10-24-14 Field Note

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10-24-14 Field Note

October 24, 2014

Jeff Clarke's Field Note shows Great Basin wildrye plantings, exclosure maintenance, and a prescribed burn.

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Field Note Erosion control, Great Basin wildrye, planted tree maintenance, prescribed burn

A few Great Basin wildrye stands remain near the base of Woodchuck and Partridge Alley draws. The crew harvested their seeds and will use them to establish new native populations.

Twelve youth hunters obtained permission to harvest a cow elk this year. To help restore their hunting grounds, the hunters transplanted 100 Great Basin wildrye plants into a disturbed patch of bare soil near the turnaround. Once they establish, the bunchgrasses should prevent erosion.

Prairie Wolfe propagated several hundred mountain hollyhocks in her greenhouse. The crew helped her plant them in sunny sites with mild moisture. When mature, these native wildflowers may stand seven feet tall!

The crew transported logs from the Boondocks’ slash piles to the deep eroded channels in Partridge Alley. The new stash of logs will help slow spring runoff and will provide shelter for small mammals and birds.

Many of the five-year-old trees now fill their exclosures. When exclosures hinder plant growth, we replace them with ones 2-3 times larger.

We’ve strung drip lines to the bases of most planted trees to provide them with a vital water supply. If an animal moves the line away it can prove lethal. Crews check the lines as often as possible.

The crew transplanted 80 rough fescue clones from Whaley Bench to the Experimental Garden. We plan to harvest their seed next fall. If the transplants flourish, we will expand this project.

Watershed Consulting attempted a prescribed understory burn in the Boondocks. Most of the live vegetation would not burn, although slash piles and some down woody debris blazed.

When we checked the burn the next day, we discovered an ember jumped the road and started another small fire.

We hand shoveled a trench around any sign of fire or smoke. The next day we received a half inch of rain. No more fire worries this year!

Elk and deer graze on the North Pivot’s fresh alfalfa sprouts every evening. When they’ve had their fill of leafy greens, they make their way to the South Pivot’s corn field. By sunrise, they meander up the mountain or into the floodplain to let their meal digest.

Rows of winter wheat sprout in low elevation fields.

This spring’s winter wheat crop continues to feed the horses and ungulates. When the critters attempt to nibble the seedhead, they unearth the plant’s shallow roots.

Buck and rail exclosures help protect trees but do not keep every ungulate at bay. To make this exclosure ungulate-proof, we lined it with old plastic exclosure material.

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11-04-14 Field Note