This summer the Landscape Committee is undertaking understory restoration projects on three island sites, two in the lower Parade Ground and one near the mail house. In each case, invasive honeysuckle, barberry, and bittersweet, as well as some army cement structures, are coming out. They will be replaced with native shrubs and small trees, including viburnum, fragrant sumac, spicebush, witchhazel, and pagoda dogwood. The committee is experimenting with a slightly different model for reclaiming the land; we are uncovering limited areas and immediately replant. This method requires some vigilance as the invasives resprout but, by replanting immediately, does not leave large areas disturbed and open to fresh invasion. Understory (midlevel) plantings are the ultimate goal as these, far more than grass and trees, support life systems.
The City of Portland passed a pesticide ordinance last year, and it took effect this year. Despite the name, the ordinance covers chemical pesticides and herbicides, though certain organic products are still permissible. We are still gathering information about specifics and hope to have more information and/or a workshop about the issue later in the summer. Although this ordinance may at first seem like an inconvenience to some, we hope that all islanders will come to appreciate the vast benefits of avoiding these chemicals. The worldwide decline of the insect population, growing health concerns about glyphosate and other herbicides, the issue of runoff into the sea, and the particular danger to children are just some of the problems these products present.
Jeff Tarling, Portland arborist, continues to monitor winter moth and browntail moth activity on the island. Please report insect damage, moth nests, and rashes to a member of the committee.
Livy More, chair
Committee: Howard Dana, Meredith Hamilton, Lauren Meier, Beth Meserve Macblane, Marty Meserve, John Spencer, Cindy Thaxter, Sandra Thaxter