PRINEVILLE, Ore. - The U.S. Forest Service will treat more than 750 acres for invasive plants across Central Oregon this year that, if left untreated, could choke out native vegetation, livestock forage and wildlife habitat.
Natural resource managers for the Deschutes and Ochoco national forests and the Crooked River National Grassland have posted detailed plans and maps of the treatment areas to the websites for both the Deschutes and Ochoco National Forests so the public is aware of and has access to more information about the work taking place.
Often overlooked or unrecognized, 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.
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.
Treatments this year will take place along roads, at rock quarry sites, within recent wildfires and at some other areas with a high disturbance. For a map of planned treatment sites, see attached documents or visit: www.fs.usda.gov/deschutes or www.fs.usda.gov/ochoco.
Invasive species targeted for treatment include yellow flag iris, reed canary grass, diffuse, Russian and spotted knapweed, ribbongrass, ventenata, Medusahead rye, whitetop and Scotch thistle.
Implementation will be carried out by the Forest Service and a number of government and non-profit partners throughout Central Oregon. Work will follow the design features in the Deschutes and Ochoco National Forests and Crooked River National Grassland Record of Decision for the 2012 Invasive Plant treatment project.
Forest Service land managers employ an Early Detection / Rapid Response (EDRR) strategy for mapping and treating invasive infestations. EDRR increases the chances of successfully restoring invasive plant sites by treating new infestations before they become large, thereby reducing the time and cost associated with treatment and the potential ecological damage.
To learn more about the threat of invasive weeds and how you can help prevent them, visit www.playcleango.org.
Download a brochure of the “Top Invasive Plants of the Crooked River Basin” on the Ochoco National Forest website: www.fs.usda.gov/ochoco.