Invasive species prevention, monitoring, and management should ideally be integrated into all landscape and project design and management, but is at best an afterthought in most programs and projects. Early Detection/Rapid Response programs that build upon existing projects, coordinate between watersheds and across ownership boundaries, provide local jobs, and educate and engage the public and policymakers, is critical to the ultimate success of restoration and conservation efforts, by ending new invasions of invasive species and working more efficiently to eliminate existing populations. What is required is an invasive species response infrastructure that incorporates their prevention and control into every aspect of landscape management. The Institute is working to advance these goals through program development and education of policy makers – and by modeling the practices that result in effective prevention and control.
A rising tide of Eurasian species are invading riparian, wetland, and aquatic habitats on the Olympic Peninsula of Washington State. With aggressive reproduction strategies, no natural enemies, these species are generalists able to thrive in a variety of different habitats. In the dynamic migrating and flood-prone rivers of the Olympic Peninsula’s temperate forested watersheds, these species replace entire native plant communities, causing the loss of important physical habitat components and chemical and biological functions.
Introduced accidentally or intentionally, many species are introduced by forestry, agriculture, residential development and landscaping, recreation, transportation, and even well-intentioned restoration projects. Seeds and root or stem fragments are floated in water, carried on the wind, deposited by birds and animals, and moved in gravel, soil, on equipment, vehicles and by feet across watershed boundaries along roads and trails, and down rivers and streams. The largely undeveloped watersheds on the outer coast of the Olympic Peninsula are especially vulnerable in the face of a changing climate – where constant channel migration, scour and deposition of sediments and fluctuating flows expose bare sediments that provide ideal conditions for invasion by non-native plants. If not prevented from establishing, these invasive species will survive and thrive while native species are increasingly stressed.
The Institute is adapting the Hoh River project methodologies to model Early Detection/Rapid Response (ED/RR) practices for preventing and managing other invasive species that will fundamentally alter coastal forested ecosystems. Protocols appropriate to different sites and scales in the complex coastal forested watersheds and shorelines of the Olympic Peninsula are being developed for a range of species, with specific guidance for forestry, gravel and rock mines, transportation corridors, recreation access points, and restoration project design and implementation.
Click on the link to read a success story from the Hoh River: Morgan’s Island RCG story
Call us for assistance in developing an effective prevention or control project in your watershed or at your site.
The Pulling Together Initiative is an innovative invasive species program to be applied across all six coastal watersheds that will eliminate new threats and establish a process for ongoing containment; addressing a suite of invasives that affect riparian forest growth and habitats, and are introduced by activities including construction of restoration projects. The solution lies in combining Early Detection and Rapid Response (ED/RR) and on-the-ground control utilizing specialized and local mobile strike teams. We will work with partners like coastal tribes, resource agencies, county weed boards, local fishing guides, and land trusts to conduct cross-jurisdictional coordination, ongoing education and public awareness – creating an invasive species response infrastructure to incorporate their prevention and control into every aspect of landscape management. The scale and comprehensive nature of this program will provide a model for invasive species control in the region that can be exported widely, and ideally, becomes a standard investment in all watersheds.
See the attached summary for details: WCRI summary
The Hoh River on the Olympic peninsula of Washington is one of the few rivers in the lower 48 states supporting relatively healthy wild salmon populations. In 1998, one clump of invasive knotweed plant was observed at the edge of the Hoh River. During a storm in the winter of 1999 or 2000, this one plant was transported downstream and from there rapidly established itself throughout the river. Knotweed is a threat to salmon and other wildlife habitat because it out-competes native riparian plant species and creates monocultures that provide little nutritive support for aquatic systems and poor erosion control along river banks relative to the natural plant communities it displaces.
Recognizing this threat to critical habitats, the Hoh Tribe initiated a restoration project in 2002, beginning the annual surveys, control, and effectiveness monitoring activities that continue today as a partnership between the 10,000 Years Institute, Hoh Tribe, Hoh River Trust, private landowners, Olympic National Park, and the U.S. Forest Service. To date, an estimated 99.5% of the knotweed plants have been eradicated on 30 miles of the River and its floodplain.
As knotweed decreases, other species have increased, and the project continues as a multi-species Early Detection/Rapid Response program, focused on maintaining the capacity of a large migrating river system to continually restart native riparian succession, so critical to habitat formation and the foundation of the ecosystem’s food web.
10,000 Years Institute has a leadership role in developing effective survey and treatment protocols, implementing this project, and communicating results to researcher, agencies, and the public. Data collected during the course of the project has been used by researchers at the University of Washington and Olympic National Park, working to understand the species and impacts to native riparian and aquatic ecosystem dynamics.
Click here to a link to past progress reports.
KNOTWEED CONTROL ON THE HOH RIVER SUMMARY REPORT – 2002 TO 2004
KNOTWEED CONTROL ON THE HOH RIVER:2005 SUMMARY REPORT
KNOTWEED CONTROL ON THE HOH RIVER:2007 SUMMARY REPORT
KNOTWEED CONTROL ON THE HOH RIVER:2008 SUMMARY REPORT
KNOTWEED CONTROL ON THE HOH RIVER:2009 SUMMARY REPORT
KNOTWEED CONTROL ON THE HOH RIVER:2010 SUMMARY REPORT
KNOTWEED CONTROL ON THE HOH RIVER:2011 SUMMARY REPORT
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