Yakama Nation Wildlife Images
Confederated Tribes and Bands of the Yakama Nation Wildlife, Range & Vegetation Resources Management Program



NEWS !!! Yakama Nation Vegetation Program Receives over $380,000 for 3 years of weed management! Our program was awarded a grant from the NRCS Grazing Lands Conservation Initiative (GLCI) program. This funding will assist our program in writing an Integrated Weed Management Plan, creating a GIS database, and better controlling weeds on the Yakama Nation's Rangeland.

For Press Release: http://www.nrcs.usda.gov/news/releases/2006/glcigrantsinvasives.html

Our Mission

The Vegetation Management division works to uphold our Program’s mission statement in protecting Tribal natural resources from the invasion of  non-native plant species. Our goals are to protect natural resources, cultural and human resources, political integrity, economic security, and to promote a desire for an improved quality of life for the Yakama Nations’ citizens.

Natural resources are seriously impacted when noxious weeds displace native vegetation with monocultures, lowering biodiversity.

Examples include:

*Fish habitat is threatened by having unstable soils which leads to poorer water quality and increased sediment yields;

*Wildlife habitat is disrupted and degraded;

*Traditional root-grounds and berry fields can become unproductive;

*Visual beauty is decreased;

*Tree regeneration in timber harvest areas is suppressed;

*Agricultural farmland that is left idle becomes inundated with weed populations, which lower the potential for economic viability;

*Uncontrolled weed infestations stress the political integrity with our neighboring governments.

We have developed, and Tribal Council has approved, an Integrated Weed Management Plan for the Yakama Reservation and a Priority Invasive Plant List. The Integrated Weed Management Plan is a programmatic plan to assist tribal and BIA programs in collaborating on and improving weed management throughout the Reservation.

Our Projects

Our program works in cooperation with other Tribal programs and with the help of local, state, and federal programs, which all have an interest in weed control. We also work in conjunction with other Tribal Nations and Universities.

The following projects are some of the main highlights that we work on throughout the year:

Satus Creek / Yakima River Scotch Thistle Project

Scotch thistle is a biennial plant that grows predominately in moist sites or drainages of dry locations. We have been treating Scotch thistle for over 10 years and have been successful in those areas that have been treated with herbicides. The plant produces upwards of 40,000 seeds per plant and those seeds can lay dormant yet remain viable in the soil for over 20+ years. If left unchecked, it will produce enormous monocultures and like most invasive plants, will out-compete native flora.

Chemical control for Scotch thistle near Yakima River, picture by J. Newquist

Naches River Japanese Knotweed Project

Japanese knotweed is a project was started in summer of 2005 in cooperation with the Yakima County Noxious Weed Board. The plants are mostly isolated to the Naches River from the town of Naches downstream to the confluence with the Yakima River. We have found other small scattered patches around the Reservation. It is a very aggressive perennial plant that can completely take over a riparian area. The species will even out-compete bamboo in its native Asia. We have noticed that beaver like to chew down the stalks to use in their dam building, which is unfortunate because a one-inch node of the stem can reproduce into another plant and expand into a new colony in a relatively short amount of time. It is too early to tell what our control of this invasive will be, but it is encouraging to know that we acted quickly before it could spread into other drainages.

Removal of Japanese knotweed on Naches River, picture by F. Canapo

Yakima River Purple Loosestrife Project;

Purple loosestrife is another aggressive aquatic perennial plant. Each individual plant can produce 2-3 million seeds, making it difficult to control. Like all other control projects, the key is to kill the plant before it can set seed. We have been working with the Yakima County Noxious Weed Board for over 10 years on this project. We have also released biological control agents (insects) that and really helping to curtail the plant's invasiveness, likely preventing a much worse the infestation.  We are pretty encouraged with what we have seen so far.

Releasing Galuracella pusilla along the Yakima River, to control Purple loosestrife, picture by Alex Williams

Yakima Reservation Forest Tree Planting / Spraying Project

Tree planting/spraying project has been a cooperative operation that we have worked on since the late 1990's. The Forest Development program plants small tree seedlings in timber sales that have been recently harvested. The main tree species that are planted include ponderosa pine, douglas fir, and western larch. Lodgepole pine and engelmann spruce are also planted at a much lesser extent. Immediately after the seedlings are in the ground, our crew sprays an herbicide over the trees in small circular radius'. The herbicide is not harmful to the seedlings, but it kills the surrounding vegetation, which helps to eliminate the competition. Once the competition is reduced, the seedling can then take advantage of sunlight, moisture and nutrients, which reduces the chance of tree seedling mortality.

Spraying herbicide to protect tree seedlings post-harvest South Fork sale, picture by J. Newquist

Russian Olive Satus Wildlife Area Project

Russian olive is a tree species that is rapidly spread by seeds of the fruit that it produces, when disseminated by birds. Russian olive outcompetes native vegetation and interferes with the natural plant succession and nutrient cycling. The tree can also put pressure on water reserves, which also pose problems for native plant succession. We have been treating Russian olive during the fall and winter months since the mid 1990's and have been successful. It continues to be a daunting test, however, as the trees are widespread throughout the Satus basin. Yakama Nation Fuels Program has provided significant funding for the last two years helping to keep this project going.

Spraying of Russian olive sprouting after mechanical removal in the Satus Wildlife Area, picture by A. Williams

Many other invasive species are treated as well. We have released biological control agents on yellow starthistle, purple loosestrife, dalmatian toadflax, meadow knapweed, spotted knapweed, and diffuse knapweed.

How You Can Help

You can help by reporting weed infestations to our program.  For help in identifying a weed species, please use the Washington State Noxious Weed Control Board website at: http://www.nwcb.wa.gov/weed_ID/weed_id_1.htm

The top five species that we need spotter information for are:

    Photo source http://www.ecy.wa.gov/programs/

    *Rush skeletonweed
    Photo source http://www.nwcb.wa.gov/weed

    *Japanese knotweed
    Japanese knotweed
    Photo source http://www.invasivespeciesinfo.

    *Leafy spurge
    Leafy spurge
    Photo source http://www.invasivespeciesinfo.

    *Musk thistle
    Leafy spurge
    Photo source http://www.invasivespeciesinfo.

Our program always appreciates any information on locations of invasive plant species located on the Yakama Nation Reservation. To report a noxious plant infestation, please send an e-mail to Jason Newquist at    jason@ (to avoid spam we do not list full email addresses. Need to add yakama.com to the addresse).