2014 Davis Fire WBP Planting

Project:  FY14 Davis Fire WBP Planting

Agency/Forest or Park/District:  Helena National Forest

Project coordinator:  Riley Dopler, USFS

Contact:  Riley Dopler, Culturist, Helena National Forest, 2880 Skyway Dr., Helena, MT 59602; rdopler@fs.fed.us


Source of funding/amount FHP:  $1,650 of WBP funding was received; $2,860 of in-kind services was provided by the FS (salaries and travel).  Whitebark pine restoration funds were spent as planned (seedling purchase, contract planting and equipment).

Dates of restoration efforts:  Planting accomplished June 13, 2014. Follow-up monitoring occurred August 4, 2014.

Objectives:  Augmenting the current population of white bark in the Granite Butte area through hand tree planting of an additional 5 acres will enhance this habitat over time.

Acres/ha treated:  7 acres; Lincoln Ranger District, HNF; lat-long: T12N R7W S23

Methods:  The seedlings were planted on June 13, 2014.  The area planted was slightly larger than planned.  We planted seven acres total for roughly 75 trees per acre.  Planting quality was 96%.  The ground temperature was 42 degrees; there was a large snow drift on the north side of the unit.  The drift was six feet tall and 100+ feet long at the time of planting.  A first year stake row was installed on August 4th, 2014 which showed 100% survival at that time.  The planting is complete and monitoring will continue.

Planting? If so, source of seedlings? Resistance?  Yes. This seed lot was from the Coeur d’Alene Nursery and was identified as surplus stock.  The stock fit the seed zone and I was able to fit it into my schedule for the spring.

Outcome:  Restoration of whitebark pine habitats and establishment of native species will improve overall watershed health for several fish and wildlife species; this also benefits the public. The Continental Divide National Scenic trail is within the project area. This trail is frequently used and restoring native vegetation to this area will be enjoyed by the visitors that hike this scenic trail.

We completed the project on time and with good soil temperatures and moisture.  The access into the site was open enough to drive into the unit without having to plow the road.  We feel this is a viable option to pursue in the future and we saved money by not plowing for access. Future monitoring will help determine the success of the project and the timing of the planting. This is a great accomplishment towards increasing resiliency on Helena National Forests whitebark pine habitats.

Monitoring since completion of the project:  A first year stake row was installed on August 4th, 2014 which showed 100% survival at that time.  The planting is complete and monitoring will continue.

Dates:  August 4, 2014

Plans for future monitoring?  Yes.  Survival will continue to be monitored to the fifth year following planting.

Will outcome meet goals?  Yes. An additional 520 whitebark pine trees were planted.

Future actions/follow up:  A third and fifth year survey is planned to monitor the survival of the planted seedlings.

Miscellaneous comments:  The errors we encountered during planting were shade and microsite violations. The continued out year monitoring will help determine these minor issues we encountered.  The timing of the project will also be monitored to help us determine whether a fall or spring plant has the most success.