This project addressed the spread of invasive English holly growing on an upland private property located ~700ft from Milton Creek by removing ~1,850 mature holly trees. Funds awarded by OWEB's small grant program provided an opportunity to eliminate this large holly seed source from the watershed, help protect sensitive riparian plant communities around Milton Creek, and restore this property in a way that is beneficial for the landowner and wildlife.
Location: The project is located ~700ft upland from Milton Creek in Yankton, OR.
Funding Awarded: From the Oregon Watershed Enhancement Board (OWEB) Small Grant Program - $14,955
The spread of invasive plant species is one of the main threats to our working landscapes and natural habitats. English holly is widely acknowledged as a significant threat to natural areas. Holly displaces native tree saplings and shrubs. Its dense evergreen foliage shades and crowds out all other plants causing a total loss of biodiversity where it is allowed to grow.
In October 2020, the Columbia SWCD was awarded funding to remove mature holly trees from a site that was historically planted and farmed for holly products. Most of the 5-acre parcel contained mature holly trees planted in 10-foot intervals. This property was a large seed source for holly infestations throughout the greater watershed, but particularly around Milton Creek. Holly infestations within the riparian area have been observed by the Columbia SWCD at several nearby properties and are certainly present at other sites in the area as well.
The landowner used a large excavator to uproot 1,850 mature holly trees and placed the trees in several piles on the south end of the property. The landowner installed an access road to allow delivery of an industrial-sized chipper. The uprooted trees were chipped on site and hauled off of the property.
450 drought-tolerant native plants were installed, including several 5-gallon potted Oregon white oaks, in an effort to restore the site to an Oak woodland habitat. Oak habitats throughout Columbia County have been largely converted to agricultural, industrial, or residential land uses. Consequently, when there are opportunities to create or restore these types of habitats, the value of these projects is significant. The site was also seeded to enhance pollinator habitat in an effort to create greater connectivity of habitats throughout the region and support local food production.