This article was contributed by Robert Smith-SLELO PRISM, in the 2021 Winter Newsletter.
The Black River Trail extends from the Village of Black River, near Fort Drum to Watertown. It is a frequently visited trail with an estimate of 104,000 visits in 2019. The area of the trail that we are concerned with is a 3.5-mile segment adjacent to the river. There is an abundance of several invasive species along this part of the trail including Phragmites, swallowwort, oriental bittersweet, buckthorn, and honeysuckle.
Over the summer Brittney and Robert (our Early Detection Team), and partners with Parks, conducted a survey to determine the feasibility of invasive species removal/control and restoration work on the Black River Trail.
During the survey, the trail was divided trail into 29- 1/8th mile long compartments and features such as types of native, non-native, and invasive plant species, canopy cover, and understory plant abundance we’re recorded. Brittney and Robert are currently working on data analysis that will result in priority scores, recommended management/removal methods, recommended native plant species for restoration work, and restoration difficulty scores for each of these compartments. This information will be included in the Black River Feasibility Report that should be completed by the end of winter 2021. Removal/restoration efforts on this trail will be resource-dependent and guided by the results of this study.