Acres of blackberry plants cleared from the banks of Bear Creek

Before and after photos of the cleared-out area. (Photo: Lomakatsi Restoration Project)

ASHLAND, Ore. – Environmental restoration crews worked to remove acres of invasive Himalayan blackberry plants near Ashland.

Himalayan blackberries were introduced to North America in the 19th century. However, they spread quickly and create dense, thorny thickets, choking out native plant species. This is especially true along Bear Creek, running through the Rogue Valley. That’s why the Lomakatsi Restoration Project teamed up with the Freshwater Trust to clear blackberry plants from a section of the creek in Ashland.

This week, Lomakatsi cleared blackberry plants from six acres of private property along Bear Creek, exposing the ground to sunlight it hasn’t seen in decades. Hopefully, it will give a change for sun-loving alder and cottonwood to take root.

Representatives for Lomakatsi wrote in part, “ As blackberries encroach along the stream banks, less sunlight reaches the ground.  While there are plenty of mature trees along the drainage, in areas where blackberries have taken over, there are no younger trees growing up to replace them.  If conditions don’t change, in a hundred years or so we could see a stream corridor devoid of large trees and overrun by endless thickets of blackberries.  This would support less wildlife and deprive a major tributary of the Rogue River of the precious shade that keeps water temperatures low, a critical component of protecting salmon and steelhead habitat.”

Crews will return in the fall to plant a variety of native species in the cleared out area in an effort to return the streamside to its natural state.

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