Group and business working to squelch spread of knotweed

You are invited to join the Potomac Highlands Cooperative Weed and Pest Management Area on July 20 from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Elkins McDonald’s to learn about invasive species and to win great prizes.

The Potomac Highlands CWPMA is partnering with McDonald’s to combat the spread of one of the most invasive species in West Virginia, Japanese knotweed. This plant threatens our fish and wildlife, including native trout.

On July 20, a portion of the sales from McDonald’s chicken nuggets will go toward helping fight non-native invasive species throughout the state. The CWPMA will be at the restaurant to talk about Japanese knotweed and to demonstrate how to treat this troublesome plant effectively.

Japanese knotweed is a non-native invasive species that prohibits the growth of native plants that are essential to maintaining healthy streams. The plant grows quickly, forming dense thickets.

“Japanese knotweed overtakes and limits native plants, eliminating food sources for native wildlife,” said John Schmidt, state coordinator for the Partners for Fish and Wildlife.

Over the past several years the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the Potomac Highlands CWPMA have partnered to undertake several restoration projects throughout the state to treat invasive species.

“We have seen good effects and are continuing to retreat important areas to maintain the gains we have made,” said Schmidt. “We want to keep our state’s streams and forests healthy for fish, wildlife and West Virginians.”

The Potomac Highlands CWPMA and its many partners are committed to fighting non-native invasive species like knotweed and to spreading awareness of the environmental threat they pose.

“Increasing the awareness of West Virginia residents is vital in the fight against invasive species,” said Evan Burks, partnership liaison for the Monongahela National Forest. “When it comes to invasives, we need everyone to be involved. The more people know about the impacts these pests have on our forests, wildlife and agriculture, the more successful we will be in protecting our favorite places.”

Puddles the Blue Goose will be stopping by to help spread the word about invasive species, so be sure to stop by McDonald’s on July 20. Door prizes and children’s activities will also be available at this special event.