08-22-13 Field Note

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08-22-13 Field Note

August 22, 2013

Jeff Clarke's Field Note details knapweed weevil releases, pond restoration, and a badger sighting.

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2013 Field Crew and Volunteers

Tanner and I saw a badger traverse the rocky slopes 30 yards away from us in Tongue Creek. The badger’s coat is coarse and shaggy, its legs are fat and short, and its body is long, flat and sleek. We were privileged to observe such an elusive critter so close.

Several hours after our observation, I pondered the badger’s path and whether it visited a large Columbian ground squirrel colony nearby. The next day, I went to the colony and found several excavated ground squirrel holes! Hibernating ground squirrels make for an easy meal.

The field crew continues to capture and relocate knapweed root weevils to the Clubhouse Floodplain. The increased bio-control populations should weaken the knapweed patches.

In the last month, we released 3,800 weevils in the Clubhouse Floodplain. We plan to release a total of 5,000 weevils in this area by the end of the month.

On Monday, the crew removed monster mullein patches before they set seed. We hit some areas with weed whackers and others with pick-mattocks. Next year, we will see if there is a difference between the two removal strategies. (Top photo: before removal ; bottom photo: after removal)

Last month, the field crew transplanted bull rush from the original pond to the new pond in an effort to establish more native vegetation in the Clubhouse Pond. The transplants took to their new home and have started to send new shoots skyward.

Shoots This week, the crew transplanted more than 100 clusters of bull rush to the center of the new pond. We also planted 30 bunches of lily pads. Over the next several years, we plan to add more aquatic vegetation and make this excavated pond a native wildlife sanctuary.

Water smart weed begins to colonize the new section of the pond. They grow in the middle of the pond and on the moist shorelines. Their rhizomatous roots and stems help this aquatic beauty thrive.

The bullfrog population is out of control in the Clubhouse Pond. Frogs jump from all sides when you walk along its banks. Last weekend, a friend and I spent two hours gigging in the northern area of the Pond. We bagged 82 frogs and saw several hundred more. We will try to remove more frogs this weekend.

Mike Henning excavated a few new ponds where natural springs seep through the ground. This week, the crew placed buck-and-rail fences around ponds that receive the most ungulate traffic. If we allow large herds to wallow in the new ponds, aquatic plants and animals may suffer.

hawthorne trees boast more berries than I’ve ever seen.

Recent Field Work • Collect and release weevils • Collect and clean seed • Spray invasive weeds • Stack hay bails • Assist MPGN with weed whacking • Pull hounds tongue • Fixed exclosures • Weed whack koshia • Weed Ylva plots • Transplant aquatic vegetation • Assist with pollinator study

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