Date: 10/10/17 11:41 pm From: Tom McNamara <tmcmac67...> Subject: [obol] Habitat improvement at Mt Tabor ...and elsewhere
Reading with interest the discussion (only here on OBOL not other sources) of the work that's being done at Skinner's Butte and then the further discussion of "restoration" at Mt Tabor Park etc. "Restoration" may be a buzzword but in Tabor, in fact, it was called invasive removal and revegetation. The invasive vegetation removal was/is being done by both local government agencies and citizen volunteers and both of these actors are responsive to informed citizen input as Joel has written. Further, as Wayne wrote I know a major motivating factor for improving Mt Tabor was a part of an over arching program called "Tabor to the River" which meant to improve the entire ecological function of the greater watershed. I was invited by the Friends of Mt Tabor to be on an advisory committee which brought together the local gov't agencies and a local volunteer effort called the Weed Warriors which, as the name implies, is a group of volunteers who are engaged in a long-term effort to try to get rid of ivy and other noxious invasives. The Burea of Environmental Services (BES) with Portland Parks were responsible for doing the serious whacking (with chainsaws) of Himalayan Blackberry, English Hawthorne, English Holly, Sweet Cherry, Norway Maple and also doing chemical treatments on English Ivy. They have done a fantastic job. Some folks seemed somewhat distressed that some of the junk trees and undergrowth were being whacked and thought it affected certain species relative abundance; I never thought that was the case and am much more of the mind of " if you want to make an omelet you have to break some eggs" i.e. yeah, very temporary clearing of some vegetation may *temporarily *reduce some cover and possibly nesting site but the emphasis is on temporary*. *Replanting with natives is Already, in just a few years, showing a much improved vegetative landscape. And why is that important? Basically co-evoluton. Research by D. Tallamy et al has demonstrated, surprise, that native vegetation hosts far more insect species and that of course would be a very good thing for insectivorous birds. Add to that improvement of the physical structure and habitat value goes way up. The local govt. folks and vols have been incredibly receptive to input. I first lobbied for brush piles to be made of the slash from downed invasive tree branches and trunks, a bunch were made. The park is sorely lacking in snags so I lobbied (and continue to) for snags. I got enthusiastic buy in from Ken F. et al at BES and Urban Forestry and, voila, some snags were created, and more, I've been assured, will follow. They graciously included me in an email sent around containing a proposed planting list of natives--- and it was pretty good; I made a few more suggestions and...they were readily accepted! Like Joel said, involvement with public lands is key. This past spring one of my "old" contacts in BES introduced me to the new park ecologist and he and I did about a 4-5 hour walk around. I was keen to show him some really successful areas of management and also to make it really clear that it was key to manage for the "edge effect" --to keep micros-niches of vegetative associations that would promot ecological value--- e.g. low shrub and grassy meadow areas abutting tall timber etc. Again, it was a very rewarding walk,with follow up, and I expect more good things to come of it. Nothing is perfect. BES funding has stopped and there are areas of blackberry etc that are seemingly require a sisyphean effort. Oh well.
I don't know what's being planned/done for Skinner Butte but I hope it is being motivated by a similarly positive agenda. cheers, Tom