We thought we’d go exploring the upper Rondout Creek and found the Sandburg Creek, where it unites with the Rondout out past Joseph Y. Resnick Airport in Ellenville, NY. We explored the wetlands of the Sandburg off Rte 209 and Mountain Rd around the hamlet of Spring Glen. There are some nice sections of the Sandburg, but this was not one of them. Walking along the D&H Canal Towpath, we immediately spotted the golden brown color of Japanese Knotweed.
Knotweed completely devoured these wetlands. In the square mile that we hiked, we never saw a bird or an animal or any other species indicative of a healthy wetland. Only Knotweed. As far as walked. A massive jungle of Knotweed.
I’ve run into plenty of these invasive plants, but I’ve never walked through a forest of it. You can easily hack it away to get through it and the seeds just fly everywhere. I felt bad at first, thinking I was helping them out, but quickly realized it didn’t make a bit of difference. It’s already too late to save these wetlands.
Streams and creeks are superhighways for Japanese Knotweed seeds, carrying billions of them further downstream every fall. Along the way, some make it to roads where they are able to hitchhike on car tires, pushing further into the suburban landscape. This is bad news for the Rondout where the Knotweed has already begun to take hold.
Interestingly enough, the best chances we have to prevent a total invasion are the yards that border the creek. The wild areas are not cared for and there’s no one around to dig up the seedlings when they emerge.
Whether you live on the Rondout Creek or not, always be on the lookout for Knotweed and if you find it on your property, dig it up before it gets established!