Town Creek Riparian Habitat: Combatting Invasive Exotic Species December 8, 2019

I am revising the way I am recording the progress - or lack of - in the Johnson City and Lyndon B. Johnson National Historical Park's Town Creek riparian habitat rejuvenation efforts. This effort is due to a combination of formal and informal entities interested in improving the visual and endemic or native species occupation of the Town Creek riparian habitat. Riparian habitat is the unique flora and fauna that inhabit creeks, rivers, streams and lakes of most of the continents of planet Earth. Here in Central Texas, that typically means spring fed pools, ponds, creeks rivers and streams that represent oases from the all too frequent hot and dry - for the most part - savannas and forests. Think of the number of times you travel to a favorite state park or natural area in the Hill Country and the days aren't hot and dry and seemly lifeless. That is where our riparian habitats come in and play the roll of oases in the midst of a dry hot hell;-)

So this is one of the reports I wrote for the local volunteer list that I use to communicate with fellow citizens wanting to participate in our informal volunteer effort and the official LBJ National Historical Park's effort that uses volunteer groups and networking to help in restoring the native riparian habitat of Town Creek:


Hello everyone

I want to give a quick review of LBJ National Historical Park’s Town Creek riparian alien species eradication effort. Cheyenne Dolin put together a team that included Texas Parks and Wildlife biologist, Angela England, who heads up the Giant Cane eradication in Barons Creek, Fredericksburg.

I worked with Angela on the large Ligustrum on the pond, the one we had not touched the first time we worked at the pond. As some of you know, the Ligustrum we did girdle shows good signs of stress and Angela is confident it will not survive. The other, larger Ligustrum took more effort as it has numerous merged branches on the main trunk and each had to be girdled effectively in order to accomplish the deed. Angela got down on the bank where Cali did the first Ligustrum cutting and I sat on the bank and worked the back of Angela’s girdling. What Angela suspects and Cliff told me way back when, was to girdle in summer and now we know why. In late fall/winter the Ligustrum, while evergreens, do not have much of the xylem and phloem in the cambium layer and hence the bark tends not to be easy to pry off the tree. That makes for more work and repeated efforts, so next month when we meet again, we’ll have a different strategy for attacking our offending aliens. Beyond that, we had a good time uprooting lots of small Ligustrum along the Settlement boundary fence by the wetland and inside the wetland as well to the point that most of the small green saplings have been removed. In fact, Angela demonstrated that many of the small Ligustrum could be removed by hand and now that the native deciduous species have lost their leaves, identifying invasive Ligustrum just got a lot easier, much to their peril. I also uprooted some of the Japanese Honeysuckle as well as some of the larger of the small leafed Ligustrum with the LBJ NHP’s uprooting tool.

As Angela and worked on the Ligustrum at the pond, we talked about various techniques for invasive species control. I asked her if she knew of the recent study using shade to control Giant Cane and she told me she had just read it. We talked about herbicide use vs non-toxic approaches and she is generally supportive. As I said, Angela mentioned she headed up the effort to remove Giant River Cane in Fredericksburg.

Our next effort will repeat same time and place the first Tuesday of January and I am attaching a flyer to go with this hear message so everyone can have the info. Between now and then, I’ll see if I can’t encourage others to join our efforts on the Settlement so we can get as close as possible to realizing our goal of controlling these alien invasive species. Rather than girdling, I’m betting uprooting with tools and by hand will take up most of our time. It might be the most effective method at our disposal this time of year, so please join us if you can.

I would like to give Superintendent Susanne MacDonald a big shout out and thanks for putting this project together and allowing Johnson City volunteers to participate. Her willingness to have the park sponsor a supportive volunteer effort to help the park deserves a big thank you! See you all next time.

Cheers

Bill Arbon

Lähettänyt billarbon billarbon, 13. maaliskuuta 2020 05:34

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