By Kris Leonhardt
MARSHFIELD — Two local residents are working to remove invasive species along Marshfield’s Wildwood Station Trail, a one-mile, city-owned hiking and bicycling trail on the city’s west side that connects the Steve J. Miller Recreation Area to the Veterans Parkway Trail.
“This property is nine acres of public land (on either side of the trail),” explained Dan Umhoefer. “It extends from Oak Avenue on the east to Lincoln Avenue on the west. The trail is the center of the city’s right-of-way.
“We are dealing with invasives, generally of which buckthorn is a primary component. Those invasives include glossy leaf buckthorn, common buckthorn, and invasive honeysuckle. With those present, all other native species will be overwhelmed. The foundation of this overall corridor is to first get the invasive species out.”
Umhoefer and his project partner Tom Sell will first work to remove the mature seed producing plants that continue to regenerate the invasive plants
The next step is to rejuvenate the desirable plants that are being crowded out. These include canopy trees such as oaks and maples, shrubs such as dogwood, and ground cover plants such as trilliums and wild geranium.
“Part three is to do some limited landscaping,” said Umhoefer. “Move dirt to improve drainage here and there, and improve trail shoulders here and there.”
Umhoefer was quick to add that there is a misconception that their work has involved tree removal on the trail.
“A certain area is controlled by power company easement. The city owns the land under it, but the power easement controls the type of forestry that can go in here to protect their power lines from high branches and high trees. They have the power to restrict what grows under it.
“This fall they came in and stripped away all of those trees in accordance with their easement rights.”
Following a power outage this summer, Marshfield Utilities began removing 91 trees along the right away to address an ongoing issue with outages. Removal began in August and continued through the fall.
Umhoefer hopes to complete phase one of the action plan through the winter but adds that additional help could speed completion.
Those interested in volunteering with the project should contact Dan Umhoefer at 715-384-9373.