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Derry lacks money to fight invasive species

DERRY - Over the past two years, efforts have been under way to control invasive weeds and plants at the 30-acre Shepard conservation property.

However, further cleanup efforts on the property could be in jeopardy if additional funding isn't found for next year.

The Conservation Commission, along with Lenny Lord from the Rockingham Conservation District, began the invasive control project in 2010 using a combination of herbicides and clearing the parcel of the invasive plants, including bittersweet and Japanese knotweed.

The goal of the project, in addition to controlling the invasive species, is to improve recreational opportunities and wildlife habitats on the property.

The project has had some added wrinkles at the beginning due to wildlife on the property.

"We found out the site could be a potential habitat of the New England Cottontail, which really put the brakes on the whole project," said Lord.

The cottontail potential cut down on the areas that were mowed on the property to help preserve the habitat.

During the battle against the invasive species, Lord said several herbicides were used, including one that was sprayed on flowers so they would not produce fruit.

"That way, we could keep the wildlife habitat without having the invasives spread," Lord said.

However, he said, the flowers have to be sprayed every year to maintain effectiveness.

As a long-range plan for the New England Cottontail population, Lord said there could be the gradual replacement of invasive species of plants with native species.

How that will be paid for is still up in the air.

Lord said the project did not receive the grant funding that it has in the past.

"I'm not sure what the next step is for funding, but we are going to see if we can come up with a plan for next year," he said.

The grant funding is typically under $5,000, but Lord said there were many more applications for the grants this year and the grant for the Shepard area was declined.

"The information on the grant renewal is recent, so Lenny needs time to brainstorm," said Conservation Commission Chairman Margaret Ives.

"But he is looking for funding to do something in May."

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Adam Swift may be reached at aswift@newstote.com.


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