The State Lands Restoration and Enhancement category provides funding to two state agencies to help repair damaged plant and animal habitat. These grants focus on resource preservation and protection of public lands. Projects in this category help bring important natural areas and resources back to their original functions by improving the self sustaining and ecological functionality of sites.
This restoration project involved treating a total of 45 acres at Kahlotus and Marcellus Natural Area Preserves (NAP). This is a summary of the restoration work that was conducted at each of these sites. These restoration methods are consistent with similar projects being conducted in the Columbia Basin and can be found in the recently published “Shrub-Steppe and Grassland Restoration Manual for the Columbia River Basin” by WDFW. Site: Kahlotus NAP- 29 acres Kahlotus NAP is dominated by the bluebunch wheatgrass- Idaho fescue plant community. The restoration work consisted of restoring portions of the preserve that are dominated by nonnative annual grasses and forbs. Piper’s daisy, a state sensitive species, is found throughout the site. This project focused on three areas of the preserve. The main area was in the southern portion of the preserve where very little native plants remain and is now dominated by nonnative grasses and forbs. The second area was along an old disked fire line that was installed for the 2008 wildfire. The third area is in the northern portion of the site that had burned in 2008, where select areas dominated by nonnative forbs and grasses were targeted for treatment. Upland plant removal/ control: A total of 29 acres of nonnative grass and forbs were removed in three select areas of the preserve. Portions of the site were mowed first to improve efficacy of future herbicide treatments. Nonselective herbicide was applied twice, once in the spring and once in the fall. Upland planting and seeding: A total of 29 acres that had been treated was seeded with native grass seed purchased locally, using a drill seeder and harrow. In select areas seed was broadcasted depending on the terrain. Approximately 1500 grass plugs were planted by hand in certain areas, particularly along steep sections. These 4 cubic inch plugs were grown at a local nursery using native seed. Post seeding treatment: Areas that had been seeded in 2014 were mowed and treated in 2015 and 2016 with a broadleaf herbicide to improve native grass establishment. Burning: Old weed skeletons found along the road and fence line where burned. Follow up herbicide treatments were conducted and select areas seeded with native grass seed. Site: Marcellus NAP- 16 acres Marcellus NAP contains three plant communities that are representative of the shrub steppe plant community. The restoration work consisted of treating select areas dominated by nonnative annual grasses and forbs. Upland plant removal/ control: A total of 16 acres of nonnative grasses and forbs were removed. Within select areas that were dominated by nonnative species, a nonselective herbicide was used to clear the areas of vegetation. Two treatments were conducted, one in the spring and one in the fall. Over the entire site, knapweed, Canada thistle and rush skeleton weed were spot treated using a broadleaf specific herbicide throughout the growing season. Some dirt was leveled in one area that had been used in the past to dump excess fill dirt. Levelling the area improved efficacy of future herbicide application and seeding. A cultural survey was conducted before any disturbance activities. Upland planting and seeding: Areas that were treated with herbicide were seeded with native grass seed purchased locally. The seed was broadcast with an ATV and seed spreader, followed behind with a harrow. In select areas grass plugs were planted by hand. These 4 cubic inch plugs were grown at a local nursery using native seed. Post seeding treatment: Areas that had been seeded were treated with a broadleaf herbicide to improve native grass establishment.