Franklin hosts Invasive Species Awareness Day at Tassee Picnic Shelter

Press Release

From Land Trust for the Little Tennessee:

What: The LTLT and FROGS in celebration of N.C. Invasive Plant Awareness Week, will host an educational event at the Tassee Picnic Shelter on the Little Tennessee River Greenway. This event will host experts from the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, NC Forest Service, US Forest Service, Coweeta Hydrologic Lab, LTLT, Watershed Association of the Tuckasegee River, Western North Carolina Alliance and others, as they give brief presentations and answer questions about the identification, control and prevention of exotic invasive plants, animals and pathogens. This event is open to the public between 11:00am-3:00pm on April 7th, 2014. Over 200 students from Franklin High School, Macon Early College, Southwestern Community College and Oconoluftee Job Corps will also be attending this event.

When: Monday, April 7th from 11:00am-3:00pm. A rain date has been set for Wednesday April 9th.

Where: The Tassee Picnic Shelter on the Little Tennessee River Greenway at the corner of Wells Grove Road and Ulco Drive, Franklin, NC.

Contact: Sunny Himes, Stewardship Associate with the LTLT, 828-507-1188, shimes@ltlt.org

Why: Invasive exotic species, which include plants, animals, insects, and diseases, reproduce rapidly and produce abundantly. Invasive exotic species can be found on land and in water. Upon arriving here, they crowd out or kill native species – turning complex native ecosystems filled with a variety of species into simple communities dominated by a few, often exotic species. Here in Macon County, our streams and riparian areas are especially suffering due to these introduced species. The Asian clam and the Yellowfin shiner are two exotic aquatic species negatively affecting our streams. The exotic Hemlock woolly adelgid is decimating our two native hemlock tree species, which provide critical shade for our streams. Meanwhile, the moist and nutrient-rich environment of riparian areas are preferred habitat for many invasive exotic plant species such as Chinese privet, Japanese honeysuckle, Oriental bittersweet, and Multiflora rose, to name just a few.

Early April is an ideal time to build awareness of the harm caused by invasive species. As plants start to green up in the spring, people are drawn to the outdoors. It is hoped that participation in this event on the Little Tennessee River Greenway will increase the interest in invasive species management.

Caption for Attached Photo: “Balsam woolly adelgid infestation in the mountains of WNC” (Gerald J. Lenhard, LSU, Bogwood.org)


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