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Report: Tobacco Plains Ecological Restoration - UKE-F19-W-2717

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Keefer Ecological Services Ltd. (KES) and Tobacco Plains Indian Band (TPIB) have worked to recover critical grassland and open forest habitat on TPIR since 2006. Efforts in 2018 focused on invasive plant management, including herbicide application and targeted goat grazing, and forest thinning.

Author:  Juckers, M.; Braumandl, T.

Old Reference Number:  UKE-F19-W-2717

Old Reference System:  FWCP Fish Wildlife Compensation Program - Columbia

Date Published:  Apr 2019

Report ID:  57466

Audience:  Government and Public

Tobacco Plains Indian Reserve (TPIR) is located within the southern Rocky Mountain Trench and spans 5,261 ha of historically fire-regulated grassland and open forested ecosystems. The reserve provides winter range for mule deer (Odocoileus hemionus), white-tailed deer (Odocoileus virginianus), and elk (Cervus canadensis). As well, TPIR is home to several federally listed species at risk, including American badger (Taxidea taxus), Lewis's woodpecker (Melanerpes lewis), long-billed curlew (Numenius americanus), and the Spalding's campion (Silene spaldingii) plant. Forest encroachment and ingrowth threaten each of these species and invasive plant species directly threaten Spalding's campion and long-billed curlew habitat and also reduce habitat quality for ungulates. Keefer Ecological Services Ltd. (KES) and Tobacco Plains Indian Band (TPIB) have worked to recover critical grassland and open forest habitat on TPIR since 2006. Efforts in 2018 focused on invasive plant management, including herbicide application and targeted goat grazing, and forest thinning. Efforts align with the Upper Kootenay Ecosystem Enhancement Plan (UKEEP), specifically, actions under the Upland and Dryland Areas and Species of Interest Action Plans. Under these Action Plans, conducting ecosystem restoration efforts, such as forest thinning, to support species of interest, including American badger, Lewis's woodpecker, long-billed curlew, mule deer, white-tailed deer, and elk, as well as invasive plant monitoring and management, are priorities. Invasive plant management involved continued management of the leafy spurge (Euphorbia esula) infestation, located in a large subpopulation of Spalding's campion. Monitoring found the density and distribution of leafy spurge had not changed from a distribution of 5 (a few patches or clumps of a species) to 6 (several well-spaced patches or clumps) with a density of 3 (6 to 10 plants/m2) to 4 (> 10 plants/m2). However, this is not unexpected as leafy spurge is known to form dense patches. A notable decline in mature leafy spurge plants was observed; however, dense patches of plants approximately 1 inch in height were found throughout the site. The infestation area was found to have been reduced from approximately 2.7 ha to 2.1 ha. The infestation was treated in late June and late August. Orange hawkweed (Hieracium aurantiacum) has typically been found within the Edwards Lake area, TPIB sawmill, east-northeast corner of the reserve in a forested area, northeast of Indian Lake, the southeastern reserve access road, and Roosville Cemetery. Treatment of infestations with Milestone has been found to be successful; however, re-treatment in some areas is necessary to manage the plant. Orange hawkweed has been found adjacent to water which requires the application of glyphosate between 1-10m from the high water mark. The flower heads of orange hawkweed plants found within 1m of the high water mark were removed as application of herbicide within this area is prohibited. New infestations were identified in the Edwards Lake area and in the southeastern reach of the reserve, in addition to an infestation identified on a Band Member's property and along Dorr Road. Spotted knapweed (Centaurea stoebe) management has focused on controlling the spread of the weed throughout the reserve. Spotted knapweed re-sprouted in a few areas that were sprayed in 2015. These infestations were re-sprayed with Milestone in 2018 to continue management efforts. Treatment success of roadsides sprayed in 2017 was low. Re-treatment of roadsides is critical to manage the spread of spotted knapweed. As well, two new infestations were identified in the Edwards Lake area. Management of sulphur cinquefoil (Potentilla recta) through target goat grazing continued for the third consecutive year on 13 ha of land within an area of the reserve. However, research is needed to identify mechanisms driving sulphur cinquefoil's dominance on grasslands within TPIR.

Report Type
  Terrestrial Information
  Region - Kootenay
  Terrestrial Information - Restoration
  Program Specific Area - Kootenay Compensation Program

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