When Forest Conservationist Michael Ahr first visited Norm Dodge’s 165 acre forest on Logie Trail Road, he left scratching his head. This is one of the largest family owned forest tracts remaining in our District, and every acre was in need of at least some attention. Add to that it had steep slopes of 30-60% grade and no functioning roads or trails to access the property. Well, you have to start somewhere, and most of the time we start by creating a management plan.
Ahr worked with our summer interns for several days to measure trees throughout the forest. They identified a few different forest conditions before making a suggestion to Norm on where he should prioritize management to best meet his objectives of a healthy forest. With poor access and steep slopes, we knew it would be expensive for contract crews to get rid of the blackberry infestations and accomplish the needed forest thinning. The District determined the best funding mechanisms to get the most work done on the ground. Through a combination of funding from WMSWCD’s forest program, the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS), the Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP), and landowner cash contributions, we were able to complete 26 acres of forest thinning on the property in November 2015. This included about 19 acres of Douglas fir thinning, and seven acres of thinning clumps of maple to release western red cedar and other conifers. Invasive Himalayan blackberry will also be treated and 2,200 tree seedlings will be planted. The Conservation District hired a well-known crew to do the work. Crew members hiked in every day, thinned the trees, and stacked most of the slash into piles that will offer great habitat for songbirds and other wildlife. The thinned forest will now grow much more vigorously since the trees won’t have to compete with so many others for sun, water and nutrients.
We’re excited about the jobs this project provided. On most days 18 people were out working on the project, and in total the crew logged about 1,000 hours over 9 days.
For more information on forest thinning, click here.
For more information on blackberry removal, click here and look for our video in the Library.
For more information on making brush piles for wildlife, click here.