2016 Irv’s Creek Whitebark Pine Daylighting 2016

General Project Information

Project Title: Irv’s Creek Whitebark Pine Daylighting 2016

Project Dates: 2016

Year project implementation started:

How many more years is this project expected to continue, if any? None

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

Elliott Meyer, elliottmeyer@fs.fed.us, 406-826-4342

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.)

Plains/Thompson Falls Ranger District, Lolo 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                   $  8,300

Other funding                                                 $14,571

Total                                                               $22,871

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



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:

96 acres

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 increase health and vigor in established whitebark pine, help reduce susceptibility to bark beetles, and improve survival chances by removing competing vegetation around whitebark pine.

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?


Exams indicate an average of 128 whitebark pine per acre within the treated drainage. This would equate to approximately 12,288 whitebark having been released from competing conifers within the 96 acres treated this year alone. These young, vigorous trees will now be less susceptible to mountain pine beetle and wildfire. The trees released are also likely to be the most blister rust resistant trees and will, therefore, improve the genetic base and cone production potential in this stand in the future.

The 96 acres treated this year also lies directly adjacent to an additional 70 acres treated in 2012 and 250 acres treated in 2013. In total, 416 contiguous acres have now been treated within the Irv’s and Grave’s Creek drainages providing landscape-level improvements. The

20-foot spacing used to daylight around larger trees (>12 feet in height) seemed adequate and we would not recommend using smaller spacing in the future. Daylighting also provides untreated patches left scattered throughout the residual stand for a clumpy, heterogeneous composition and structure.

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

The new multi-forest IDIQ TSI contract was awarded in June 2016 to Imperial Forestry. Due to unknown prices for daylighting until the award date, we were unsure how many acres we would be able to treat with Restoration funds during FY2016. Ultimately, funding was sufficient for 96 acres of daylighting and a Task Order was placed the day after the contract award date. Work was completed on August 4, 2016. A high degree of quality and professionalism was provided by the contractor. The project took 2 ½ days with 12-15 sawyers per day to complete the 96 acres.

Will outcome meet objectives?

Yes, the outcome of this project completely met our objectives.


Project Follow-Up

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

There is potential that additional acreage adjacent to the area treated this year will be daylighted in the future. However, observations made during layout and contract inspections seem to indicate that most of the drainage containing sufficient densities of WBP to warrant contract daylighting may have been completed. If so, our attention will turn to higher priority locations on the Forest.

While no permanent plot monumentation was installed for monitoring purposes, we plan on returning to the area every three years for a walkthrough survey to determine presence of blister rust and observe overall tree vigor over time. Although the potential exists for greater research opportunities within the area treated, limitations of funding and personnel have thus far prevented that from occurring. RMRS (Rocky Mountain Research Station) is aware of the project and may visit the site in the coming years.

Changes Needed or Problems Encountered:

The same silviculture prescription was used this year as during the previous two years that daylighting occurred in the area because it had previously been extremely effective. While this prescription provides an excellent template for this location, it may be that future projects will require new, innovative methods. Varying treatment methods may also help determine how to achieve the most desirable results when working with WBP.