Noxious Weed Removal Results in Improved Salmon Habitat

The Makah Tribe is finishing up a three-year project to inventory and remove noxious weeds near Lake Ozette, and will spend the next 10 years monitoring and maintaining its efforts.

The work, funded by the state Salmon Recovery Funding Board, included an extensive survey of all noxious weeds along Umbrella Creek and Big River. The survey guided the treatment or removal of invasive plants, through both physical and chemical methods. The tribe also enhanced nearly 2 acres of habitat along Big River by planting native trees and shrubs.

The long-term goal is to support the health of Lake Ozette and its tributaries by preventing invasive weeds from establishing and flowing downstream into the lake, said Shannon Murphie, a wildlife biologist for the tribe.

“We had a successful knotweed treatment program for several years in Big River but reed canary grass now has moved in and we’re also concerned about herb Robert spreading,” Murphie said.

These invasive plants spread quickly and impede growth of native plants, destabilize river banks and prevent trees from providing shade that keeps water cool for salmon, she said.

Removing or treating non-native vegetation supports habitat for native fish species and other wildlife dependent on riparian areas, such as Lake Ozette sockeye, plus coho and chinook salmon, steelhead and Roosevelt elk.

Makah Tribe wildlife staff plant native trees on the banks of Big River. Photo: Tiffany Royal

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