Its hard to believe its almost 2016! For those of us in the federal government, it is already fiscal year 2016 – the new fiscal year (FY) began on October 1st. This time of year is when we work on reporting all the great work we have done over the past FY and plan for the new FY. FY2015 was a great year for the Grandfather Restoration Project! We were able to exceed our targets in almost every area. The accomplishments below are in addition to the great work our partners and volunteers completed across the district.
Habitat Restoration: 1 acre of lake habitat restored, 5,780 acres of terrestrial habitat enhanced
Terrestrial habitat was restored through a variety of management, including maintenance of wildlife openings, mechanical restoration of the Lost Cove orchard, prescribed fire, timber stand improvement, and shortleaf pine restoration harvest activities.
Invasive Species Treatments: 306 acres of nonnative invasive plant treatments, 45 acres of hemlock wooly adelgid treatments
Invasive species were treated with herbicide in the Catawba River Floodplain, along Wilson Creek, along Back Irish Creek Rd, and outside the Wilderness around Table Rock. Paulownia was hand pulled inside the Wilderness in partnership with WildSouth.
Hemlock wooly adelgid treatments were continued for Carolina and eastern hemlock across the district. 22 acres were treated for the first time along the Catawba Falls trail.
Watershed Restoration: 1 aquatic organism passage installed, 10.5 miles of non-system roads decommissioned
Law enforcement identified 10.5 miles of non-system roads and multiple trails that were decommissioned by placing boulders at entry points, reducing erosion into sensitive watersheds.
Trail Restoration: 1.3 miles of trails improved, 60 miles of trails maintained
Through USFS labor and contracts 60 miles of trails were maintained. This work included 15+ miles of work completed by SAWS in Linville Gorge. This is in addition to the great work the volunteer trail community is doing across the Grandfather Ranger District.
Prescribed Fire: 7,497 acres of fuels treated
Site preparation burns were conducted as part of the Roses Creek timber sale.
The Blue Gravel Fire, the Bald Knob Fire, and the Wolf Creek Fire were managed through a “confine and contain” strategy.
Timber and Silviculture: 151 acres of forest vegetation established, 737 acres of forest vegetation improved, 1,205 CCF of timber harvested
Through the Roses Creek project, over 150 acres of shortleaf pine forest was established following the harvest of the remaining stands of timber.
Timber harvest and vegetation improvement focused on removing white pine, tulip poplar and red maple and retaining oaks and yellow pines.
Monitoring: 2 new monitoring contracts
The Grandfather Ranger District entered into 2 multi-year contracts: one with Western Carolina University to monitor prescribed fire effects on vegetation, and one with MountainTrue to monitor invasive species occurrence and treatment