Oregon Volunteers Pick on the Little Ones
By Kati McCrae, Oregon Habitat Project Coordinator
On a beautiful day in mid-May, volunteers from the RMEF’s Willamette Valley Chapter and employees from the McKenzie River Ranger District (including Ruby Seitz, district wildlife biologist) came together for the common goal of improving elk forage along a power line corridor located in the Willamette National Forest. The goal of the day-long project was to remove Scotch broom and other noxious and invasive plant species. This area is very popular to elk, and this is the second year of an ongoing effort between RMEF and the Forest Service.
This eradication effort was on a much smaller scale than most people are used to when removing Scotch broom. Although the area had been mowed and sprayed by the partners the year before, new Scotch broom seedlings had begun to sprout, giving start to the next generation of this invasive plant. These ‘babies’ had our very determined volunteers on their hands and knees removing them from the soil for the better part of the day.
A little-known fact is that Scotch broom seeds can survive for more than 70 years, making it one of the most difficult of the invasive plants to completely remove from sensitive wildlife areas. But the constant attention of wildlife volunteers and the Forest Service, and the combined efforts of spraying, cutting and pulling of all stages of this invasive and noxious plant, will help ensure these valuable foraging areas for deer and elk will remain productive.
Controlling non-native plants such as Scotch broom will benefit Roosevelt’s elk and other wildlife. 30-40 elk use this area year-round and about 60-80 use it during the winter. With the continued help of our amazing volunteers and our partnership with the Forest Service, we will ensure this area continues to grow healthy forage for elk and other wildlife!