2005 "Volunteers Working With Invasives"
Grants Report Form
PROJECT BACKGROUND INFORMATION
Exotic Plant Inventory within the Beaver Creek Corridor, Yukon Flats NWR and the White Mountains National Recreation Area, Alaska
Yukon Flats National Wildlife Refuge
Name and Phone Number
Delia Vargas Kretsinger 907/456 0419
(Up to 250 words)
There is little information on the distribution and occurrence of exotic plants along riparian corridors within Alaska National Wildlife Refuges. Our objectives are to conduct a baseline inventory of exotic plants on Beaver Creek, to document any occurrence of the invasive white sweet clover (Melilotus alba), map distribution of exotics, and identify potential source populations for exotics observed. Beaver Creek, a designated National Wild River for nearly half its length, begins in the White Mountains National Recreation Area (WMNRA), which is administered by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM), and flows about 110 miles before entering the Yukon Flats Refuge. Beaver Creek flows another 179 miles through the refuge before reaching the Yukon River. About 200-400 people float Beaver Creek annually. Pilots land their aircraft either on the river or gravel bars to drop off and pick up hunters, anglers, and river floaters. There are three private inholdings and one public use cabin adjacent to the river and upstream of the refuge. River users and their equipment can act as vehicles for the spread of invasive plants into relatively pristine and remote wild areas. In addition, the refuge is undertaking an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) to evaluate the effects of a proposed land exchange for the purpose of oil and gas development on lands adjacent to Beaver Creek. If the FWS approves the proposed action, there may be increased potential for introduction of non-native plant propagules via heavy construction equipment.
List of Invasives Species Targeted:
white sweet clover
butter and eggs
Project Completion Date
or Estimated Completion Date:
(Check all that apply)
Describe the type of work the volunteers performed. (Up to 150 words)
Two volunteers affiliated with the U.S. Forest Service (USFS) and Alaska Natural Heritage Program (ANHP), surveyed gravel bars for presence of exotic plant species within the Beaver Creek corridor. The following federal agency partners worked alongside volunteers: U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, BLM, National Park Service (NPS) and Environmental Careers Organization (ECO). Crews surveyed gravel bars using the informed meander approach, which when working larger gravel bars, allows a more directed search of habitats likely to be colonized by exotic plants. On smaller gravel bars volunteer and agency crews systematically searched for exotic plants over the entire gravel bar. During the surveys, crews compiled plant species lists (both exotic and native), and collected data according to Alaska Exotic Plant Information Clearinghouse (AKEPIC) standards. Crews pulled or dug up exotic plants when encountered. Voucher specimens were collected, pressed, and submitted to the University of Alaska (UA) Museum Herbarium.
Total Number of Volunteers:
Total Number of Volunteer Hours:
List both new and existing partnerships utilized in this project. (Up to 150 words).
We advertised for volunteers through the Alaska Rare Plant Forum and Alaska Committee for Noxious and Invasive Plants Management (CNIPM) e-mail listservers. Listserv subscribers include members from Alaska federal and state agencies, University of Alaska (UA), NGOs, and private citizens. If the funding opportunities arise to continue inventory work in 2006, we would like to solicit volunteers from the local river paddling associations, and encourage participation from the NGOs in the community. Our federal partners contributed the following in staff hours to complete the survey: Bureau of Land Management (108 hrs), NPS (108 hrs), and ECO (148 hrs). Fish and Wildlife Service staff contributed 279 hours to the survey.
Give an overview of the results of the project. Include quantifiable measure of success, such as maps produced, efficacy of control measures, number of sites where invasions were detected early and responded to, number of community contacts, etc. (Up to 250 words).
This is the first exotic plant survey of a designated National Wild River on Alaska refuge lands. Three crews surveyed 94 gravel bar sites over nearly 200 miles of Beaver Creek June 14-24, 2005. Fifty-two sites were on refuge lands. The remainder of sites surveyed (42) were in the BLM WMNRA. We encountered exotic plants at 23% of refuge sites. We referred to the ANHPs Weed Ranking Project to determine plant species native or non-native status. The common dandelion, (Taraxacum officinale), was the most common non-native plant encountered and was often found growing adjacent to the native dandelion (T. ceratophorum). Most non-native dandelion occurrences were single plant infestations; however, at two sites, we found patches with 6-25 plants. These plants were dug up and either burned or flown out at the end of the trip. Other non-native plants recorded during our survey were mostly single plant occurrences of wormseed mustard (Erysimum cheiranthoides), bluegrass (Poa pratensis), lambs quarters (Chenopodium album), and foxtail barley (Hordeum jubatum). We did not encounter white sweet clover, which has begun to invade other interior Alaska river floodplains. Thirty-one percent of sites visited on BLM lands also contained T. officinale and P. pratensis plants. One site in particular (a private inholding within BLM) may be a potential source of propagules. Survey data will be submitted to the AKEPIC. Plant voucher specimens were submitted to, and catalogued by, the UA Museum Herbarium. In-house products are a final report and a Refuge GIS coverage map of the sites surveyed.
Number of Acres Treated:
We treated approximately .75 acres. This includes sites with infestations of single plants to a few sites with larger infestations, where many, but not all exotic plants were pulled.
Number of Acres Inventoried and/or Mapped:
Crews inventoried approximately 142 acres (Yukon Flats NWR: 107 acres and BLM: 142 acres) of early successional gravel bar habitat from 94 sites along Beaver Creek.
Number of Acres Restored:
Account for funds in broad categories such as equipment, volunteer stipends, travel, coordinator salary/contract, etc.
Total Grant Amount:
Breakdown of Expenditures:
Total $ Spent
% of Total Grant
Equipment / Supplies
Volunteer Coordinator Salary/Contract
How useful was this program for meeting refuge invasive species objectives and how can it be improved?
This funding program enabled us work in cooperation with volunteers and federal partners to conduct an exotic plant survey on a remote river system on the Yukon Flats refuge. More importantly, the funding gave us an opportunity to address one of our refuge purposes, to conserve fish and wildlife populations and habitats in their natural diversity. Before we can conserve plant communities and wildlife habitat, we need to know what we have. Incorporating early detection methods in this project allowed us to get a better handle on the exotic and native plant species that are present on these early successional gravel bars. We would encourage continued funding of this program in Region 7 Alaska National Wildlife Refuges. At present, Alaska federal land managers are in a unique position to prevent the establishment of many invasive plant species through public outreach and education, partner collaboration, and concentrated survey efforts in highly vulnerable habitats and plant communities. In addition, we suggest earlier proposal submission and notification of successfully funded proposal dates to allow refuges to incorporate this work into their field planning efforts. Thank you for the opportunity to work with your program! To be added to Budget section of report: Additional costs not covered by the grant: $2,414.
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