2019 OSWB Grant Funding for Garlic Mustard Control

We are pleased to share that our 2019 Portland Garlic Mustard Control – Oregon State Weed Board grant application was funded in full! This award will provide $34,368 in funding to the District and our partners for garlic mustard control.

We extend huge thanks to the Oregon Watershed Enhancement Board and Oregon Department of Agriculture for supporting our work through the Oregon State Weed Board grant. Actively treating Garlic mustard is critical to maintaining the health of our local ecosystems, and this work would not be possible without this state funding.

If you have Garlic mustard on your property, we can treat it for you at no cost to you. Contact Michelle Delepine, Invasive Species Program Coordinator, with questions or to grant access your property: michelle@wmswcd.org or 503-238-4775, ext.115.

Learn more about treating Garlic mustard in this fact sheet in English, and en Español.

You can help eradicate Garlic mustard

Spring is just around the corner, and that means it’s time to start thinking about the weeds that might be popping up in your yard this year. While some kinds of weeds might be an unsightly nuisance, there are others that need special and urgent attention as they pose a huge risk to ecosystem health.

Garlic mustard is one of those high priority invasive weed species. It is an aggressive herb that displaces other plants by monopolizing light, moisture, nutrients, soil, and space. It also releases chemicals into the soil that are toxic to other plants and are particularly harmful to soil fungus which is vital to native plants. This noxious weed impacts sensitive natural areas as well as suburban landscapes, and all known populations in our district are targeted for removal.

Garlic mustard has few known locations in the Pacific Northwest and urgent action is needed to prevent it from gaining a foothold. Without immediate attention, this noxious weed will become a very serious threat to our native ecosystems.

West Multnomah Soil & Water Conservation District is working with landowners to identify and manage infestations. We are asking for assistance from local landowners and residents – important stewards of the land – to help us locate and manage this invasive plant by allowing us to come to your property to remove or kill all known infestations.

We offer FREE landowner assistance to manage this invasive plant before it becomes established and too difficult to contain. It is critical that infestations be treated each year before seedset to prevent it from flourishing and spreading. Seed pods will form quickly so your timely attention is appreciated!

If you have Garlic mustard on your property, we can treat it for you at no cost to you. Contact Michelle Delepine, Invasive Species Program Coordinator, with questions or to grant us access your property: michelle@wmswcd.org or 503-238-4775, ext.115. West Multnomah staff greatly appreciate the opportunity to work with you!

Learn more about treating Garlic mustard in this fact sheet in English, and en Español.

Special thanks to the Oregon State Weed Board for providing funding for this important program.

Get the Real Dirt ~ Become a Master Gardener!

2018 OSU Master Gardener™ Training Registration NOW OPEN!

Register now for the 2018 OSU Extension Service Master Gardener Training! The training includes all aspects of sustainable gardening in a fun and friendly environment.  Science-based curriculum is offered in a combination of in-person, online classes and hands-on workshops that run February through March.  This unique training is followed by volunteer educational outreach.  Classes start soon so register now!

Become a garden educator and help your community to grow from the ground up!  For details go to: www.metromastergardeners.org

Cover Crops Prevent Erosion

After all the rain we’ve had…Sauvie Island Organics reports that the cover crops they planted kept their soil and plants in place through it all!  And that wasIMG_1540 17 inches of rain since December first!

Oregon white oaks are a giving tree…

Did you know… If you find Oregon white oaks on your property, consider removing trees that  surround the  oaks.  They need lots of light to grow and will reward you by enticing several  wildlife species to  visit.  

 Learn about oaks and more at Rural Living Field Day!

Why did the red-legged frog cross the road?


Most rainy nights this year, volunteers have stood on guard at the edge of Highway 30 near Linnton.

TLC helps frogs cross busy Highway 30

By Allan Classen, NW Examiner, MARCH 2014 / VOLUME 27, ISSUE 7

Their mission? Save northern red-legged frogs, who are driven by nature to cross the four-lane highway to reach spawning ponds along the Willamette River. Without help, the frogs’ chances of evading traffic and getting across the highway are slim. That tendency, plus the fact that nearly every type of predator is after them, has led to their inclusion on the Oregon “sensitive species” list, one step above endangered.

Shawn Looney saw what could happen last winter and couldn’t take it. On her way to an evening meeting, she drove over clusters of frogs on Harborton Road, which leads to the highway.

“When she arrived, she was a little bit hysterical,” said Rob Lee, who like Looney is active in the Linnton Neighborhood Association. When they returned together to assess the damage, “She was even more hysterical. There were frog bodies all over the road.

“We counted 60 dead frogs on Harborton the next day,” he said. “They were just being slaughtered.”

If that could happen on Harborton, a narrow side road, what about Highway 30? Lee checked it out and found more of the same. He counted at least 100 in close proximity on the pavement.

“They were all being squished by vehicles,” he said.

A plan of action was needed. Last fall, Lee met with state of Oregon wildlife biologists, the Portland Bureau of Environmental Services and the West Multnomah Soil & Water Conservation District.

The chair of the WMSWCD, Jane Hartline, organized volunteers for the next breeding season, which runs roughly from early January to mid-February. The frogs don’t move until it’s dark, rainy and at least 45 degrees, they learned. This winter, a crew of crossing guards was ready for them. Hartline recruited about 35 volunteers, and many were on duty Jan. 7 when a huge migration—365 were counted—made their move. The volunteers soon learned that the frogs were “surprisingly compliant” and could easily be picked up and dropped in 5-gallon buckets.

“Mostly, they jump out on the road and just sit there,” said Hartline.

Alex Dolle gives a helping hand; photo by Jane Hartline

Alex Dolle gives a helping hand; photo by Jane Hartline

Still, when they come in waves, “It can be nerve wracking if you don’t have enough people,” said Lee.  “When it really happens, there are frogs all over the place.”

The loaded buckets were driven to a marina near the river’s edge, where the frogs lay their eggs. The tadpoles hatch and spend a few months growing before heading to the forest. Like salmon, they return as adults to lay their eggs in the place they were born. Some nights are too cold for the frogs, and on many nights, only a handful try to cross. But whenever weather conditions are right, volunteers gear up for a long wet night—sometimes for a few hours, sometimes past midnight. By mid-February, Lee said he had been out 23 nights. Getting the frogs to their spawning pools is one thing; getting them back come to the forest is another. Lee said he now sees frogs making the return trip.

Ultimately, a better way might be found. The volunteers, who include state wildlife biologist Sue Beilke, are carefully collecting data to understand their amphibious friends. A breeding pond on the forest side of the highway would be ideal, but finding a flat, open space to build such a pond may be easier said than done. A tunnel under or bridge over the highway seems far too expensive. So against all odds, rain or cold, the volunteers soldier on.

Hartline is particularly touched by the dedication of Beilke, who is out almost every night.

“Every time a frog is squashed, she says, ‘Oh no!’ which I love about Sue,” said Hartline.

Lee understands how the little creatures can grow on people.

“The frogs are very interesting and quite beautiful,” he said. “I’m amazed at how much personality they have.”

Their cause is also growing.

“I had no idea it would become anything like this,” said Lee. “It does touch a nerve with people. It’s been kind of inspiring.”

Neighbors know what’s going on and slow down near the crossing zone. He also gets plenty of ribbing about the frog migration assistance project, and he gets it. Some have suggested it could make a Portlandia episode.

“It’s pretty hilarious,” he said, “standing out in the cold and rain and waiting for frogs.”


Your Plants and The Snow

Salal_2_ES_Jan_2013Now that the cold winter months are here, we wanted to allay your concerns regarding the safety of your plants whether newly planted or well established in this, and future, snaps of snow.

The effects of the cold weather can be an issue for any plants (potential cell damage on herbaceous plants and if this was a prolonged soil where the soil froze roots uptake can become inhibited) – especially new plants that have been recently through the shock of being replanted, however the snow can actually be more of a benefit when weather dips down below freezing.

The benefit of snow is that it acts as an insulator, protecting plants from the cold and frost, so this snow should help shield our plants from the cold – also when it melts it will help water the newly plants which is very helpful when establishing plantings!

Because bare root plants lack a rooting media that supplies water to the plant (i.e. soil), they must be stored in a dormant state with temperatures slightly above or below freezing, and high (95%) humidity levels.  In other words, these temperatures are ideal for storing the plants before planting so long as they do not freeze, so this may be a benefit…the bigger concern was moisture due the winds.

Generally the biggest concerns we had on planting day was the wind drying out the plant roots and freezing the roots overnight before planting – both of these issues were not a problem since we were able to store the plants in a garage and dip the plants in water before planting and were protected from the high winds by the forest cover.