WNPS Native Plant Stewards Survey Invasive Plants on High Country Trails
In 2006, the Central Puget Sound Chapter awarded a Stewardship Grant to Tracy Fuentes, WNPS member and current Chapter Botanist, to participate in the Mountain and Sound Greenway initiative to inventory and control invasive plants in the Middle Fork of the Snoqualmie River watershed. The overall project was a partnership with Mountains to Sound Greenway, Cascade Land Conservancy, US Forest Service-Mt. Baker-Snoqualmie NF, Washington State Department of Natural Resources, King County Dept. of Natural Resources and Parks, King County Noxious Weed Control Program, Middle Fork Outdoor Recreation Coalition, American Whitewater and the Washington Native Plant Stewardship Program.
Funding from the 2006 Chapter stewardship grant was used to train Native Plant Stewards and other volunteers in current survey methodology and to provide funding support for the GIS mapping of invasive infestations.
Mountain and Sound Greenway conducted the first invasive plant surveyor training in 2006 and has worked with their partners to continue the annual surveys. Fifteen people were trained in 2006 by Sasha Shaw, King County Noxious Weed Program who presented weed identification and control methods and Tracy Fuentes, US Forest Service, who taught the invasive mapping protocols. In 2007 24 people were trained and 19 more completed training in 2008 that was conducted by Sasha Shaw and Laura Potash Martin, USFS.
Twelve WNPS Native Plant Stewards have completed the invasive survey training: Becky Chaney, Shirley Doolittle-Egerdahl, Donna Franklin, Marilee Henry, Dan Paquette, Linda Rantala, Gary Smith, Ann Stevens, Karen Suyama, Janet Wall, Jean Yee and Holly Zox.
To date invasive plant infestations on the targeted list of weeds have not been reported on high country trails. The major infestations are found along waterways, roads leading to trailheads, in trailhead parking areas. The greatest infestations were found in nearly every pull-out and spur road junction with the Middle Fork Road from the Bessemer Road to Valley Camp had one or more noxious weeds present that appeared to have been introduced directly from dumped yard waste. The most commonly introduced weeds found in old refuse piles were hedge bindweed, English ivy, and yellow archangel. (See Middle Fork Snoqualmie Invasive Weed Control Project: Year Two Report for more information).