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Thursday June 22nd, 2017 11:26PM

Elachee declares attack on invasive species a success

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GAINESVILLE - A war on harmful invasive species in the Chicopee Woods Area Park in Gainesville has been declared a success.<br /> <br /> Working with funding from National Fish and Wildlife Foundation and the Southern Company, Elachee Nature Science Center says it was able to treat more than 34 acres of infested areas with the help of 164 volunteers.<br /> <br /> Elachee partnered with the Georgia Exotic Pest Plant Council (EPPC), the University of North Georgia/Gainesville, and the Hall County Environmental Management System in attacking such invasive plants as kudzu, Chinese privet and Japanese honeysuckle.<br /> <br /> Elachee says it was also able to educate 474 people about the harmful impacts of invasive species, and achieve more than 800 hours of volunteer service towards the project. The goals of this grant were to map all invasive infestations in the Walnut Creek riparian zones of the park, control as much of those invasive species as possible through chemical and manual removal, bring volunteers from the community to help with the removal of the invasive plants, and educate the public about adverse impacts of invasive species through classroom outreach and landowner workshops.<br /> <br /> Nnon-native invasive species can displace native species, reduce the habitat for native wildlife to thrive, and even prevent tree seedlings from establishing, potentially harming future generations of Georgia forests.<br /> <br /> "Most people aren't aware of the impacts of invasive plants on our wildlife habitat, fisheries, and native plants," said former GA EPPC president Connie Gray. "These plants are choking out and out-competing our native species. This is a serious problem and probably the greatest conservation challenge of our time."
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