|Policemanís helmet weed Smackdown this month posted on 06/30/2017|
(MT) – The Sandy River Basin Watershed Council (SRBWC) and
Clackamas Soil and Water Conservation District (CSWCD) are back, partnering for
a fifth consecutive year to reduce the spread of a deceptively enticing garden
escapee: policeman’s helmet – and local residents can help.
This streamside invader grows up to ten feet tall, producing
white to purple flowers atop reddish stems throughout the summer. Exploding
pods disperse the thousands of seeds per plant up to 15 feet, aiding its spread
and sending seeds downstream.
Where it takes hold, policeman’s helmet can dominate other
native forest plants, degrading critical river habitat.
As an annual, it leaves the banks bare in winter and
vulnerable to erosion, impairing water quality for endangered salmon and other
Consequently, policeman’s helmet is designated as a class B
noxious weed and as a particularly high priority for removal in the upper Sandy
and Salmon River Basins, where controlling it is still possible.
Thanks to lottery dollars channeled through the Oregon State
Weed Board and Oregon Watershed Enhancement Board grants, SRBWC is replanting
native vegetation in some of the areas previously treated for policeman’s
helmet. Following weed removal with native planting helps to secure areas from
SRBWC and CSWCD are focused on the Salmon River and upper
Sandy as the upstream source of the weed’s spread, with help from youth and
volunteers. Mt. Hood Community College’s Project Youth Employability and
Support Services (YESS), University of Utah alternative spring break and Sandy
High School (SHS) planted three sites: a section of the golf course at the
Resort at the Mountain, the Salmon-Sandy River confluence and a site along the
side channel at Wildwood. Contrary to their own common sense, 14 Sandy High
School volunteers came out in the torrential rain on a March Saturday morning,
to plant native vegetation and restore habitat.
“It was very impressive that these high school students not
only showed up, but to see how motivated they were as the rain fell ever
harder, plowing knee deep into mud to get these plants in the ground,” said
Sara Ennis, SRBWC Stewardship Coordinator,.
SHS biology teacher, Jeremy McGee, said of his students:
“These students have been studying environmental science all year and are super
motivated to put their knowledge into action to benefit their local
To further prove their dedication, SHS students joined SRBWC
to kick off the treatment season with a spontaneous policeman’s helmet
weed-pull at Wildwood in early May.
Policeman’s helmet is very easy and even fun to pull. Just
ask the students who declined visiting Wildwood’s beaver lodge in favor of
“I get it, pulling policeman’s helmet is fun and can be
addictive,” Ennis said.
may try their hand at the SRBWC Policeman’s Helmet Weed Pull event from 10 a.m.
to 1 p.m. Saturday, July 15, at the Wildwood Recreation Site, 65670 Hwy. 26 in
Welches. The parking fee will be waived and participants should head straight
down the drive toward the salmon river shelter and look for a volunteer
registration table at the beginning of the circular parking lot
For more information,
visit sandyriver.org, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 971-325-4224.
Working with local residents is also key to Weed Smackdown
victory. Property owners within 20 meters of the Salmon River or an infected
area are encouraged to contact Sarah Hamilton with the CCSWCD at 503-210-6015
or email@example.com to participate in the Weedwise program. Participation
is free and completely voluntary.