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Managing Aggressive Invasive Species Helps NSA Annapolis Preserve Natural Resources

28 February 2023

From Mr. Ed Zeigler

Naval Support Activity (NSA) Annapolis, in coordination with the Maryland Department of the Environment, is implementing measures to control invasive plant species at Greenbury Point in Annapolis, Md.
The invasive species treatment consists of one year of vegetation clearing and targeted herbicide spraying.

“If not handled correctly, the invasive species will harm our native plants and animals at Greenbury Point,” said Katharine Seguin, National Resources manager for NSA Annapolis and the U.S. Naval Academy. “We are currently clearing anything under three inches DBH (diameter at breast height) and less than three and a half feet off the ground and using Environmental Protection Agency-approved herbicide.”

Wineberry, multi-flora rose, oriental bittersweet, autumn olive, princess tree, English ivy, and several other vines are some of the invasive species currently affecting Greenbury Point.

“As a good steward of the environment and local habitat, NSA Annapolis must regularly contract with trained professionals to remove invasive species to protect the wetland on Greenbury Point,” said Seguin. “If allowed to grow out of control, the invasive species will overtake the wetlands and eliminate the wetland habitat we are trying to protect around the Chesapeake Bay.”

The NSA Annapolis invasive species management program aims to reduce the harm of invasive species on natural lands and encourage the health of native plants and wildlife. According to Seguin, the treatment is to protect and improve the forest/scrub-shrub area and to perform necessary maintenance on the wetlands.

“I have several years of experience identifying and locating invasive species around Greenbury Point,” said Seguin. “Most of our work for this project containing the species is being done off the side of Timberdoodle trail, which is not accessible right now due to construction.”

Greenbury Point, located at the mouth of Severn River in Anne Arundel County, is a Navy property managed by NSA Annapolis as a mission-supportive natural resources conservation area. It is a popular hiking destination for nature lovers, runners, and dog walkers.

“Due to our Surface Danger Zones and ongoing natural resource management operations, visitors must remain on the trails,” said Seguin. “Our trails are available from sunrise to sunset, and we’ve posted signage and erected fencing to keep visitors on the trails and indicate to our guests the areas that are open for public use”

Since Greenbury Point is not a state or national park, NSA Annapolis relies heavily on volunteers for trash removal, brush clearance, and general maintenance.

“The U.S. Naval Academy midshipmen help us tremendously when it comes to our upkeep of the trails,” said Seguin. “We give them a quick course on what invasive species they should look out for when they volunteer, then we supply them with tools and safety gear to be able to help with the invasive species maintenance.”

Seguin appreciated the midshipmen volunteers who assisted in a work project this past weekend. The midshipmen removed six contractor bags of trash, removed two large objects on the marsh, cleared vines to protect the trees, moved logs to protect the marshland from trespassers, and cleared plants out of the seawall to protect its integrity.

While the Navy keeps the conservation area open to the public, it is also critical to the NSA Annapolis mission and can close anytime without prior notification. Current opening and closing times as well as rules for visiting Greenbury Point are updated on the NSA Annapolis Facebook page.

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