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Knotweed removal begins along Mill River

Mike Abramowitz attacks Japanese knotweed some 7 to 8 feet tall Saturday, June 1.

Nutmeg TU members took to the woods over the past week to begin the removal of invasive Japanese Knotweed from land between Congress Street and the Mill River.

Tuesday, President Charles Petruccelli and Vice President Bob Campbell ventured in to make the initial cuts and determine the scope of the project.

Saturday Mike Abramowitz answered the call for volunteers and join John Kovach. The two cut down most of the largest bank of knotweed closest to where the river passes under Congress Street.

Sunday Campbell and Kovach bagged much of the cuttings during a 3-hour period. Some remains to be bagged, but 14 42-gallon bags of knotweed await pickup by the Town of Fairfield.

We need you to help fight invasive species

Nutmeg TU needs more than a few good anglers  to join its war against an invasive species threatening the crown jewel of Nutmeg’s territory, the Mill River.

With the full support of the Fairfield Conservation Office, Nutmeg TU is working Saturdays and Sundays in June to stem the invasion of Japanese knotweed on the banks of the Mill River along Congress Street. Not only is the invasive species pushing out indigenous plants on the ground: The rapidly spreading weed is taking root in the stream itself, on rock piles and gravel bars. (Click here to read more about knotweed.)

Be part of the solution

Nutmeg is about to fire a major salvo in a multi-pronged battle that will take at least a year to win.

During June, volunteers must physically cut all of the knotweed along Congress Street, and drag the remains to the street for pickup. In the fall, when the plant is ready to reproduce, an herbicide safe for use near rivers will be sprayed on the weakened plants. If the stand is successful, then a second cutting next spring should  turn back the invader and allow Nutmeg to begin to plant native species along the Mill River.

A recon team earlier this month determined how to  battle the menace and got a handle on what it will take to get the job done.  This work cannot be done by a handful of people. Nutmeg needs more members to answer the call, up to 20 volunteers on any scheduled cutting.

Sessions are scheduled each Saturday and Sunday in June, from 8:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. or from 1 to 4 p.m. An email address is being established so volunteers can register, but drop-ins are welcome especially the weekend of June 1-2.

All volunteers must read this safety advisory.

We’ve been permitted by the town to reclaim the habitat.  It’s up to us to show that we’re up to the task, and people are watching.

Charles Petruccelli, President