When you don’t have much money or many volunteers, what do you do about the erosion and invasive plants steadily nibbling away at the Blackstone parks? If you’re the Blackstone Parks Conservancy (BPC), you don’t try to eliminate these challenges–which no one could do–but to manage them while balancing the needs of the parks with the desire of visitors to enjoy them.
Protecting the Conservation District
The BPC tries to use limited resources as strategically as possible, taking small steps. This year the Park Committee plans several projects near York Pond and on Angell Street to strengthen vulnerable edges of the 45-acre semi-wild Blackstone Park.
Tall plants, many of them invasive with sharp thorns, block the view of York Pond on the south side, where an inviting dirt road runs straight back from the Seekonk River toward the woods. To make the pond more accessible, the BPC is planning to mow a path to the edge. With luck, it might even be possible to purchase a bench for that spot next year.
A small America the Beautiful grant enabled us to hire landscape architect Sarah Bradford to map out the best path and devise ways to combat erosion at the top of the York Pond steps.
For several years, the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) has enabled the BPC hire people to remove invasive plants. This year, another small grant will underwrite tackling greedy mugwort and bittersweet plants beside the pond.
Quote of the month: from Harold Doran, a stalwart volunteer who stops at the pond on the way to work: “If you sit there a while you don’t see anything; if you sit there a while longer, you see everything.”
Angell Street Success
The habitat planting on Angell Street, a trove of native plants installed with the supervision of Hope Leeson at the Rhode Island Natural History Survey is flourishing under the care of BPC volunteers. Please look at the website below where a small crowdsourcing campaign is raising money to upgrade the fence.