Parachute hill pilot prescrition grazing project to control spotted knapweed centaurea bibersteinii

Дата канвертавання15.04.2016
Памер15.85 Kb.

owell Ranger Station, Clearwater National Forest

T.37N R.14E Section 20

The Chief of the USDA Forest Service has identified invasive plant species as one of the four significant threats to the nation’s forest and rangeland ecosystems. The conversion of native plant communities to non-natives species costs both financially and ecologically. Estimates show that the United States spends over 138 billion dollars annually treating problems associated with invasive species. The goal of the USDA Forest Service invasive species program is to reduce, minimize, or eliminate the potential for introduction, establishment, spread, and impact of invasive species across all landscapes and ownerships. Forest Service control and management activities are founded on integrated pest management principles that may include a combination of physical or mechanical, biological, cultural, and chemical techniques. The United States Forest Service recognizes that the problems associated with invasive species cross landscape boundaries and impact all resource users; consequently, the Forest Service works collaboratively with domestic and international partners to identify potential new techniques for invasive species control and management.
Like other public lands in the west, the spread of invasive plants is occurring at an alarming rate on the Clearwater National Forest. Resource managers on the Clearwater National Forest are noticing that in watersheds with some kind of disturbance, either natural or management associated, accelerates the pace of encroachment of invasive plants which are replacing native plant communities.
Parachute Hill is an excellent case-study in weed encroachment following disturbance. The area was intensively managed for timber harvest in the 1980s and heavily roaded. Adjacent land sections were commercially harvested by Plum Creek Timber Company in the 1990s. In addition to harvest and roads, the project area was burned in 1994 and 2001. Following harvest and wildfire, the area became infested with numerous species of noxious weeds. The most abundant weed species is spotted knapweed (Centaurea biebersteinii). Spotted knapweed spreads rapidly for two primary reasons: 1. it reproduces rapidly from seed. Each plant produces up to 25,000 seeds that are dispersed by wind, animals, and people. Seeds may remain viable for 8 years. 2. it eliminates competition from other range plants by secreting a natural herbicide into the soil. This appears to inhibit native species competition and hampers revegetation efforts. In Parachute Hill, revegetation efforts have been attempted, but trees have had limited success in establishing themselves, in part we believe this is a result of the levels of knapweed infestation of the area.

The purpose of this project is to evaluate the efficacy of prescription grazing for reducing the density of seed producing spotted knapweed on Parachute Hill.

Management Direction
The USFS has supported the use of targeted grazing (also called prescription grazing) to treat invasive plant species. Results from the last decade of study show prescribed grazing is an effective tool in an integrated weed treatment program. The USFS generally classifies prescribed grazing as a cultural control method.
Locally, the Clearwater National Forest is an active participant in the inter-agency Clearwater River Basin Weed Management Area (CWMA), which like the USFS, follows a weed management strategy emphasizing integrated treatment approaches. The CWMA defines prescribed grazing as an effective cultural control method (from A Strategy for Invasive Plant Management in the Clearwater River Basin).
This is consistent with the Clearwater National Forest Plan and is required by the National Forest Management Act. The need to control an Idaho State Noxious Weed is based on direction contained in The Federal Noxious Weed law (1974) as amended, Executive Order 13112 for Invasive Species, Forest Service Policy (2080), Northern Region Supplement (R1 2000-2001-1) Implementation of Integrated Weed Management on National Forest System lands in the Northern Region.

Project Proposal

To complete a three year trial of prescription grazing using approximately 200 goats to control 120 acres of knapweed in the Parachute Creek drainage. The grazing prescription will follow the recommendations for spotted knapweed as detailed in the following text: Targeted Grazing: A Natural Approach to Vegetation Management and Landscape Enhancement: A Handbook on Grazing as a New Ecological Service. Published in 2007, edited by Dr. K. Launchbaugh, University of Idaho. The recommended prescription is as follows: Graze spotted knapweed heavily during the rosette or bolting stage. Livestock prefer young, smaller plants, but will usually readily consume it at all growth stages. Two grazing periods per year, once during rosette to bolting stage and again in the bud stage, provide the best control. Stem reductions, smaller plants, and lower seed production can occur after three to six consecutive years of grazing.

The livestock prescribed for this project will be goats with a preference for lactating does with kids. The actual time of grazing per grazing season will be about 15 days for the first grazing, and about 10 days for the second grazing. For a three year pilot study total grazing time will be approximately 75 days.

This contract will continue efforts started in 2005. During 2005, the Clearwater National Forest in partnership with the Nez Perce Tribe initiated one year of a pilot prescription grazing project in this area. Under the 2005 initiation year, only one of the two prescribed grazing periods could be completed as a result of the Nez Perce Tribe’s concern with the contractor’s ability to comply with herd management protocols. There was not enough time between the grazing periods to re-solicit for contractors to complete the second grazing. However, monitoring completed in cooperation with the University of Idaho, College of Natural Resources, showed that even after a single grazing the density of seed producing knapweed decreased from 100% to 42%. Data showed that impacts from non-target grazing were not significant: percent cover of forbs and grasses decreased after grazing from 35% to 21% and percent cover of trees remained nearly the same after grazing from 0.35% to 0.33%.
Design Criteria and/or Mitigation

  • District personnel or Nez Perce Tribe employees will notify Idaho Fish and Game immediately in the unlikely event that bighorn sheep are observed in the vicinity of the analysis area.

  • Herders will remain with goats 100% of contract time.

  • Herders may be required to supply portable drift fence to contain goats during grazing periods.

  • Domestic goats will be corralled or fenced at night.

  • Domestic goats that wander or stray from the herd will be rounded up as soon as noticed missing from the herd.

  • The contractor will have a method of identification for each domestic goat and a manifest will be provided to District personnel. The District personnel will check the manifest against the goats as they are unloaded at project site and likewise, will be present and will check the manifest as the goats are removed from the project area.

  • Domestic goats will be up to date on their vaccinations.

  • The utilization of non target species will be monitored.

  • To reduce transfer of weed seed, the domestic goats will be quarantined before entering and exiting the project area.

  • The contract will provide off-channel watering systems, such as troughs, during the grazing periods.

Proposed Action can be Categorically Excluded (cited from Nez Perce National Forest, Bentz Ridge Goat Grazing Project, 2006)
This action can be categorically excluded from documentation in an environmental impact statement or an environmental assessment because it is a research project to determine if prescribed grazing is effective treatment for knapweed. This project is consistent with FSH 1909.15, 31.11 (a) (3) Inventories, research activities, and studies, such as a resource inventories and routine data collection when such actions are clearly limited in context and intensity; and 31.12 (8) Approval, modification, or continuation of minor, short-term (one year or less) special uses of National Forest System Lands.

This categorical exclusion is appropriate in this situation because there are no extraordinary circumstances potentially having effects which may significantly affect the environment.

Note: This represents an addition of category from the 2005 Decision Memo for Powell Goat Grazing, which used CE 31.12(8) only citing, “Categories Established by the Chief consisting of routine administrative, maintenance, and other actions that normally do not individually or cumulatively have a significant effect on the environment.

Findings Required by Other Laws (copied from 2005 Decision Memo for Powell Goat Grazing)
National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA): NEPA’s intent is to “promote efforts which will prevent or eliminate damage to the environment and biosphere, and stimulate the health and welfare of man.” This proposal meets the intent of the Act based on rationale stated previously and below.
National Forest Noxious Weed Management Policy (FSM 2080-2083)- This proposal is consistent with National Forest Noxious Weed Management Policy which requires District Rangers to prevent the introduction and establishment, and provide for the containment and suppression, of noxious weeds; and to cooperate with State agencies. This policy is consistent with the Federal Noxious Weed Act of 1974, as amended (7 USC 2801 et seq.).
Endangered Species Act (ESA)- Forest specialists evaluated this proposal with regard to threatened and endangered plant and animal species. Their findings are summarized in the Biological Assessments and Biological Evaluations, which are enclosed. This proposal is consistent with the ESA.
Clean Water Act- Based on the measures outlined above to protect soil and water resources and review by the interdisciplinary team,( I have determined that) this proposal meets the intent of the Clean Water Act.
National Forest Management Act (NFMA)- The National Forest Management Act and accompanying regulation require that several other specific findings be documented a the project level. Forest Plan Consistency-Management activities are to be consistent with the Forest Plan [16 USC 16049(i)]. The Forest Plan guides management activities [36 CFR 219.1(b)]. This project is consistent with the Forest Plan, Regional, and National direction.
National Historic Preservation Act- A survey of the records of the project area identified no known cultural, scientific, or historical resources within the proposed grazing area. A Heritage Resource Report was prepared and received concurrence from the State Historical Preservation Office on 5/24/2005. The State Historical Preservation Office found the field work to have met the Secretary of the Interior’s Standards and determined that no historic properties would be affected within the project area.

База данных защищена авторским правом © 2016
звярнуцца да адміністрацыі

    Галоўная старонка