2014 Vermillion Pass WBP Daylighting

Project:  Vermillion Pass WBP Daylighting

Agency/Forest or Park/District:  Lolo National Forest, Plains/Thompson Falls Ranger District, Montana

Project coordinator:  Valerie Walker, USFS

Contact:  Valerie Walker, vwalker@fs.fed.us; 406-826-4343


Source of funding/amount FHP:

Dates of restoration efforts:  FY 2013 and FY 2014

Objectives:  To reduce competing vegetation to increase health and vigor in established whitebark pine, and to help reduce susceptibility to bark beetle and improve survival.

Acres/ha treated:  250 acres (partial acres based on partial funding)

Methods:  Contract was awarded in FY2013 utilizing a Flathead NF contract because the Lolo contract did not get awarded in time.  Work was accomplished in FACTS then.  Work was proceeding with expected completion by October 8, 2013 when the lapse of funding shut down all activities.  Approximately 25 acres were completed in 2013.  The Contractor was not able to finish in fall of 2013 due to snow at higher elevations.  His crew returned in July 2014, and the remaining 225 acres were treated successfully.  Project was reported in FACTS, code 4521.

Planting? If so, source of seedlings? Resistance?  No planting

Outcome:  This project promotes 250 acres of vigorous young whitebark pine, and decreases the trees’ risk from bark beetles and wildfire in the future.  The selected leave trees are likely the most rust resistant trees and will provide an improved genetic base for the seed produced by this stand in the future.  This 2013 accomplishment (2014 completion) ties in well with the 2012 daylighting in the adjacent basin, providing more of a landscape level improvement.  225 acres of high value treatment remain in this basin and are proposed for treatment in 2015.

We were satisfied with spacing 20’ off the larger WBP (>12’ tall) and glad we hadn’t left more trees.  Most of the areas we will move into in the future have larger WBP that will benefit from this wider spacing.

Monitoring since completion of the project:  An informal follow-up visit was conducted on October 10 with Blakey Lockman, FS Pathologist.  She was able to view the 320 acres completed to-date and casually survey the remaining 225 acres proposed for treatment in 2015.

Dates:  October 10, 2014

Plans for future monitoring?  Because we put effort into improving access to this basin, returning to monitor the effectiveness of this release treatment will be much easier.

Will outcome meet goals?  Yes, the final outcome completely met project objectives.

Future actions/follow up:  We hope to treat the remaining 225 acres in this basin in 2014 if funding is available, so we plan to return to this area frequently.

Miscellaneous comments:  Putting this work directly under contract was a good move.  There was never any doubt that the work would be completed, even with the government furlough.  RMRS staff did not have an adequate window in which to take their baseline measurements, so that has not happened yet.  We will continue to put future work of this type directly under contract.

The expanded format of the request for proposals is helpful to explain our projects better than we can with the abbreviated form used for the general FHP programs.  It seems like the evaluation process works well, given the limited funding available.  It is getting harder to cover our administrative costs outside of this funding, and the per acre funding we request is likely to go up in the future, reflecting this.