A habitat restoration pilot project for public and private lands on Lopez Island

Submitted by Friends of the San Juans

Friends of the San Juans has launched a habitat restoration pilot project for public and private lands on Lopez Island to eradicate Italian arum.

Italian arum is a noxious weed and toxic to people and animals. Friends of the San Juans is piloting a noxious weed project to work with public and private land owners on Lopez Island to prevent the spread of it.

Noxious weeds can degrade important wildlife habitat and natural areas and outcompete native plants. Now, more than ever, we must come together to reduce the damages caused by noxious weeds.

Italian arum berries show in July. If you find this plant, please cut the stalks at the ground and put them in a plastic bag. The Lopez Transfer Station will dispose of them for free. Call and report your disposal effort to Dixie Budke so disposal amounts can be quantified.

The goals of this project are to: eradicate and prevent the spread of Italian arum on private property and public lands on Lopez Island; protect island homes, communities, farms, natural areas and wildlife from the impacts of Italian Arum; engage island communities in positive, collaborative efforts that will benefit us all; and educate the community about its role and responsibility in noxious weed control starting with this pilot project on Lopez Island.

This habitat restoration project will work in concert with other nonprofit and governmental agencies to develop a collaborative and efficient strategy to achieve the stated goals.

This project is funded through a generous donation from Lopez Island neighbors Jim and Birte Falconer.

According to Jim, “This plant is a ‘stealth’ invasive. It leafs out during with winter months before the native plants can get started; it has bulblets which scatter its progeny unless carefully removed; and its berries are carried afar by the birds. But, they are easy to spot in the winter as well as the summer when the berries show their colors. Arum is a challenge. But if the community becomes aware and devotes the time and energy, this nasty plant can be eliminated.”

By taking simple steps on private property and public lands, we can help restore our islands for people and nature.

If you would like more information or would like to help, please contact Budke at dixiebudke@gmail.com, or call 805-801-1805.

Friends of the San Juans is a public interest nonprofit based on San Juan Island since 1979 with the mission to protect and restore the San Juan Islands and Salish Sea for people and nature. For more information, visit http://www.sanjuans.org/noxiousweeds.