Many help launch an invasive plant removal project at Larson Woodland

Invasive species are organisms that are not native to an area, that tend to spread and displace native species, and that have harmful consequences for the environment.  Invasive species include animals, plants, and even fungi.  In the twentieth century, diseases caused by non-native fungi–accidentally introduced in North America–devastated elm and chestnut trees.  Invasive gypsy moths have damaged many other local tree species.

Invasive trees and shrubs are common in our area and threaten to crowd out native plants–wreaking havoc with native ecosystems.  The Attleboro Land Trust has launched an invasive removal project focusing on Larson Woodland.  At four acres, this is one of our smaller nature preserves.  This will serve as a demonstration project, and we hope to apply lessons learned to our other preserves.

A survey of the preserve was conducted by Gary Krofta and Phil Boucher, resulting in a map identifying the invasive species to be targeted and their locations.  Longtime watershed protection advocate Don Doucette has been a key advisor.  The project was kicked off on Saturday, November 23.  Among the volunteers who pitched in was a contingent of Scouts from Attleboro Troop 15.

A good turnout of volunteers helped to remove invasive plant species at Larson Woodland on November 23, 2019.    Image credit: C. Adler

Oriental bittersweet was removed from the banks of the Ten Mile River near the spillway.  The bright red berries (once prized for their decorative value during the winter holidays) were bagged and will be burned to prevent propagation of new plants.

Oriental bittersweet (Celastrus orbiculatus) is an invasive vine that originated in China.    Image credit: C. Adler

Some large non-native honeysuckle bushes along Riverbank Road were also removed.

Scouts from Troop 15 removing an invasive honeysuckle bush at Larson Woodland.    Image credit: C. Adler

Project work parties will continue in the spring.  Some of the other species to be targeted are buckthorn, purple loosestrife, and Norway maple.  We welcome more volunteers to help with the work.

Walking Our Watershed

On August 10 Ben Cote of Friends of the Ten Mile led a walk along a portion of the Ten Mile River in Attleboro, beginning at Larson Woodland.  Ben explained the pivotal role the river played in the Industrial Revolution two centuries ago, when factories were built alongside the river and dams were created with water wheels providing a source of mechanical power.  In the 20th century, the river also became a convenient place to dump industrial waste, until environmental awareness eventually took hold.  Today it is illegal to dump waste into the river, but stormwater running off lawns carries fertilizers into the river, leading to algae blooms which rob fish of oxygen.

As the group moved up the watershed towards the Water Street bridge, it was joined by longtime watershed advocate Don Doucette, who shared some of his knowledge of the river and its history.

Watershed advocate Don Doucette points out the confluence of the Bungay and Ten Mile Rivers from the Water Street bridge.    Image credit: C. Adler

Get to Know Your Watershed on August 10

Guided Walk:  Getting to Know Your Watershed

Location:  Larson Woodland, corner of Watson Avenue and Riverbank Road (across from Willett School), Attleboro

Time:  9:00 – 10:30 am, Saturday, August 10 (Rain date: August 11)

Chances are that a drop of rain falling in Attleboro will eventually find its way to the Ten Mile River, which runs through the center of the city, then flows into the Seekonk River, which eventually flows into Narragansett Bay. Ben Cote, of Friends of the Ten Mile, will host this introduction to the river.  He will explain the importance of the river and its watershed to past, present, and future generations, as well as to the plants and animals that thrive in its habitat.

Annual Survey Monitors the Health of the Ten Mile River and Its Inhabitants

On September 22, volunteers from the Ten Mile River Watershed Council assisted ranger Jacob Gorke of the Woonasquatucket River Watershed Council of Rhode Island in conducting a survey of fish species in the Ten Mile River at Larson Woodland.

The fish are stunned temporarily with an electric shock, netted and removed to be identified, then released back to the river.  The survey is conducted annually.

Fish survey volunteers receiving their instructions.    Image credit: Keith Gonsalves

This is just one of many activities conducted year round by the Ten Mile River Watershed Council to promote and protect the river.  For more information, contact Keith Gonsalves Keith@tenmileriver.net.