Invasive Vegetation Removal in the Hells Canyon Wilderness

In partnership with the Hells Canyon Ranger District of the Wallowa-Whitman National Forest, and with support from the National Forest Foundation’s Wilderness Stewardship Challenge, WRP will be removing several species of invasive vegetation from the Copper Creek, Cat Creek, and Bob Creek drainages in the Hells Canyon Wilderness. Afterwards, in late summer, WRP field technicians will begin an extensive inventory of invasive vegetation in the 8-mile stretch between Hat Point and Freeze-out Saddle in the Snake River corridor. A complete survey documenting and mapping species of invasive vegetation will aid the Hells Canyon Ranger District in their efforts to manage invasive vegetation. This project also entails a valuable environmental education and outdoor experience for participating urban and at-risk youth. Not only will students and youth groups have the opportunity to play an active role in landscape rehabilitation and learn “Leave No Trace” wilderness ethics, but their jet boat transport ride to the remote site in northeast Oregon will also contribute to an overall memorable experience.

 

Hells Canyon, the deepest river-carved gorge in North America.Students and Field Technicians arrive onsite to manually remove invasive plants.Opuntia polyacantha found along the Snake River Trail.


The success of the project will be measured by site monitoring at the end of the 2014 growing season. A rate of re-sprouting of less than 10% of Yellow Star Thistle and Scotch Thistle will be deemed a project success. A rate of re-sprouting of more than 25% will require a renewed approach to species removal. Following this summer’s project, WRP will continue to work with the Hells Canyon Ranger District to monitor vegetation and implement public education in the Hells Canyon Wilderness. Results of the project will also be shared with various other organizations or agencies stewarding low to mid elevation desert ecosystems.