The Chautauqua Watershed Conservancy plans to submit another funding request to the City of Jamestown to combat the invasive species, Tree of Heaven, along the Chadakoin River.
CWC Ecological Restoration Manager Twan Leenders presented to City Council on the Phase 1 of the stabilization of the lower Chadakoin River from the Warner Dam to the City-Falconer line, “The guys removed over 100 dead standing Ash trees from the riverbank. And again, you’ll be driving around and see dead trees standing but they’re not in the river channel, they’re in someone’s backyard or away from the river far enough that they weren’t part of the scope of this project. And I couldn’t even give you an accurate number on how many hundreds of cubic yards of logs we removed from the river, debris dams that were there that were taken out, places that blocked the river and caused the current to go into someone’s backyard or into someone’s business that now just flows where it’s supposed to go again.”
City Council had approved $277,750 in American Rescue Plan funds at the end of 2021 for the first phase of the project.
Leenders said the next big concern is the invasive Tree of Heaven, which came into the area as an ornamental tree.
He said there are three core areas of the trees in Jamestown that have gotten out of control to the point that there’s almost a forest stand of the species, “These trees exude chemicals into the ground that make them out-compete everything else and once you have them established nothing else grows there anymore. They re-sprout from the roots and they have a system of stress hormones that even if you try to cut one of these trees down, even if you just ding it, especially when you cut one down, it sends these stress hormones into their root system, and it sends 20 to 40 new young shoots. So every tree you cut with the best intentions multiplies the problem exponentially where you get 20 to 40 more.”
He said the only way to get rid of the trees is a very specific set of chemical treatments to kill them and the root system before they’re then removed. He added this process has to be done at a very specific time, usually in the month of July.
Leenders said the other great concern is that the Tree of Heaven is a preferred host of emerging pest, Spotted Lanternfly, which is a bug that feeds on fruit trees and grape vines.
While he’s in the process of obtaining funding from other sources including state funding, Leenders said he hopes to present an ARP funding request to Council this month in order to try to have that in place along with permits in order to move forward with the eradication of the trees.
Leender’s presentation coincidentally coincided with the start of the state’s 9th Invasive Species Awareness Week.
The State Departments of Environmental Conservation and Agriculture and Markets are holding free daily webinars through Friday. The link to the calendar can be found at https://nyis.info/events/category/nyisaw/2022-06/.
Invasive species are plants, animals, insects, and pathogens that are not native to an area and cause harm to the environment, agriculture, economy, or public health. New York is particularly vulnerable to these pests due to its role as a center for international trade and travel.