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KODIAK: Far Flung Weed Surveys
Alaska Region, May 20, 2010
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Commercial salmon setnetter receives invasive species literature. Tonya Lee/USFWS
Commercial salmon setnetter receives invasive species literature. Tonya Lee/USFWS - Photo Credit: n/a
Discovery of a patch of knotweed was a major find since the taxa is one of the most pernicious invasives in Alaska.  Blythe Brown/KSWCD
Discovery of a patch of knotweed was a major find since the taxa is one of the most pernicious invasives in Alaska. Blythe Brown/KSWCD - Photo Credit: n/a
Blythe Brown, Kodiak Soil and Water Conservation District, shares the book
Blythe Brown, Kodiak Soil and Water Conservation District, shares the book "Invasive Plants of Alaska" with a lodge owner. Tonya Lee/USFWS - Photo Credit: n/a

Kodiak Island, the second largest island in the U.S, encompasses a vast 1,332 miles of coastline.  Imagine sailing around this mountainous island with frequent forays into fiords and bays to visit local residents busily engaged in recreational and commercial salmon fishing activities. In July 2009, such a voyage was made to survey for invasive weeds and exchange information about them with residents.

In partnership with the Kodiak Soil and Water Conservation District and ably supported by the Refuge’s M/V Ursa Major II, we visited 42 sites including eight on Refuge lands and 34 on private lands.  We met and exchanged weed information with a total of 89 people in 36 parties.  We found invasive plant infestations at 18 of 42 sites visited, including three on the Refuge and 15 on private land.  Most infestations were small and covered less than 1/10th acre, while the largest may have covered an acre.  We found nine highly invasive species including orange hawkweed, oxeye daisy, common tansy, Canada thistle, creeping buttercup, and reed canary grass, Bohemian knotweed, Siberian pea shrub, and European mountain ash.

 

Most residents of the Kodiak area live in Kodiak City and six remote villages.  Each summer, several hundred seasonally occupy widely scattered coastal sites including canneries, lodges, and commercial fishing base camps.  Such sites can serve as beachheads for establishment and spread of invasive plants when landowners, inadvertently introduce them. The introduction of invasive ornamental plants is particularly common.  Our concern with weeds on remote lands is that they could eventually infest nearby Refuge lands.  Prompted by this concern, we have conducted joint outreach and surveys with the District since 2004 to build a foundation for comprehensive, public-private sector management of invasive plants.  “It’s neighbors helping neighbors,” says Gary Wheeler, Refuge Manager, who strongly supports and has participated in the missions.   

 


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



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