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CONTACT:
Nicole Andrews (603) 778-0015
May 17, 2013

"Pulling Together" to Help Combat Invasive Plants: Weed Wrenches Available for Free Loan

New web resource features statewide town-level info on combating invasive plants.

Acworth NH map of invasive plants
Town by town maps and information about highest priority invasive plants can help communities make a difference. Visit wildnh.com/invasives.

GREENLAND, N.H. -- Groups working to combat invasive plants on the Seacoast can now borrow some tough "Weed Wrenching" tools to make their efforts more effective. The Great Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve, a part of the N.H. Fish and Game Department, is offering an invasive plant removal tool loan program funded by the Lamprey River Advisory Committee.

The program establishes a storehouse of specialized tools to be used as a community resource. Called Weed Wrenches, these tools are useful for manual removal of woody stemmed invasive plants such as glossy buckthorn, autumn olive, multiflora rose and honeysuckles. Currently, a total of 26 Weed Wrenches are available in four different sizes -- enough tools to equip large work groups.

"The goal of this program is to provide an easy, free way for conservation commissions, land trusts, natural resource managers, restoration ecologists, individual landowners and other conservation partners to carry out community invasive plant control projects," said Rachel Stevens, Stewardship Coordinator for the Great Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve.

The tools are housed at the Great Bay Discovery Center in Greenland and are available on a first-come, first-served basis. To make arrangements to borrow the tools, please visit greatbay.org/programs/Tool-loan-program.htm. Loan of the tools is free; a brief form must be filled out about the project for which they will be used. Contact Nicole Andrews at nicole.andrews@wildlife.nh.gov for more information.

"We look forward to hearing from you and ask that you forward this to other conservation partners that may be interested." said Stevens. "Together we can help maintain the ecological integrity of New Hampshire’s Great Bay and coastal watersheds."

New Hampshire’s Great Bay and coastal watersheds are regions of great biodiversity within the state and include special habitats such as pitch pine barrens, Appalachian oak-pine forest, salt marshes, and emergent and shrub wetlands. Invasive plants know no boundaries and frequently impact these vegetative communities and the wildlife they support.

Throughout New Hampshire, invasive plants are causing significant ecological and economic harm. They may impact wildlife by choking out natural habitats such as freshwater wetlands, causing loss of available food, or altering habitat structure. The importance of minimizing the spread of invasive plants across the landscape means they are a common focus of restoration projects. However, invasive plants can easily reestablish from surrounding areas unless a landscape-scale strategic approach is taken to prioritizing control projects.

With that in mind, the New Hampshire Fish and Game Department and the N.H. Natural Heritage have teamed up with over 120 community members, natural resource managers and academics to develop a statewide strategic prioritization plan for the control of upland, wetland, and intertidal invasive plant species. Together, they have developed an online resource to help New Hampshire communities combat invasive plants.

Get started by visiting wildnh.com/invasives. There, you can download a customized map for each New Hampshire town, showing priority areas where invasive plants removal will have the most immediate impact and most effectively protect native natural resources into the future. You'll find an "early detection" list of plant species just coming into each town and a "watch list" of plant species that are not present yet, but are lurking close by. These documents can help prioritize projects right down to the individual property or stand level.

"Only by working together on shared invasive plant battles across differing land ownerships and political boundaries, can we effectively protect our native plants and wildlife habitat in the long term," said Stevens.

Learn more about invasive plant control options on New Hampshire's seacoast at wildnh.com/marine/invasives.html.

More information about Weed Wrenches can be found at weedwrench.com.

Visit the Great Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve at greatbay.org.

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