A group of 15 people joined forces on a sunny, late July day to remove exotic invasive plants from the banks of the East Branch Passumpsic River in downtown East Burke. If you’ve visited RubyLee’s Ice Cream, East Burke Sports, or taken a dip in the river after biking at Kingdom Trails, you’ve probably seen the dense walls of vegetation along the river banks. What you may not have noticed is that this vegetation includes five invasive plant species – knotweed, shrub honeysuckle, common reed, glossy buckthorn, and burning bush – that threaten the ecological health of the watershed.
Invasive plants are tough, but we had lots of support! Through a grant secured by the Connecticut River Conservancy, the NorthWoods Stewardship Center was contracted to head up this project. However, we couldn’t have done it without the hardworking staff and volunteers who joined from the Trout Unlimited (MadDog Chapter and Upper Connecticut Home Rivers Initiative), the Connecticut River Conservancy, Beck Pond LLC, the Burke Conservation Commission, and Milone & MacBroom. A huge THANK YOU to everyone who showed up!
East Burke is a beautiful and summertime destination, and working next to Kingdom Trails and several local businesses, we had the chance to talk with quite a few curious passers-by. Everyone we talked with was interested in the project and appreciative of our work… although no one seemed to envy the job!
By the end of the day we had generated a heaping van-load of bagged invasives and had the sweat to show for it. Thank you to Lauren at RubyLee’s Ice Cream for donating delicious lemonade and ice cream cones to refuel us after an exhausting day!
Photo credit: Fritz Gerhardt, Beck Pond LLC