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Adaptive Restoration Efforts in Willapa Bay!

In June we traveled to the north coast by Astoria, OR and Long Beach, WA to assess the health and restoration potential at several different coastal prairie sites. Three of the five sites were located on land managed by the North Coast Land Conservancy, a non-profit that tackles conservation projects from the Columbia River south to Lincoln City. The other two sites are located on land owned by the National Park Service and U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service. The ultimate goal of this project is to evaluate the effects of adaptive restoration techniques on coastal prairie. The results of this project will provide useful information for future restoration efforts of coastal prairie, which is native habitat for the Oregon silverspot butterfly. In order to research the best adaptive management methods for prairie restoration, three techniques and a control were established: herbicide, soil inversion, and soil removal. The success of each restoration method is evaluated by collecting plant community data in all research plots every year. Within each plot we estimated percent cover of all plants occurring in four square meters. The plot photos are pictured below:

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Control: These plots are established without any treatments but are exposed to the same conditions (weather, climate, herbivory, etc.) to create a basis for comparison with other treatments. Photo credit: Emma MacDonald

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Topsoil removal: The entire nutrient rich top layer (essentially all organic material) was excavated from these plots leaving a sandy nutrient poor layer for new plants to colonize. Photo credit: Connor Whitaker

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Topsoil Inversion: Vegetation and soil in these plots were turned over so they mimicked dune-soil conditions where nutrient rich soil layers (topsoil) move under or over nutrient poor (sandy) layers over time. Photo credit: Connor Whitaker

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Herbicide application: Glyphosate was applied to these plots to assess the effect herbicide has on native plant community composition by exterminating exotic species. Photo credit: Connor Whitaker

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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View of Surf Pines study site: From a distance, the experimental design and all the treatments are shown. Photo credit: Emma MacDonald

Look for more information on these study sites and coastal prairie restoration efforts in a future edition of the Native Plant Society of Oregon's Bulletin!

Posted in Adventures in Conservation Research, Conservation Research Program and tagged , , , .

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