With funds from the Virginia Department of Forestry and support from DCR procurement staff, the Coastal Region was able to establish a contract with a qualified company to conduct invasive species management activities at Mutton Hunk Fen Natural Area Preserve. 

On May 28th and 29th, DNH staff met the contractor staff on site to begin the efforts. Much of their time during this session was ground cutting Ravenna-grass Tripidiumravennae, so that it will be unlikely to produce seeds this season and so that it can be chemically treated in the early fall. Ravenna-grass is increasingly appearing in places well away from plantings, grows to over three meters in height and, at Mutton Hunk Fen NAP, has both formed a dense colony of almost an acre and dispersed throughout an area of over 6 acres of the preserve.

During both the May and the June 10th site visits, the contractor also treated Autumn olive, Chinese privet, multiflora rose, Callery pear, and English ivy, using basal bark and cut stump methods of herbicide application.

It is anticipated that the contractors will return in the fall and winter to complete their contractual obligations of a full year of seasonally appropriate management activities.

Mutton Hunk Fen NAP is the only land accessible (and public access facility) NAP in Accomack County, about an hour drive from the nearest land accessible preserve. Having a competent contractor complete invasive species management activities on this preserve allows Coastal Region Stewardship staff to efficiently focus their efforts on the four land accessible preserves in Northampton County. 

Top: Drone photo taken by Kevin Heffernan in 2022 with Ravenna grass visible both to the north and south of the trail. Center and bottom: photos of Ravenna grass.