So one of my very first posts on this blog was about an invasive species control project we have on the Black River to control alligator weed. You can read all about it in my post “Flea beetles?”.
Alligator weed is an invasive aquatic plant that is native to South America and now grows in NC. Alligator weed chokes out native vegetation and clogs up waterways. Alligator weed flea beetles are a small beetle that eat only alligator weed and last spring we released 3000 of them along the Black River in hopes that they would eat some of the alligator weed there. They did pretty good, but we were unsure if they made it through the winter. A surprise call from NC DENR Aquatic Weed Program last week raised our spirits, they were interested in releasing more flea beetles this year, so of course we were on board with it!
On May 4th we received 3000 flea beetles from the Army Corps of Engineers in Jacksonville, Florida (they use them as a control method for alligator weed on the St. Johns River every spring they collect beetles for use in other areas because they have so many of them). We released the beetles along the same stretch of river as in 2011. The idea being that if some did make it through the winter they will have a better chance of reproducing this summer if they have some extra friends around. So we will see! I will be posting monitoring updates as the summer progresses into fall.
It was a pretty busy week in the SECP last week, besides putting out flea beetles we also had a volunteer day! Our volunteers cut back brush on the Green Swamp trail and planted wiregrass seed in one of our restoration areas also in the Green Swamp. We had great weather and finished all of the work that needed to be done. Thanks so much to all of you that helped us. If you are interested in becoming a volunteer check out the volunteer page on this blog for more information.