Sandy watershed council wraps up weed eradication
Summer crews removed crops of policeman's helmet
The first hints of fall mean the end to the Sandy River Basin Watershed Councils summer weed work.
Over the past couple months, volunteers with the SRBWC worked hand in hand with the Clackamas Soil and Water Conservation District to reduce the spread of policemans helmet growth.
But this is not the first time the council has focused its efforts on the annual flowering invasive plant. For the past three summers, volunteers have worked to eradicate the plant from the Sandy River Basin.
Corrine Handelman, community stewardship coordinator for the Watershed Council, said summer is the perfect time to take a break from planting and turn efforts to pulling up the invasive weeds that flower during the warmer months.
Last year, the council began focusing efforts on the Salmon River and upper Sandy River. This summer, SRBWC reached out to private property owners to identify and remove infestations of policemans helmet.
The plants, each of which can produce thousands of seeds, can grow to more than 8 feet tall each year.
Policemans helmet has exploding pods that can propel seeds up to 20 feet away from the plant.
These traits make policemans helmet an aggressive invasive species since it can rapidly spread, especially near waterways in wetland areas, Handelman said.
Many of the invasive plants on the councils sites are adjacent to water where juvenile salmon are present.
The council surveyed 53 new properties along the Salmon River and upper Sandy this summer. Of the 128 total properties the council works on, 40 percent of them had policemans helmet populations that were removed this summer.
If you live in the Sandy or Villages of Mt. Hood and find policemans helmet on your property, report it to the Oregon Invasive Species Hotline at oregoninvasivehotline.org.
Local residents can receive free help from the Soil and Water Conservation District and the SRBWC with priority species.