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Rutgers New Jersey Agricultural Experiment Station [Rutgers Environmental Stewards]

Invasives Strike Team Intern

Host Agency:

Upper Raritan  Watershed Association (URWA)  and Friends of Hopewell Valley Open Space (FoHVOS)

Address: URWA: PO Box 273, Gladstone, NJ 07934 (site address: 2121 Larger Cross Rd, Bedminster); FoHVOS: P.O. Box 395, Pennington, NJ 08534__

Phone:_URWA:  908-234-1852 X13_____FoHVOS: (609) 730-1560

Supervisor Name: URWA:  Melissa Almendinger _FoHVOS: Dr. Michael VanClef

E-mail of supervisor: URWA: melissa@urwa.org _FoHVOS: Michael@fohvos.org


Nature of Host Agency: Non-profit,     

Project Description: Central Jersey Invasive Species Strike Team

The Upper Raritan Watershed Association (URWA), in partnership with Friends of Hopewell Valley Open Space (FoHVOS), launched the Central Jersey Invasive Species Strike Team during the summer of 2008.  This Strike Team represents the state's first comprehensive effort toward invasive plant management through a public-private partnership.  With funding provided from the Bunbury Foundation, Merck and Co., Conservation Resources Inc., the Conserve Wildlife Foundation and the 1772 Foundation, these organizations are pooling their expertise and resources to reduce the spread of invasive plants.  They are working to find and destroy new populations of invasive species on public and private lands in New Jersey’s Highlands and Piedmont regions.  In addition, they are reaching out to private landowners and public land managers to encourage them to remove invasive plants from their landscapes and replace them with native plants.

Interns will utilize the Early Detection/ Rapid Response protocol in place for the project.  They will lead their own Strike Team, completing mapping and eradications of emerging invasive plants.  To begin, they will learn to identify the 40 target invasive plants, or a subset thereof, become familiar with the data collection sheet, handheld GPS units, and survey technique in place for this project.  They will solicit volunteers to participate in their Strike Team.  The team will identify 3-5 properties, public or private, that they will work on.

Mapping: The team will complete surveys of all identified properties several times throughout the growing season to ensure all target plants are detected.  They will utilize GPS units to collect data points and keep track of their survey routes.  The will keep photographic documentation of the surveys.

Eradication: The intern will coordinate at least one eradication project on each surveyed property.  They will coordinate volunteers to complete the eradication and research Best Management Practices to complete the removal.  They will complete a report of each eradication so that follow up visits can be made.

Nature of anticipated impact (circle all that apply): Social,      Economic,        Environmental

Evaluation Plan:
The intern must complete data sheets electronically for all surveyed properties as well as a short written report describing each property (including background, current management strategies, overall ecosystem health, invasive findings, etc.).  GPS maps will be completed with the help of URWA or FoHVOS staff.  A written eradication plan will be submitted to URWA or FoHVOS for approval in advance of the eradication, detailing Best Management Strategies to be used.  A final summary report of the eradication, complete with photos and GPS maps, must be submitted to URWA or FoHVOS after the completed eradication.  The intern will assist in the creation of at least 1 press release related to their project, to be circulated in the project area.

Learning Objectives in plan:
The intern will learn to identify the 40 target invasive plants, or a subset thereof.  They will learn how to use a GPS system and assist URWA or FoHVOS staff in the creation of project maps.  They will learn Best Management Strategies regarding the eradication of plants on at least 2 different sites.  The will lead a team of volunteers through all the stages of this project, enhancing their leadership skills and training abilities.

URWA is a non-profit, 501(c)(3) organization that has been working since 1959 to protect and preserve the natural resources of the Upper Raritan Watershed region, an area covering 23 municipalities in Hunterdon, Morris and Somerset counties.  Our mission is to secure the environmental future of the watershed through advocacy, land preservation, education and research.  For more information about our work, please visit our website at www.urwa.org.

The mission of the Friends of Hopewell Valley Open Space is to promote conservation in the Hopewell Valley through open space preservation, informed land use, wise stewardship, education and outreach.  With the support of its dedicated members, FoHVOS continues to play a critical role in the planned growth of Hopewell Valley.  Over the past 20 years, Friends of Hopewell Valley has grown to be one of New Jersey’s most active and successful land trusts.  FoHVOS has helped broker over 72 land transactions which have resulted in the preservation of more than 3,500 acres of open space in the Hopewell Valley.  For more information about our work, please visit our website at www.fohvos.org.