Riveredge State Natural Area Restoration Project – join the effort to control invasive species in Wisconsin and promote public awareness
This project serves an important role in regional efforts to promote efficient and effective management of invasive species by removing herbaceous and woody invasive plants from over 90 acres including a 67-acre State Natural Area, which encompasses 1.3 miles of Riveredge Creek and a 5-acre Ephemeral Pond at the Riveredge Nature Center preserve. The project also provides family-oriented service learning and conservation opportunities that will help increase public awareness of native replacement of invasive plant populations.
Education is one of the best mechanisms for management of this increasingly urgent problem in Wisconsin. Riveredge is committed to this project and to education and management of invasive species
Funding for this project is provided by a grant from the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation and the ERM Foundation.
iveredge Nature Center is a 379-acre, member-supported environmental learning center that provides environmental education to children and adults through field trips, citizen science research, family programs and service learning opportunities.
In 1985, Riveredge Creek and its immediate surroundings – a narrow buffer zone along with an adjacent ephemeral woodland pond, became Wisconsin State Natural Area #197. Riveredge Creek is a diverse wetland complex which includes a vernal pond, creek, lowland forest, wet sedge meadow, and a small fen area.
The invasion of the Emerald Ash Borer, a die-off of a large percentage of tamarack trees in the Riveredge Creek corridor in winter of 2006, as well as conditions resulting from a changing climate, has made it apparent that we must re-double our efforts to protect the integrity and improve the resilience of the Riveredge Creek watershed and the Riveredge Ephemeral Pond. Because 85% of the Riveredge Creek watershed is located within the Riveredge sanctuary, we have direct access to the project area and control over management efforts. The Riveredge State Natural Area Restoration Project
is intended to reduce invasives along the creek corridor and surrounding area, and restore and enhance the shoreline to include native herbaceous species. Additionally, it provides the means to offer family-oriented, citizen-science service learning and conservation opportunities to the community.
The Riveredge State Natural Area Restoration Project will reduce competition from invasive plants while improving the resilience and diversity of the wetland system and surrounding uplands. The project will also ensure the continued shading of the Riveredge Creek headwaters and springs as well as the Riveredge ephemeral pond. Specifically, the project will result in
- Management and reduction of Dame’s Rocket and other herbaceous invasive seed sources and seed bank in canopy openings along 1.3 miles of Riveredge Creek, including the delta formed where the creek meets the Milwaukee River;
- Management and reduction of Reed Canary Grass along the 1.3-mile length of Riveredge Creek and in the 5-acre Riveredge Ephemeral Pond;
- Increased native herbaceous species in openings along Riveredge Creek and in the Riveredge Ephemeral Pond;
- Reduction of woody invasives within 90 acres of the Riveredge Sanctuary, including the Riveredge Creek and Ephemeral Pond State Natural Area and adjacent uplands;
- In partnership with Susan S. Borkin of the Milwaukee Public Museum, increase habitat for the endangered Swamp Metalmark Butterfly over a 5-acre area. (Riveredge Nature Center currently is host to one of the two remaining known populations of the butterfly in the state of Wisconsin.);
- A corps of 300 citizens familiar with Southeastern Wisconsin native vegetation and with local invasive species concerns;
- A corps of 300 citizens with the ability to identify invasives and to manage them effectively.
A volunteer conservation corps made up of adults, families and youth, under the guidance of the Riveredge Senior Naturalist, will receive
- training in native plants and vegetative communities of Southeastern Wisconsin;
- training in invasives species concerns and identification;
- training in best practices for invasives management and control.
- Monitor and remove herbaceous invasives, including Burdock, Dame’s Rocket, Garlic Mustard, Reed Canary Grass, and Wild Parsnip, along 1.3 miles of Riveredge Creek and covering 90 acres of the Riveredge Nature Center Sanctuary, including the 67-acre State Natural Area and adjacent uplands;
- Monitor and remove woody invasives, including Glossy and Common Buckthorn, Autumn Olive, and Honeysuckle, along 1.3 miles of Riveredge Creek and covering 90 acres of the Riveredge Nature Center Sanctuary, including the 67-acre Riveredge Creek and Ephemeral Pond State Natural Area and adjacent uplands;
- Manage habitat in previously determined Swamp Metalmark Butterfly Areas #3, #4, #5 within the creek corridor
- Map invasive populations using GPS/GIS within 90 acres of the Riveredge Creek corridor and adjacent uplands
- Provide information for and encourage participation by adjacent landowners in protecting the diversity of native plantings in the upper reaches of the Riveredge Creek watershed.
- To Become a SNA Habitat Healer Volunteer, Click Here!
Additional education opportunities for the volunteers include participation in citizen science programs such as the Wisconsin DNR Frog and Toad Survey, the Monitoring Avian Productivity and Survivorship program, the North American Butterfly Association Butterfly Count, the Riveredge Dragonfly and Damselfly Count, the Water Action Volunteers (WAV) Level 2 Monitoring Program, and the Wisconsin Ephemeral Pond Project (WEPP), all of which are research projects currently on-going at Riveredge Nature Center.