Written by Amber Ellis
With over 75% of the James River Park Systems covered in invasive species, it would be overwhelming for the JRPS Invasive Plant Task Force to take on the whole park at once. As a group, it was decided to focus on 4 focus areas to start with.
Belle Isle: Did you know Belle Isle is over 57 acres! This is one of the most visited and well known sections of JRPS. During the invasive plant survey a total of 26 invasive species were found. Of those, 6 are highly invasive. The Richmond Tree Stewards have been the lead organization for this area and lead weekly removals on Thursday mornings from 9am-Noon. Next time you’re out wandering the trails, see if you can notice where they’ve been working and keep an eye out for their educational signs.
Chapel Island: Many people haven’t visited this section of JRPS, but it is a real gem and quite different from other parts of the park in that it lies below the fall line. During the invasive plant survey a total of 18 invasive species were found. Of those, 8 are highly invasive. The James River Association has been the lead organization for this area and starting this year will be leading invasive removal days every fourth Monday from 1-3pm. Their main focus thus far has been on the eastern part of the island. As you wander the island see if you can notice a difference in how the eastern side differs from the western side of Chapel Island.
Pony Pasture: Most people have visited Pony Pasture and enjoyed sunning on the rocks, but you may not have noticed what plant life surrounded you. This over 95 acre area of the park has 21 invasive plant species that were identified during the invasive plant survey. Of those, 11 are highly invasive. The Riverine Chapter of the Virginia Master Naturlalists are the lead organization for Pony Pasture and lead regular removals there. Their main focus has been the area to the left of the kiosk at the parking lot. Keep an eye on their progress and tell them thank you if you see them working!
Reedy Creek: The JRPS Headquarters is within this 45 acre section of JRPS. A total of 23 invasive species were found during the invasive plant survey. Of those, 11 are highly invasive. The Friends of James River Park System are the lead organization for this section. Their focus area has been just east of the Nature Center along the access road. They started with a herd of goats that made a huge dent in the English Ivy there and made it easier for volunteers to come in afterwards and clip the roots off the trees.