Restoration of Ottertail Carrion Pit, Yoho National Park
In collaboration with the Parks Canada Invasive Plant Management Program of the Lake Louise, Kootenay and Yoho field unit, a project was completed in the summers of 2019 and 2020 to restore Ottertail landing area, a former test site for carrion disposal infrastructure including an electrified mat and fence. The goal of the project was to control invasive plants, focusing on meadow hawkweed (Heiracium caespitosum) and increase cover of native grasses, forbs, and shrubs. This plant invasion is of special concern as hawkweed (Heiracium, spp.) populations have been expanding in Yoho National Park in recent years, and have great potential to spread and decrease native plant populations and overall biodiversity in the alpine ecosystems of Yoho National Park. Ottertail landing area was identified as an area with high seed dispersal potential due to animal activity in the area and proximity to alpine ecosystems. In order to restore this site to pre-mat conditions, a site-specific restoration strategy was created, incorporating the testing of several non-chemical strategies including the use of hemp-matting, steaming, reducing compaction, and seeding with competitive native grasses. Data collected over the summers of 2019 and 2020 have shown that the strategies used were minimally effective at reducing non-native plant cover, but very effective in encouraging the growth of native species.