Smith College Expands Invasive Species Control

August 18, 2020:

Smith College Expands Invasive Species Control Along Mill River

As part of a long-term ecological restoration project on the Mill River as it crosses campus, Smith College is expanding its program to mitigate invasive plants that degrade the streambanks. 

Invasive plant control along the Mill River began in 2010 as part of a strategy to mitigate the impacts on the Mill River waterway and wetlands from the construction of the Smith College synthetic turf fields. At that time, just over 2.5 acres of the riparian area was placed into an invasive plant control program, which involved mapping, monitoring, and removing some of the most aggressive and environmentally harmful invasive plants in the region. These include Japanese knotweed, multiflora rose, Asian bittersweet, Norway maple, autumn olive, and winged euonymus. 

The past 10 years of treatment has resulted in better than 90% control of invasives in targeted areas. Smith College is now expanding the program to bring the entirety of its waterfront as well as two adjacent city-owned parcels, a total of over 16 acres, into the invasive plant control program. Smith College Project Manager, Gary Hartwell, says that “by expanding the invasive plant control area, native plants can repopulate the riparian zone, which will likely enrich the ecological diversity of the area.” 

Additionally, the expanded program offers opportunities to engage Smith College students in efforts to address real-world problems through internships at the Botanic Garden of Smith College. “This kind of project-based learning has enabled Smith students to develop pre-professional skills in fields including field ecology, hydrology, land management, and spatial analysis,” according to Gaby Immerman, Experiential Learning Specialist at the Botanic Garden of Smith College. “Student work has substantially contributed to the project’s effectiveness and overall value to the college and to the river.”

Work in the new invasive plant species control areas is scheduled to begin the week of August 17th. 

For questions about the program, contact the Botanic Garden of Smith College at


Botanic Garden Intern Torrin McCarthy '16