Invasive Species Research in Compensatory Mitigation

Part A: Development of Standards and Practices

One of the most important and pervasive contemporary issues in the field of ecological restoration is that of biological invasion, particularly by non-native species. Current performance standards for invasive species in compensatory mitigation often necessitate the use of targeted (or even broadcast) herbicides, a practice that introduces synthetic chemicals into natural systems and can result in collateral damage to desirable species. The purpose of this RFP is to stimulate scientific investigation that will fill these important research gaps, with a focus on compensatory mitigation sites in Virginia. This work is being conducted by the College of William & Mary.

The overall goal is to provide standards and practices that can be utilized in Mitigation Banking Instruments for invasive species control in terms of:

  1. Specific treatments
  2. Seeding methods
  3. Planting protocols
  4. Monitoring and maintenance

The standards should be practicable and be implementable by bank sponsors and individual mitigation site permittees.

Request for Proposals

Amount awarded: $258,065

Final Research Report

Research Reports

Theses and Dissertations

  • Invasive Species Research in Compensatory Wetland Mitigation: Investigating Plant Community Composition and Environmental Correlates with Three Invasive Plants. Dakota M. Hunter, M.S. thesis, College of William & Mary, 2019. 

Part B: Invasive, Nuisance, & Undesirable (INU) Plant Management

The objective of this project is to study invasive, nuisance, and undesirable (INU) plant management in both uplands and wetlands restoration areas along a restored stream (Northern Virginia Stream Restoration Bank in Reston, VA) using a random block research design (or similar layout) in which several different management approaches will be implemented in a controlled field setting. Methods will include (but not be limited to) traditional herbicide treatment, cultural practices (e.g., strategic plantings, soil amendments, etc.), and mechanical removal techniques. The eventual study design, as well as the specific methods chosen, will be informed by a comprehensive literature review that will be conducted at the outset of the study, as well as an INU species inventory throughout the study area. This phase of the project will also derive from the results of recent research on invasive species in compensatory mitigation conducted by PI Doug DeBerry under RPG grant RFP #08. The College of William and Mary, in association with Virginia Tech and George Mason University, is leading this project.

Results from this research program will be directed at filling important information gaps in INU species management on mitigation sites, including: 1) viable approaches for invasive species management that can be used effectively as alternatives to herbicide; 2) proactive management techniques that can be used to reduce risk of invasion during site development and establishment; and, 3) broadly applicable techniques that are effective for multiple invasive species – with its results presented in a format suitable for use by both regulations and practitioners of wetlands and stream restoration.

Request for Proposals

Amount awarded to date: $230,950, which may be increased to $725,014 pending approvals by the Corps and VDEQ.

Seed Bank Research Protocol