Summer Smackdown Success

As summer turns to fall, the Sandy River Basin Watershed Council team wraps up our third year of the “weed smackdown”, our annual fight against invasive species. We worked this summer in partnership with the Clackamas Soil & Water Conservation District (CSWCD) to reduce the spread of Policeman’s Helmet (Impatiens glandulifera) by expanding landowner outreach and surveying for Clackamas County listed Early Detection Rapid Response (EDRR) weeds.

Corinne with Policeman's Helmet

Our Community Stewardship Coordinator displays a Policeman’s Helmet stem over 8 feet tall

Each year our progress in partnership with CSWCD is yielding impressive results. Most of the invasive plants on our sites are adjacent to water where juvenile salmon are present. Hand pulling has occurred each summer since 2012, which has reduced the spread in infested areas, with measurable reduction in the plant’s extent after multiple years of treatment. A summary of this year’s accomplishments include:

  • 53 new properties surveyed for EDRR species and infestations on all properties were mapped. Properties included public lands, private homes, and local businesses along the Salmon River and upper Sandy River.
  • Of the total 128 properties where we have permission to work with landowners in treating priority invasive species, nearly 40% of them known infestations of Policeman’s Helmet that were removed this summer.
  • Other properties were either found to have no Policeman’s Helmet, or have other priority species that will be treated this fall or next spring.

These efforts have focused on high priority sites along the Salmon River and upper Sandy River where SRBWC and partners have invested long-term resources toward habitat restoration. This summer, SRBWC reached out to private property owners to secure access to new focus areas, and identify and remove infestations of Policemen’s Helmet. This effort builds upon years of work by The Nature Conservancy and local agencies to restore long-term riparian processes such as native vegetation succession. Other partners on this project include the Project YESS youth crew from Mt. Hood Community College, The Nature Conservancy, the US Forest Service, US Bureau of Land Management, and local residents and volunteers. Funding to the Watershed Council for this project comes from CSWCD and PGE’s Habitat Fund focusing on salmonid habitat restoration.

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Policeman’s Helmet plant with nearly ripe seed pods and pink-to-purple flowers

If any folks in Sandy or the Mt. Hood Villages find invasive species on their property, they should report it to the Oregon Invasive Species Hotline. CSWCD is a resource for local landowners, and will help them conduct removal work for free on priority species, so do not hesitate to contact the WeedWise staff with any questions. Don’t forget, the best method for preventing seed spread is to brush off your shoes and gear after you’ve been working or recreating in an area that might have invasive species!

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