2016 Crockett Lake Whitebark Pine Demonstration Project

General Project Information

Project Title: Crockett Lake Whitebark Pine Demonstration Project

Project Dates: 2016

Year project implementation started:

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

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

Antone Brennick, abrennick@fs.fed.us, (406) 494-0239

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.)

Beaverhead-Deerlodge National Forest, Montana

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                    $ 7,000

Other funding                                                  $ 7,037

Total                                                                $14,037

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

Only a small portion of the Whitebark Pine Restoration funding was used. The majority of the cost of thinning and piling was funded through suppression and pre-suppression funds. A fire occurred northwest of the project site and threatened the stand. The portion of the stand nearest the road was thinned and piled by supporting fire crews as part of fire management efforts. Additional acreage was thinned by district fire crews as opportunity occurred throughout the year. Due to a misunderstanding in the duration of the funds, most of the requested forest health funding (SPFH) was not spent in FY16.


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.)

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

15 acres thinned

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):

To demonstrate effectiveness of reducing competition of other conifers to whitebark pine (Pinus albicaulis; PIAL); increase sunlight to promote PIAL regeneration; and reduce risk of losing genetically important plus trees within the stand. Additional objective is to conduct an extensive pre-treat inventory of forest vegetation and fuels, conduct a post-treat inventory of the same, and track costs of implementation. Re-measuring plots at year 5 and year 10 will help to quantify benefits of the treatment.

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.)

Were Plus trees used?


Progress was very slow due to extremely dense subalpine fir regeneration. We originally planned to use a 6-person crew to complete thinning of 15 acres this year. In application, 20-person fire crews worked on the project for about a week and the 6-person district crew worked on the project on and off for additional time. Despite the additional man-days, above and beyond the original estimate, we just managed to accomplish the planned 15-acre thinning. This indicates that the actual work needed to accomplish the project as planned exceeds original expectations.

Based on these findings, the original prescription will be modified to reduce the daylight thinning radius to 12-15 feet around all WBP >6 inches DBH (diameter at breast height) and select healthy WBP that are <6 inches DBH (40-50 trees per acre). This approach would effectively cut and pile approximately 50% of the total stand acres. No WBP seedlings/saplings would be cut within daylight radius. All thinning slash and down woody debris that could pose a fire risk to the selected WBP trees would be pulled out of the thinning radius and piled in the surrounding unthinned area. Piles would be burned and any fire creep from the burn piles would kill additional regeneration, further thinning the stand. We estimate that approximately 70-80% of the total stand acres would be cleared of subalpine fir regeneration via this modification but the work (and associated cost) would be substantially reduced.

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

Approximately 15 acres were thinned and piled in FY16. We burned about ⅓ of the piles. An additional 15 acres still need to be thinned and piled.

Will outcome meet objectives?

The outcomes meet the planned objectives.


Project Follow-Up

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

Additional thinning and monitoring will occur in FY17. Monitoring in 2017 will likely be completed via walkthrough examination with photo documentation.  Five-year and 10-year monitoring of outcomes are planned.

Changes Needed or Problems Encountered:

See Results section above.

Sharing Results/Products/Outcomes: (Please include pertinent photos and links to any relevant reports or publications)

See attached silviculture prescription.