Rutgers New Jersey Agricultural Experiment Station [Rutgers Environmental Stewards]

Middlesex County Park System

Intern

Host Agency Info:
Name: Middlesex County Parks and Recreation
Address: PO Box 661, New Brunswick, NJ 08903
Phone: 732-745-8278
Supervisor Name: Eric Gehring
E-mail of supervisor: eric.gehring@co.middlesex.nj.us
Nature of Host Agency: Government

Project Description:
Invasive Species Monitoring at Jamesburg Park Conservation Area

The participant would be tasked with monitoring invasive plant species in the 1,479-acre Jamesburg Park Conservation Area in East Brunswick/Helmetta area of Middlesex County.  This protected open space property lies within the Spotswood Outlier—an area of Pine Barrens habitat separated from the main portion of the Pine Barrens in southern parts of the state. It contains several rare or locally unusual species of native plants and animals. 
The participant would travel by foot through the property and attempt to identify, mark and map those species for later eradication.  Special attention would be focused on invasive plants labeled as ‘emerging’ by the NJ Invasive Species Strike Team.  The participant would create a usable map of invasive plant locations and detail methods for eradication.  In addition, the participant would adopt a 1400 square foot section of the property where ongoing eradication efforts have been underway to remove Japanese Knotweed.
The map and eradication details created by the participant would become part of the Habitat Management Plan for Jamesburg Park Conservation Area.  This project will benefit the Office of Parks and Recreation in their ability to protect and preserve this open space property.  The eradication methods would be utilized by the Middlesex County Youth Conservation Corps in the Summer 2014 and Fall 2014 work season.  The project will improve conditions for native plants and animals as well as improve the experience of park patrons who utilize the property

Anticipated Outcome:The participant will be required to work independently to gain knowledge of invasive plant species identification and to learn the trail system/ property boundaries during the early part of the project.  As plants begin to emerge in April, the participant would again work independently to locate and mark these invasive species.  The participant would be required to notify the Open Space Coordinator prior to engaging in field work, and to briefly report progress.  Hours spent working on the ‘Knotweed Patch’ will be recorded, along with an estimate of weight of plant material removed.  A final report with map of invasive plants species identified and proposed eradication methods is expected.  Participant will be asked to deliver the report in a presentation to the Open Space Coordinator, and Youth Conservation Corps leader.  At this time, an exit evaluation will be performed.

 

Nature of anticipated impact: Environmental

Learning Objectives in plan: The participant will gain an understanding of the problems caused by invasive species, as they learn to identify invasive plants in the Jamesburg Park Conservation Area.


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