Meadows of Native Warm-Season Grasses and Forbs Coming to New England’s Roadsides?
A major research project of the New England Transportation Consortium (NETC), funded by the Department of Transportation in all six New England states, aims to find the most affordable, reliable, and expeditious methods for establishing meadows of native warm-season grasses (NWSG) and forbs along New England roadsides. These meadows would replace a large portion of the existing introduced cool-season turf grasses that require high resource inputs and frequent mowing. By transitioning to more sustainable management practices, Departments of Transportation can save on fuel costs, reduce harmful emissions, increase pollinator populations, increase carbon sequestration, reduce erosion, improve storm water infiltration, restore native ecological system functions, and possibly increase soil rhizodegradation of petroleum pollutants given off by vehicles.
John Campanelli, a graduate student in ecological restoration at the University of Connecticut, will discuss his research finding for this project. One of the easiest ways to transition from current populations of predominantly introduced cool season grasses to native warm season ones is to reduce mowing to once a year or once every other year. Wild NWSGs, such as Schizachyrium scoparium (little bluestem), as well as native cool-season grasses, such as many varieties of Carex, currently populate a large portion of New England roadsides. By pursuing a practice that could be labeled “benign neglect”, these existing colonies of native grasses can grow more dense by out-competing the non-native cool-season grasses and weeds previously introduced by Department of Transportation management practices. In addition, John will discuss the specific “ecosystem services” of these meadows of NWSGs and forbes.
John Campanelli received his undergraduate degree from Harvard and Columbia Universities. His graduate research is conducted with Professor Julia Kuzovkina, Department of Plant Science, University of Connecticut.
Schedule of Events
1:00 to 1:30 — Business Meeting
1:30 to 2:00 — Refreshments & Fellowship
If your last name begins with the letters O-Z, please bring refreshments to share.
2:00 to 3:30 — Guest Speaker: John Campanelli, Graduate Student, Department of Plant Science, University of Connecticut