2007 Alice Creek Vegetation Management

Project: Alice Creek Vegetation Management Project

Helena_Kurtz_2007_Pic1_Before slashing treatment- removing conifer competition around WBP

Fig 1 – Before slashing treatment- removing conifer competition around WBP

Agency/Forest or Park/District:  Lincoln RD, Helena National Forest, USFS, Montana

Project coordinator:   Jarel Kurtz

Contact:  Jarel Kurtz- AFMO Helena N.F., Lincoln Ranger District. 1569 Highway 200, Lincoln MT  59639  406-362-4265   jkurtz@fs.fed.us

Cooperators:   Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation

Source of funding /amount

FHP: $20,000

Supplemental funding: Helena N.F. will provide $24,000 as matching funds tie to work force, labor and expertise for all aspects of slashing, burning and monitoring.

Dates of restoration efforts 

Helena_Kutz_2007_Pic2_After slashing treatment- removing conifer competition around WBP

Fig 2 – After slashing treatment- removing conifer competition around WBP

Slashing implantation was done during the summer of 2007.  Hanpile burning was completed in the spring of 2008.  The prescribed burning portion was completed in October of 2008.

Objectives

To reduce competing vegetation in historic Whitebark pine, enhancing stand vigor and resiliency to Mountain pine beetle; to reduce fuels loading to reduce the risk of uncharacteristic fire behavior, reducing the risk of high severity fire in WBP; to encourage natural regeneration by creating seed beds; and to monitor for WBP health and regeneration.

Acres/ha treated

420 acres

Methods

Unit 2 (300 acres) and Unit 5 (120 acres): Slashing and handpileing of competing species (Lodgepole pine, Spruce and Douglas fir). Handpiles will be burned in late fall or early spring.

Helena_Kurtz_2007_Pic3_ Before slashing treatment-removing conifer competition around whitebark

Fig 3 – Before slashing treatment-removing conifer competition around whitebark

Unit 1 (1500 acres): unit already treated with slashing and prescribed burning with funding from Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation ($8,000). Monitoring is planned for spring. Monitoring will consist of pre and post treatment seedling recruitment, fire effects and fuels reduction (i.e. Browns intersect). Two other units in the project are have already been treated with very low intensity fire. The objectives of these burns were geared more towards fuels reduction and not WBP, yet WBP is present in both units along the ridges. The prescribed fire had no effect at reducing competition or creating a seed bed for WBP. There is the possibility of reentering these units at later date to slash and handpile to remove competition.

Planting? If so, source of seedlings? Resistance?

No

Outcome

The slashing in Alice unit #5 and unit #2 was completed by 1/10/07 .  Depending on how fast the slash cures, the burning might be complete as early as the spring of 2008.  If needed the burning will be pushed back to the fall of 2008.  Pre slashing and post slashing monitoring is completed.

Helena_Kurtz_2007_Pic4_ After slashing treatment- removing conifer competition around whitebark.

Fig 4  – After slashing treatment- removing conifer competition around whitebark.

Monitoring is set up to be able to document results. As of right now the project has been successful in reducing competition from Whitebark with the use of hand treatment.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Helena_Kurtz_2007_Pic5_Removing slash and hand-piling around whitebark

Fig 5 – Removing slash and hand-piling around whitebark

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Helena_Kurtz_2007_Pic6_Whitebark cone crop year following slashing treatment

Fig 6 – Whitebark cone crop year following slashing treatment

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Helena_Kurtz_2007_Pic7_Burning of hand-piles during moist conditions to protect cone producing whitebark

Fig 7 – Burning of hand-piles during moist conditions to protect cone producing whitebark

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Helena_Kurtz_2007_Pic8_Creating high intensity fire in hopes of creating productive seedbeds for future whitebark

Fig 8 – Creating high intensity fire in hopes of creating productive seedbeds for future whitebark

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Helena_Kurtz_2007_Pic9_Creating stand replacing prescribed fire in lodgepole in hopes of recruiting whitebark seedlings

Fig 9 – Creating stand replacing prescribed fire in lodgepole in hopes of recruiting whitebark seedlings