Huyck preserve to team with Vassar to stop spread of invasives

RENSSELAERVILLE — A $32,000 grant will fund efforts by the Huyck Preserve and Biological Resource Station in Rensselaerville to control the spread of invasive plants and perhaps insects while also educating the public over the next two years.

The Conservation Partnership Program grant was awarded by the state Department of Environmental Conservation and the Land Trust Alliance, a national conservation group, to the Rensselaerville preserve last month.

“We have put together a project with Vassar College,” explained Anne Rhodes. Vassar is a partner with the Huyck Preserve in the EMMA network — the Environmental Monitoring and Management Alliance, she explained.

The alliance is made up of environmental groups in the Hudson Valley, with the Huyck Preserve being the northernmost hub. The group monitors environmental changes, including climate change, habitat loss, invasive species, deer overabundance, and plant and animal phenology — the study of cyclic and seasonal natural phenomena. The Huyck Preserve currently participates in projects on deer and phenology, but will now add invasive species to the list.

Rhodes explained that the grant will fund a particular two-year-long project on invasive species in the area. The species studied will include plants like the Japanese barberry, the Japanese knotweed, honeysuckle, garlic mustard, and oriental bittersweet. The project will develop a management plan for both the preserve and property at Vassar College, located in Dutchess County.

The project may also look at managing the spread of invasive species of insects like the hemlock woolly adelgid and the emerald ash borer, said Rhodes.

This will involve controlling invasive species at the preserve and other land trusts, and spreading awareness to the public, she said.

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