• Start-up
  • Planning
  • Action
  • Evaluation

Don't bring me the Multiflora Roses, and hold the Garlic Mustard!

This project focuses on removing invasive species and restoring a forested floodplain trail for sustained public access during climate change.

Project Area

Map of the park with project area circled
Rolling hills, forest trails, prairie meadows and the beautiful Belle River are what give Columbus County Park that “up north” feel. The natural features of Columbus County Park make it a great place to enjoy trail walking, bird watching, fishing, horseback riding and mountain biking. In the winter, it’s a great place to enjoy winter sports such as sledding and cross country skiing. A park lodge with modern restrooms, rental facilities and a picnic pavilion is located near the main parking lot and sledding hill.

A rustic two-mile looped trail is located on the north side of the Belle River and consists of mowed grass, farm lanes and two-track. This is the site of our Adaptation Project. The park has an overall management plan in progress to control invasive species and identify high quality areas. This project focuses on a smaller piece of that larger project, combining mapping, management and education opportunities for this looped trail.

Management Goals

  • Reduce Japanese Barberry and Multiflora Rose cover by 75% in 5 years.
  • Reduce Garlic Mustard and Dame’s Rocket cover by 75% in 5 years.
  • Plant new climate adaptive and native trees each year for 5 years.
  • Plant native species in areas vacated by invasive species to discourage return to the area, such as bushes, ground cover, native wildflowers during the next 5 years.
  • Add educational signage about the change happening along the trail. Invent a method that easily allows updates.

Climate Change Impacts

Some of the climate impacts expected to affect the project area include:
Improvement in growing conditions for invasive species.
Increased flooding.
Temperature changes and their impact on larger trees.

Challenges and Opportunities

Climate change will present challenges and opportunities for accomplishing the management objectives of this project, including:


Our invasive species (Japanese Barberry, Multiflora Rose, Garlic Mustard and Dame’s Rocket) will have improved growing conditions with climate change and take advantage of sunny spots caused by disturbances.
Erosion of the riparian zone and increased mud on the trail could affect fishing access and trail use.


Climate change may have a lesser impact on trees in this project area (except for Basswood).
This is an opportunity to work with the County to strengthen the access area and to add public education.
Starting on invasive removal now could allow the park to get ahead of future problems.

Adaptation Actions

Project participants used the Adaptation Workbook to develop several adaptation actions for this project, including:

Use mechanical equipment for removal of large tracts of invasive plants.
Use pesticides/chemicals by dabbing after pruning. Use volunteers in pruning efforts.
Recruit and train new volunteers and increase involvement of partners.
Support the development of 1-3 certified pesticide appliers in our volunteer team.
Plant new future-adapted tree species (species list under development).
Plant new groundcover and understory (details under development).
Train volunteers in seed collection.


Project participants identified several monitoring items that could help inform future management, including:
Use invasive mapping obtained in 2019 for every other year comparison, using MISIN app designations from “monoculture” to “absent”.
Use volunteers to do mapping of additional species, invasive and native.
Monitor seedling survival rate (goal of 70% after 3 years).

Learn More

To learn more about this project, contact


Invasive species