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Washington, D.C., District of Columbia,20003
More than 20,000 National Park Service employees care for America's 413 national parks and work with communities across the nation to help preserve local history and create close-to-home recreational opportunities. The National Park Service has cared for the... more.
Southeast Exotic Pest Plant Council
Pamela J. Nabors, NBII-SAIN/TVA; Matthew Durnin and Brandon League of NBII-SAIN/UTK; Scott Kichman, Keith Langdon and Chris Ulrey of the National Park Service; Gary Kauffman and Paul Merten of the USDA Forest Service; Jack Ranney of the University of Tennessee; Andy Brown and Volunteers of the Southern Appalachian Man And the Biosphere program
WNC Green Building Directory | Articles
But with the help of National Park Service plant ecologist Chris Ulrey, they're steadily trying out different types of native plants - such as the sun-loving prickly pear cactus - that will sustain themselves with minimal spot watering.
Woolly Adelgid Report Updates South Cumberland State Park
Chris Ulrey, a plant ecologist with the National Park Service, said the combined approach of using chemicals and natural predators to attack the adelgids have proven successful on a limited scale, but it's unlikely that enough resources can be mustered to beat back the threat in time to save the hemlocks.
Mother Nature is also not providing much assistance to adelgid opponents, since the dry and warm weather has helped the adelgids spread and thrive. The National Park Service recently approved the Finding of No Significant Impact (FONSI) for the Hemlock Woolly Adelgid Control Strategies along the Blue Ridge Parkway. The FONSI has determined that there will be no significant environmental impacts that would occur by implementing a combination of chemical and biological controls to treat individual hemlock sites throughout the park. Ulrey said, "There's not a whole lot new. Ulrey agreed that the combination had shown visible results, and the chemical treatments had shown an effectiveness cycle of about three years. Ulrey said that means different predators will have to be brought into the same areas to help vanquish the adelgids. Ulrey said while the red tape is wrapped up, the footwork will be ongoing, and because of the intensity of the battle, the park service is selecting areas where the remaining trees appear to be the healthiest. "It was a fairly dry spring, so spraying wasn't as effective as it might have been," Ulrey said. "We may find that we have to spray those trees again. Usually, the adelgid population builds until the tree is stressed. When it's dry, and then having insects suck the sap, a lot of trees are dying out." In Watauga County, the park service is focusing on stands of hemlock near Simms Pond and around the Cone Manor Estate. "They are looking pretty rough and we're not sure we can save them," Ulrey said. "Some near Camp Catawba look okay still, and we hope to target more out near the Cone Estate next year." Ulrey said those that have been chemically treated were marked with a dot, but he said that was unnecessary since the treated trees are so much obviously healthier than their infested counterparts. The weather has also not helped contain the adelgids, because the recent winters have been warm. Ulrey said in northeastern areas, the adelgid has reached a natural upper limit to its territory because of low temperatures. "An unusually cold winter might help," he said. "The adelgids can't tolerate real low temperatures." Because it's now basically a losing battle, Ulrey and other biologists hope to maintain the trees they"ve already been protecting and treating, while simultaneously trying to bring new beetles and other natural predators into the mix. "We only treat those that are still alive, but it will never be enough," Ulrey said.
CITIZEN-TIMES.com: Spray takes on mountain tree pest
Chris Ulrey, botanist with the National Park Service, will speak about how hemlock adelgids are attacking hemlocks in this area and what can be done about it.
Chris Ulrey, a plant ecologist for the National Park Service, said park officials have been addressing the problem on a limited basis, but now are approaching the issue as a ,major impact., The plan will address which species should be a focus for control or eradication, how they should be controlled and ways the parkway can be protected from further invasion.Ulrey said there were about 100 non-native species in the 469-mile park that extends from western North Carolina into Virginia.Only a dozen or so of those are causing the most concern.Among them are kudzu, garlic mustard and Oriental bittersweet, according to Ulrey, which are posing what he calls ,a huge problem.,Currently, much of the non-native plant invasion is clustered around urban areas such as Asheville and Boone, Ulrey said.Typically, the plant is an ornamental shrub that has spread or whose seed has been carried by birds into the parkway habitat.The non-native plant often has a biological advantage over the native plants because it has no natural predators or controls.,They,ve had controls in their native setting, but they are out competing species here,, Ulrey said.Some species create their own advantage, such as Oriental bittersweet, which can grow up and cover a tree, adding weight that makes it more susceptible to falling.Once the tree falls, more light reaches the forest floor, enabling the vine to grow even better.Even a plant with such potential to infiltrate an ecosystem doesn,t always get ostracized.Ulrey said an effort to limit cultivation of Oriental bittersweet was resisted by the Christmas tree industry, which uses the vine in wrapping wreaths, so it remains commercially available.Ulrey said other invasive species are still available in the commercial horticulture trade, which makes it more difficult to combat them in the wild.A species like garlic mustard is often considered attractive by the casual observer, but quickly takes over, Ulrey said.It also releases a chemical into the ground that inhibits the sprouting of native plant seeds, further gaining a competitive advantage.Another factor in the battle is the terrain and map of the parkway. ,It,s a long, skinny land mass,, Ulrey said. ,Even if we get rid of everything, it wouldn,t take long for it to come back.It,s going to take cooperation from adjoining areas.,Ulrey said a park like the Great Smoky Mountains is easier to protect because the park is large and doesn,t have long boundaries.Even then, fighting off invasive species can be difficult.Ulrey said some plants can be easily eradicated by digging them up, but that takes workers and volunteers, as well as persistent effort of monitoring.Though some can be hand cut, most of them require herbicides.Ulrey said it,s a high-priority issue requiring a creative approach.With the park service budget remaining relatively flat, money for chemicals and equipment will have to be used wisely.Priority will be for those areas with the most rare native species.Ulrey said while botanists look at a wide range of pests, each type of threat has its own plan, and he said most of the input on the plan is from those knowledgeable about the problem.He said it,s also an educational issue, because most people aren,t aware of the threat some ornamental, imported plants have on the habitat.,It,s far more than an aesthetics issue,, Ulrey said. ,It,s a biological issue.There,s still a lot of education to be done.Just in the last five years, there,s been a lot of media exposure for the problem.,Ulrey said even with a sound management plan, it might be a losing battle. ,If the trend continues, we,ll probably have to throw in the towel,, he said. ,Whether it,s five years or 50 years.You just can,t work on your land with blinders on.