Conservation Research Adventures to the Desert

In June we said goodbye to our Corvallis western Oregon home and set out for a long day of traveling to Vale, Oregon on the eastern part of the state to monitor Astragalus mulfordiae, or Mulford’s milkvetch. Although the journey was long, it was a beautiful sight to watch the greens of the Cascades turn […]

The Great Fork Migration of 2015

For sometime now, the fork population at the Institute for Applied Ecology has enjoyed a relatively stable and consistent biannual migration, where these lovely eating utensils disappear for some months usually correlating with the start of the field season, and return with the end of the field season. This season however has been markedly different […]

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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!

Microclimates and Mustard

For much of June, Connor Whitaker, from the CR intern group, has been working closely on projects with Erin Gray and Matt Bahm. Erin and Connor spent a week monitoring an experiment that investigates the effects of microclimate on Kincaid’s lupine (Lupinus oreganus); following this, Matt and Connor spent two weeks near the John Day National Monument, […]

Estuary Technical Group Digs Deep for Blue Carbon Answers

Tidal wetlands can store (or “sequester”) carbon, which helps reduce the amount of carbon in the atmosphere… but how much carbon they trap is unknown in the PNW. This spring, the Estuary Technical Group traveled to tidal wetlands in Astoria and Tillamook and worked alongside folks from Oregon State University, the Columbia River Estuary Study […]

Monitoring Lupinus oreganus! And swimming through poison oak

  The Conservation Research team recently journeyed down to Canyonville, OR to monitor the threatened Lupinus oreganus, or Kincaid’s lupine. Kincaid’s lupine is the host plant to the endangered Fender’s blue butterfly, meaning the butterfly lays its eggs on this plant. Since populations of Kincaid’s lupine have been declining recently due to rapid urbanization and […]

Greetings from Table Rocks

It’s been a crazy month filled with field work, lots of laughs, and a bit of poison oak (more on that in a blog to come)! Traveling back to a few weeks ago, however, we started our field season at Table Rocks. Table Rocks is a geological formation outside of Medford, OR, resulting from millions […]

Getting LOCO in JOCO

In our latest conservation research news, we recently took a trip to Josephine County to monitor Lomatium cookii, common name, Cook’s desert parsley. We had a wonderful group of 6 volunteers who worked very hard to help us complete all of the monitoring of this sensitive species that is endemic to a few areas in […]

Five Things You Didn’t Know About Sagebrush

Sagebrush covers a big chunk of the United States.  But what do you know about it?  Here are a few quick factoids about sagebrush. 1. They talk to each other (and other plants listen in) Well not exactly talk, but they do release signals that other plants can exploit.  For example, when a sagebrush plant is attacked by […]

Memorial fund established for Jon Diehl

The family of Jon Diehl has established a memorial fund in his name at the Institute for Applied Ecology to support monarch butterfly habitat restoration and teaching incarcerated young women about conservation. Jon was an attorney and evolutionary ecologist with a PhD in entomology. In the late 1980s he received a master’s degree in entomology […]