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EDUCATION

Get students out of the classroom and up close to science they can touch

(Retired) Invasive Species on the North Shore

Phragmites

Phragmites Australisis a non-native grass present along the marshes of the North Shore. These plants often grow very densely, blocking out the sunlight native species need.


As these plants continue to be a problem, Seaside Sustainability is monitoring their populations on the North Shore to experiment with organic alternatives to the current eradication methods. This initiative is used as a means of restoring the marsh, organically, safely, and responsibly.


Because phragmites can reduce biodiversity and threaten the native flora and fauna in the invaded habitat, it is important to know a few methods to reduce the phragmites population.​


Ways to Reduce

  • Landowners can eliminate or reduce fertilizer, herbicide and pesticide use

  • Do not purposely plant it; instead consider planting only native species in gardens

  • Avoid transporting Phragmites either via equipment or as compost

Pepperweed

Pepperweed is a perennial that can be found on islands and beaches around the North Shore. Like phragmites, pepperweed reduces biodiversity and threatens the native flora and fauna in the ecosystem it inhabits. There are also negative impacts on local waterfowl and fish populations.


Every Spring and Summer, Seaside Sustainability partners with a local Audubon office to conduct field surveys to map and mitigate the invasive Pepperweed populations. Through these efforts, we strongly believe that the marsh can be restored.


Ways to reduce

  • Treating with herbicides is most effective during flower bud/flowering stage

  • If within small patches, repeated pulling of small patches is effective

  • After removal, plant desirable and competitive species

Green and Asian Crabs

Green and Asian Crab species can threaten native intertidal species around Cape Ann and add to predation pressures. Their presence can create long-term effects such as reduction in biodiversity, thereby causing intertidal communities and the shellfish industry to suffer.


It is important to measure the effects the rise in this invasive crab's population has on other marine animals. Seaside Sustainability has set traps off the waters of the North Shore that are monitored periodically; where we record the number of crabs that are present in the water.


Local students also get to help out as part of their science education. This program also offers a chance for a sustainable economy by providing green crabs to businesses, so they can be used for a sustainable local meal and be ‘repurposed’ as high nutrient compost.


Ways to reduce

  • Mitigate through removal processes like eating them or using them as bait

  • Prevent the spread through ballast water and other sea transportation methods

  • Spread awareness of the damages that is caused by these invasive crabs

Final Mudflat Acidification Infographic.