As Arlington makes strides in restoring its native wildlife habitats, nature buffs are noting the return of plants and animals thought gone for good. It’s a “rural renewal” in our urban village backyard.
Making a comeback among the flora: colonies of spring peeper tree frogs, wood frogs and American toads, as well as uncommon plants like dwarf ginseng, bloodroot, wood anemone, purple passionflower and frosted hawthorn.
Among the fauna again setting foot in Arlington: ravens, striped skunks, river otters, coyotes, gray fox, yellow-crowned night-herons, wild turkey and little wood satyr butterflies.
“We are committed to stewarding Arlington’s natural resources,” says Jane Rudolph, Arlington County’s Parks and Recreation Director. “One of our top goals is to conserve and enhance natural areas. It is very rewarding to see these improvements.”
The removal of invasive plant species yields the most significant habitat improvements. The fast-growing bullies tend to push out native plants and don’t provide habitat for native critters.
Arlington’s success is due to a huge amount of volunteer support. Arlington Regional Master Naturalists and TreeStewards, working in tandem with the County’s RIP (Remove Invasive Plants) Program, help fight invasives one unwanted plant at a time.