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Action on the Invasives Front

In last week's column I yearned for a double Ranunculus ficaria. This week I'm happy to learn Massachusetts has just announced a Proposed Prohibited Plant List ... except I discover this plant on it.

Generally, awareness of invasive plant problems starts with aquatics. Perhaps formerly clear water now choked with weeds, gets attention better than green on green. Massachusetts and our neighboring states all have aquatic control programs.

But the devastation caused by invasives extends beyond our waters, and we're all scrambling to check it. On September 16 and 17, the Second New England Invasive Plant Summit convenes in Framingham: open to all, with scholarships and a wealth of information — including sources of funding for management and control. See, or call 413-863-0209 x6 (general questions) or 413-863-0209 x1 (about registration). Reduced-fee registration closes August 25; full-fee on September 9.

Following on September 18, the New England Wild Flower Society will train 50 people in early detection of invasive plants (call 508-877-6574).

Nashua River Watershed Association has copies of the list (978-448-0299). Massachusetts Department of Agricultural Resources invites comments: 1. at two public hearings, September 13 in Waltham, and September 15 in Amherst; and 2. in writing until close-of-business September 30. For complete information, see

New York has no list yet, but is also holding public meetings around the state: to discuss a report proposing structures and methods for dealing with the situation, just issued by the NY State Invasive Species Task Force.

Maine officials are working to schedule their first meeting to discuss expanding their state's efforts to terrestrial organisms.

New Hampshire prohibited 35 terrestrial plant species in 2000, and is considering 16 more. Violators risk $6,000 for each offense, and $5,000 for each subsequent day of continuing violation.

Vermont, since 2002, quarantines 25 plants: for class B Noxious Weeds, levying penalties up to $1,000 per violation on movement, sale, and / or distribution; for Class A, adding possession and cultivation.

Rhode Island's Invasive Species Council in 2001 blacklisted 18 plants; the state has not yet budgeted their proposal for funding of programs.

Connecticut in 2003 outlawed 64 species, with phase-out periods for plants of commercial importance; in 2004 they added a penalty up to $100 per plant for import or export, purchase or sale.

Perhaps breeders can find allowable sterile cultivars of pretty thugs. But I don't think my ranunculus is a high research priority.

© Copyright 2005 Catherine Holmes Clark

Published in the six Nashoba Publications papers on Friday, 19 August 2005

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