Today we welcome back a crew returning from Mesa Verde National Park in Southwest Colorado who for the past week the crew has focused on eliminating the highly invasive species Russian Knapweed from along the Mancos River within the park.
On the first day of the hitch, however, the river was swollen with monsoon rains. Since it was therefore unsafe to work by the river the crew worked with NPS staff to eradicate invasive musk thistle in a different location in the park.
Corps members removed the blooms from the musk thistle plants by either pulling them by hand or snipping with pruners. They cut the stalks to waist level height so other corps members came through and sprayed the stalks with Milestone herbicide to prevent the regrowth of the invasive.
The musk thistle can spread extremely rapidly because of the high seed production–almost 120,000 per plant!
Ecological restoration is something ACE corps members dedicate themselves to during their term of service. Part of restoring a native plant community to its original state is the removal of invasive, destructive species followed by the planting of native species.