Meet Gordon. In Gordon’s own words, he lives on a 25 acre “slice of heaven” along a creek in Forest Grove where he grows 10 different varieties of garlic! On fall weekends, you can often find Gordon and his wife selling garlic at the Beaverton Farmers Market.
Gordon maintains the front part of his property as a garlic farm and horse pasture. The creek flows gently through this portion of the property on its way to joining Gales Creek. The back portion is what Gordon glowingly refers to as his “retirement project” – a small woodlot full of western red cedar and Douglas fir.
Gordon started seeing some changes on his slice of heaven but wasn’t sure why. He noticed a new, unknown green plant growing along the creek that was causing the existing vegetation to die back. The plant was even starting to encroach into his horse pasture and affect his forage plants.
Around the same time, he received a letter from Tualatin SWCD asking permission to survey his property for garlic mustard, an invasive plant species that is unrelated to garlic but gets its name from the garlicky taste and scent of its leaves. Gordon’s response was “yeah, let’s have a look!” He responded “yes” and invited us to his property to see if he had any invasive species problems developing.
Invasive species cause economic and environmental harm
Invasives species are non-native plants, insects, and animals that can be hazardous to humans, poisonous to livestock, and reduce land productivity. Tualatin SWCD’s Invasive Species Program monitors the spread of invasive species and helps control them to reduce their impact on our community.
To stop these species from spreading, Tualatin SWCD reaches out to landowners in specific areas each year requesting permission to survey their properties for these problematic weeds.
Here’s how the process works:
- We receive a report of a possible infestation from the Oregon Invasives Species Hotline or word of mouth.
- Once the report is verified, we send a Permit of Entry agreement to landowners in the vicinity of the infestation asking for permission to visit their properties.
- The Permit of Entry agreement allows us to survey for any Early Detection and Rapid Response weeds. The agreement offers the opportunity to set conditions of access and treatment and expires after five years.
- If any species are found on the property, we work with the landowner to determine the best treatment plan that aligns with their schedule.
- Our experienced contractors and staff treat the infestation.
- Following treatment, a second visit is scheduled to re-survey the property. If the species is still found, we will continue to help until the species is under control.
- The entire process is voluntary and free of charge.
Tualatin SWCD is a non-regulatory organization. We do not create or enforce regulations or land-use rules. When visiting your property, we will only be looking for and treating harmful invasive species.
Tualatin SWCD makes invasive species management easy
When we arrived at Gordon’s property, we discovered several patches of garlic mustard spreading along the banks of the creek. We quickly set up a treatment plan that aligned with Gordon’s schedule and our experienced contract crews and staff began targeted treatment to remove the patches.
Gordon has seen a drastic improvement since the garlic mustard has been removed. The native vegetation along his creek returned and the pasture is thriving. And Gordon couldn’t be more thankful for the help. “It hasn’t been any effort on my part. It’s been a pleasure to work with Tualatin SWCD and its contractors.”
What should you do if you receive a Permit of Entry letter from Tualatin SWCD?
If you are like Gordon and receive a Permit of Entry letter, please open it and read it thoroughly. Once you’ve signed and returned the agreement, we will schedule a time to visit your property and treat any Early Detection and Rapid Response invasive species that are found. The timing of surveys and treatments varies by species.
The goal of this collective effort is to respond to every confirmed report of an invasive species. This effort is only successful thanks to the more than 1,400 landowners, like Gordon, who allow us to visit their properties.
Contact our Invasive Species Program if you have any questions about your Permit of Entry agreement or to learn more about our efforts to control invasive plant species in the Tualatin River watershed.