Letter in support of Invasive Plant Species Management Initiative

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Jennifer Clifford

Mar 13, 2024, 1:30:46 PMMar 13
to earthwi...@googlegroups.com

Dear EwA friends,

If you reside or have a business located in Somerville, please read and consider supporting this effort. Thank you!

We are writing to introduce you to the Invasive Plant Species Management Initiative. The objective of this initiative is to build a collective of like-minded individuals and groups who reside in Somerville to communicate to the City of Somerville the urgent need to take action to mitigate the abundance of invasive plant species in our community. The proposal includes the creation of professional and dedicated staffing positions in addition to community education and outreach programs. Details of the initiative can be found here

Members of Green & Open Somerville (G&OS) and Earthwise Aware (EwA) are coordinating this effort and have requested that the Open Space, Environment and Energy committee (OSEE) and the city take on this issue, including the creation of a position to oversee an integrated approach for management of invasive plant species. The OSEE committee will be discussing this very issue, as Order (ID# 24-0106) during their April 2, 2024 meeting (meeting info here). 

Please join us in our advocacy to advance this discussion! 

If you or your organization reside in Somerville, we invite you to show your support by signing on to this initiative in support of Order (ID# 24-0106) as an individual or as an organization. Please reply to this email or write directly to Renée Scott (renee...@gmail.com) or Jennifer Clifford (jennifer...@earthwiseaware.org) by March 27 to have your name, or the name of your organization, added to our proposal. 

Individual letters expressing support for this order are also welcome. Please send your letter to cityc...@somervillema.gov by March 27, 2024.

Below is a summary of why we think this is important and ideas for approaches. 

Invasive plants pose a unique problem

There is a profusion of invasive plant species in Somerville. We need professional assistance, in addition to a concerted city-led effort for community engagement, to create a management strategy and mitigate this problem. We are asking the city to tackle this because it is a difficult situation requiring dedicated attention, financing, and external expertise. Such action will provide critical support for the Climate Forward Plan, the Native Planting Ordinance, and the Pollinator Action Plan.  

Invasive plant species are coupled to economic and health concerns for homeowners

Invasive plants typically outcompete native plant species for resources, thereby negatively altering our ecosystem by reducing biodiversity. They spread readily, especially in disturbed areas that persist in an urban environment. Resulting biodiversity loss creates several downstream concerns. Disrupted native ecosystems cannot support the food web and this is unhealthy for our community. Reduced property values and owner enjoyability may occur when residences and businesses are overrun with unwanted plants because of aesthetic issues and remediation costs. 

Develop an integrated approach for the management of invasive plants 

  • External expertise (proposed job description can be found here)

  • Education and outreach: training community members to locate, identify, and appropriately remove plants 

  • Couple the removal of existing plants with the planting of native species

  • Communicate ways that we can prevent these plants from entering our communities 

Let’s move forward, together

Serious and appropriate removal action of invasive plants from our public spaces coupled with community education and participation are key to returning the outdoor spaces of Somerville to a primarily native-planted space. Invasive species prevention is the best approach to management, but once that fails, we need to look at solutions for the removal of these plants. Subsequently, a maintenance goal of exclusion would be necessary. A multi-pronged approach, including expert(s) and dedicated personnel, can help us attain this goal.

In the spirit of taking a collective approach toward making the city of Somerville a resilient city, in accordance with climate policy, the Pollinator Action Plan, the Native Planting Ordinance, and other community efforts, we ask for your support in this effort. 

We are grateful for your support. Thank you!


Jennifer Clifford

Earthwise Aware

Claire O’Neill

Earthwise Aware

Renée Scott

Green & Open Somerville

Leigh Meunier

Green & Open Somerville


Phenology | Ecosystems | Participatory Science

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