Brookhaven Town, WMHO to Eradicate Invasive Plant Species at West Meadow

Perennial pepperweed growth threatens the natural ecosystem of the West Meadow Peninsula.

Grants awarded to the Town of Brookhaven and will facilitate removal of throughout the West Meadow Peninsula, the WMHO announced this week.

According to the WMHO, it's the first known invasion of perennial pepperweed, a non-native plant, on Long Island; it is classified as an Early Detection/Rapid Response species that threatens the peninsula's salt marsh ecosystem.

The Long Island Invasive Species Management Area, supported by the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation, awarded Brookhaven $15,000 to support eradication efforts on town, county, and Old Field Club property. The organization awarded the WMHO $10,000 for eradication efforts on its properties.

"Invasive species, such as the perennial pepperweed, are choking the lifeblood from the native species of plant life that exist along the shore line within the salt marsh ecosystem of West Meadow Creek," Town Councilman Steve Fiore-Rosenfeld said in a statement. "Such invasives need to be removed as soon as possible to ensure that the native species of flora and the fauna that depend on those native species are not lost at West Meadow Beach."

According to the WMHO, the organization began eradication efforts two years ago on its own. Now, a joint plan between the organization, the Town of Brookhaven, Suffolk County, and the Old Field Club will be implemented this summer. The plan includes ongoing inspection and regrowth removal for the next eight to 10 years.

While the town will use a combination of manual, mechanical and herbicide methods, the WMHO said it will be using non-chemical means so as to not disturb the sensitive nature of the salt marsh ecosystem.

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