This weekend Applegate Siskiyou Alliance worked with a hardy group of 10 volunteers to plant over 1,800 native grass and wildflower plants at a habitat restoration site in the Upper Applegate Valley at Nick Wright Flat.
For six years Applegate Siskiyou Alliance has been stewarding this beautiful river terrace above the Applegate River. An unusual piece of publicly owned valley bottom land, nestled between homesteads and ranches, the site includes a large open meadow which has been largely converted to non-native grasses and weeds, along with some small remnants of native herbaceous vegetation. The site also includes open-grown ponderosa pine, Douglas fir, black oak, white oak, live oak and small tufts of bedrock protruding from the otherwise relatively level, meadowy river terrace.
Working in collaboration with the Rogue River-Siskiyou National Forest and Siskiyou Mountains Ranger District, who own the land, we have planted small areas within the grassy river terrace, year after year, in order to reintroduce native grasses and flowering species for the benefit of native butterflies, bees and other pollinating species. In some locations, older more established plantings are now providing both pollen and nectar for pollinators and beautiful floral displays that National Forest visitors can appreciate. In other locations plantings and seedlings are still getting established, and on our recent volunteer planting day new plugs, donated by the Rogue River-Siskiyou National Forest and Klamath-Siskiyou Native Seeds were planted in blocks throughout the site.
In this round of planting we planted six species and approximately 1,800 containerized plugs, including the following species: showy milkweed (Asclepias speciosa), narrowleaf milkweed (Asclepias fascicularis), cobwebby or western thistle (Cirsium occidentale), squirreltail grass (Elymus elymoides), and Roemer’s fescue (Festuca roemeri) donated by the Rogue River-Siskiyou National Forest.
A tray of 25 tall woolly wild buckwheat (Eriogonum elatum var. villosum), an uncommon species in Oregon, were donated by Klamath-Siskiyou Native Seeds for planting at the site. These plants were grown from seeds from existing tall woolly wild buckwheat plants that grow near the restoration site naturally. Tall woolly wild buckwheat only grows in a handful of locations along the rocky banks of the Applegate River today, but was likely much more abundant before historic mining impacts altered the Applegate River’s native flora, so we are pleased to increase this beautiful and important species’ population in its historic range along the Applegate River corridor.
We are both excited and proud to steward this beautiful piece of the Applegate Valley, by reintroducing native species and removing non-native and invasive plants throughout the site. We also enjoyed a beautiful winter day, under blue skies and beautiful mountain ridges, working with our friends and neighbors in the Applegate.
Thanks to the Rogue River-Siskiyou National Forest and Klamath-Siskiyou Native Seeds for the donated plant material, and thanks to the volunteers that came out and helped! We couldn’t do this important work without awesome volunteers!