In the world of invasive species, it’s hard enough to keep up with the new species we should be aware of and then we’re expected to relearn the ever-changing genus/species combinations of plants we thought we already knew… On top of it all, we’re supposed to remember all the acronyms…oh the acronyms! Between SWCD’s (Soil and Water Conservation Districts), AIS (aquatic invasive species), and NRCS (Natural Resources Conservation Service), it’s an alphabet soup out there!
One acronym that commonly gets thrown around in the invasives world is EDRR. What does it stand for? Well, it stands for Early Detection and Rapid Response… which in my personal opinion is no more or less clear than EDRR! Despite its cryptic title, EDRR is a critical defense against the establishment of invasive populations. What does it mean to detect something early and respond rapidly? And how does that help stop invasive species?
A great example of EDRR can be found here in Benton County. In 2016 during the annual Love Your River Paddle and Pull event, two new and small occurrences of yellow floating heart (Nymphoides peltata), an Oregon Department of Agriculture (ODA) A-listed species, were found on the mainstem of the Willamette River. To be in the A-list club, a weed must be of known economic importance occurring in the state in small enough infestations to make eradication or containment possible! Basically, it’s a bad weed with a small enough infestation that it can still be contained or completely removed! At Paddle and Pull events, our volunteers start off the day learning which aquatic invasive species to be on the look-out for, then we float the river and hand-pull small populations of aquatic invasives species. During one of these events a volunteer spotted yellow floating heart at Tripp Island, one of the most diverse and special locations along the Corvallis to Albany stretch of the river. The volunteer recognized the plant from the morning discussion and by using our Water Weed Guide for Benton County the volunteer identified the noxious weed. Our volunteer groups hand-pulled both occurrences of yellow floating heart and no new plants were observed at these sites in 2017 or 2018! The population was detected early, and we responded rapidly by pulling it out! EDRR at its best!
Another great example of EDRR is in Benton SWCD volunteer’s control of garlic mustard (Alliaria petiolata). This species was first documented in Oregon in Multnomah County in 1959. It invades healthy forests and severely reduces biodiversity through highly successful competition for light. It is thought to produce a toxin that kills soil fungi that other native plants depend on, including native tree seedlings. Through Benton SWCD’s Weed Spotters program, the first occurrence of garlic mustard was found in Benton County in 2012. Again, this species was found early and in a small enough population that all we do now to control this infestation is hand-pull it once a year. This amount of work is minuscule compared to the $100,000 a year spent treating this species in Portland. In 2018 the species was not found at the site, early detection and rapid response for the win!
So now that you know what EDRR stands for and what it means, how can you practice Early Detection and Rapid Response? If you spot a potential new invasives species in Benton County, please report it to the Oregon Invasives Hotline via web or phone. Call toll-free 1-866-INVADER (1-866-468-2337). You can follow sightings with the online map at oregoninvasiveshotline.org! Additionally, please come learn about plants at one of our volunteer events. Our site coordinators and on-site noxious weed experts will assist you in identifying native plants and noxious weeds. Join a Love Your River workshop or Paddle and Pull day on the Willamette River, hosted by members of the Willamette Mainstem Cooperative. Or join us on Saturday May 18, 2019 during Oregon’s Invasive Weed Awareness week at a local park or natural area for the Let’s Pull Together event, pulling weeds from the places we love with members of the Benton County Cooperative Weed Management Area.