ASOTIN COUNTY EARLY DETECTION FOR NEWLY INVADING WEED SPECIES
The photo above, overlooking the Grande Ronde River in Asotin County, shows a diverse mixture of native vegetation. Less than ½ mile from this site were mountain meadows inundated with sulfur cinquefoil (Potentilla recta) and rush skeletonweed (Chondrilla juncea) that threatened the entire area. Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation (RMEF) grant funding helped to fuel projects that enabled back country weed crews to treat populations of these newly invading weed species on both private and Washington Department Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) lands. Sulfur cinquefoil and rush skeletonweed are highly aggressive weeds in Southeast Washington. These weeds form monocultures that out compete native vegetation and, due to their root structure, do not allow rain water absorption into the soil profile to the same degree as do native bunch grasses. The resulting runoff causes erosion of the steep upland soils that will eventually run into lower elevation salmon streams. Treating newly invading weeds before they become wide spread makes ecological and economic sense.
New weed sightings are reported by private landowners, recreational users, WDFW and Asotin County personnel. RMEF grant funds allow weed treatments across boundary lines for cross-jurisdictional treatments in large areas. Vertical lava cliffs, steep canyons, large rivers, remote/roadless areas, brush and rattlesnakes make treating weeds challenging in Asotin County.
Black henbane came in as a contaminant in the grass seed on this landowner’s property. RMEF funding helped restore this elk calving area. The back country weed crews use the most effective equipment for the prevailing terrain. ATV’s, specially equipped horses, and/or backpack sprayers are used for treatment. These pictures were taken during a cooperative weed project with the USFS, WDFW and Asotin County Noxious Weed Board.