The Sudbury, Assabet and Concord Rivers are home to diverse native communities of plants and animals that have developed over millennia. This natural landscape is threatened by the arrival of invasive non-native plants and animals.
...Beautiful swathes of purple along the river in August. This is purple loosestrife (Lythrum salicaria), an invasive plant which is dominating habitat that used to support cattails and other plants. (Photo: New England Wild Flower Society)
…Green rosettes floating on the water surface, forming broad blankets of aquatic vegetation. Water chestnut (Trapa natans) has colonized all three rivers, reducing the quality and natural diversity of the aquatic habitat and impeding recreation. (Photo: OARS)
...Orange and red-seeded oriental bittersweet (Celastrus orbiculatus) is picked and made into festive fall wreaths. This aggressive vine is climbing trees and choking them to death. (Photo: New England Wild Flower Society)
The spread of non-native species is becoming a global issue, and a very difficult one to manage. These species are aggressive, displace native plants and animals, degrade natural biodiversity, and alter natural processes. Invasive species move from human settings like gardens and agricultural areas to wild settings. They do not respect property lines, so management must be considered on a broader scale.
The SuAsCo Invasive Species Task Force was formed in 2005 to provide a forum to discuss invasive species management in the watershed, coordinate efforts, and share ideas and resources. Supported by a small grant from the River Stewardship Council (RSC), the SuAsCo CISMA (Cooperative Invasive Species Management Area) was founded in 2009. CISMA is a partnership of resource management organizations, including towns, government agencies, land trusts and other non-profit groups, formed to manage and control invasive species in the Sudbury, Assabet, and Concord watershed. Through CISMA the partners share information, educate the public, jointly apply for grants for control projects, and plan strategies for dealing with invasive species. Partners also share staff and volunteers on control efforts. CISMA supports “early detection and rapid response” for invasive species and has identified the “Sour 16” most prevalent problem species in the watershed.