Rex Putnam 1, Reed Canary Grass 0

Two classrooms of students from Rex Putnam High a joined us once again this week at Boardman Wetland.  Katie and Terry from the Oak Lodge Sanitary District (funder of the Boardman Wetland Enhancement project) joined us to help out as well!  Our natives which were planted a few weeks ago were showing signs of spring with new buds!  Also, the start of spring marks the start of Reed Canary Grass season – we saw many new green sprouts of the invasive grass at the wetland.

The grass will quickly outcompete our baby natives if we didn’t take action!

From Washington State Department of Ecology:

Reed canarygrass forms dense, highly productive single species stands that pose a major threat to many wetland ecosystems. The species grows so vigorously that it is able to inhibit and eliminate competing species. In addition, areas that have existed as reed canarygrass monocultures for extended periods may have seed banks that are devoid of native species. Unlike native wetland vegetation, dense stands of reed canarygrass have little value for wildlife. Few species eat the grass, and the stems grow too densely to provide adequate cover for small mammals and waterfowl.

Students worked in pairs to stake coffee bags donated to SOLVE by Coffee Bean International, around native plants to impede weed growth; the burlap sacks will provide an area around the plant that is relatively Reed Canary grass free and thus, allows the plant to grow without its usual competitor.  The bags and the stakes that we use will biodegrade in a few years, so nothing is left behind.

Students showed great teamwork while hauling 5 gallon buckets of mulch over a fence to further protect the plants.  The mulch is made up of doug fir and will help to impede weed growth, add nutrients into the soil, and help keep the roots moist during dry summer month.  The students worked hard to coffee bag and mulch more than 150 plants.

Thank you students for all your hard work!

Thank you to Oak Lodge Sanitary District for funding this project and getting muddy with us!

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