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Somers Land Trust: Invasive Plant Species Threatens Angle Fly Preserve

A volunteer effort to remove 2,400 square feet of an invasive species is being organized for Aug. 12.

The Somers Land Trust is focusing its attention on Angle Fly Preserve this weekend with the hope of rooting out an invasive plant species that is threatening the health of the property. An AFP Volunteer Day is scheduled for Sunday, Aug. 12 with a 10 a.m. start.

Mile-a-Minute weed--or Persicaria perfoliata--was identified on the property two weeks ago and at the time covered 1,200 square feet of land. Since then the invasive plant has doubled in size, growing at a rate of approximately 6 inches a day.

"If we miss this cycle and we don't get it pulled out by the end of the growing season this year, ... it will exponentially continue to grow and take over 12 acres," said Somers Land Trust Director of Operations Bob MacGregor. "This is absolutely critical--this is our highest priority right now."

MacGregor said that if left to grow, the Mile-a-Minute weed could take over up to 40 acres of the 654-acre conservation and recreation site. Because of the growth pattern where leaves grow over the top of plants and block sunlight, the weed, which is native to Asia, could kill a 75-foot maple or oak tree within two years.

The weed is located on the Green Trail between Routes 139 and 100. The land trust is hoping between 15 and 20 volunteers will join its members Sunday to cut through the weed and other vegitation it has covered and pull the roots. No advance registration is necessary.

Volunteers meet at 10 a.m. at the Angle Fly Preserve entrance off Route 139 just south of Reis Park rain or shine. Because the plant has barbs, volunteers should wear long pants, long-sleeved shirts, and leather gloves, and should bring some type of clippers with them.

The Somers Land Trust will provide bags for weed disposal. Bring snacks and water and to stay hydrated. MacGregor expects to work until approximately 2 p.m. and believes the entire weed can be removed within that time.

Before Mile-a-Minute was discovered on the property, the Somers Land Trust, which is a volunteer organization that was entrusted with the care of Angle Fly Preserve by the Somers Town Board after the land was purchased from a developer in 2006, was busy removing downed trees along the 10-mile hiking trails. "High winds have made a lot of trees come down on trails," said MacGregor.

For more information about Angle Fly Preserve, go to: www.somerslandtrust.org.

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