With support from the USDA Forest Service’s Forest Health Protection Program, Alaska’s Division of Forestry is achieving goals outlined in its Forest Action Plan. In 2014 the Alaska Division of Forestry and its partner the Alaska Association of Conservation Districts awarded small grants to 12 different organizations to expand the fight against invasive plants in Alaska.
Alaska Association for Conservation Districts formed after the Territory of Alaska enacted legislation in 1947 that allowed the formation of districts. Districts are legal subdivisions of the Alaska Department of Natural Resources, authorized under Alaska State Statute Chapter 41.10, Soil and Water Conservation Law.
Region 10’s Forest Health Protection’s invasive plant program has worked closely with the Alaska Association of Conservation Districts (AACD) for many years. AACD uses FHP funding to run an invasive plant “mini-grant” program, substantially increasing the number of groups engaged in invasive plant projects around the state. In 2014, AACD’s mini-grant program awarded a total of $86,000 to 12 different organizations, five of which were first-time recipients of funding from this program.
Tyonek Tribal Conservation District (TTCD) received funding to scout for invasive plants in four communities within the district. TTCD is a large rural area, accessible only by boat or plane. There are few roads in the district. Until 2014, this area had never had an extensive inventory of invasive plants despite being a critical area for fish and wildlife habitat.
“Invasive plants are a major threat to the natural environment of Alaska,” said Chris Maisch, State Forester. “And a reliable survey of more rural areas is a crucial first step towards eradicating these plants.”
TTCD hired two techs, who inventoried the communities of Tyonek, Beluga, Alexander Creek andSkwentna, and also scouted about 100 miles of road and 8 remote landing strips. Previously unknown infestations of high-ranking invasive plants were discovered, several in their early stages. In the community of Beluga, an infestation of orange hawkweed (Hieracium aurantiacum) is spreading from an airstrip, and in Alexander Creek an infestation of reed canary-grass Phalaris arundinacea) was identified.
TTCD developed maps of all infestations and submitted their survey data to the Alaska Exotic Plant Information Clearinghouse In addition, TTCD shared invasive plant information with community members at the Tyonek health fair. Their next step is to develop an invasive plant management plan for the District and to pursue funding to begin eradication efforts.
See more at: http://www.stateforesters.org/news-events/blog/enhancing-alaskas-communities-through-forestry#sthash.nFweaQGv.dpuf
Photo credit: "Alaska" by steve lyon from los angeles, ca, usa - Alaska. Licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0 via Wikimedia Commons -