The State Parks Division of the Alabama Department of Conservation of Natural Resources was recently granted $20,000 to fight an invasive plant species at Chewacla State Park.
The grant was made possible by a Hearts of Stihl award from Stihl. The grants come from the America’s State Park Foundation and are given to help support programs that place a high priority on forest management practices, sustainability, conservation, and environmental education programs. State parks from six U.S. regions – Southeast, Northeast, Central, North Central, Northwest and Southwest – received grants.
The $20,000 will go toward the purchase of equipment and herbicides that will target Chinese privet and tallowtree, thorny olive, wild taro, water hyacinth, kudzu and other non-native plants. The grant will also help to support educational signs and print media about restoring native habitats in Chewacla.
Tasha Simon, natural resources supervisor for the state parks, said non-native plants are a threat to Chewacla’s ecosystems, but expressed hope that it was a manageable issue.
“Since Alabama is one of the most biologically diverse states in the U.S, managing that threat to our native species is very important,” she said. “We are grateful to Stihl for this grant and will put it to use working with our partners in Auburn to reduce the number of invasive plant species that are present at Chewacla.”
Other entities that aid in the management and removal of invasive plant species include Auburn University, Lee County Master Gardeners, Central Alabama Mountain Pedalers, and other park volunteers.
Austen Shipley is a staff writer at Yellowhammer News.