Shore Counties To Partner On Invasive Species

SNOW HILL – Worcester County is expected to partner with other jurisdictions on an effort to fight invasive species.

The Worcester County Commissioners this week voted unanimously to join the Lower Eastern Shore Partnership for Regional Invasive Species Management. Bob Mitchell, the county’s director of environmental programs, said invasive species management was most effective when it was consistent throughout a region.

“This is really preventing new invasive plants and it’s most effective when we have consistent management across county lines,” he said.

Mitchell told the commissioners staff recommended joining the partnership, as it was voluntary and would not commit financial resources other than supplies and materials. The county has had issues with invasive plants such as phragmites, wisteria and bamboo in the past. Trees covered in wisteria on the site of the Berlin branch library had to be cut down.

“That was a risk management preventative measure we had to take on our part so they didn’t fall on the neighboring houses,” Mitchell said.

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In joining the partnership, Mitchell said the county would work with the other jurisdictions involved to come up with some educational materials that could help county workers—those in the roads division and those working in county parks—to identify potential problem species.

“It is envisioned that sharing of informational resources will evolve into demonstration projects done in Worcester County, with the final goal of inter-jurisdictional cooperation on eradication efforts where it is warranted,” Mitchell wrote in his report to the commissioners. “The actual eradication of these will need to be done by staff that are typically involved in these efforts.”

Mitchell said that the Lower Shore needed a regional effort to stop the spread of invasive species to ensure that what one county was doing wasn’t having a negative impact on another county.

Commissioner Chip Bertino asked about the potential impact on private property owners. He asked if they’d be told to remove invasive species on their lands.

“No,” Mitchell said. “We’re going to start with our public property. We have some issues at each of our park lands.”

The commissioners voted 7-0 to join the invasive species management effort.

About The Author: Charlene Sharpe

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Charlene Sharpe has been with The Dispatch since 2014. A graduate of Stephen Decatur High School and the University of Richmond, she spent seven years with the Delmarva Media Group before joining the team at The Dispatch.