Welcome to the holiday edition of the Prickly Thistle. December is the time of year that the WeedWise program shifts gears. In winter months, our work changes dramatically from spending the majority of our time in the field coordinating weed control efforts, towards annual reporting, grant writing, and planning for the season ahead.
By December most of our invasive weeds have either gone dormant for the season or are riding out the winter as a seed. So while most of the weeds wait patiently to spring to life as soon as the weather warms, we take this temporary truce to catch up and plan for the season ahead.
To celebrate the holiday season, we also have a fun tradition of drafting our “Naughty and Nice” plant lists for the season.
Naughty and Nice
So enjoy the employee photos and be sure to join in the holiday fun and leave us a comment on the WeedWise Facebook page .
Enjoy the WeedWise program’s December Prickly Thistle. Happy Holidays!
WeedWise Program Manager
WeedWise is now the Clackamas “Weed Entity“
On December 14th, the Clackamas SWCD WeedWise program was officially designated by the Board of County Commissioners as the official “weed entity” for Clackamas County. Although, this designation does not directly impact the day-to-day operations of the WeedWise program, it is a welcomed recognition by our county officials of our continued commitment to serving the residents of Clackamas County.
This designation was sought in response to a recent announcement by the Oregon Department of Agriculture, Noxious Weed Control Program regarding a new grant program administered through the Oregon Watershed Enhancement Board (OWEB) to support county weed control programs. Eligibility for these funds requires that an…
“applicant must be a County Noxious Weed Program or the county weed entity designated by the County Commissioners. A SWCD, CWMA, Watershed Council or County Weed Advisory Board may qualify if designated as the county weed entity.”
Clackamas County does not operate a County Noxious Weed Control Program as defined in ORS 569.360. Although there is no county noxious weed control program, the Clackamas SWCD has effectively served this role within Clackamas County since our inception.
In 2006, the Clackamas SWCD sought and received a permanent tax base within Clackamas County. One of the primary components outlined in ballot measure 3-221 was to respond
“to citizen demands to implement a countywide weed program focused on education and sustainable control methods“.
As a result, in 2009 the Clackamas SWCD formed the District’s WeedWise Program to support weed control efforts within the county.
Despite our demonstrated history of acting as the de facto county weed program, the Clackamas SWCD has not had a formal designation from the county recognizing us as the local “weed entity”. In an effort to allow for local eligibility of the newly available grant funds, WeedWise program manager, Sam Leininger worked with staff from Clackamas County to draft a resolution adopted by the Board of County Commissioners that formally recognizes the Clackamas SWCD WeedWise Program as the county “weed entity”.
Our December Weed of the Month: English Holly
The WeedWise weed of the month of December is English Holly. Holly is a traditional symbol of Christmas, that was brought over with European settlement. Although, traditional it is not native o North America. Holly is still grown in Clackamas County, and it is not a state-listed noxious weed. That said, holly is invasive and readily spreads into natural areas and flourishes as a forest understory plant. In these areas it displaces other plants and inhibits natural forest regeneration. As such, we encourage landowners to consider removing holly from their home landscapes and controlling any plants that escape cultivation. Learn more about English holly, in our December Weed-of-the-Month post.
A new discovery: European hawkweed (Hieracium sabaudum)
Surveys that Work
This past field season, the WeedWise program carried out a series of surveys in the upper portions of the Clackamas River Basin in conjunction with partners from the Clackamas River Invasive Species Partnership (CRISP). WeedWise staff analyzed conditions in the upper watershed and prioritized sites based on the likelihood for the introduction of new invasive weeds. Sites like trail heads, campgrounds, decommissioned roads, and trash sites were all targeted for survey work.
Late in this season, WeedWise Specialists, Jeff Lesh and Lindsey Karr were coordinating work with one of our contracted survey crews and came across a yellow-flowered hawkweed that looked unusually aggressive. Lindsey and Jeff began working to identify this potentially invasive weed.
Weed Specialist Jeff Lesh began working through a draft version of a new botanical key for hawkweeds in the Pacific Northwest. In his review Jeff identified the specimen as a new non-native species, European Hawkweed (Hieracium sabaudum) in our area. Jeff has also been coordinating submissions of the WeedWise programs plant materials to a local herbaria in an effort to document these distributions. In an effort to verify the identity, Jeff submitted a specimen to the Burke museum. We then received word that the specimen in question was most likely a poorly documented native Narrow-leafed hawkweed (Hieracium umbellatum). Jeff followed back up with Burke for clarification and accepted their conclusion.
Two months later, Jeff received a follow-up message from Burke, that they had his specimen reviewed by the local authority that authored the new draft hawkweed key. The authority had verified Jeff’s original identification as European hawkweed. Although known from Washington state this species had not been previously documented in Oregon.
With a new discovery like this, it is important to make sure that policy makers are aware of this emergent threat. Jeff notified the Oregon Department of Agriculture as well as public land managers working in the area. Jeff then carried out a review of European hawkweed and submitted a noxious weed nomination for consideration by the Oregon Department of Agriculture and the Oregon State Weed Board. In the meantime, Jeff and Lindsey will continue planned additional surveys and treatments to contain and control the infestation in conjunction with work underway through the Clackamas River Invasive Species Partnership.
As a new species to the area, there is very little information about European hawkweed. But as a regulated species in Washington State we encourage folks that interested in this plant to review the European Hawkweed factsheet developed by our partners from King County Noxious Weed Control Program.
Staff Spotlight: WeedWise Manager, Samuel Leininger
Know us through our people
For the past year, the WeedWise program has hosted an ongoing feature highlighting one of our WeedWise program staff. The hope of this effort is that folks can understand our program better, by understanding its people. This month we continued in this effort by spotlighting WeedWise Manager, Sam Leininger. So if you’ve ever been curious about what makes us tick, now is your opportunity.
The WeedWise Annual report
A year in review
With the new year approaching, it is always good to take a moment to stop and reflect on our many accomplishments and challenges over the past year. Here at the WeedWise program we’ve been doing just that. In conjunction with the District’s Annual report, and to celebrate our accomplishments the WeedWise Program has prepared a program report for the 2016-2017 fiscal year. So please take a look and learn more about the great work that our folks have carried out over the last year!
A Fond Farewell: Project YESS
The end of an Era
It is with a heavy heart that we bid a fond farewell to our contractors and partners with Mt. Hood Community College’s Project YESS! The WeedWise Program has been working closely with Project YESS for several years in our ongoing efforts to control invasive weeds in the Sandy River Basin.
Unfortunately, Project YESS is transitioning away from restoration and natural resource related issues and will be ceasing operations. Project YESS has been a great contractor and partner that has helped to introduce and educate young people about the importance of conservation and restoration related activities.
We will certainly miss everyone at Project YESS. Many thanks to all of the staff and participants over the years for your hard work and dedication.
You will be missed!
Clackamas River Invasive Species Partnership
Our Winter Meeting
This month the WeedWise program hosted the Clackamas River Invasive Species Partnership’s winter meeting. The meeting was well-attended by 16 participants from 11 different partnering organizations. The winter meeting provided a great opportunity to celebrate our recent signing of a Memorandum of Understanding that formalized the partnership. It also allowed partners to discuss new developments and to share information about activities undertaken throughout the season.
Welcoming a new Member Organization
The Winter CRISP meetings also provided an opportunity to welcome Columbia Land Trust as a new CRISP partner. The WeedWise program has been working with Columbia Land Trust for a number of years now to target priority invasive weeds in the Clackamas Basin, so we were very happy to welcome them to the partnership.
Updating the Management Plan
Work is also underway this month to begin updating the CRISP Management Plan. These updates are needed to reflect changes in partner participation, as well as to incorporate new weed observations discovered, and projects implemented in the last year. WeedWise Specialist Jeff Lesh is coordinating new data from partnering organizations and will be rerunning our prioritization model for the watershed. WeedWise Specialist, Lindsey Karr has started spearheading preliminary updates to the plan.
Planning for the Season Ahead
The winter CRISP meeting also provided an opportunity for partnering organizations to come together to prioritize field activities for the coming year. Attendees helped to review proposed projects for implementation in spring 2018. There were a number of quality projects proposed but attendees were able to come to a consensus about how best to proceed.
Cooperative Weed Management Areas
The WeedWise program is very active with our local Cooperative Weed Management Areas (CWMA). We have two CWMAs active in Clackamas County, including the 4-County CWMA that serves that Portland-Vancouver Metro region and the Columbia Gorge CWMA that serves the Columbia River Gorge and surrounding areas. The WeedWise program currently administers both of these CWMAs. WeedWise Specialist Sarah Hamilton serves as a shared part-time coordinator for both CWMAs. As such, much of our work here at the WeedWise program influences and is influenced by our CWMAs. Below are some of the highlights of activities currently underway by our local CWMAs.
The 4-County CWMA has been busy preparing for its annual Pull Together conference. This year’s event is scheduled for January 10th at McMenamin’s Kennedy School. The Pull Together will focus on the impacts of climate change on invasive weed distribution, physiology, and abundance. If you are interested in attending register today to reserve your space at this popular event.
The CWMA also hosted several committee meeting to discuss various activities underway. The Technical committee has been working on updates to several Best Management Practice (BMP) documents originally developed by the Columbia Gorge CWMA. WeedWise Specialist, Jeff Lesh chairs the Mapping and Data Committee which has been reviewing observations of high priority invasive weeds. Participation and feedback for this effort has been excellent and Jeff is optimistic about this effort yielding significant results. The Education and Outreach Committee has been working on drafting a framework for updates to the 4-County CWMA website. This effort will certainly result in vast improvements to the website, so stay tuned for future developments.
Columbia Gorge CWMA
The Columbia Gorge CWMA has been busy planning its annual Invasive Species and Exotic Pest (ISEP) workshop. This year the CWMA will focus on post fire recovery, weed control, and prevention. The ISEP workshop is tentatively scheduled for March 1, 2018 at the Hegewald Center in Stevenson, WA. This annual event also coincides with National Invasive Species Awareness Week. So mark your calendars!
The Columbia Gorge CWMA has also started preparing another round of BMP development to target commonly occurring weeds in the gorge and surrounding areas. Work will continue through the winter and should be completed just in time for the spring field season. This effort is a follow-up to a similar effort undertaken last year, which also included an update to the Worst Weeds of the Gorge field guide. We encourage folks to download the guide or stop by the Clackamas SWCD office for a free copy!
More WeedWise Online and on Social Media
Did you know that the WeedWise program also hosts a website online that specializes in invasive weed related issues. Be sure to check out the website and read some of our recent articles over the last month.
The WeedWise program is also active on social media, so be sure to follow us online.