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KODIAK: In Search of Aliens
Alaska Region, November 18, 2008
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Survey crew included Tonya Lee, Kodiak Refuge, and Freya Holm, Kodiak Soil and Water Conservation District. Jeff Lewis/USFWS
Survey crew included Tonya Lee, Kodiak Refuge, and Freya Holm, Kodiak Soil and Water Conservation District. Jeff Lewis/USFWS - Photo Credit: n/a
Gardens, such as this one on private land adjacent to the Refuge, pose no threat so long as owners avoid infasive plants. Freya Holm/KSWCD
Gardens, such as this one on private land adjacent to the Refuge, pose no threat so long as owners avoid infasive plants. Freya Holm/KSWCD - Photo Credit: n/a

In July, the Refuge partnered with the Kodiak Soil and Water Conservation District to search for aliens--non-native invasive plants--along the remote coast of Uganik Bay of western Kodiak Island.  Supported by the M/V Ursa Major II, the Refuge's marine vessel, the survey targeted current and historically occupied human habitations on and adjacent to the Refuge.  Management policies geared to conserve Refuge land requires that we thwart the aliens by identifying where they occur, regardless of land ownership and--working in partnership with land owners and agencies--take action to remove or contain them.

Of the 40 sites visited, and scattered across 100 miles of coast, only three harbored small populations of alien invasive plants, including orange hawkweed (Hieracium aurantiacum), oxeye daisy (Chrysanthemum leucanthemum), and common tansy (Tanacetum vulgare).  Sites visited included those occupied by commercial salmon fisherman, a defunct cannery, lodges, and homesteads.  Outreach included informal discussion of threats posed by invasive plants and distribution of a joint agency leaflet and a pocket booklet, Selected Invasive Plants of Alaska.  

It was apparent that many site operators supplement their food supply with native plants found in the wild or with gardens they cultivate. When popular garden goodies are exchanged by well-meaning gardeners, what can seem like an innocent flower may be a harmful weed that spreads rapidly.  To minimize this potential, our crew visited nearly every beach with a cabin until rain, 10-12 foot seas, and winds up to 40 knots forced the skiff to remain tied up on the final day. 

With few exceptions, the wildlands of Kodiak Refuge remain pristine and continue to be dominated by native plants. Working with our partners, our goal is to conserve these conditions by monitoring invasive plant activity, educating on- and near-refuge land users, and ultimately thwarting the aliens.


Contact Info: Bill Pyle, 907-487-2600-228, Bill_Pyle@fws.gov



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