2020 Report from the Harpswell Invasive Plant Partnership

This past year began as any other, with meetings, plans for work dates and public education events. Sadly, life gets in the way of well-laid plans, and the Covid-19 pandemic brought the HIPP activities to a screeching halt, along with those of many other organizations.

In spite of limitations imposed by Covid-19 precautions, we managed to put in more than 900 hours of volunteer time. Invasive control work took place at 14 locations with volunteers donating nearly 400 hours of labor. In addition to invasive plant controls, we designed signs, published a booklet on invasive plants that was distributed to all town land stewards and HHLT stewards, surveyed two more Harpswell Heritage Land Trust preserves, and made 11 HIPP-help visits.

The Otter Brook Project, funded largely by grants from the Davis Conservation Foundation and the Margaret E. Burnham Charitable Trust, got underway. Educational signage was designed, printed and installed along trails at the Otter Brook Preserve. Smaller, portable “invasive alert” signs were placed at strategic points in Harpswell. Our thanks go to the Harpswell Heritage Land Trust for allowing signs to be placed on their preserves. Professional assistance was obtained to treat dense growths of honeysuckle, bittersweet and multiflora rose at Otter Brook Preserve. With assistance from HHLT, the professionals also treated heavy infestations at both Johnson Field and Curtis Farm Preserve.

Using a weed torch to control invasive plants at Otter Brook Preserve in May 2020

Harpswell Invasive Plant Partnership expects to complete surveys of the remaining HHLT mainland preserves, and some of the islands as well. With help from the Town Land Stewards, surveys of town lands will get underway in 2021. We will continue the Otter Brook Project, as well as our work on various HHLT preserves and other properties around Harpswell. Our HIPP-help team will again be available to assist interested property owners in identifying invasive plants and providing advice on what should be done to control those plants.

It is the volunteers who made all that was accomplished possible. Thank you all for your contributions. We have much ground yet to cover, and need your continued support.

Becky Gallery
HIPP Chairman