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Sustainable Reclamation: Evaluating Autumn Olive Control Strategies at The Wilds Conservation Center, Cumberland, Ohio Shana Byrd*, Director, Restoration.

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Presentation on theme: "Sustainable Reclamation: Evaluating Autumn Olive Control Strategies at The Wilds Conservation Center, Cumberland, Ohio Shana Byrd*, Director, Restoration."— Presentation transcript:

1 Sustainable Reclamation: Evaluating Autumn Olive Control Strategies at The Wilds Conservation Center, Cumberland, Ohio Shana Byrd*, Director, Restoration Ecology Program, The Wilds Nicole Cavender, VP Science & Conservation, The Morton Arboretum Corine Peugh, Assistant, Restoration Ecology Program, The Wilds Jenise Bauman, Director, Conservation Science Training, The Wilds

2 History: Nearly 10,000 acres of reclaimed surface-mine land in southeastern Ohio AEP donated land in 1984 Non-profit, opened to public in 1994 Today, this land serves as a conservation research and education center 100,000 visitor annually the Wilds

3 the Wilds Mission Advancing Conservation Through Science, Education, and Personal Experience

4 During Mining Operations
The Wilds Landscape During Mining Operations The Big Muskie

5 Autumn olive (Elaeagnus umbellata)
Utilized in reclamation (ODNR 1983) to reduce erosion and improve nitrogen content of the soil Has since invaded open pastures, thereby reducing quality of cool-season grasslands for obligate birds, such as the Henslow’s Sparrow and other wildlife species. Conversion alters the function of these habitats by interrupting the open space with woody vegetation that may increase chances for nest predation (Swanson 1996). Control measures are difficult, due to abundant seed production and aggressive re-sprouting. Superior competitor (has done it’s job a little too well)… 5

6 The Wilds: Landscape Conversion
Dense cover

7 And this is what The Wilds landscape looks like today…and when most people see the landscape they don’t consider the long term implications mining had on these areas. Part of our mission is to help convey some of the environmental lessons learned through these processes.

8 Southern White Rhinoceros Bactrian Camels & Grevy’s Zebra
Cheetah Southern White Rhinoceros Sichuan Takin Today this area is home to roughly 30 species of rare and endangered animals from Africa, Asia and North America- not to mention the hundreds of indigenous species that have taken refuge. This provides a unique opportunity for a variety of sensitive species in need of conservation and is uniquely suited as biological land lab that provides an ideal setting for the study of how wildlife are currently use these habitats- and what improvements can be made, in order to maximize overall biodiversity. I can’t possibly cover all aspects of the wilds, we also serve as an ecotourism destitnation and a research and education facility centered in Wildlife from Bactrian Camels & Grevy’s Zebra Eland Sable Antelope Ideal setting for studying how wildlife are currently using the habitat and how we can improve it to benefit these populations.

9 Restore Ecosystem Functions & Biodiversity
Goals of the Wilds Restoration Ecology Program: increase biodiversity on a landscape scale create habitat that is more beneficial for wildlife study & facilitate the process of recovery Eco - Opportunities: Habitat Conservation Wetland Function Carbon Capture Pollination

10 Conservation Centers for Species Survival A dedicated collaboration applying unique resources to the study, management and survival of endangered species. the Wilds - Ohio Fossil Rim Wildlife Center - Texas San Diego Zoo Global – California White Oak Conservation Center - Florida Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute - Virginia C2S2 Collaborative Study Focus: Managing Landscapes for Native Biodiversity The Wilds Study Goal: Remove autumn olive to improve habitat for imperiled grassland nesting birds

11 Field Trials: Project Background
Objective: Test effectiveness of removals in varying degrees of infestation Share techniques with land managers to assist in creating healthier habitats for species in need of conservation (grassland obligates) Five different techniques were explored in a two phase field trial Phase 1 – ( ) Received NFWF Project Funding – Evaluate Methods: Foliar herbicide applications Mechanical removal Dormant stem herbicide applications Moderate Cover ranging from 15-30%

12 Field Trials: Project Background
Phase 2 - ( ) Received NRCS / EPA SWIF Project Funding – Evaluate Methods: Mechanical land clearing combined with chemical treatment: Fracture (herbicide re-sprout only) Cut stump (immediate herbicide) Dense Cover ranging from %

13 Project Set Up: Phase 1 May 2007
Established 12 permanent plots (each about 10 acres in size) with interior vegetation survey plots Among the plots, three replications of each treatment and a control group were designated.

14 Project Set Up: Phase 1 Prior to treatment:
GPS location data and metal marker tags were recorded for 25 random individual shrubs per plot. Total of 225 individuals tracked.

15 Foliar Herbicide Treatment
August 2007 PRODUCT Arsenal Powerline  Escort XP  Surf Plus 584 MSO Mist Trol 336 CHEMICAL NAME (27.6% imazapyr isopropylamine salt) (60% metsulfuron methyl) (Surfactant) (Drift Retardant) RATE 16oz / 100 gal 2oz / 100 gal 4oz / 100 gal Cost = $741 per hectare ($300 ac)

16 Photo Credit: Mitch Kezar, Courtesy BASF

17 Mechanical Removal Treatment
November 2007 EQUIPMENT John Deer Backhoe 3110D METHOD Extracted the aboveground plant material and the main root ball Cost = $741 per hectare ($65 / acre)

18 Re-sprouting Photo Credit: Mitch Kezar, Courtesy BASF

19 Dormant Herbicide Treatment
February 2008 PRODUCT Stalker Garlon 4 Invade 90 AX-IT oil Mist Trol 336 CHEMICAL (27.6% imazapyr isopropylamine salt) (61.6% triclopyr: 3,5,6-trichloro-2-pyridinyloxyacetic acid) (Surfactant) (Carrying Oil) (Drift Retardant) RATE 16oz / 100 gal 1.5gal / 100 gal 1gal / 100 gal 2.5gal / 100 gal as needed / 100 gal Both herbicide applications were completed utilizing a two-person crew and a 300 gal trailer sprayer unit with handgun attachment. The dormant stem treatments were completed in February, 2008 using the following product concentration: Garlon 4 at 1.5 %, Stalker at 0.12%, Invade 90 at 1%, Axit Oil (surfactant) at 0.03% and Mist Trol 336 (drift retardant) at 0.03%. Cost = $741 per hectare ($300 ac)

20 Temporary Footprint Both dormant (winter) and foliar (summer) herbicide applications were applied with a 300 gal sprayer unit using a handgun nozzle. Photo Credit: Mitch Kezar, Courtesy BASF

21 Results Foliar herbicide: 98 % Dormant stem herbicide: 71 %
August 2009 – Evaluated Individual Shrubs Comparison of mechanical, foliar and dormant stem herbicide control methods on total % mortality of autumn olive Treatment Total % Mortality Foliar herbicide: % Arsenal Powerline™ Escort XP™ Dormant stem herbicide: % Stalker™ Garlon 4™ Mechanical removal: % John Deer 3110 D backhoe Note: Percentages are based on total number of shrubs effectively killed.

22 Phase 2 Treatments: Management: Dense Cover ranging from % Based on findings, phase 2 of this study initiated in 2010 Evaluate combined mechanical & chemical treatments: cut stump w/ herbicide fracture w/ re-sprout spray only

23 Mechanical Land Clearing: Cut stump herbicide & Fracture re-sprout herbicide
Cut-stump (with herbicide treatment): GyroTrac GT-25 cutter head Ground brush into fine mulch and left stumps flush with the ground. Removal was directly followed with a conservative application of a 3% concentrated solution of Stalker in penetrating oil base applied to the remaining stumps. Fracture (with re-sprout treatment only): Skid-steer driven Fecon Bullhog model BH74 SS armed with 30 single carbide tools on the drum head Brush was fractured at ground level and the splintered material was left to biodegrade. Herbicide treatment was reserved only for spot treatment of re-sprouts.

24 Photo Point: Before & After Mechanical Land Clearing (fracture / re-sprout only)
Before After

25 Photo Point: Before & After Mechanical Land Clearing (fracture / re-sprout only)

26 Results: Phase 2 trial Hypothesis: cut stump treatment would provide most effective re-sprout control method However, the cut stump treatment was less effective than the fracture method (46%, 63% mortality respectively). Why? Cut stump: resulted in smooth surface, may have effectively pruned shrub, stimulated re-growth? Fracture: resulted in damaged and coarse stump surface, may have induced stress or inhibited vegetative recovery? Further replicated studies are needed to determine long term control & effectiveness. Utimatey, both mechanical land clearing methods are effective at removing the above ground woody biomass of the shrubs in areas of dense cover* Both methods reduced initial quantity of herbicide applications, as compared to phase 1 (moderate cover).

27 Cost comparison of Elaeagnus umbellata treatment by various methods
Foliar herbicide Dormant stem herbicide Land clearing: cut stump with herbicide Land clearing: fracture with Re-sprout herbicide only* Mechanical backhoe removal only Cost / hectare $741 $1,166 $300* $167 Time / 2 hrs 6.5 hrs 1.25 hrs 1.5 hrs Labor / hectare 2 1 % Cover Pre-treatment 15-30% 95-100% *Note: Spot re-sprout (foliar) treatment will include additional costs of $50 per hour, as needed, which leaves cost variable.

28 Insights: Autumn Olive Management
Moderate cover*: Foliar herbicide (Arsenal/EscortXP) application is most effective method Very effective…But, resource intensive (in dense cover) = large quantities of mixed product Dormant stem application (Stalker/Garlon4) slightly less effective than the foliar treatment May allow selective treatment in “off season” Dense cover*: Mechanical land clearing offer greatest compromise where access with spray equipment is difficult All techniques require follow up management (total control).

29 Insights: Autumn Olive Management
Table 1. Based on successful conversion of CSG pasture: Recommendations for reseeding hardy US native species to improve wildlife habitat value and diversity following invasive species removal in reclaimed mine lands. Grass Andropogon gerardii Big Bluestem Forb Asclepias syriaca Common Milkweed Bidens cernua Bidens Helianthus maximiliani Maximilian Sunflower Monarda fistulosa Wild Bergamot Panicum virgatum Switchgrass Pycnanthemum virginianum Virginia Mountainmint Ratibida pinnata Yellow Coneflower Rudbeckia hirta Blackeyed Susan Rudbeckia laciniata Cutleaf Coneflower Rudbeckia subtomentosa Sweet Coneflower Rudbeckia triloba Browneyed Susan Sorghastrum nutans Indiangrass Symphyotrichum ericoides White Heath Aster Symphyotrichum laeve Smooth Blue Aster Symphyotrichum novae-angliae New England Aster All techniques resulted in soil disturbance, facilitating secondary non-native invasions Demonstrating need for preemptive re-vegetation strategies on newly disturbed sites Hardy seed & stock, native to the US, may be well-adapted and provide appropriate wildlife habitat Case study underway to evaluate prairie species mix in post-removal cover

30 Implications for Restoration
To create sustainable landscapes, restoration plans should include planting native species that benefit local wildlife and increase biodiversity (regardless of end habitat target: forest, grassland, prairie, wetland). Management priorities and trajectory likely based on individual goals, expense, treatment timeline and the resources available to meet the restoration plan. When managed for long term conversion to more productive cover, reclaimed mine lands provide tremendous potential to serve as healthy habitat corridors for species in need of conservation.

31 Conservation Centers for Species Survival (C2S2)
Acknowledgements Conservation Centers for Species Survival (C2S2) National Fish and Wildlife Foundation (NFWF) Natural Resource Conservation Service (USDA- NRCS) Partners for Fish and Wildlife (PFW) Ohio Environmental Protection Agency – SWIF Funds (OEPA) Muskingum College (Dr. Danny Ingold, Dr. Jim Dooley) Townsend Chemical (Greg Ressler) BASF, Project Habitat FDC Enterprises (Fred Circle) Sarbaugh Drilling (Elden Sarbaugh) Wilds Interns and Volunteers

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