2012 WBP Tree Growing and Planting in Keg Springs

Project: WBP Tree Growing and Planting in Keg Springs

Agency/Forest or Park/District: Caribou-Targhee NF, Ashton/Island Park Ranger District, Keg Springs (within the Willow Burned Area)

Caribou Targhee_Hardin_2012_planting_burn area and planterProject coordinator: Cathey Hardin

Contact: Cathey Hardin, USDA Forest Service, Caribou-Targhee N.F., Ashton/Island Park Ranger District, 3726 Hwy 20, Island Park, ID 83429, 208.558.4207, chardin@fs.fed.us


Arbor Day

Source of funding /amount

FHP: $10,000

Supplemental funding: $69,037 from FS and Arbor Day

Dates of restoration efforts

September 2012


As outlined in the Whitebark Pine Strategy for the Greater Yellowstone Area planting of whitebark pine is an objective to maintain and restore whitebark pine and to augment national regeneration through planting (pgs. 8-9, 20). The Strategy was prepared in response to the current situation of whitebark ecosystems in the Greater Yellowstone Area (GYA).  One of the objectives in the Whitebark Pine Strategy for the Greater Yellowstone Area is to “identify sites that will benefit from post-fire planting”, pg. 10.Caribou Targhee_Hardin_2012_planting_WBP seedling

The objective of this project is to plant containerized whitebark pine seedlings within an area that burned in 2008.  The fire burned at different intensities with some loss to whitebark pine understory and overstory.  Within the Willow burned area there is an opportunity taking advantage of excellent site prep from the fire and to put WBP back in an area which had WBP but has diminished due to blister rust, mountain pine beetle and most recently a wildland fire.

Acres/ha treated

10M WBP containerized seedlings over approximately 37 acres, average of 270 TPA.


Approximately 75-110 acres would be planted in the Keg Springs Area within the Willow burned area in fall of 2012. A contract is in place through the Shoshone National Forest. A task order will be issued to perform the work. With a contract in place and contractor identified we will work with the same contractor who has planted WBP seedlings on the Forest for the past two years. This is an advantage in communicating contract specifications and administration of the contract. Tree care and planting techniques as outlined in the FS Handbook and specific whitebark pine planting guidelines (McCaughey, Scott, Izlar) will be followed as specified in the tree planting contract. Forest Service personnel will be onsite at all times during the planting operation to assure compliance with contract specifications in all aspects of the planting operation. Spacing will be varied to take advantage of the best microsties. Only those areas providing sufficient protection for the seedlings will be planted.

Planting? If so, source of seedlings? Resistance?

Yes.  Seed was collected from the Sawtelle Mountain area which is one of the 110 seed source study area completed by Mary Frances Mahalovich and Coeur d’Alene nursery. This study (Mahalovich, 2006) provides a relative ranking of the seed sources by rust resistance, cold hardiness and height growth. Seedlings are being grown as 91‟s (6.0” depth, 7.5 cubic inches) a caliper of 2.5+mm is the goal for this stock.


Area was planted in September 2012 with contractor planting crew. Original tree order was 15M but nursery inventory came to 10M WBP seedlings planted.

Overall planting went well.  Stocking exams will be completed in couple of years.

Monitoring since completion of the project

            Dates    First year survival surveys of the Keg Springs planting area show an approx.88% survival rate.

            Plans for future monitoring?  Follow up surveys will be performed in the summer of 2015 and 2017.

Will outcome meet goals?

Yes. Whitebark pine seedlings are successfully re-established in areas where they had previously been in serious decline due to competition, mountain pine beetle and white pine blister rust followed up by forest fire.