Texas Beach/North Bank Trail
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Focus Project Area Update
Good News From Texas Beach!
The primary goal of our work at Texas Beach is to rescue native tree canopy, understory and saplings from invasive vines. The good news is that our work in 2018-9 is really showing results in Management Areas 3, 4, and 5. Our efforts to remove honeysuckle vines has resulted in a flourishing of understory trees and bushes, most notably spicebush, pawpaws, and bladdernut. English Ivy has been removed from most of the large trees in Management area 5 thanks to work by the James River Hiker volunteers. Our task force team continues to work to remove English ivy from trees in Management areas 3 and 4. Oriental bittersweet continues to be a huge challenge - but we are working on it.
We also made significant progress in reducing the impact of Chinese privet around the parking area and at the base of the pedestrian bridge, thanks to a day of volunteer service donated by the Virginia Forestry and Wildlife Group. You may also notice the abundance of bluestem grass and spring wildflowers emerging where English ivy was removed by a team of hard-working volunteers during National Invasive Species Awareness Week 2019.
In December 2018 we planted 60 Christmas ferns to help control erosion. The dry summer of 2019 is taking its toll, but most are still with us.
Study area summary
The Texas Beach/North Bank Trail study area includes approximately 77.3 acres of park land and was divided into six management units of various sizes. The lead organization for the baseline study of this park section was Virginia Commonwealth University. The task force field team in this study area identified a total of 23 invasive plant species across all management units, including:
- 12 species ranked with high invasiveness;
- 9 species ranked with medium invasiveness; and,
- 2 species ranked with low invasiveness.
The data from the baseline study indicates that this study area some of the heaviest invasive plant infestations within the JRPS. Nearly all of the management units were recorded with greater than 75 percent cover (Cover Class 5) of highly invasive vine species, including Oriental bittersweet, English ivy, and Japanese honeysuckle. In addition, all the management units were recorded with greater than 50 percent cover (Cover Class 4) of Chinese privet; and, several management units had dominant populations of other highly invasive shrub species, including Amur honeysuckle and multiflora rose.
While the density of non-native invasive vines within the overall study area limited observation of native species during the baseline study, areas with forested canopy appear to have similar composition to other natural habitats within the JRPS. Dominant canopy trees include species such as red maple, white oak, mockernut hickory (Carya tomentosa), tulip tree, black cherry, and American sycamore. In addition, native vines appear to be occasionally mixed amongst non-native vine populations, and can include grapevines (Vitis spp.) and Virgin’s bower (Clematis virginiana).