Welcome to the April edition of the WeedWise newsletter, known as the Prickly Thistle! This is our opportunity to share with you all of the great activities underway here at the WeedWise program!
The Spring Ring
Here at the WeedWise program, April brings the spring flowers and spring rings! The warmer and sunnier conditions of April encourage more people to venture outdoors to see not only the spring blossoms but also the weeds. With the spring weeds also come the calls for invasive weed information and assistance. This relationship is so common that I have learned to associate April with the sound of a ringing telephone.
Answering questions are one of our most important program activities. The high volume of spring phone calls shows the dedication of our local landowners and land managers here in Clackamas County. Folks are genuinely interested in improving conditions on their land and preventing the spread of invasive weeds. In my years of responding to the spring calls, I have learned that often all that is needed is a little bit of information for a landowner to make better and more informed decisions about their property. These fine details can mean the difference between success and failure when it comes to managing their invasive weeds.
In addition to receiving a lot of calls, we are also making a lot of calls this time of year. WeedWise program staff are in full force notifying landowners about our spring weed control activities. If you are one of our cooperating landowners, expect a notification from one of our WeedWise program staff. Weather permitting, we will be out on your property soon to survey or treat priority invasive weeds.
So “let your fingers do the weeding” and contact us with your questions. Although our ear may be sore, our voices may be hoarse, and our fingertips may be calloused, we are happy to be serving the residents of Clackamas County and grateful for your interest!
Please enjoy the WeedWise program’s April Prickly Thistle!
WeedWise Program Manager
Earth Day and Native Plant Appreciation Week!
Last month, we shared with you information about the coming wildflower season and included opportunities to get out and enjoy the spring wildflower display. April offers another reason and opportunity to enjoy the beauty of our open space and natural area. Starting on Earth Day, April 22, Oregon kicks off Native Plant Appreciation Week (April 22-29, 2018 )!
Earth Day and Native Plant Appreciation Week, two perfect occasions to get out and enjoy the sun forecasted for this week. Before you head to your favorite location remember to Play Clean Go! Make sure you take the time to ensure that your clothing, boots, gear, pets, and vehicles are free of weed seed.
April Weed of the Month: Garlic mustard
The WeedWise weed-of-the-month for April is garlic mustard (Alliaria petiolata). Garlic mustard is one of the highest priority weeds for control and eradication in Clackamas County. Much of the WeedWise program’s resources are dedicated to controlling this highly invasive noxious weed. This plant is starting to bloom and can easily be seen growing along roadsides, trails, and stream edges.
Garlic mustard is especially problematic because it emits chemicals from its roots that inhibit the growth and regeneration of our native plants. This is especially troubling in our forested systems, were garlic mustard can thrive in the forest understory and inhibit forest regeneration. For this reason, we are working hard to keep garlic mustard in check.
You can help by learning to identify this priority invasive weed. Look for the tell-tale four-petaled white flowers, triangular leaves with scalloped margins. The leaves will have a strong garlic-like smell when crushed. If you see this weed be sure to contact us or report your sighting to the Oregon Invasive Species Hotline.
Partnering with the Mt Hood National Forest
This past month, the WeedWise program met with staff from the Oregon Department of Agriculture, Noxious Weed Control Program and the Mt Hood National Forest to coordinate field activities for the coming year. This partnership and planning effort will build upon the WeedWise program’s previous success in the Mt Hood National Forest and surrounding areas detecting and controlling priority weeds.
The many efforts of this collaborative partnership are highlighted in the USDA Forst Service, Pacific Northwest Region’s Invasive Plants Program Accomplishments report for 2017.
Much of the WeedWise program activities on the Mt Hood has focused on our ongoing weed detection carried out in conjunction with the Clackamas River Invasive Species Partnership. This year we will continue to survey trailheads and decommissioned roads. Recreation in these areas increases the likelihood of that new invasive weeds may be introduced. So please remember to Play Clean Go before and after visiting these sites to prevent the spread of invasive weeds.
The WeedWise program is partnering with the Mt Hood National Forest and the Pacific Northwest Invasive Plants Council to host a community science weed identification training at the Forest Service office in Sandy (16400 Champion Way, Sandy, OR 97055) on May 18th from 9:00-11:30 a.m. Learn more about this event on the WeedWise Program’s Event page.
This past month the WeedWise program spent time training our weed control contractors on weed identification and field data collection protocols. This is an important part of our work, and it helps to ensure that our contractors are knowledgeable about the weeds we are targeting and know how to document and treat them appropriately.
Many of the weeds that we are targeting such as goatsrue, orange hawkweed, and oblong spurge are rare and occur in only a few spots across the state. Our weed control contractors and partners have very little opportunity to learn about these weeds, and how to identify them in the field. This training provides great exposure for our contractors to familiarize themselves with the weeds that we hope they never encounter. Learn more about the WeedWise priority weeds on the Clackamas County Weed List.
The Backyard Habitat Certification Program Expansion Continues!
It’s official! The Backyard Habitat Certification Program has now fully expanded into the urban areas of the Portland-Metropolitan region in Clackamas County. Any property less than one acre in size is eligible for the program. The program helps landowners target their invasive weeds, and develop their yards into urban sanctuaries for wildlife. This expansion builds upon an existing program in Lake Oswego, and a 2017 expansion to the cities of West Linn, Milwaukie, and Oak Grove. This year, the program has been extended to cover the remaining urban areas of Damascus, Gladstone, Happy Valley, Oregon City, Rivergrove, and Wilsonville.
The WeedWise program has been working with the Backyard Habitat Certification Program for years through our ongoing participation in the 4-County Cooperative Weed Management Area. The program, administered by Columbia Land Trust and Audubon Society of Portland, has successfully fostered backyard conservation efforts throughout the Portland metropolitan region for years. During this time, we have helped support their efforts by helping to refine the certification criteria, and well as facilitating the Clackamas County expansion. The WeedWise program joins a growing number of regional partners to sponsor the program in Clackamas County. We couldn’t be happier to see this resource available to our local landowners. So join in the fun and sign up today!
Clackamas River Invasive Species Partnership
The WeedWise program is continuing our weed control efforts in association with the Clackamas River Invasive Species Partnership (CRISP). The WeedWise program has been actively controlling invasive weeds in targeted areas of the watershed. If you have received one of our mailings, please return the enclosed Permission to Access and Treat form to ensure that your property is surveyed and treated at no cost to you! If you have already turned in your permission form, expect a notification from one of our WeedWise program specialists about pending survey and treatment. If you have any questions about the program, please feel free to contact us!
In addition, the WeedWise program staff has joined our partners from Metro to survey several islands along the Clackamas River for noxious weeds. We are are currently planning control activities to target these exceptionally problematic sites
Work also continues on updating the existing CRISP Management Plan, as well as preparing our annual report. These updates are needed to reflect changes in our partner participation, incorporate new weed observations, and highlight projects implemented in the last year.
The WeedWise program has been partnering with the Clackamas River Basin Council to develop an informational brochure about our efforts within the watershed to share with local landowners. This outreach effort will help to raise awareness about the partnership and demonstrate the groundswell of work underway in the watershed.
The WeedWise program participated in the 10th annual Oregon Conservation Education and Assistance Network (OCEAN) Connect Conference. This annual event brings together partners from SWCDs, Watershed Councils, and Land Trusts from across the state. The event was very well attended and gave us many opportunities to connect with our statewide partners and learn new ideas and approaches to address our local conservation concerns.
The WeedWise program is proud to participate and we are pleased to be bringing these new ideas and approaches to work here in Clackamas County. Many thanks to all of our partnering organizations in attendance and in particular we thank the Oregon Conservation Education and Assistance Network, Oregon Association of Conservation Districts, the Network of Oregon Watershed Councils, and the Coalition of Oregon Land Trusts for hosting the event.
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, 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 with WeedWise Specialist Sarah Hamilton serving as a shared part-time coordinator. Much of our work here at the WeedWise program influences and is influenced by our CWMAs. Below are highlights of activities currently underway by our local CWMAs.
Activities within the 4-County CWMA has slowed over the last month as our participating land managers have been busy with spring weed control and implementation. Although activities have slowed, the 4-County CWMA has been busy planning for the upcoming Field Day. This annual event rotates each year to one of the four counties in the Portland-Vancouver Metro region. Our good friends from Clark County Vegetation Management are hosting the 4-County CWMA Field Day this year. We will be talking about crane habitat, checking out Plas Newydd Farm, and viewing new infestations of Cypress spurge. This annual event is a great opportunity to see some of the weed control and restoration activities underway in our area and connect with folks from throughout the region. Reserve your FREE spot now!
Columbia Gorge CWMA
The Columbia Gorge CWMA recently hosted its Boot Brush kick-off on Earth Day weekend to highlight awareness around the threat of invasive weeds, and to learn ways to prevent new infestations. Columbia Gorge CWMA partners volunteered at trailheads throughout the Columbia Gorge to hand out boot brushes and copies of the Worst Weeds of the Gorge field guide. Hikers were encouraged to Play Clean Go and to brush off all boots and equipment before and after leaving the site.
The Columbia Gorge CWMA also continues work on another round of Best Management Practices (BMP) to target commonly occurring weeds in the Columbia Gorge and surrounding areas. This effort is similar to those undertaken last year that resulted in the development of fifteen new BMPs. The newly developed BMPs will be used in conjunction with an all-new Stop The Invasion: Weed management 101 training scheduled for May 19th. So mark your calendars and register today for another exciting opportunity!
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 presence, so be sure to follow us online!