Odiorne Point Ecosystem Restoration Project

In 2010 the Odiorne Point State Park Invasive Plant Management Plan was adopted to restore native plant communities, control invasive species infestations, eradicate new infestations and improve recreational opportunities and public safety. The Division of Parks and Recreation in partnership with the Rockingham County Conservation District (RCCD) and the Seacoast Science Center have invested over $450,000 dollars (operating and grant funds) and 2300 volunteer hours to restore the habitats of Odiorne Point State Park since 2009.

At least 18 of the 25 prohibited species on the state invasive plant list have been documented at the park. Species with the greatest threat to freshwater and brackish barrier wetlands in the park include purple loosestrife, and common reed. These two plants are known to spread rapidly, forming monocultures that outcompete native wetland species in relatively short time spans. Perennial pepperweed another invasive wetland plant also poses a major threat to grassy coastal wetlands along the beach south of Frost’s Point. Pepperweed has only been documented in one other location in NH, and is currently a significant problem in Massachusetts. Bittersweet, honeysuckle, and glossy buckthorn are the major threats to the forested upland communities throughout the park. These species are known to have the greatest density and distribution park-wide.

Each year the Division of Parks and Recreation meets mid-winter with key state agencies including the Department of Environmental Services – Coastal Program, Department of Agriculture, Division of Historic Resources, NH Fish and Game Department, and the Natural Heritage Bureau to discuss the work plan for the next season. Rare plant surveys and archaeological studies are often done prior to treatment of areas. These studies and surveys have enriched our understanding of the cultural and natural landscape at the park.

This coastal habitat restoration project is on-going, with the aim of restoring native habitats along with the recreation areas that have been taken over by invasive plants.  Projects often involve holding educational and outreach sessions on-site that include innovative Integrated Pest Management (IPM) techniques and native plantings.  Once these habitats have tipped the balance back, additional resources will be needed for continued maintenance.  This will need to include spot treatments to ensure invasive species won’t again regain a strong-foothold in the coastal habitats found within this park.