Welcome to the February edition of the WeedWise newsletter, known as the Prickly Thistle! This is our opportunity to share with you all of the great things that the WeedWise program is doing!
The WeedWise program is running the gauntlet of reporting on activities from last year, planning for the season ahead, and addressing the immediate needs and concerns of landowners today. Needless to say, we have been extremely busy!
This past week, we completed our Oregon Department of Environmental Quality administered 2300A General Pesticide Permit annual report. This 108-page report documents the immense amount of work carried out over the last year to protect our streams and waterways from the threat of invasive weeds. Problematic riparian weeds like Japanese knotweed (Fallopia japonica), Garlic mustard (Alliaria petiolata), Purple loosestrife (Lythrum salicaria), Goatsrue (Galega officinalis), and Himalayan blackberry (Rubus bifrons) were all species that we targeted in our riparian areas over the last year.
Although this reporting is a major undertaking, it helps us to reflect on our priorities and identify ways to improve our efforts in the year ahead. WeedWise staff are already using the results to improve our record keeping and field operations for the coming season.
Seasonal planning is also at a maximum, and the WeedWise program has been busy scheduling activities as well as distributing mailings to landowners affected by our priority invasive weeds. If you have a received one of our mailings, please return the enclosed Permission to Access and Treat. If you have additional questions about our efforts, please feel free to contact us!
Thanks for your interest. Please enjoy the WeedWise program’s February Prickly Thistle!
WeedWise Program Manager
Rose Are Red, Violets Are Blue. The Weeds Are Growing and We Are Here for You!
After a long winter, February is the month when we start to see the first signs of spring around the corner. Valentine cards are all too often accompanied by a false spring here in western Oregon. Nearly every year we have one or two weeks in February when the skies clear and the weather warms. With this brief reprieve from winter, we often see the first blooms of Indian plum (Oemleria cerasiformis), signaling that spring is right around the corner. Soon after, the crocus and daffodils make their first appearances of the year. Some invasive weeds like lesser celandine (Ranunculus ficaria) and Meadow knapweed (Centaurea × monktonii) have also been observed budding and blooming!
With spring right around the corner, this is also the time to begin thinking about steps you can take to manage invasive weeds growing on your property. We are here to help! Contact the WeedWise program today, if you have questions about invasive weeds and prepare for the season ahead!
Our February Weed of the Month: Scotch broom
The WeedWise weed-of-the-month for February is Scotch broom (Cytisus scoparius). Scotch broom poses a significant fire hazard when allowed to grow freely. Taking the time to control this invasive weed now will help protect your property in the year ahead.
February is the ideal time to target this invasive weed. Scotch broom can be readily controlled by cutting large plants or by pulling smaller plants. The WeedWise program has tools to help make this process easier. Be sure to see what we have available through our Equipment Library. This time of year, our equipment library get a lot of use so reserve your tool of choice today!
Removal of Scotch broom at this time of year has significant advantages. First, by controlling Scotch broom in February, you take advantage of the wet soils, which help ease removal. Not only is pulling made easier, but you are also able to remove more of the roots system to avoid potential resprouting. Controlling Scotch broom and other woody plants at this time of year also helps avoid impacting nesting birds. Activites undertaken later in the season may risk direct impacts to birds. But be aware! Some species of hummingbirds nest early in the season, so be sure to survey your site before starting control activities.
To learn more about Scotch broom check out our February Weed-of-the-Month post. If you are dealing with a Scotch broom infestation on your property also be sure to check out our Scotch Broom Best Management Practices document for tips and tricks to help in your control efforts. Happy Pulling!
Partnering to Protect Eastern Clackamas County from Invasive Weeds
This past month, the WeedWise program participated in a cooperative planning effort with various partners working to control invasive weeds in eastern portions of Clackamas County. These partners included staff from the Mt Hood National Forest, Oregon Department of Agriculture-Noxious Weed Control Program, Portland Water Bureau, Portland General Electric, and Weyerhaeuser. All of these organizations have active weed control efforts underway in the eastern portions of Clackamas County. This diverse group of partners shared observations from the field and discussed planned weed control efforts for the coming season. The desired result of this coordination is to address known gaps in coverage and to avoid any potential duplication of effort.
The WeedWise program is participating in this effort as part of our District-led weed control efforts, as well as through our continued cooperation through the Sandy Basin Vegetation Restoration Coalition, and the Clackamas River Invasive Species Partnership.
The management areas under consideration, represent some of the highest quality natural areas in Clackamas County. As such, the WeedWise program is dedicated to preserving these high-quality natural areas.
The Clackamas River Invasive Species Partnership highlighted
The Clackamas River Invasive Species Partnership (CRISP) recently drafted and released a press release highlighting our efforts to control invasive weeds in the Clackamas River Basin. Over the last two years, this group of 14 partnering organizations has been working to control invasive weeds and improve conditions in the Clackamas Basin. This past year, the CRISP formalized our partnership and are planning to continue our efforts in the coming year.
National Invasive Species Awareness Week 2018
National Invasive Species Awareness Week is coming this February 26 -March 2, 2018! Once a year, folks around the country take a full week to consider the many impacts that non-native invasive species have on our communities, working lands, natural areas, and wallet. So take a moment to celebrate with the WeedWise Program and learn a little more about the invasive species impacting our area. You might also learn how you can join your friends and neighbors in preventing the impact of these invasive weeds.
Ten Ways You Can Celebrate National Invasive Species Awareness Week
- Learn about invasive weed species, especially those found in your region. Check out the WeedWise website for more information, or attend the Columbia Gorge CWMA Invasive Species and Exotic Pest Workshop being held during NISAW!
- Learn more about invasive pests that threaten our crops and trees at the Oregon Forest Pest Detector program.
- Clean hiking boots, waders, boats and trailers, off-road vehicles and other gear to stop invasive species from hitching a ride to a new location. Learn more at PlayCleanGo.org.
- Avoid dumping aquariums or live bait into waterways. Learn more at Habitattitude.org.
- Don’t move firewood – instead, buy it where you’ll burn it, or gather on site when permitted. Learn more at DontMoveFirewood.org.
- Use forage, hay, mulch, and soil that are certified as “weed free.”
- Plant only non-invasive plants in your garden, and remove any known invaders.
- Report new or expanded invasive species outbreaks to the Oregon Invasive Species Hotline. Early detection is the key to success!
- Volunteer to help remove invasive species in our open spaces and natural areas. Contact your local watershed council or visit the SOLVE website for volunteer opportunities near you!
- Talk with your friends, family, and neighbors about invasive species and the impact they have on our state.
Thanks for celebrating with us!
A Spring Beauty Shows its Ugly Face
WeedWise staff have recently started to see infestations of Lesser celandine (Ranunculus ficaria) blooming across the county. These showy flowers may seem like a welcomed sight after the gray of winter, but anyone with property afflicted by this plant knows better. Each spring we receive a number of calls from landowners that have watched this plant spread across their property and are now trying to control it. Unfortunately, control of this plant can be rather difficult, and typically requires herbicides to be effective.
Clackamas River Invasive Species Partnership
The WeedWise program is continuing working on a number of activities associated with the Clackamas River Invasive Species Partnership (CRISP). Work continues this month updating the existing CRISP Management Plan. These updates are needed to reflect changes in our partner participation, as well as to incorporate new weed observations discovered, and projects implemented in the last year. WeedWise Specialist Jeff Lesh is incorporating new data from partnering organizations and is refining our prioritization model for the watershed. WeedWise Specialist, Lindsey Karr has started spearheading preliminary updates to the plan and incorporating partner feedback and edits.
The WeedWise program has also been working with other CRISP partners from Clackamas River Basin Council and Metro to distribute a press release, to raise awareness about the partnership and to highlight efforts currently underway.
WeedWise staff are also beginning to draft a 2017 annual report for the CRISP. These reports outline the many activities undertaken by the CRISP partners over the previous year. This will be the second CRISP annual report and builds upon the efforts documented in the 2016 CRISP Annual Report. This is an amazing partnership and we are excited to share the great accomplishments realized over the last year.
CRISP related field activities are also being planned for the coming year. WeedWise Specialist, Lindsey Karr has been working with CRISP partners to coordinate planned activities for the coming field season. The WeedWise program has also been focusing on outreach to landowners within the CRISP targeted implementation areas. If you receive one of our mailings please return the enclosed Permission to Access and Treat form enclosed in your mailing. If you have additional questions about our efforts, please feel free to contact us!
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 making additional improvement to the 4-County CWMA website. These efforts have been a collaborative effort between the 4-County CWMA’s outreach committee and technical committee. This collaboration will result in better technical information that is clearer and more accessible. Some of the new content includes recent revisions to our new Best Management Practice documents originally developed by the Columbia Gorge CWMA. So be sure to check out these exciting new resources.
The 4-County CWMA Mapping and Data Committee, has also been active preparing a review of local management lists of invasive weeds. This “list of lists” is a useful tool for local and regional weed managers to ensure that they are working on priority invasive weeds that not only affect their locality but other areas across the region. The list has been compiled by WeedWise Specialist Jeff Lesh is being used to help inform a review of the WeedWise program’s Clackamas County Weed List.
The WeedWise program will also be hosting the upcoming 4-County CWMA General meeting this March 14th (10am-noon) at the Abernethy Grange in Oregon City. We will be highlighting invasive weed control efforts in Clackamas County at the event. If you have ever been curious about the 4-County CWMA this is your one chance to attend in Clackamas County this year. See you there!
Columbia Gorge CWMA
The Columbia Gorge CWMA recently held its general meeting in Hood River. This event was well attended and focused on volunteer opportunities in the Columbia Gorge. In the months following the Eagle Creek Fire, there has been a lot of interest from volunteer groups interested in helping with the recovery. Unfortunately, with so much of the affected area remaining closed out of safety concerns, land managers within the gorge have struggled to find sites suitable for these large volunteer groups. As the recovery continues, the Columbia Gorge CWMA is encouraging people interested in volunteering to sign up with the Friends of the Columbia Gorge to be alerted about upcoming events.
The Columbia Gorge CWMA has also been busy finalizing its annual Invasive Species and Exotic Pest (ISEP) workshop. In the wake of the Eagle Creek Fire, the CWMA is focusing on post-fire recovery, weed control, and prevention. The ISEP Event registration is now open and is scheduled for March 1, 2018, at the Hegewald Center in Stevenson, WA. This annual event coincides with National Invasive Species Awareness Week. So mark your calendars and register today!
The Columbia Gorge CWMA has also been preparing 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. Last year’s effort resulted in the development of fifteen new BMPs as well as 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! The 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 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!