Elk NetworkMount St. Helens Invasive Weed Treatment – Washington

Restoring Elk Country | January 8, 2024

Mount St. Helens Invasive Weed Treatment – Washington

On March 27, 1980, a series of explosive hot ash and lava flows on Mount St. Helens decimated part of the mountain and the surrounding landscape.

As a result, coupled with logging, it created an abundance of early successional habitat or, in other words, new plants that develop after a disturbance. And that resulted in prime forage for elk, mule and blacktail deer and other wildlife.

However, with the passage of time, an influx of non-native, invasive vegetation not palatable to wildlife worked its way into meadows and forest openings.

Those weeds impede forest regeneration, negatively influence wildfire regimes and severities, degrade fish habitat and reduce the quality of hunting and other recreational experiences.

The Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation took notice.

From 1996 to the present day, RMEF supplied nearly $300,000 in funding that leveraged more than $823,000 from the U.S. National Forest, Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife, Cowlitz and Skamania County Weed Programs for 19 different projects to treat noxious weeds on the Gifford Pinchot National Forest and Mount St. Helens Wildlife Management Area.

RMEF volunteers got involved too, helping to identify, flag and treat weeds in more than a third of those projects.

Crews enhanced critical summer and winter elk range that also helped the habitat needs ranging from mule and black-tailed deer, black bears and other wildlife to reptiles and even bees and butterflies.

Since 1984 – RMEF has completed more than 13,000 projects & conserved or enhanced more than 8.7 million acres of habitat.

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