The photo shows 45 of the 55 volunteers who teamed up to cut invasive buckthorn brush choking the banks of the South Branch of the Vermillion River east of Farmington, MN on Saturday, October 29.
It was a lot of fun, and we accomplished a lot, clearing about 1100 feet of this awesome trout stream.
Our TU Vermillion Riverkeepers event drew members and community volunteers from as far away as Crystal, MN.
Mark Nemeth, Trout Habitat Specialist from the Minnesota DNR, showed us areas to clear, and how to spray a special mixture of herbicide on the stumps, so the buckthorn won’t grow back. It’s a dramatic improvement, and all done with volunteer labor.
The work is part of a multi-year project Twin Cities Trout Unlimited chapter volunteers are doing in the MNDNR South Branch of the Vermillion River State Aquatic Management Area on E. 220th St. in Vermillion Township, just west of U.S. Hwy. 52.
The buckthorn grows so thickly here, it makes the stream almost inaccessible.
All the native trees’ leaves have turned color already or have fallen by now. Everything you see that is green is buckthorn.
The longer growing season for buckthorn is one of the reasons why it out-competes other vegetation.
Buckthorn chokes out and shades out native plants. This is one of the first steps necessary to clear the area and restore native prairie, so we can improve the adjoining wildlife habitat, and stabilize the banks to reduce erosion that washes dirt into the river.
Volunteers dragged the cut buckthorn into huge piles, for the MNDNR crews to burn this winter.
Then everybody enjoyed a free lunch of delicious grilled burgers.
We’ll hold another Vermillion Riverkeepers event in the spring. To be notified about our chapter’s upcoming events, send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.