With the eclipse coming up this Monday (8/21/2017), the state of Oregon is expecting a large influx of tourists entering the state over the next few days, many of which will be camping. This is a good opportunity for the OISC to remind campers to Buy It Where You Burn It! Transporting firewood from other states, and even other counties, can potentially lead to new infestations of invasive insects and diseases. Check out the OISC’s Don’t Move Firewood webpage to learn more.
Willamette Week recently published an informative article about invasive species in Oregon. The article, written by Matthew Korfhage, focuses on 10 species that “could destroy Oregon as we know it”. Go pick up the latest issue or click here to read it online.
Interview with Liz Galli-Noble, Cyndi Park, and Alexis Brickner from the Coos Watershed Association | July, 25 2017
1. What is the Coos Watershed Association and why is it important?
The Coos Watershed Association is a 501(c)(3) organization dedicated to restoration, monitoring, and education to improve the health of the Coos Watershed. The mission of the Coos Watershed Association is to support environmental integrity and economic stability within the Coos Watershed by increasing community capacity to develop, test, promote, and implement management practices in the interests of watershed health.
2. What makes the Coos Watershed Association unique?
The Coos Watershed Association was established in 1993, has a 16-21 member Board of Directors, and currently employees: 10 full-time staff, several part-time staff, and summer interns and field crews.
Our work is rooted in science and driven by the belief that balance between economic and environmental interests is possible.
3. Which invasive species have the Coos Watershed Association dealt with in the past (weeds, aquatic invasives, etc.)?
The CoosWA has many invasive species on our radar. However, the invasive plants of most concern are:
- The knotweeds
- Reed canary grass
- English ivy
- Himalayan blackberry
- Purple loosestrife
- Yellow flag iris
- English holly
- Morning glory/field bindweed
- Butterfly bush
- Policeman’s helmet
- Biddy biddy
4. What are some of the potential consequences of invasive species to the Coos Watershed?
Invasive plants threaten the ecological processes that preserve the water quality and functions of wetland and riparian areas. Invasive riparian species can disrupt the food chain, which in turn affects local salmonid populations.
5. What are some specific successes or challenges that the Coos Watershed Association has experienced related to invasive species?
Over the past decade, the Coos Watershed Association has significantly decreased the knotweed infestation on the South Coos River, as well as in and around the cities of Coos Bay and North Bend.
CoosWA staff have been very involved in many of the key weed management collaborations in Coos County for several years now, including: the Coos County Weed Advisory Board, the Gorse Action Group, and the Oregon Solutions Gorse Action Team.
The main challenge in working with invasive species in the Coos Watershed is gaining access to private property. While there are many landowners who are happy to have their weeds controlled by the CoosWA, there are some who won’t permit access or won’t respond to our letters and phone calls.
6. How can the public help the Coos Watershed Association?
The public can help the Coos Watershed Association by helping find and control noxious weed infestations. They can take measures to reduce the spread of noxious weeds on their own properties and work with their neighbors to control larger infestations.
We just launched EDDMapS West as our invasive species reporting and management tool for the Coos Watershed. We will be training our staff, partners and the public to use it over the next few months; after which time, we hope that their reporting will streamline our EDRR efforts in the watershed and possibly county-wide.
After our Information Forum in Hermiston, where J.D. gave a talk about feral swine in Oregon, we sent him some follow-up questions to get more information about Oregon's feral swine issue, including Oregon's next steps and what the public can do to help.
What are the next steps in the fight against feral swine in Oregon?
- Aggressive removal of all feral swine where they are known
- Increased public outreach
- Creating and fostering strong relationships between state/federal/local agencies, land owners and conservation groups.
How does Oregon's feral swine issue compare to other states?
Oregon is a level 3 funding state within the National Feral Swine Damage Management program. Level 3 funding acknowledges that eradication is possible, but not immediately possible. Other states within this funding level are: Kentucky, Tennessee, Virginia and Missouri. With cooperation among landowners and all agencies involved, Oregon can be successful in complete eradication within the near future.
What should the public know?
It should be known that no matter how enjoyable feral swine can be to hunt, they are not an animal that you want present on the landscape. Oregon has had feral swine on the landscape for some time now and has seen relatively low impact on the landscape; This will not continue if they are allowed to persist in Oregon.
They pose a significant threat to native wildlife (diseases), livestock (diseases), water resources and agriculture. They are also a threat to health and human safety; simply look at the case in California where an E. coli outbreak occurred that was directly linked to feral swine. To this point, the relative low negative impact on the landscape in my opinion is pure luck. Again, I cannot stress it enough, if feral swine are allowed to persist they will cause significant negative impacts to the Oregon landscape.
What should the public do?
I believe that is of the utmost importance that people immediately report sightings of feral swine. Be vigilant and educate yourselves on the damages of feral swine.
J.D. McComas is a Wildlife Biologist and Feral Swine expert with USDA APHIS Wildlife Services
Contact J.D. at: John.email@example.com
Report all possible feral swine sightings by calling 1-888-268-9219
To learn more about OISC's Feral Swine campaign, visit our Squeal on Pigs webpage.
Jas Adams, our friend and former appointed Oregon Invasive Species Council member, performed two invasive species-inspired songs, under the pseudonym “Skeeter” Adams. Check out the sheet music below!