Lewis Creek Association fights Japanese knotweed in watershed

Non-native invasive plant species have long threatened the health of ecosystems, wildlife habitat and populations of native plants in the Lewis Creek watershed. Management can be difficult because they are easily spread via seeds, roots, fragments, animals and humans.

Japanese knotweed is a particularly tough plant to remove. It was introduced from East Asia in the late 1800s. It was planted as an ornamental and for erosion control, but ironically, it can actually increase streambank erosion.

Photo by Kate Kelly. Japanese knotweed on the bank of Lewis Creek in Starksboro.
Photo by Kate Kelly
Japanese knotweed on the bank of Lewis Creek in Starksboro.

Japanese knotweed spreads primarily by its roots or rhizomes, which can break off during a flood then resprout and form a new colony downstream. The Lewis Creek Association hopes to engage community members and undertake a long-term project controlling knotweed without herbicides in our watershed and is looking for help.

A prior grant to Lewis Creek Association documented the presence of knotweed populations in the Lewis Creek watershed, but distribution is patchy. It has not yet spread prevalently across streambanks, unlike in many other Vermont watersheds where it covers nearly every square foot available.

The Lewis Creek Association is excited to demonstrate a non-chemical removal method to the public at a site in North Ferrisburgh, where technicians will be present weekly to lead removal efforts and display these methods to the public. Everyone is invited to help.

The Lewis Creek Association is partnering with Mike Bald of Got Weeds? to guide this work and demonstrate effective methods for knotweed removal without herbicides. You can also get involved in a project that uses community science to help us understand the distribution of knotweed in the watershed using iNaturalist.

The Lewis Creek Association would love to have your involvement in one or both portions of the project. If you’re interested in learning more, sign up , email or call 802-488-5203.