Wrapping up

There were a lot of new experiences for me during this internship with a few common themes from previous jobs that I have worked. Some of the new experiences include learning new flora of the Pacific Northwest, using keys to identify plants, and conducting rare plant surveys. One theme that was again present for me this year is that the battle against invasive species is always an uphill battle. It can be hard to see the difference you are making especially when you will not be able to see the effect of your hard work the next year. Depending on the level of infestation, it can be really difficult for one or two people to treat an area, even with using herbicide. It is important when doing this type of work to make small goals for yourself and to treat areas where you can get the most bang for your buck. This way you can make a bigger impact and also feel good about the work that you are doing. I have been working on lots of weed treatment projects the past month from pulling/spraying false brome, spraying blackberry, lopping one-seeded hawthorne, and spraying Canada thistle. It would be an understatement to say that this month has flown by.

A patch of blackberry that I sprayed one week prior. It is already started to die back a little bit which made me feel good.

A patch of milk thistle that I sprayed one week prior as well. As you can see it is mostly dead and I wanted to do a follow up to make sure it all dies before it seeds next year.

Cat’s face spider

While I was cutting some hawthorne down with handsaws this week, I felt something crawling on my neck. Not thinking anything of it I brushed it away with my hand. A few seconds later I felt something crawling on my neck again and I swatted it off me this time. This spider flew off and landing on this leaf. I was paranoid the rest of the day. It was kind of a cool looking spider but I just did not want it crawling on me. I think it may be a cat’s face spider or some other type of orb weaver.

Overall, I would say the internship was a success for me and I really enjoyed my time working here in Oregon. I learned a lot of new things and invasive species in Oregon have certainly piqued my interest. Although I am moving back home for now, I am not crossing Oregon off the list of places I would want to live and work again.

Botany Staff at Roseburg District BLM

Signing off now.

-Will Farhat (Botany Intern at Roseburg District BLM)

Seed Collection and Spraying weeds

These last couple months have flown by. There is only one month left. The last couple months have been spent mostly on seed collection and treatment of invasive species. My grass identification skills are growing stronger and I am starting to recognize key differences in different types of grasses. Pictured below is bundle of Danthonia Californica which is a native perennial oatgrass.  My favorite part about this plant is that it can produce seeds in its stem as well as at the top of the plant.

The day after the 4th of July, we were able to have a relaxing day on the Umpqua River rafting and pulling weeds. We were controlling the spread of False Brome which is an invasive species from Europe that can outcompete native plants.

We had the pleasure of working with the Phoenix School Crew here in Roseburg. They helped us on a couple different projects. One of the projects was to pull tansy ragwort at the North Bank Habitat Management Area. They crew did a great job and we ended up with a few truckloads of tansy ragwort to dispose of! The other intern and I were lucky enough to have them help because it would have taken us weeks to do the work.

We have also been focusing more on forbs seed collection. Pictured below is Achillea Millefolium, also known as Common Yarrow.

We wrapped up our final seed collection on a population of Canada Goldenrod. We will be transitioning to spraying noxious weeds for the remainder of our internship.

I have learned a lot about plant identification and invasive species management so far and have appreciated all of the gorgeous views along the way.

Invasive Plants in Oregon

The past few weeks I have been working on mapping invasive species locations in different parts of the BLM Roseburg district. I mostly mapped invasive species infestations along a timber haul route. The goal of this project was to map invasive species locations so that they can be treated before timber harvesting starts. The intention is to reduce the spreading of invasive plants. Pictured below I am mapping a location of Himalayan Blackberry which is a common invasive species found along roadsides and riparian areas. If left untreated, this plant could eventually become a huge thicket and take over the under story. It could then out compete native species and prevent the establishment of newer trees.

Pictured below is an infestation of Scotch Broom. Scotch Broom is an invasive species that is difficult to manage because it responds well to disturbances and the seed bank can last up to 50 years. It can also cause damages to the timber industry through out competing seedling trees.

Another invasive species I have encountered in the field is Canada Thistle which is pictured below. Canada Thistle is another invasive species in Oregon that is difficult to manage. Pulling up one plant will not kill it since multiple plants share an underground root system and all the plants are interconnected.

In all it seems that invasive species in Oregon are very hard to control. I will be getting my Oregon Pesticide Applicator License soon, so I will be able to better help in the fight against these resilient plants in Oregon.

Will Farhat – CLM Intern with the Bureau of Land Management Roseburg District

A New Beginning

It’s hard to believe I’ve already finished my first week of interning at the BLM office in Roseburg, Oregon. Growing up in the Midwest, I could never imagine the different kinds of beautiful landscapes that waited in the Pacific Northwest outside of Illinois for me to see. For our first day in the field, we journeyed to a monitoring plot of Kincaid’s Lupine (Lupinus oreganus) which is a federally listed threatened plant. After driving in the mountains, we parked and proceeded to hike to the location of the plot.

Here is a picture of my co-intern, Robin, and one of the BLM botanists, Aaron, that we were assisting. We eventually made it to the plot and started our data collection. It was a 20×20 m plot and we had to record sizes  of the plants and amounts of inflorescences in each 1x1m section. It seemed that the plant population was growing and we even found plants outside of the plot, which indicated that it was spreading.

The next day we went to a different plot of lupines that were planted. I have never seen so much poison oak in my life. It seems that this will be the biggest hazard we will face in the field.

The next day we accompanied a few of the foresters from the BLM office into the field so they could look at several stands for timber sale. I learned a few different things such as that when selling a stand for harvest, they have to leave a certain amount of trees for habitat for wildlife that depend on them. Also, if the stand was burned over (which many of them were from wildfires within the past few years), they did not have to leave any trees for habitat and could sell the whole thing for harvest.

The stand between the rock outcrops and the already harvested stand was being evaluated for sale.

Here is a picture of a pretty gnarly snag that was in a stand being evaluated for timber sale.

Overall, it was a pretty good first week  of breathtaking views and gaining new skills and knowledge. I look forward to what the next couple months of this internship will bring!

Will Farhat – CLM Intern with the Bureau of Land Management Roseburg District