Invasive species cooperative has first meeting in Salisbury

SALISBURY — Representatives from Wicomico and Somerset counties joined members of the Maryland Department of Agriculture, Department of Natural Resources, State Forest Service, USDA Farm Service Agency, Salisbury University and area non-profits for the first meeting of the newly-formed cooperative Lower Eastern Shore Partnership for Regional Invasive Species Management (PRISM).

The 20 participants met at the Tri-County Council to identify gaps between management and implementation of invasive species removal on the Lower Eastern Shore, and how to best move forward.

Invasive species such as Palmer Amaranth and Common Water Hemp have just been added to the noxious weed list. Japanese Stilt Grass, Wisteria, and many others can take over forests and farmlands, crowding out native plant and animal species and impacting productivity of farm and forestland.

The partners in attendance agreed that a coordinated effort is needed to leverage additional grant funding, and resources such as shared equipment and manpower. Somerset County’s participation in PRISM was approved by July 7 by the County Commissioners with the representative from the Department of Technical and Community Service.

Victoria Spice, the Lower Shore Land Trust’s invasive species coordinator, will be developing training modules for county employees on invasive species management in efforts to educate public works and parks staff on identification, treatment and mapping efforts. She has been active with the organization in some capacity since 2013.

For more information on the PRISM effort or to learn how you can get involved, contact Ms. Spice at vspice@lowershorelandtrust.org.