BOTANICAL EVALUATION OF THE GOAT ISLAND COMPLEX, NIAGARA FALLS, NEW YORK
Catalogue and Short Bibliography of Noxious Plants in the Goat Island Complex
Acer negundo BOX ELDER, MANITOBA MAPLE.
Stations of this species in the vicinity of Niagara Falls are all recent, a conclusion based on absence of earlier reports of its occurrence in natural areas, present relative youth of trees, association with disturbed areas and rampant spreading. Old plantings in lawns just west of the Terrapin Point area have seeded heavily into the vegetation of the adjacent wooded slope in the spray zone of the Horseshoe Falls, and several seedlings and saplings have been seen at the adjacent margin of the central woods. These trees should be removed and spontaneous establishment of native trees encouraged.
Acer platanoides L. NORWAY MAPLE
Nowak, D. J., R. A. Rowntree, and N. A. Richards. Autecology and silvics of a dominant urban tree species (Acer platanoides). State University of Nwe York and U.S. Forest Service, Syracuse, NY 13210, abstract from the 4th International Congress of Ecology, August 10-16, 1986. "In certain regions of the United States, the Norway maple dominates street and park tree populations and frequently escapes to compete with native species. This study will help city foresters, park managers, and others understand this species and how better to manage it" Restoration & Management Notes, Vol. 5(2):99.
Extensive plantings of this species were made on the north slope of Goat Island in the vicinity of the Spring. This tree is spreading rapidly along the north slope. Present planting practices include placing this tree in all areas of lawn on Goat Island. Note that this species is overrunning the botanically important area of Dufferin Islands in Ontario in their park system adjacent to the cataracts. Planting of this species should be discouraged and these trees should be removed.
Alliaria officinalis Andrz. GARLIC MUSTARD.
Knoop (1986), in a request for information regarding the behavior of this species in natural ecosystems, reported this species in Ohio "turning woodlands into bleak mustard monocultures" and that it produces "large numbers of viable seeds, typical of other biennial and weedy species." The growth of this species is considered "explosive" and "aggressive." It prefers "moist, shaded habitat," spreading "rapidly through mature woodlands."
The central Goat Island woods and wooded slopes are all presently heavily infested with this plant.
Hedera helix L. ENGLISH IVY.
This alien species of ground-cover has been established by path margins in several stations in the complex, notably Luna Island, choking out a diversity of native species of herbs and seedlings of trees and shrubs. This species should be easily removed by hand pulling.
Lonicera japonica Thunb. JAPANESE HONEYSUCKLE.
This species is a potential problem on Goat Island where it has been found in wet thickets near Terrapin Point. See Wagner, W. H. 1986. The Plant Press Vol. 4(3):99, who characterizes this species as a "pernicious weed which has been aggressively invading natural areas."
Lonicera tartarica L. TARTARIAN [EURASIAN] HONEYSUCKLE.
"Honeysuckle controlled by hand pulling (Illinois)" R. Todd. 1985. Restoration and Management Notes Vol. 3:1 p. 41. Honeysuckle in a woody habitat was removed by hand "pulling some small shrubs after a rain storm when the ground was wet. Larger shrubs were cut to 60 cm and pulled the following year. There has been no regrowth of honeysuckle on the one-tenth ha where this method was used. Pulling can also be done after fall rains."
Honeysuckle and Privet totally dominate one section of the east end of the First Sister and the adjacent river margin on Goat Island. Since this is one of the most pristine of the ecosystem areas in the complex, careful thought must be given to least-disruptive methods of removal. All exotic Honeysuckle shrubs should be ultimately removed from the complex.
Lythrum salicaria L. PURPLE LOOSESTRIFE.
"Purple Loosestrife Managed with Herbicides at Horicon National Wildlife Refuge (Wisconsin)". Notestein, A. 1987. Restoration & Management Notes Vol. 5(2):91.
"Purple Loosestrife named a noxious weed, illegal for sale, Minnesota" B. L. Harper Restoration and Management Notes, 1988 Vol. 6:2 pp. 95-96. The Minnesota State Legislature has accepted the nation's first comprehensive statewide program to deal with the spread of this invasive plant which degrades wetland ecosystems.
"Control of Purple Loosestrife (Illinois)" Spinks, P. & S. Packard. 1988. Restoration and Management Notes Vol. 6:1 p. 50.
Control of this weed along island margins in the Goat Island complex is needed.
Rhamnus catharticus L. COMMON BUCKTHORN.
"Buckthorn can be effectively controlled with careful application of herbicide to cut stumps" Hefty, R. 1984. "Buckthorn Control with 2,4-D/2, 4-DP (Wisconsin)." Restoration & Management Notes Vol. 2(1) p. 36. The herbicide was Weedone 170 (2,4-D + 2,4-DP mixed at 40g of herbicide per liter of diesel fuel to all exposed bark. The kill rate in Wisconsin after this treatment was 96 percent. "Complete drenching of all aboveground parts seems to be the key to successful treatment." Treatment of Rhamnus frangula [which occurs at the base of Goat Island] was effective with aqueous dilutions of Ortho A from 10 to 100 percent, Apfelbaum, S.I. 1984. "Buckthorn Control with Herbicide Tested (Illinois)." Restoration & Management Notes Vol. 2(1):36.
Buckthorn "has become a dominant component of the understory of southern Wisconsin forests": Brown, B.J., M. E. Jach, R. A. Harrington. 1985. "Ecological characteristics of Buckthorn to be investigated (Wisconsin)" Restoration and Management Notes 1985. Vol. 3:1 p. 40.
Buckthorn has spread throughout the complex, as it has in the Niagara gorge, with old plantings visible on the north slope near the vehicular bridge. All of this species should be removed from the complex.
Vinca minor L. MYRTLE, PERIWINKLE.
This dense, choking ground-cover has been established throughout the complex along asphalt path margins such as on Luna Island and in woods edges at the entrances to most of the bridges, such as those to the Second Sister Island and to Green Island. This species should be easily removed by careful hand pulling, and native species allowed to reestablish themselves.
Robinia pseudoacacia L. BLACK LOCUST.
This tree may be considered a developing problem, as it is seeding itself along the southern slopes and new land in the rocky flats area in the river above the Horseshoe Falls from an array of mature trees planted at the escarpment or bluff-crests above these areas. It has been noted that cutting back new sprouts did little to control the spread of this species. Foliar spray with Krenite II (1:24 in water) in August was most effective, but "new growth was common": Fleming, J., J. Lyon, & K. Liegel. 1986. "Black Locust Control Tested (Wisconsin)" Restoration & Management Notes Vol. 4(1):38.
For a review of noxious exotic species in native ecosystems see Harty, F. M. 1987. Exotics and the ecological ramifications. Natural Areas Journal Vol. 6 No. 4:20-26.