Restoration
    Matthew J. Sarver, Sarver Ecological, LLC
    Invasive plant species alter the plant-pollinator dynamics of invaded systems. When planning invasive species management and restoration, it is important to understand the pollinator resources (including invaders) available in the degraded site and attempt to maintain or enhance those resources in the post-restoration target community. Resource value to pollinators should be considered when prioritizing control of multiple invaders at a site. Comparison with adjacent plant communities and with less disturbed reference sites can help guide selection of functionally and phenologically diverse plant species for restoration. This approach will enhance the value of the site for pollinators and maximize the ecosystem services they provide.
    1:30pm -- Seed is a Critical Natural Resource: Managing the Seed Resources of the Mid-Atlantic
    Ed Toth, Director of New York City's Greenbelt Native Plant Center
    Seed banking is a highly useful ex situ plant conservation tool that, when effectively employed can greatly increase the effectiveness of land management, restoration and critical in situ conservation activities. The Mid Atlantic Regional Seed Bank (MARS-B) was established in 2012 to meet both the needs for a national seed banking program aimed at conserving the flora of the entire US, and to meet the needs of the conservation community in the region for appropriately sourced seed. Director Ed Toth will delve into the rationale for and the history of seed selection and banking and will describe the goals and activities of MARS-B and Seeds of Success.
    2:00pm -- Coaxing Native Meadow Out of the Weeds: Maybe It's More About "Process" than "Result"
    Chris Bright, President of the Earth Sangha
    The Earth Sangha is a nonprofit environmental organization that operates an ecological restoration program for public lands in the Washington, D.C .area. At its heart is a "Wild Plant Nursery," where staff and volunteers grow about 250 native plant species, all from seed collected directly from local, wild populations. The nursery supplies the Sangha's own restoration projects, as well as the projects of public-agency partners. In 2010, the Sangha began working on meadow restoration. Propagating more meadow species at the nursery proved to be the easy part of this effort. The hard part, not surprisingly, was coping with the weeds, especially on large sites of 10 acres or more. Chris will describe the Sangha's struggle to build a volunteer-based meadow restoration effort, and provide a tour of the Sangha's failures and successes to date. He will explain why he has come to see this type of work as more a matter long-term engagement, and less a matter of "installing" a supposedly static result.
    2:30pm -- Summary Comments and Question & Answer Session
    3:15pm -- Adjourn