This wetland is filled with purple loosestrife, a beautiful but very invasive plant. The wetland has lost almost all of its native plant species and all the native animals speciesthat depended on them.
The above photo is NOT from Hartley Park!
Some Purple Loosestrife does grow along the west shore of Hartley Pond. So far it has not spread. For now, it takes its place among our native species, perhaps as a result of an alien noninvasive beetle that feeds on it that was introduced some years ago.
The human species is extremely well travelled around the globe. Many other species are innocently carried along on our adventures. Sometimes we transport them intentionally, sometimes accidentally. Often these “exotic” species are harmless or even beneficial. However, having evolved in a different ecological soup under different conditions, some exotic species have adaptations that give them a competitive advantage over local organisms. In such cases, these species alter their new ecosystems in significant ways and are considered “invasive.’ In the absence of management, native species once adapted to the local landscape can lose their place in the altered ecosystem and cease to exist. All things being connected, these losses reverberate throughout the system.
Invasive species tend to have an easier time getting a foothold on land that has been disturbed, as the seeds find easy access to soil and sunlight. Hartley Park exists on a site that was once cleared and tilled for farming, and then left abandoned to grow wild (See Hartley History). As a result, invasive plant species have gained a strong presence on the Hartley landscape.
We are currently engaged in a difficult effort to preserve native species and control invasives. Invasive species that receive the bulk of our effort include:
Other invasive species of particular concern in Hartley Park include:
The major force behind Hartley’s restoration efforts comes from the work of dedicated volunteers. Hartley volunteers work hard to remove existing invasive species and replace them with native species. Volunteer opportunities are available through Hartley Nature Center!
For more information about invasive species in Minnesota, visit the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources invasive species page.