Byram residents hunt invasives

Byram. The township’s environmental commission is training people to identify and record harmful, non-native plants along Byram’s 15 miles of trail.

22 Sep 2020 | 05:29

A dozen people gathered at Tamarack Park Trail in Byram Township last month to learn about invasive plant species, and how technology can help find problem areas along the community’s estimated 15 miles of trails.

Invasives are plants that are not native to the area. They take up large amounts of space that would otherwise be occupied by a diversity of native species. Unchecked, invasives choke out native plants, which has a negative impact on animals and insects.

The presentation was led by Mike Van Clef, stewardship director of Friends of Hopewell Valley Open Space and program director of the New Jersey Invasive Species Strike Team. He focused on two smartphone apps: iNaturalist identifies plants, and NJ Invasives records them.

“We want people who use our trails to be able to identify invasive plants and take pictures they can add to a database,” said Katie Baron, a member of the Byram Township Environmental Commission. “We’ll be able to use that information to determine the various types of invasives on our trails along with their locations, which will enable us to develop a plan to prioritize future removal.”

The hike, as well as similar ones scheduled for September and October, was funded by a grant from the Association of New Jersey Environmental Commissions.

Additional invasive species presentations are planned for Sept. 26 and Oct. 3. For information, email Donna Fett at dfett@byramtwp.org, or call 973-347-2500 ext. 138.

Submitted by the Byram Township Environmental Commission.

“We want people who use our trails to be able to identify invasive plants and take pictures they can add to a database. We’ll be able to use that information to determine the various types of invasives on our trails along with their locations, which will enable us to develop a plan to prioritize future removal.” --Katie Baron, Byram Township Environmental Commission