On a balmy late October morning, a dozen volunteers, armed with loppers and buck saws, gathered at Rebora Plaza to tackle non-native trees along the lakefront. Organized by the Environmental Restoration Group's board member Bill Schaudt, the work day was a collaboration with the National Park Service. After an educational session on tree identification and safety procedures by Hunter Mosely of the NPS, the group combed the stretch from Derby Ditch to Shore in search of black locust and lombardy poplar trees.
The black locust can invade disturbed habitats. It reproduces vigorously. Its dense thickets shade out native vegetation, allowing for invasion of weedy non-natives. While the leaf pattern of the black locust is similar to some native species, these trees can be distinguished by heavy, paired thorns on smaller branches.
The lombardy poplar, a tree not native to North America, is a fast growing tree with a relatively short life span. Its extensive root system is invasive with saplings sprouting directly from roots, even in remote locations away from the actual tree trunk. Lombardy poplars are related to our native cottonwoods, but are easily distinguished by their growth as very upright columns.
This first collaboration between ERG and the NPS has been and will continued to be followed up with additional workdays with hopes of clearing the entire Beverly Shores lakefront of invasives.