Cottage Grove, News

Coast Fork Willamette Watershed aims to eradicate knotweed

Reilly Newman, Coast Fork Willamette Watershed Council projects coordinator, speaks on the Knotweed Eradication Project during the Science Pub at Axe & Fiddle in Cottage Grove on Aug. 27. ALIYA HALL/THE CHRONICLE

COTTAGE GROVE – Representatives of the Coast Fork Willamette Watershed Council (CFWWC) visited Cottage Grove last week and educated Coast Fork Science Pub attendees on efforts being made to eradicate knotweed – an invasive weed threatening natural habitats, particularly around rivers.
The weed, which can be identified by noticing sheaths where the leaves join the stem, was introduced across the nation as a horticultural variety for gardeners that was hard to kill. Reilly Newman, Coast Fork Willamette Watershed Council projects coordinator, said that their durability, however, has become a threat to native species.
”Each winter it’ll die back and outcompete our native trees and shrubs,” Newman said. ”In winter, (knotweed) can cause erosion on the riverbanks because their root systems are shallow.”
The Coast Fork Willamette Watershed Council is still aiming to eradicate the weed despite no longer having grant funding, and are offering free treatment on public and private land near the river way, Newman said.
”I’m personally passionate about it,” she said. ”I’ve seen the devastating effect in other areas. We’re lucky here. I don’t want to see (overpopulation) happen here, so that’s why I’ve taken up the cause to try and get rid of this weed.”
CFWWC hosts a family-friendly monthly public meeting series called the Coast Fork Science Pub on the fourth Tuesday of each month from 5 to 7 p.m. at the Axe & Fiddle, 657 E. Main St. in Cottage Grove. The event begins with informal socializing, trivia and updates about the watershed and watershed council during the first hour. The Science Pub presentation begins at 6 p.m.
CFWWC receives 10% of all sales from the evening between 5 and 7:30 p.m. The event is free, but donations are welcome. More info: [email protected] Fork Willamette Watershed Council and coastfork.org.