Grant #276

Mount Rose Noxious Weed Monitoring, Treatment, and Re- seeding 2023

The goal of the 2023 Mount Rose Wilderness Noxious Weed Monitoring, Treatment, and Re-Seeding project is to remove noxious weeds from the Hunter Creek watershed and reseed treated areas with native seeds to protect the water quality of the Truckee River and its watershed. With the help of volunteers, we will battle the spread of the noxious weed musk thistle (Carduus nutans), an invasive plant which once established can spread rapidly, quickly changing the composition of a meadow to a monoculture of musk thistle, due to high seed production (as much as 120,000 seed per plant). We have been working with local volunteers for 10 years in the Hunter Creek watershed and have seen the significant benefit these projects offer to the wilderness and watershed. The projects began as a few small events each year, but with support from the Truckee River Fund, it has grown into a well-established program, that is both accessible and popular with volunteers, while accomplishing a significant amount of weed control.

Friends of Nevada Wilderness staff will monitor known weed sites during April and May, tracking spread of plants and efficacy of the previous year’s treatment and reseeding. Our main target species for removal is musk thistle (Carduus nutans), we will also be looking for weeds including perennial pepperweed (Lepidium latifolium), and medusahead (Taeniatherum caput-medusae) in order to provide additional information for the Forest Service.

During May and June, staff will lead volunteers to noxious weeds sites and remove them with shovels and by hand. Though we plan to remove the plants before they have produced seed, if plants have produced flowers, we will clip the seed heads and pack them out to be safely disposed of. In the fall, staff will lead volunteers to sites treated in the spring to disperse native seeds by hand. Some snacks, additional water, training, education, and all necessary tools and personal protective equipment will be provided by FNW.

TMWA Benefit:

The proposed projects are in line with multiple grant priorities, specifically priority #2 (Watershed Improvements), priority #4 (Re-Forestation and Re-Vegetation Projects:) priority #6 (Stewardship and Environmental Awareness), and priority #7 (Meet Multiple Objectives). Musk thistle and other noxious weeds are a serious threat to the health of the Truckee River Watershed. The proposed volunteer removal projects will improve the health of the Truckee River Watershed by removing noxious weeds and replacing them with seeds of native plants. All of the proposed actions are recommended by the Forest Service botanists and best practices for musk thistle control. Reducing the number of weeds in the Hunter Creek area (a main tributary to the Truckee River) will improve the water quality, reduce soil erosion, and slow the spread further downstream, as well as enhance the recreation qualities of the Hunter Creek Trail. This program actively engages and educates the public on the importance of noxious weed management and provides them opportunities to steward our local watershed while learning. After just one project, volunteers have a basic understanding of the negative effects of noxious weeds and the importance of controlling them as related to the habitat and greater watershed. They also understand specifically, how our watershed is affected by weeds. By educating the public on these issues, we can inspire more stewardship and awareness of the entire watershed and our water supply.