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Official says invasive plant is 'two-thirds' under control

February 09, 2008|By Trish Rudder

BERKELEY SPRINGS, W.Va. - The coordinator of the Purple Loosestrife Task Force told the Bath Town Council that the invasive plant is about "two-thirds" under control.

Gale Foulds said the plant was discovered along Warm Springs Run in 2004, and it can spread rapidly along streams and into wetlands and can overwhelm the natural ecosystem.

"The seeds last about 30 years," she said.

The plant is a threat to Harperella, an endangered plant found along stream banks, she said.

The task force worked with state and federal agencies to address about 11 miles of the run, and with a $20,000 grant from the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation, they began trying to control the plant rather than eradicate it, she said.

Since 2005, in July, August and September, a herbicide was applied by rubbing each stalk of the plant by hand, and the process will continue for quite some time, Foulds said.

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A Warm Springs Run stream assessment was done last October by biologist Kieran O'Malley, and other invasive plants were identified, she said.

"There is a need to continue to monitor and control other invasive plants, and we are hoping a Warm Springs Run Watershed Association will develop," Foulds said.

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