December 12, 2014
Globally Rare Plant Community Restoration at Odiorne Point State Park
Rye- Odiorne Point State park is a coastal favorite for both seacoast residents and visitors alike. The park is home to the Seacoast Science Center, extensive undeveloped coastline, beautiful trails, and a number of rare and uncommon plant community types. One of these important habitats is a six acre globally rare costal salt pond marsh plant community, which also provides habitat for three state listed rare plant species. This extraordinary habitat has been threatened by a rapidly expanding population of common reed, an invasive plant also known as phragmites. Common reed forms tall dense stands that competitively exclude other plant species, reduce wildlife habitat, and can change marsh hydrology through increased evaporation and elevation of the marsh floor.
The Rockingham County Conservation District began clearing the marsh of approximately one acre of common reed in the summer of 2012. Following that work, native seeds and cuttings were collected and grown out at the UNH Jackson Estuarine Lab for use in revegetation of the cleared areas. This revegetation phase was funded through the State Conservation Committee and the sale of Conservation Moose Plates. The native plants were transplanted into the marsh this past summer.
“This project has been a great success. A lot of folks were skeptical because phragmites is pretty aggressive and difficult to control, but we’ve cleared nearly all of it from the marsh. And now we have native vegetation growing where the phrag used to be, including some rare species” noted Lenny Lord, District Manager and ecologist.
For more information about the project or to learn how you can help, contact the Rockingham County Conservation District, 603-679-2790, firstname.lastname@example.org