The foundation has been addressing the need to get on top of the hundreds of acres of invasive species that we are battling in the 500+ acre Baird Creek Greenway. The goal is to remove large areas of invasives so that native species can be planted and ideal habitat can be created for key species, such as the federally endangered Rusty Patched Bumblebee and other pollinators. According to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife’s survey assessment for Rusty Patched Bumblebee conservation, the Baird Creek Greenway is in a number one priority area for conservation work targeted toward this species.. We have been able to keep on top of removing invasive species and restoring native habitat through volunteers for many years, but in 2017 we identified that the invasives were outgrowing the helping hands that we have. Invasive species were addressed in order of prevalence, buckthorn, honeysuckle and autumn olive.
That initial large scale removal was so successful we then started on two additional areas. In the last year we’ve been able to stay on top of treating re-sprouts, plant native species (that are geared toward pollinators like the Rusty Patched Bumblebee) into the treated areas, and start cutting in new areas.
The areas that we are focusing on is making a huge impact to the understory in our wooded areas. Recurrence and regrowth of natives along with planting additional natives species is impacting the quality of habitat in restored areas for wildlife, as well as improving recreational and educational access for humans. Having these natural areas for folks to get outside and help their mental and physical health is immensely important.
We have been currently working with a local company to remove invasive species so that we can move on to the next steps of prescribed burning and planting native species. Because they are trained in what they do, they can cut and treat invasives a lot faster than volunteers. That being said, our volunteers are a critical piece of the puzzle as they do all the hauling of the cut material as well as help cut and treat areas during volunteer events.
The Baird Creek Greenway is important to Green Bay and the surrounding area, as we know from tracking, that during a two-hour period we have at times counted from trail cameras, over 200 people using one area of trail. The Baird Creek Greenway is unlike other city, county, and state park as it is an urban ecologically rich greenspace that is easily accessible, free, and appeals to all ages, races, and abilities. It provides recreational and educational opportunities, but these opportunities are limited by the invasive species that exist in the greenway. Buckthorn and honeysuckle hinders our education offerings as well as recreation – biking, hiking, and skiing populations, as well as our plant and wildlife species, because of the ripping thorns and the thickness of the understory making it hard for all to navigate.