The old adage “many hands make light work” could not be truer when it comes to weed management.
The WeedWise Program routinely works with a number of partnering entities and organizations across our region to combat invasive weeds. This include local, state, and federal agencies as well local non-profits and watershed councils.
Our partnerships also extend to our landowners including schools, churches, businesses, homeowners associations, and individual landowners. The success of our work is absolutely dependent upon these interactions.
Our of our past interactive partnerships was recently highlighted by Oregon iMapInvasives on the national iMapInvasives website. The story begins with an instructor from a local school that was experimenting with a citizen science app called iNaturalist. This app allows folks to document occurrences of plants and animals, and allows folks to help identify these observations. In testing the app, the instructor snapped a quick photo of plants growing outside his classroom.
The iNaturalist efforts initiated by the instructor was as a result of citizen science program from our partners at Metro to help engage people in nature and our local ecology.
The report submitted through iNaturalist.org was reviewed by a partner at Oregon iMapInvasives, which recently announced a project with iNaturalist.org to support weed reporting within the state. They quickly reviewed the report and alerted WeedWise program specialist, Jeff Lesh for review. Jeff identified the plant as a Class A noxious weed known as oblong spurge (Euphorbia oblongata). He then went out to examine the population and confirmed the identity account.
Oblong spurge is of particular importance because this plant has toxic sap that can cause skin irritation and burns. Jeff then contacted the instructor about his findings. A report was also submitted to the ODA Noxious Weed Program, because oblong spurge is a high priority weed within the state, and control of this plant is required.
Working with the local instructor, Jeff began coordinating with their horticulture program and was able to provide a presentation to the students regarding invasive species ecology and management.
Jeff then began working with the school district’s IPM Coordinator and the instructors from the school to develop a management plan for the infestation. A few weeks later Jeff and the horticulture program carried out a class-led weed removal project and safely removed the oblong spurge.
So what started out as a simple act of citizen science turned into a great story that helped control a high priority weed within Clackamas County, protecting youth from a potentially harmful plant, helped educate youth about the impacts of noxious weeds, and helped to train staff on best management practices for controlling weeds.
Many organizations were involved to make this story happen. So many thanks to everyone involved for their efforts and cooperation to protect our county from noxious weeds.