The Northern Virginia Conservation Trust (NVCT) has partnered with Friends of Little Hunting Creek (FOLHC) and the Stratford Landing Citizens Association (SLCA) to remove non-native invasive plants from NVCT's 2-acre Little Hunting Creek Preserve in Fairfax County on Stockton Parkway. The tidal wetland property was donated to NVCT by its neighbors for the community's benefit through protection and public access. The nature preserve contains a short trail providing access to a vital natural area for all to enjoy.
The vast majority of the property is covered with dense vegetation, mainly consisting of multiflora rose and blackberries. There is wild grape here and jewelweed in the summer. Trees are typical floodplain species one would often find in a site such as this, including box elder, sweetgum, sycamore, green ash, elm, and several hollies.
Volunteers gathered each weekend in March to remove harmful non-native plants. Many of these invasive vines will eventually kill trees by blocking sunlight to leaves and weighing down limbs, leaving them prone to disease and vulnerable to severe weather.
English ivy, Wintercreeper, and Japanese honeysuckle are amongst the invasive species strangling the property's native plants.
Protecting our trees is essential as they provide oxygen, store carbon, and stabilize the soil. Native plants have started growing on the property since the March volunteer events, including: American pokeweed, Virginia creeper, and Trumpet vine. Also, the protective buffer of vegetation to Little Hunting Creek will filter nutrients, pesticides, and sediment while providing wildlife habitat.
This partnership will also focus on several other critical improvements to the property, including welcoming signage that informs visitors of NVCT's mission as well as educational content.
Benches will be installed at the beginning of the trail, making the property more inviting, and seating along the route will provide comfort within a scenic view of the wetlands and Little Hunting Creek.
If you would like more information or help with invasive plant removal at Little Hunting Creek, contact Alyssa Hemler at firstname.lastname@example.org.