Invasive Species Removal
Homeowners Guide to Preventing the Introduction and Spread of Invasive Species - GA
Examples of Invasive Species:
Kudzu is a common example of an invasive species. It was brought into the United States in 1876 and many farmers were encouraged to plant kudzu to limit soil erosion. However, its incredible growth rate (up to 1 foot per day) and its durability (can survive multiple uprooting) have helped Kudzu to spread unchecked. English Ivy is another invasive species that when left unchecked, like in the park before the clean-ups can severely impact trees (like the one pictured) and produce groundcover that limits native plant life.
Why is it important to remove them from Mountain Way Common?
All invasive species, including Kudzu, need to be removed from their non-native environments. The three invasive species found in Mountain Way Common can destroy the diversity of plant species in our park, limit many native plants, have an adverse impact on pollinators (bees and butterflies) and can reduce the amount of accessible parkland. A recent study by the University of Georgia Department of Entomology cited that “Although pesticide use and loss of habitat are factors that can contribute to reducing butterfly abundance and diversity, invasive plants are the greatest threat in eastern North America.” This study specifically focused on Chinese privet which is still found in Mountain Way Common. They found that removal of the privet ‘increased richness and abundance of both bees and butterflies for two years following the treatment’.
How is MWC clearing these invasive species?
The large amount of fast-growing invasive species is one of the reasons why the park has consistently used goats to eat back plant growth. Through a Hornaday Project (an environmental conservation program in scouting), a Boy Scout has been working to clear invasive species from the park. With ~400 combined hours spent specifically removing invasive species, the volunteers at the park have been hand pulling the plants to open up space for the growth of native species.
How can I help?
Volunteering at workdays is a great way to combat the issues that the park faces and to help the park in its mission to create a sustainable, urban green-space, which will enrich the quality of life for residents and visitors alike and preserve the neighborhood park for future generations. Educating yourself on invasive plants that are commonly used in landscaping and choosing native options instead is a way to help the regional environment (Check out this .pdf about invasive species) There are many plants that are easily propagated and will take over if they arrive somewhere like Mountain Way Common and grow unchecked. Donating to the park is also a great way to create change in our community. Find out more about invasive species in Georgia by visiting the Georgia Invasive Species task force website. Whenever possible, plant native plants in your yard to limit the encroachment of invasive plants in Georgia!
According to American Forests, the forests in Atlanta remove about 19 million pounds of air pollutants each year, worth about $47 million a year
In Atlanta, the stormwater retention capacity of the urban forest is worth about $2.36 billion, or about $85.9 million a year.
Trees absorb and store an annual average of 13 pounds of carbon each year. Community trees across the United States store 6.5 million tons of carbon per year, resulting in a savings of $22 billion in control costs.
Streets with little or no shade need to be repaved twice as often as those with tree cover.
What tree species are being planted in Mountain Way Common?
The 15-gallon trees being planted include Serviceberry, River Birch, Redbud, American Beech, Black Gum, Southern Red Oak, Bald Cypress, and Tulip Poplar trees. These trees were chosen and located specifically by Trees Atlanta representatives to limit soil erosion and create a forest of native trees. Currently, the 100 3-gallon trees are being selected by Trees Atlanta representatives.
What are the long-term benefits of reforestation?
Trees provide a number of benefits - economic, health, social, cultural and environmental. In an urban forest effort, health and environmental benefits are probably the most important. There have been many studies that have linked exposure to natural environments to reduced stress in individuals that encounter nature. The Green Cities: Good Health website cites two studies:
Generally, with greater duration and frequency of visits to green spaces, individuals experience a greater degree of restorative experience and lower stress levels.39 The quality of green space also enhances restorative recovery, such as the density of forest canopy in an urban park.40
Environmental benefits have also been widely researched and reported. Trees absorb carbon dioxide and trap dust, ash, pollen, and smoke from the air. Trees also prevent soil erosion, increase water quality, provide shade and can reduce temperatures in downtown areas to combat urban heat island effects. The Green Cities: Good Health website cites a study that demonstrated the impact that trees have on reducing urban temperatures.
Most urban building materials have high heat capacities - they store heat effectively. As a result, metropolitan areas can absorb and store twice the amount of heat during the day as rural areas and then release thermal heat at night. Higher temperatures can increase energy demand and increased levels of air pollution and greenhouse gas emissions. A meta-analysis of studies found that on average, urban greening cooled urban areas by about 2°F during the day, with one study in a warm climate city finding that parks were 10.1°F cooler than surrounding areas.
How will these trees impact the park?
The trees will impact the park by limiting soil erosion, growing into a sustainable forest, and creating more habitats for animal life in the park. The trees will help beautify the park, with colorful leaves in the fall and full canopies in the spring to invite the community in to enjoy a break in their hectic lives. Finally, the trees will offer shade and limit the growth of invasive species with their canopy.
How can I help?
All of these trees need to be planted and maintained, so volunteering in the park to plant the trees would be very beneficial (Upcoming workday: March 9, 2019 9am-1pm) and would help to make the reforestation of Mountain Way Common a reality. Donations are also accepted and will go towards maintaining and protecting the forest. You can sponsor a specific tree for $100. These funds will be used to care for and maintain the trees as they grow into our Hornaday Forest @MWC! Find out more about William T. Hornaday, the namesake of our new forest.
Why is it important to monitor and improve the water quality of Little Nancy Creek?
Monitoring the water quality in Mountain Way Common is important for many reasons. Primarily, this can determine if the water is safe to walk in, and it can warn visitors when the water is unsafe. Furthermore, observing the water quality helps to find contaminates and the locations of the contaminants entry in the water, like industrial dumping or sewage leaks. Continued monitoring of the water in Mountain Way Common could lead to action to improve the water quality, which would benefit the aquatic species that live in the park, and limits the pollution flowing into the Chattahoochee River.
How is Mountain Way Common monitoring the water quality?
A volunteer who has become certified in bacterial and chemical testing is currently monitoring the water quality in the park through chemical and biological tests. These tests will inform the park and authorities about the water quality of Little Nancy Creek, which can help to protect visitors of the park and can indicate larger problems in the watersheds around Atlanta. https://www2.usgs.gov/water/southatlantic/ga/bacteria/bacteria.html
Little Nancy Creek flows into the Chattahoochee River. You can look on this USGS website to check the e-coli levels in the Chattahoochee River.
How can I help?
While there are steps the park can take to ensure that Little Nancy Creek is safe, you control much of the water quality in tributaries and the Chattahoochee River. The fertilizer you use, the trash that isn’t disposed of properly, the oil in your driveway, all of this and more flows into the rivers during heavy rainfalls. This is what pollutes the rivers, but there are ways to decrease this pollution. Don’t use fertilizer, pesticides, and other chemicals for your yards before windy or rainy days. [https://www.epa.gov/nutrientpollution/what-you-can-do-your-yard] If your car is leaking fluids, take it to the shop for repairs. Dispose of trash properly and limit your consumption of one-use products, which often end up in the water. Pick up and dispose properly of pet waste. These simple things will keep our rivers safer and the water quality healthier for yourself and the environment. Finally, if you want to test the water quality of Little Nancy Creek or another stream or river, visit https://adoptastream.georgia.gov, which specializes in water monitoring and provides classes for ordinary citizens to become certified in water testing.
Caring for Streams in GA - Adopt-a-Stream