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Region 1 Resource Advisor Training
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  1. Region 1 Resource Advisor Training Aquatic and Terrestrial Invasives

  2. Part 1Aquatic Resources

  3. TES Aquatic Species • Bull Trout – threatened species, present in MT and ID west of the divide • Steelhead – threatened species, present in most of ID; not present in MT • Chinook Salmon – threatened or endangered in most of ID, sensitive species in some parts of ID • Coho/Sockeye Salmon – threatened or endangered in some parts of ID • Westslope cutthroat trout – sensitive species on forests in MT and ID

  4. TES Aquatic Species – Habitat Needs (“the 4 C’s”) • Cold water • Clean stream bottoms • Complex hiding cover (i.e. large wood and pools) • Connected (i.e. no barriers)

  5. TES Aquatic Species - Legal Requirements • Endangered Species Act • consultation requirements vary • Some forests have programmatic agreements with regulatory agencies, some don’t • Onus is on the unit fish biologist to check on suppression activities and determine if consultation is needed

  6. TES Aquatic Species - Legal Requirements • Forest Plan Standards in INFISH and PACFISH • FM-1 = protect the 4 C’s and minimize disturbance to riparian areas • FM-2 = locate camps and other centers for suppression activities outside of RHCAs • FM-3 = avoid delivering retardant to water bodies

  7. What in the #$% are RHCAs? • Riparian Habitat Conservation Area • Fancy term for a riparian buffer • Designated by INFISH/PACFISH • Width varies by type of water body (300’, 150’, 100’) • 300’ is the most commonly used RHCA width and the one the READ should keep in mind when assessing suppression activities

  8. Which commonly used suppression activities pose the most risk to aquatics? • Machine fire line (highest) • Re-opening closed roads with machinery • Retardant drops • Brushing/fuel breaks • Hand fire line • Helicopter bucket dipping • Water drafting/pumps • Hazard tree felling • Camps, helibases, helispots, drop points • Structure protection (lowest)

  9. Machine Fire Lines risk is sediment • Don’t build it if you don’t have to • Use combo of feller buncher& excavator instead of bulldozers • Stay out of RHCAs • Stay on slopes < 35% • Tip the blade and only disturb the minimal amount of soil necessary (i.e. shouldn’t be creating cut and fills) • The mitigations listed above are often a fallacy - always keep a really close eye on the heavy equipment!!

  10. Re-opening Closed Roads with Heavy Machinery main risk is sediment, lesser risk is shade • Similar effects as dozer line construction • Avoid scraping the road prism to bare soil and side-casting the dirt • Avoid creating berms along the shoulders with rolled up, embedded sod mats • Protect the shade at stream crossings and along road segments that closely parallel streams

  11. Retardant Drops main risk is water quality and toxins • Retardant is highly toxic to aquatic life • National direction is to not drop within 300 feet of any stream or water body – fire managers should have GIS maps of avoidance areas for each forest • READ should field verify compliance with the 300 foot restriction on all drops – drift and splatter do occur, and not every water body is mapped • Keep the local fish biologist informed if you find any indications of non-compliance

  12. Brushing & Fuel Breaks main risk is shade • Protect the shade at stream crossings and along road segments that closely parallel streams • Watch out for bored saws and rural fire departments • Don’t let the chips pile up too high!

  13. Hand Fire Lines risk is sediment • Try to avoid building hand lines in RHCAs • Don’t tie the line directly into the water line • Scrape as little as needed • Water bar during construction • Recontour, seed, fertilize, and slash all hand lines after use; highest priority are the sections in RHCAs

  14. Helicopter Bucket Dipping main risk is mortality of fish and invasives, lesser risk is water quality • Install a heli-well or portable tank instead of dipping directly out of water bodies • Avoid dipping from water bodies that contain TES aquatic species • The home unit should have a GIS map that shows where dipping is prohibited and allowed – make sure that is being followed

  15. Water Drafting & Pumps main risk is water quality and toxins; lesser risk is fish barriers • All intakes properly screened • 3/32” mesh vs. 1/8” mesh • USFS pumps/engines/tenders have 3/32” strainers – non USFS equipment frequently has no screens or awareness of screening • Pumps must have proper spill containment mitigations • Check for creation of fish barriers • After use, naturalize site and tear apart any rock diversion structures in streams

  16. Hazard Tree Felling risk is habitat complexity and shade • Avoid felling hazard trees in RHCAs • When felling in RHCAs cannot be avoided, directionally fell the hazard trees towards or into the water body and leave on site

  17. Camps, Helibases, Helispots, Drop Points, Safety Zones risks are sediment and shade • Avoid locating in RHCAs (INFISH/PACFISH standard FM-2) • Exemptions may be granted for sites that pose minimal risk to aquatics • Has not been much of an issue on the Bitterroot NF

  18. Structure Protection risks are sediment and shade • Avoid clearing riparian vegetation • Avoid significant ground disturbance • Has not been much of an issue on the Bitterroot NF for aquatics

  19. Part 2Invasive Species

  20. Aquatic and Terrestrial

  21. Aquatic invaders of highest concern • Eurasian Watermilfoil • Zebra and Quagga mussels • New Zealand mudsnails

  22. Terrestrial invaders of highest concern • Plants classified as noxious weeds

  23. How do aquatic invasions occur? Equipment transfers infected water, plants, debris, or mud from one water body to another • Helicopters • Heli-wells and portable tanks • Engines and tenders • Pumps, hoses, and screens • Any kind of water craft

  24. Aquatic invader mitigations • Inspect, clean, and sanitize all equipment that contacts water at arrival and demob – must be clean and dry!! • Avoid known infestations – all non-tested private ponds are suspect • Avoid drafting mud, sediment, and aquatic plants • Avoid transferring water from one water body to another

  25. How do terrestrial invasions occur? • Vehicles and heavy machinery • People and their gear • Cargo nets

  26. Terrestrial invader mitigations • Pressure wash all vehicles at arrival and demob • Avoid locating camps, helibases, drop points, and staging areas in infestated areas (if possible, locate in weed free areas) • Expose the least amount of mineral soil possible during line construction • Use weed free seed and monitor • Ask crews to check their clothing/gear