Perennial Pepperweed Control Project

Pulling perennial pepperweed

Since 2006, Mass Audubon, the U.S Fish and Wildlife Service, the Massachusetts Bays Estuary Program, and the Newburyport Gulf of Maine Institute team have battled the invasive Perennial Pepperweed in the Great Marsh on the northern coast of Massachusetts.

Pepperweed has been growing and spreading at an alarming pace, particularly in salt marshes. Pepperweed seeds are transported with the tides, and can sprout hundreds of yards from their source. In rapidly moving currents this distance might even be a mile or so. A patch of pepperweed can grow into a dense, monoculture stand after only a few seasons, degrading wildlife habitat, and outcompeting native salt marsh vegetation.

This effective partnership has attracted numerous additional organizations and hundreds of volunteers each year.

Community Service and Volunteer Opportunities

Local schools and citizens are helping Mass Audubon and other conservation partners to map and control pepperweed in Massachusetts. You may join a group or volunteer to “adopt-a-site.”  Mapping may occur year-round. Pulling occurs in May-August. Pepperweed is typically found in coastal areas, but may be found along roads.

The Perennial Pepperweed Control Handbook

The Perennial Pepperweed Control Handbook was created in 2011 for municipalities, nonprofit organizations, and others who will lead the effort to identify and control pepperweed in their given jurisdiction. It passes on many lessons learned for battling pepperweed, and/or other invasive species. We hope that this is of use to others for effectively controlling pepperweed in other regions in Massachusetts, and preventing its spread to new areas.