As we dive deeper into summer, it is becoming more and more apparent how much progress we’ve been making on our work. We manage to get out and survey a few BLM parcels each week. This sounds impressive but in reality a good portion of each parcel tends to be made of rock cliffs and boulders. But we do what we can and despite accessibility issues we have obtained a lot of data. It became much more obvious during a weeds meeting we had this past week. Our supervisor loaded up ArcMap on the big screen, pulling up areas we had been working in and there were all our polygons points and lines of noxious weeds found in those areas. And while of course it’s not a desirable thing to have so many invasive species, it is good that we seem to be doing well scouting for them. As I’ve mentioned in recent blog posts, some of the areas require a good huff and puff of hiking to reach. Last week was particularly exhausting. We hiked over 20 miles in 3 days climbing up and down hills that sometimes changed in elevation by 1000 feet. The picture below is an example, though it doesn’t do it justice.
Running along this site was the Okanogan River which we camped next to the week before.
Not a terrible place to crash for the evening. However, I was kicking myself the whole time for not bringing my fishing pole, apparently this section of the river is excellent salmon fishing… D:
Two weeks ago was also the week our crew became familiar with a highly aggressive invasive, medusahead. This winter annual grass is native to Europe and was first found in Oregon at the beginning of the 20th century. It thrives on range land, spreads quickly, and decomposes slowly, resulting in thick layers of litter covering a large area. This inhibits native plant growth and becomes a great fuel source for a wildfire. It has never been found in the county we work in until this year when someone found an odd looking grass on private property nearby and decided to report it. Sure enough it was confirmed to be medusahead and now federal and state agencies are trying to determine the extent of its infestation in the area. We surveyed a BLM parcel near the area where it was found to see if it was present and fortunately none was found. But first we visited the property where it was found to make sure we knew how to identify it.
We’ve kept our eyes peeled since, but luckily it hasn’t been found outside this area. How it got here remains a mystery and will probably stay that way since its seeds can stick to practically anything; clothing, tires, animals, etc. On the plus side, the area we surveyed nearby did have a rewarding view of the Wenatchee valley.
Next week we plan on having another work camping trip and hitting some spots that I have no doubt will mostly be made of boulders and cliffs. The adventure continues..