In a bold move to improve the ecological health of Barber Park and the Boise River, Ada County Parks and Waterways cut down more than 600 invasive trees February 18-20. The first-of-its-kind project along the Boise River was spearheaded by Boise River Enhancement Network volunteer and Golden Eagle Audubon Society board member Alan Crockett. Worried about the loss of native habitat, Alan proposed this project to Ada County Parks and Waterways Director Scott Koberg. When the County approved the project, Alan tagged hundreds of Russian olive, callery pear and a few varieties of elm throughout the multi-acre open space at Barber Park. Read Alan’s recent BREN Blog on Protecting the GREEN.
Birds and Fish Will Benefit
Professional sawyers were hired with funding generously donated by the Golden Eagle Audubon Society. Barber Park is designated as an important bird area that provides habitat for more than 150 species of birds. Most birds rely on native insects for food. Native insects don’t like the leaves of invasive trees, and insect populations decrease as native trees and plants are pushed out by invasive species. Aquatic insects also eat tree leaves. Fewer aquatic insects means fewer fish in the Boise River to support the very popular sport fishery. Removing the invasive trees will open up space for native Black cottonwood trees and willows to grow.
Ada County Weed, Pest and Mosquito Abatement spread herbicide on the stumps to prevent regrowth. They plan to make regular visits to Barber Park in coming months to treat sprouts with herbicide. The control of invasive plants is a never-ending challenge. This week’s work was supported by the Ada County Board of Commissioners, and BREN and our partners will continue to work with them and Scott Koberg on a long-term habitat management plan for Barber Park.
You’ll find more project information in Part One.
Photos: Angler at Barber Park, volunteers Roger Rosentreter and Alan Crockett with a Siberian elm, Alan surveying a thorny thicket of Russian olive, massive invasive tree, sawyer and Alan getting the job done