2015 Okanogan-Wenatchee Whitebark Cone Collection

General Project Information

Project Title: Okanogan-Wenatchee Whitebark Cone Collection

Project Dates: 2015

Year project implementation started:

How many more years is this project expected to continue, if any? Ongoing project

Project Contact: (Please provide complete information for primary contact(s), e.g., name, position, phone number, email, agency name, unit/sub-unit)

Eireann Pederson, erpederson@fs.fed.us, 509-682-4943

Location (Land management agency or ownership and name of geographic area(s) where project was implemented. This information should be specific enough to identify a general project location on a map but not specific enough to compromise the project.)

Okanogan Wenatchee NF, Washington in the area known as Big Hill, located on the Chelan and Entiat Ranger District divide

Cooperators: (List cooperating agencies and sub-units, other companies/organizations, and individuals as needed.)


Project Funding

Funding Sources (amount FHP/amount other incl. in-kind):

Forest Health Protection funding         $6,000 (approx. $3,000 transferred to fire suppression)

Other funding                                     $1,000

Total                                                  $7,000

Did Whitebark Restoration funding get used or obligated? (If not, please explain.)

Yes, whitebark restoration funds did get obligated and used.  A total of $6000 was obligated and an estimated half was used for salary and travel. Fire borrowing had a significant impact on the use of the remaining funds.


Project Details

Scope and/or Size of Project or Treated Area: (Include a short description of the project or treatment area if helpful in understanding the scope of the project.)

Whitebark cone surveys were accomplished across 3 Ranger Districts of the Okanogan Wenatchee National Forest.

Number of Acres or Other Units Treated, Monitored, or Surveyed:

Fourteen (14) trees in the Big Hill area along the Chelan and Entiat Ranger District divide were caged.

Specific location of project or treated area(s): (If desired, add more specific project location information here, e.g., UTMs, Lat-long, specific landmark. Otherwise, indicate if more information is available by request.)

Objective(s) (from original request):

Collect whitebark pine cones and extract seed for operational planting needs.

Planting: (Please answer the following questions if the project includes plantings or cone collections.)

Number of seedlings planted (list by location if applicable): N/A

Was the seed source screened for resistance? (If other, explain.)

See Follow-up section.

Were Plus trees used?


We accomplished whitebark cone surveys across 3 Ranger Districts of the Okanogan Wenatchee NF. Following the cone surveys, areas were identified to cage based on having at least 10 trees with the minimum of at least 15 cages in each tree. Of the 3 areas surveyed all areas had cones present but only one area was caged due to access restrictions and personnel constraints.

A total of 14 trees were caged in an area known as Big Hill, located on the Chelan and Entiat Ranger District divide. From these trees 6 lbs. of seed was collected and half of the seed is now in the sowing process for outplanting in the fall of 2017. Other areas across the Forest had cone surveys completed but were not caged due to the wildfire situation across the Forest.

Project Status (Is the project complete? If not, what remains to be accomplished and when?:

Whitebark pine cone collection is an ongoing project across the forest. The collection this year will support a whitebark planting project that is hosted across several districts. This year’s collection will provide seedlings for planting implementation on the Chelan and Entiat R.D. in the fall of FY17/18.

Will outcome meet objectives?

Yes, the outcome will help to meet objectives for the current whitebark planting project.  However, whitebark pine seed storage is lacking for the Forest and the ability to collect on an annual basis is a high priority and will continue to be an objective to maintain a seed supply.


Project Follow-Up

Are there plans for monitoring or follow-up? (If not, please explain.)

Future plans are to continue caging cones to build our seed storage. Follow up will be to maintain the information acquired from the old and new caging areas. Possible monitoring may involve blister rust resistance testing for the seed that was collected from the new collection area. Other monitoring may involve revisiting the caging site periodically to watch for signs of blister rust as well as noting if any trees collected from have died.

Changes Needed or Problems Encountered:

Several learning opportunities arose from this past season; one was to identify a certified climbing force outside of the North Cascade smokejumpers. The smokejumpers are always willing to help but their commitment can go up in smoke with a fire season like the one we had this year. Another learning opportunity was to make sure that there were enough cages to spread across the forest as well as people to recon for cone surveys.

Fire Season 2015 was extremely difficult across the Okanogan Wenatchee NF; most, if not all, personnel were committed to fires. Along with the fire season, came fire borrowing of available funds. There were remaining funds that we were intending to use to purchase climbing equipment and caging supplies but the opportunity was taken before we could purchase them.  Also, due to the wildfires, areas of whitebark pine habitat were threatened and inaccessible for personnel outside of fire operations.

Another problem faced was the lack of certified climbers on the forest and the lack of local certified climbing contractors who meet the Forest Service Climbing certification. As mentioned before the North Cascade smokejumpers are the primary climbing force for the Forest, and they are always willing to help but this can change in a moment’s notice.

We also lack sufficient caging and climbing equipment across the forest. Funds were originally designated this year to purchase more equipment, as well as supplies, to make up for the short fall.