Invasive Plant Task Force - James River Park System

Volunteer Events Back on Schedule with Public Health Policy

After a spring of curtailed and canceled public volunteer invasive management work projects, the Task Force is back to hosting volunteer events in some project areas. Others will resume in Fall. Please see our Calendar for locations and dates. Volunteers should be prepared to follow the following minimum public health guidelines to protect themselves and others:

  • Do not participate in an event if you have any symptoms of illness or believe you may have been exposed to the Coronavirus.
  • During an event, avoid physical contact with others and maintain a minimum distance of six feet from others.
  • Have a face mask with you to use as necessary.
  • Observe basic precautions like covering coughs and sneezes with an elbow or a tissue. Please see the James River Park System’s full guidelines for volunteers here. [PDF]

What We’ve Accomplished Lately – Highlights from Spring 2020

The Wetlands

Grant funding from a private foundation has supported invasive management efforts in The Wetlands, an ecologically sensitive area of the park system. In early spring the Task Force employed Virginia Wildlife and Forestry to treat the emerging threat of Ficaria verna (Fig Buttercup), an exceptionally aggressive and difficult to manage invasive spring ephemeral with a narrow seasonal treatment window. You can read more about Ficaria verna here. The Task Force has also made extensive progress in removing the dominant midstory invasives, Ligustrum cinense (Chinese Privet) and Lonicera maackii (Amur Honeysuckle), in an area extending from the Landria Drive entrance toward Pony Pasture and toward the river.

Pony Pasture

The multi-year removal of Euonymous fortunei (Wintercreeper) groundcover progressed, expanding the Rapids Restoration Area. Botanist and Task Force steering committee member Robert Wright conducted a seasonal species inventory in early June. The Task Force continued Free-A-Tree efforts and removal of Lonicera Maackii (Amur Honeysuckle) in the Riverside Trail and Pleasants Creek Trail corridors.

Pump House

The Task Force has treated numerous areas of Hedera helix (English Ivy), Albizia julibrissin (Mimosa), Rosa Multiflora (Multiflora Rose), Wisteria sinensis (Chinese Wisteria), and other invasive trees, vines, and shrubs. George Washington’s Arch is now nearly completely cleared of invasives.

Buttermilk Trail West

Work continues west of the 42nd Street parking lot. A priority has been controlling Kudzu, Japanese stilt grass, and garlic mustard encroachment into the park along the edge of Riverside Drive. The Task Force also continues to remove English ivy, wintercreeper, and invasive shrubs within the interior, adjacent to the trail.

The Task Force also has supported efforts to identify and treat ash trees under attack by the invasive insect, the Emerald Ash Borer (EAB), a project that began with a grant from the Virginia Department of Forestry and continues with a grant from a private foundation. The park system has funding for and hopes to treat up to a total of 30 to 40 trees, mostly located in Huguenot Flatwater Woods, Pony Pasture, and The Wetlands park units. Read more about EAB here.

Our gratitude and thanks to the following professional crews that have volunteered in support of our work throughout the park system!

John Richmond Landscaping
Terra Forma Landscape
Bartlett Tree Experts
Truetimber Arborists
Sawtooth Tree & Garden LLC
Virginia Forestry and Wildlife Group
H&A Landscaping
Trillium Gardens
Sneed’s Nursery
Rada Landscaping
BWS Landscaping
Commonwealth Tree Care
James River Nursery

Love the park? Here's a chance to help

How many volunteers does it take to fight invasive plants, save trees and native plant communities, and restore habitat?


The JRPS Invasive Plant Task Force is a volunteer effort. The park of the future depends on the volunteers of today. It just takes a can-do attitude and willingness to get your hands dirty. We’ll provide the training and tools. Check out our calendar for upcoming work days.

Please do not undertake unauthorized invasive removal in the park system on your own. The Task Force works strategically in targeted places according to evidence-based methods specific to the invasive species, seasonal timing, and other factors, prioritizing key goals and protecting sensitive resources.

See where invasives impact the James River

Map of study areas

Click on the map to reach the complete baseline study report by park unit.

Virginia's Least WantedWhat's new with the Task Force

Updates on Focus Project Areas

The list of Focus Project Areas is:

Updated information coming soon.

Rainy Day Virtual-Visit to Chapel Island with JRA

March 29, 2020
The James River Association is a lead organizational partner of the JRPS Invasive Task Force and has been stewarding Chapel Island since 2014! Check out what’s blooming on Chapel Island this month and enjoy some scenes from the James River in this video by Amber Ellis, JRA’s Senior Watershed Restoration Manager. Watch:  Rainy Walk on … Continue reading Rainy Day Virtual-Visit to Chapel Island with JRA Read more

2/23 – 2/29: Task Force Hosts National Invasive Species Awareness Week Events!

February 14, 2020
For the third consecutive year the JRPS Invasive Plant Task Force will make National Invasive Species Awareness Week a local happening. Please join us at one (or more!) of our volunteer opportunities, walks, or talks. Check the calendar for details (coming soon!). SUNDAY 2/23  1:00-4:00 p.m.  Pony Pasture Invasive Ecology 101: stop by our tent … Continue reading 2/23 – 2/29: Task Force Hosts National Invasive Species Awareness Week Events! Read more

Sometimes Invasive Plant Warriors Are Four-Legged

October 13, 2019
The JRPS Invasive Task Force recently enlisted professional help with battling invasive plant cover, primarily wintercreeper vines and Chinese privet shrubs, at Huguenot Woods Flatwater, the  westernmost unit of the James River Park System. Twenty-one goats and sheep plus “watchdonkey” Ruth Ann from RVA Goats were stationed for nearly two weeks near the canoe and … Continue reading Sometimes Invasive Plant Warriors Are Four-Legged Read more

Read more

Virginia's Least Wanted