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Why I started NCIS

NCIS is me, Joel White. Who am I, and how did I decide to start this business?

I am retired and have returned to the North Country/White Mountain Region after being “away” for thirty years. My wife and I acquired a home and small woodlot in south South Lancaster, NH. In 2019, we began the challenge of maintaining our log home and being good custodians of our nearly 20 acres of woodland.

In my past, I was only dimly aware of invasive plant species. Some of them, like dandelions, were spread above timberline in the White Mountains from the waste products of horses and donkeys. We lived in the West for a while and learned about invasive plants that were shouldering out the native species of ground cover. Back here, one fateful day 2020, while out measuring Big Trees near Garland Brook, I was introduced to acres of Japanese knotweed. I was duly impressed with the stories I heard about how aggressive and tenacious that plant is.

It was one of those life moments when you will never be able to “unsee” what you have just seen and identified. After that initial identification, I saw Japanese knotweed almost everywhere I looked.

Around that same time, the town of Lancaster was putting together the town’s draft Master Plan. There was notice that the Natural Resources section of that plan was being given a public airing. Concerned with knotweed and other invasive plant species, I went to the hearing.

I had the good fortune to learn that representatives from the Upper Connecticut Citizens Invasive Species Management Area (UC-CISMA) were giving a tour of some Japanese knotweed-infested areas of the Israel River, in downtown Lancaster, to the Lancaster Conservation Commission. They graciously invited me to join in looking at and learning about Japanese knotweed, which, since it was April, was just getting started in its growing cycle.

As a result of cooperation between the Transfer Station Staff, the Lancaster Conservation Commission, local volunteers, and UC-CISMA, a demonstration plot was designed for one of the areas of knotweed at the Town’s Transfer Station. We spent a hot, sweaty August morning working on that test plot. The Conservation Commission provided signage about Japanese knotweed and the demonstration plot. UC-CISMA donated the materials.

I learned that Japanese knotweed eradication is a long-term project. You cannot expect “one and done."

I learned that most likely, Japanese knotweed eradication would probably require the application of herbicide.

I learned that, if I was unfortunate enough to have knotweed on my property, which I DO NOT, I could spray it with an appropriate herbicide (a general-use product) on my own land. However, I could not use the general-use herbicide on anyone else’s property unless I was licensed by the State of New Hampshire. I am now licensed in the State of New Hampshire. But, even with a license, I can coach you about how to remove knotweed on your own property and perhaps provide the equipment for you to do so.

The Town of Lancaster is taking a leading role in addressing Japanese knotweed. Town officials have secured funding to treat Japanese knotweed, using a licensed commercial herbicide applicator on public and private property (with permission).

This is a good start, but a lot more has to be done. We need cost-effective applicators that are local, and we need to develop funding opportunities to provide private landowners with financial assistance to deal with Japanese knotweed and other invasive plant species.

Developing funding opportunities is not something that I am well-equipped to do. However, helping an individual recognize knotweed, inventory the size of the patch, develop a plan for dealing with that patch, help carry out that plan, and follow up if needed, is something that is in my skill set.

Yes, there are other important invasive plant species--and I will gladly help you deal with those--but my #1 target for invasive species is Japanese knotweed.


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