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first_imgThis past winter, the Vermont Institute of Natural Science (VINS) received a two-year, $45,000 grant from the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation to be directed to the management of invasive plants throughout the Ottauquechee Watershed.  These management efforts will be led by VINS in conjunction with the recently formed Ottauquechee Cooperative Invasive Species Management Area (OCISMA).  The OCISMA comprises a group of concerned citizens, municipalities and businesses led by a steering committee that includes representatives from the Silvio O. Conte National Fish and Wildlife Refuge, The Marsh-Billings-Rockefeller National Historical Park, the US Army Corps of Engineers, the VT Agency of Natural Resources, the Vermont Chapter of the Nature Conservancy and the Ottauquechee Natural Resources Conservation District as well as Randolph-based invasive species pioneer Mike Bald. Invasive plants represent a significant threat to the ecology and economy of Vermont and New Hampshire because they aggressively out-compete native species, disrupt delicate food webs, negatively impact forestry practices, outdoor recreation and farm production and in some cases directly threaten human health.  The staggering number of invasive species from Europe and Asia that are present in the Upper Valley includes Japanese knotweed, honeysuckle and barberry, burning bush, rusty crayfish, Eurasian watermilfoil and purple loosetrife.  Other invasive species lurking on the outskirts of our region include Asian longhorned beetle, hemlock wooly adelgid and emerald ash borer. If left unchecked, these invasives could exact major economic, environmental and cultural costs and could place a significant burden on our environment and way of life.  Thanks to VINS and the OCISMA, hope is on the horizon – but they need your help. The OCISMA is currently recruiting willing and able volunteers to tackle several aspects of invasive species management.  From monitoring to mapping, pulling to planning, spreading the word to spreading native seeds, whatever your interests and abilities may be, you can play an important role with OCISMA.  The future of the Upper Valley is at stake! Anyone willing and interested in lending a hand to support this critical effort this spring, summer or autumn should contact Hannah Putnam [email protected](link sends e-mail) or 802-359-5001 ext. 228. The Vermont Institute of Natural Science (VINS) is a non-profit, member-supported environmental education, research and avian rehabilitation organization headquartered on Route 4 in Quechee, VT.  VINS’ mission is to motivate individuals and communities to care for the environment with a priority placed on making high-quality, compelling and fun environmental education programs and learning opportunities accessible to more people and communities.  Stay connected with VINS through our nature blog at vtnature.blogspot.com and our website atwww.vinsweb.org(link is external).last_img read more

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