Group wants public to learn about Japanese Knotweed

Japanese Knotweed along the Salmon River Estuary in Oswego County. Photo by Rob Williams
Japanese Knotweed along the Salmon River Estuary in Oswego County.
Photo by Rob Williams

The Salmon River, a major tributary in the eastern basin of Lake Ontario, is a valuable economic and natural resource worthy of protection from the habitat-altering impacts of Japanese Knotweed, an invasive species.

Japanese Knotweed, an invasive plant native to Asia, is an unwelcome plant beginning to dominate the shores of the Salmon River. 

With its ability to grow more than 10 feet high, Japanese Knotweed has become a major obstacle to fishing enthusiasts by blocking access to the Salmon Rivers banks.  

Even worse is its ability to spread quickly and alter the natural ecosystem that supports the rivers fishery and the downstream estuary. 

Instinctively, users of the Salmon River attempt to clear paths in an effort to gain access to the river. The Knotweed plants are cut down by hand or mowed with much of the plant fragments getting directly into the water. 

The problem is that the primary way in which this plant spreads is through the germination of plant fragments. Anglers and river enthusiasts cutting and trampling Knotweed to access the river only increases the problem. 

Representatives of the St. Lawrence – Eastern Lake Ontario Partnership for Regional Invasive Species Management (SLELO-PRISM) are doing their part by implementing a Salmon River Initiative. 

The initiative includes three components; 1) Suppression of Japanese Knotweed, 2) Native Plant Restoration and 3) Public Education & Outreach

Due to the widespread nature of existing Japanese Knotweed populations on the river, total elimination of knotweed is not a realistic goal. However, control and management options do exist, even on a river-wide scale. 

One of the partnerships initial steps is to educate the public and to encourage anglers and users of the river to follow a few simple steps to reduce the spread of knotweed. 

1. Learn to identify the Japanese Knotweed plant.

2. Don’t walk through, trample or otherwise disturb knotweed. 

3. Never allow plants or even small pieces of the plant (fragments) to enter the water, move the plants to higher ground after cutting and allow to dry thoroughly in the sun.

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