March 10, 2015 --
Drivers, joggers and walkers aboard Marine Corps Logistics Base Albany may notice patches of brown, wilted grass in selected areas throughout the base.
These once green and sometimes overgrown areas are part of a large scale herbicide project being conducted by Marine Corps Logistics Base Albany’s Natural Resources.
The purpose of the project is to enhance and restore important plant life aboard the base, according to Julie Robbins, natural resource manager, Environmental Branch, Installation and Environment Division, MCLB Albany.
“(People) will notice the vegetation browning within four or five days of treatment but there is no harm to anyone or wildlife,” Robbins said. “The herbicides we are using are selective and the goal is to improve the abundance of grasses while reducing the number of unwanted hardwoods by about 70 percent.”
Robbins said the overall effect will improve the environment for deer and other animals.
“The benefits of herbicide include significant improvements in habitat for rare or declining species such as the gopher tortoise, Bachman’s sparrow and northern bobwhite quail,” Robbins said. “Additionally, releasing native wildflowers will also benefit pollinators such as honeybees and ruby-throated hummingbirds.”
To date, Natural Resources has overseen the herbicide treatment of more than 500 acres, according to Robbins.
Fall and winter are the most efficient times to treat invasive plants because the plants are moving nutrients to their root systems in preparation for the winter, according to Robbins.
Mark Atwater, contractor, MCLB Albany, uses a variety of equipment to apply the herbicide.
“(We have used) individual stem injection to (eliminate) specific target trees, hand application by backpack and ATV sprayers and broadcast application by tractor sprayer,” Atwater said. “Tractor applications use sub-meter GPS navigation and computer spray controller to make the most precise and accurate application possible.
“This minimizes both waste of time and money and the potential for damaging important plant life,” he added.