Modest Victory for Rare Plant – Volunteers Needed in Shasta to Remove Noxious Weeds

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Tuesday, April 10th, 2018

Shasta snow-wreath

There are only twenty known populations of the Shasta snow-wreath (Neviusia cliftonii) on the planet, endemic to the shores and canyons around Shasta Lake. In a modest victory through the objection resolution process EPIC has protected a few of these populations from the possible drift of herbicides, glyphosate and aminopyralid. The Shasta Trinity National Forest has agreed to partner with EPIC and the Mount Shasta Bioregional Ecology Center to pull and cut scotch broom in areas growing near creeks and Shasta snow-wreath populations.

Neviusia have existed for over 45 million years, from the Eocene period, however the Shasta snow-wreath was not discovered until 1992! The Eastern Klamath Range, where this rare plant lives, is an ancient landscape, neither glaciated nor overlain by volcanic material, as were the surrounding Cascades, Sierra Nevada, and Trinity Mountains. The area is rich in biodiversity and is home to other endemic species such as the Shasta salamander, Hydromantes shastae, a state-listed threatened species and the Shasta Chaparral snail.

The Shasta snow-wreath is in the rose family and can grow from 2-4 feet tall. Its showy white dime size flowers only bloom for a week to ten days in April to early May and are covered with tufts of stamens rather than petals. This native shrub is included in the CA Native Plant Society Inventory of Rare and Endangered Plants on list 1B.2 (rare, threatened, or endangered in CA and elsewhere). Many of the populations were lost when Shasta Lake was created and others are threatened by the proposal to raise the dam.

Scotch Broom

Scotch brooms have infested multiple areas near Packers Bay on Shasta Lake. The California State Department of Food and Agriculture has listed these brooms as a Class C pest species, that is, “troublesome, aggressive, intrusive, detrimental, or destructive to agriculture, silviculture, or important native species, and difficult to control or eradicate.” In response, the Forest Service has proposed the application of herbicides to eradicate these species. While EPIC was not able to stop the project entirely, we will be protecting the most sensitive areas near the water and rare plant populations by hand pulling the invasive weeds. By working together with volunteers consistently over the span of many years, as seed sources can last up to thirty years, we will demonstrate that people power is a better alternative to toxic chemicals.

Come join EPIC and the Mount Shasta Bioregional Ecology Center on Saturday May 19 from 10-3. Meet at the Garden Gulch Trailhead, which can be reached from the Packers Bay exit on Interstate 5 (from northbound I-5, take the O’Brien exit, get back on I-5 heading south, then exit at Packers Bay).

Bring lunch and plenty of water. Wear boots, gloves, hat and long sleeved shirt. We will have some tools available, but please bring digging tools, weed wrench, clippers and/or handsaws.