It looks innocent enough all alone...
It's a foreign attack, and it's hitting the Jersey dunes.
It's an invasive foreign plant that is getting into New Jersey's critical dune systems.
It is called Asiatic sand sedge and it could take over the habitat of endangered and threatened species, such as the piping plover, as well as lowering the dunes which protect communities from flooding. (Only 105 plover pairs nested on NJ beaches this year, down from 111 pairs in 2008 according to the Conserve Wildlife Foundation of New Jersey.)
The plant has no known predators or diseases here.
The yellow-green plant was actually first spotted in the United States in Island Beach State Park in 1929. It forms a dense mat and drives out native plants, such as American beach grass and beach panic grass.
According to the Fish and Wildlife Service, the plant occupies more than 90 acres in Island Beach State Park and on Sandy Hook and Asiatic sand sedge populations also have been found in Sea Bright, Monmouth Beach, Long Branch, Manasquan, Harvey Cedars, Long Beach Township, Edwin B. Forsythe National Wildlife Refuge and other locations.
A group of students from Georgian Court, Marine Academy of Science and Technology on Sandy Hook, and Brookdale Community College are studying the sedge, mapping its extent and studying ways to get rid of it. Digging and pulling out sedge plants by hand can be effective with small infestations, but the plant's roots are 3 to 4 feet deep.
but let it get hold in a sand dune...
More information at http://www.courierpostonline.com
Photos via National Park Service