CREW ASSISTANCE PROGRAM
The WNY PRISM Crew Assistance Program improves invasive species management across the region by assisting partners with invasive species surveys and mapping, invasive species removal, habitat management and restoration projects. We work alongside our partners to accomplish priority projects they would be otherwise be unable to do alone.
The Crew Assistance Program offers valuable opportunities for partners who can work alongside WNY PRISM’s experienced staff to learn invasive species identification, how to use various survey and monitoring tools, to gain experience with removal methods, strategies and equipment, and learn about prioritization and adaptive management strategies that can be used to increase the effectiveness of invasive species management. In some cases, we’re simply able to provide a few extra hands to help move partner projects to a stage that is easier for them to handle moving forward.
WNY PRISM staff is always available to discuss invasive species management projects and assist with management planning. We’d love to hear from you!
Be sure to read the 2022 Crew Assistance Program Announcement before submitting a proposal.
Rattlesnake Hill Wildlife Management Area – Invasive Species Removal
The WNY PRISM Crew (Crew) worked with the DEC to treat a 1.09 mile stretch of forest edge with dense invasive species cover, to protect the interior of the forest which is relatively free of invasives. The species targeted for cut-stump treatment included bush honeysuckle (Lonicera spp.), autumn olive (Elaeagnus umbellata), multi-flora rose (Rosa multiflora) and common buckthorn (Rhamnus cathartica).
This project demonstrated the importance of working together to achieve invasive species management. DEC staff operated chainsaws and brushcutters to remove the invasive shrubs, Finger Lakes Trail volunteers piled the cut material to make stumps accessible and the Crew applied herbicide to the cut shrubs. This assembly-line process allowed the entire project site to be treated in the allotted time, a task which could not have been completed by one group alone. The DEC can now return to the area and foliar treat new invasive shrub seedlings in the spring, which is much less time consuming than the removal and treatment of large, established shrubs.
This project provided the Crew with an opportunity to network with professionals in the field and learn about future internship and employment opportunities. The DEC and Finger Lakes Trail volunteers showcased this work through newsletter articles to strengthen partnership and get the word out about working with WNY PRISM.
Reinstein Woods Nature Preserve – Habitat Management and Restoration
The Crew assisted Reinstein Woods staff and volunteers in restoration efforts in a Phragmites infestation that has been managed since 2016. The infestation is now at a stage where habitat restoration can be implemented to buffer against future invasive species infestations and build up the native biodiversity. The Crew worked within the area treated for Phragmites to plant native species that can tolerate moist soils and withstand flooding and constructed fenced deer exclosures around the native plants.
This project demonstrated the importance of long-term management that includes restoration to prevent new invasive species from moving into a site and to increase native biodiversity. It also provided the Crew with an opportunity to see restoration in action, since our work is heavily focused on invasive species removal.
The Crew was able to work alongside Reinstein Woods staff to learn more about the preserve and other ongoing projects on site. Reinstein Woods staff shuttled all of the Crew’s equipment and lunches to the restoration site, and even provided ice water as a nice way to cool off while planting. Photos of the Crew and a description of the work was posted to Reinstein Woods social media accounts to showcase for the public the importance of invasive species management and restoration. WNY PRISM was also invited to give a walk and talk during the Fall Festival to discuss the restoration work on site.
Craneridge Association – Invasive Species Survey and Mapping
The Craneridge Homeowners Association, located in Southern Erie County, is a community that is working to remove invasive species and plant native species to support a healthy community-wide ecosystem. As part of this effort, the Crew conducted an invasive species inventory survey of the neighborhood to identify and map invasive species present on site. The information from the survey was uploaded to iMapInvasives, so the Craneridge residents can access the data, and survey maps were provided.
This project is important because it showcases a group of homeowners taking action to plant native, remove invasive species and focus on overall ecosystem health in their community. The Craneridge Woodlands & Habitat Committee joined the Crew during the survey, demonstrating their genuine interest in learning about invasive species.
The Crew was able to work alongside the Craneridge community members to share knowledge of invasive species and learn more about the project site and why community members are interested in improving the habitat. After the invasive species survey was complete, WNY PRISM and the Craneridge Woodlands & Habitat Committee hosted a walk and talk on site so any interested community neighbors could come out and learn more about invasive species identification and management. Community members have continued to look out for and report invasive species to iMapInvasives, and work with WNY PRISM to discuss management options.