"Weed Warriors" Battle Invasive Plants in the Mt. Rose Wilderness
By digging out the root, the self-proclaimed “Weed Warriors” can stop the Musk Thistle's movement before it seeds this June.
On Wednesday, the Friends of Nevada Wilderness team took a group of about a dozen volunteers through the rocky, uphill hike over the Hunter Creek trail. Some water made the trek a bit slippery along the way, but that wasn't going to stop any of these folks from reaching their ultimate goal.
"We're trying to eradicate invasive species that don't give a lot back to the environment,” said volunteer Doug Wollum.
More specifically, the group is looking to remove the Musk Thistle weed.
"They cause erosion, decrease the soil quality and water quality,” said Nora Kaufmann, Stewardship Manager with Friends of Nevada Wilderness. "They are fuel for fires and they take away from the recreation quality out here."
And according to volunteers, they simply don't belong.
“The native animals won't eat it, so it has no natural predator,” said Wollum. “So it can just spread and crowd out all the beneficial plants species that are native to the area."
By digging out the root, the self-proclaimed “Weed Warriors” can stop the thistle's movement before it seeds this June.
“These plants, each seed head can produce up to 10,000 seeds,” said Kaufmann. “We'll try to get up here now so we can get them before they get to that point."
These volunteers found thousands of the weeds in just a few hours, but unfortunately some will go undiscovered.
“We've seen some decreases in the population in a few places, but the seeds can stay dormant in the soil for up to 15 or 20 years,” said Kaufmann.
On Saturday, volunteers are being asked to meet again. If you'd like to help remove the Musk Thistle yourself, you can meet up with them at the Michael S. Thompson Hunter Creek Trailhead at 7:30 a.m.
You can learn more at nevadawilderness.org/calendarofevents.