Klamath Wilderness Inventory Project
The Mid Klamath Watershed Council (MKWC) has been supported by the National Forest Foundation and the US Forest Service to perform non-native invasive plant inventories in the Klamath wilderness areas, including the Marble Mountain, Trinity Alps, Castle Crags, Red Buttes and the Siskiyou Wilderness areas.
Inventory and Monitoring is important in these remote wilderness areas as invasive weeds can grow into sizeable populations if left undetected. Late detection significantly increases eradication costs and allows for increased damage to habitat functioning. Prior to this effort,there has not been an extensive effort to inventory invasive weed populations in these Wilderness Areas. The Marble Mountains are of particular concern for invasive weed infestation as there is a high level of cattle grazing and horse packing that occurs within in its boundaries. These activities are known to spread invasive weeds. All the wilderness areas are also at a higher risk due to the abundance of wildfire occurrence and fire suppression efforts in recent years.
We have worked closely with Forest Service managers from the Klamath, Six Rivers, Rogue River-Siskiyou and Shasta-Trinity National Forests to prioritize trails for inventory and weed sites to be hand-pulled. Prioritization was given to highly disturbed trails and areas, primarily from recent wildfires, and also to high use areas.
Participants included MKWC’s youth stewardship interns, AmeriCorps Watershed Stewards Project members, the Klamath-Siskiyou Outdoor School as well as project directors. Since 2010 we have covered hundreds of trail miles and mapped over 100 weeds sites (see wilderness specific pages). Species mapped include: St. John’s wort (Hypericum perforatum), bull thistle (Cirsium vulagre), mullein (Verbascum thapsus), Himalayan blackberry (Rubus armeniacus), perennial sweetpea (Lathyrus latifolius), and yellow starthistle (Centaurea solstitalis). Sites mapped that were most concerning were found within intensely burned areas because, as expected, any weedy species within such a disturbed area were showing rapid expansion. However, most of the weeds occur at trailheads, old homesteads, and mining or grazing sites.
Wilderness weeding is part of MKWC's ongoing commitment to management of invasive species. Please contact us if you want to be part of keeping the wilderness free of invasives!