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State grants to fund C.O. invasive weed programs

Treatments planned on public, private lands

PRINEVILLE, Ore. - As part of an ongoing campaign to halt the spread of invasive weeds, a consortium of partner groups will treat numerous sites on public and private lands in Crook, Wheeler, Grant and Jefferson counties this year, thanks in part to grants recently disbursed by the Oregon State Weed Board.

Often overlooked or unrecognized by the general public, invasive weeds are a major threat to both public and private lands in Oregon. They reproduce quickly while displacing or altering native plant communities and they cause long-lasting ecological and economic problems.

According to a recent announcement by the Oregon Department of Agriculture, the 2018 state weed grants will fund:

•             $75,375 to the Wheeler Soil and Water Conservation District for work in Wheeler, Crook, Grant and Jefferson counties. The funds will go to 10 different partnerships to fund projects to control Yellow star-thistle and other high priority weeds, and to provide education and outreach efforts in the counties.

•             $96,146 to the Crooked River Weed Management Area for three projects in Crook, Jefferson and Grant counties. Many of the focus areas border the Ochoco National Forest or Crooked River National Grassland or have private partners that have grazing allotments on public lands.

•             $9,218 to Heart of Oregon Corps to continue invasive plant treatments at Ochoco Divide. This project will utilize both the Heart of Oregon AmeriCorps Spray Crew as well as Youth Conservation Corps crews.  

The awards are among 63 grants totaling $1.84 million provided to local organizations statewide to fund projects that restore and protect fish and wildlife habitat, watershed function, water quality and overall watershed health from invasive noxious weed impacts.

The State Weed Board funded 49 projects for $1.4 million as part of the regular grant program. In addition, the board funded 14 separate projects at $401,000 from the newly available county weed grant program. The grants represent all areas of the state.

“At Heart of Oregon Corps, the support from Oregon State Weed Board and the US Forest Service have a double bottom line positive community impact — damaging invasive weeds are stopped from making negative impacts while local young people improve their own lives through job skills and leadership development on public lands in their own backyards. Youth can apply to join these crews today at heartoforegon.org,” said Laura Handy, executive director at Heart of Oregon Corps.

“The Jefferson County Soil and Water Conservation District recognizes the critical role that this project addressing noxious weeds will play in enhancing noxious weed outreach and strategies for Jefferson County community members,” said Debbe Chadwick, district manager of Jefferson County SWCD. “We will provide them opportunities to better engage in and become more knowledgeable weed stewards of their communities and land. We are pleased to be an active partner.”

Infestations can and do spread to many different places and as a result of multiple kinds of activities, including motorized travel, horse riding, mountain biking, hiking, and even in the fur of dogs.

Despite aggressive treatment, invasive infestations across National Forest System lands in Central Oregon have increased by more than 500 percent over the last 20 years, from 2,200 acres during a 1998 mapping to 14,500 acres during a 2012 mapping.

Invasive plants increase fire hazards, degrade fish and wildlife habitat, displace native plants, impair water quality, and even degrade scenic beauty and recreational opportunities. They also reduce forage opportunities for livestock and wildlife.

A 2014 study by the Oregon Department of Agriculture found that invasive weeds cost Oregon’s economy $83.5 million annually.

This year, National Invasive Species Awareness Week is taking place now, from February 26 to March 2.

Anyone who wishes to help land managers map infestations can do so using a simple app and a smartphone. Visit: https://www.eddmaps.org/ for more information.

To learn more about the threat of invasive weeds and how you can help prevent them, visit:  http://www.playcleango.org/  or

http://www.oregon.gov/ODA/programs/Weeds/Pages/AboutWeeds.aspx

View a copy of a recently-produced identification guide for common invasive plants of the Crooked River Basin: https://www.fs.usda.gov/Internet/FSE_DOCUMENTS/fseprd573087.pdf

OSWB grants are funded through partnership with OWEB from Oregon Lottery funds.

Since 1999, the Oregon Lottery has provided over $500 million to OWEB’s grant program that helps restore, maintain and enhance Oregon’s watersheds. Combined, the Lottery has earned over $9 billion for watershed enhancements, public education, state parks and economic development. For more information about the Oregon Lottery visit www.oregonlottery.org

For additional information about OSWB Noxious Weed Grant Program, contact Tristen Berg at tberg@oda.state.or.us.


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