Date: 10/10/17 11:41 pm
From: Tom McNamara <tmcmac67...>
Subject: [obol] Habitat improvement at Mt Tabor ...and elsewhere
Hi all,

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
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

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