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NPSO Logo Bulletin of the Native Plant Society of Oregon

Dedicated to the enjoyment, conservation, and study of Oregon's native vegetation.

April 1997

Volume 30 · Number 4

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In This Issue

State News

Apr. 26, Sat. State Board Meeting: 10 A.M. - 4 P.M. Douglas County Museum, Douglas County Fairgrounds, Roseburg. Directions: Take 1-5 exit 123 south toward fairgrounds, then take first right to Museum. Tour of Douglas County Museum (same location) can be arranged. Also take advantage of the timing and location to visit the Glide Wildflower Show on the same weekend. 

Jun. 6 - 8, Fri. - Sun.  Annual Meeting: Camp Cascade. See inside for details, and registration form

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Chapter News

Blue Mountain

Apr. 7, Mon. Meeting: 7 P.M. Small Business Development Center, SE 1st & Dorian, Pendleton. Mitchell Zachs will talk about nature photography. 

Apr. 26, Sat. Field Trip: Umatilla Wildlife Refuge. Meet at the NE corner of Pendleton Safeway parking lot, 8 A.M., or the refuge headquarters in Irrigon, 9:15 A.M. Leader: Bruce Barnes,

May 10, Sat. Field Trip: Squaw Creek Canyon., a tributary of Umatilla River, east of Pendleton. Meet: NE corner of the Pendleton Safeway parking lot, 9 A.M. Leader: Jerry Baker. 

May 31, Sat. Field Trip: Squaw Creek LookoutlPoverty Flats/Cabbage Hill. Meet: NE corner of the Pendleton Safeway parking lot, 9 A.M. Leader: Bruce Barnes,


Apr. 12, Sat. Field Trip: Lichens of MacDonald Forest. Meet: 9 A.M., OSU parking lot, corner of Monroe and 25th Sts., across from the Beanery. A lab session at noon will follow the tour for those interested in pursuing the subject further. Leader: Eric Peterson. 

Apr. 14, Mon. Meeting: 7:30 P.M. Room 2087, Cordley Hall, OSU campus. Camille Tipton will give a talk on "Conserving the Cloud Rainforests of Northwestern Ecuador." Little remains of this high montane forest where biodiversity equals that of the Galapagos Islands. 


Apr. 5, Sat. Field Trip: An easy walk beside cascading Sweet Creek in a beautiful coast range valley settled in 1879 by Oregon Trail pioneer Zarah Sweet. We'll see Eiythronium revolutum, the pink coast fawn lily, and much more. Leave S. Eugene H.S. parking lot, 9 A.M. Bring lunch and dress for weather. Leader: Charlene Simpson. 

Apr. 12, Sat. Field Trip: LCC Forest Reserve. 9 A.M. - Noon. Meet: South parking lot, above the Science Building, LCC main campus. (See directions for meetings) We will explore the Reserve area and add to the species list. Cimicifuga elata and Aster vialis are of particular interest. Please call Gail Baker, (541) 747-4501, extension 2085, for more information. 

Apr. 19, Sat. Field Trip: Learn about, and search for, the federally endangered Bradshaw's desert parsley (Lomatium bradshawii) in the Upper Amazon Basin of South Eugene. Meet: S. Eugene H.S. parking lot, 9 A.M. We'll start by looking at one large and one small population, then learn basic search techniques and split into teams to search the Upper Amazon for new populations. Bring lunch, clothes appropriate for weather, and boots for soggy ground. Leader: Bruce Newhouse,

Apr. 28, Mon. Meeting: 7:30 P.M. Main campus, Lane Community College. Directions: From 30th St., turn south on Eldon-Schafer Dr., go past Oak Hill School, park in south parking lot at LCC, walk down stairs of Science Building to room 109, which faces south parking lot. Cohn Long will speak on his graduate thesis, "The Holocene Fire History and Vegetation Changes at Little Lake, Central Coast Range, Oregon." 

May 18, Sun. Wildflower Show: Mt. Pisgah Spring Festival and Wildflower Show. Exit 30th Ave.ILCC just south of Eugene, and go east over I-5. Follow signs. 10 A.M.- 4 P.M. Hundreds of species of local wildflowers will be on display! 

May 18, Sun. Field Trip: West Eugene Wetlands Mitigation Site Tour. Meet: West Eugene BLM office (on the east side of Danebo St. just north of Hwy. 126), at 1 P.M. (to 5 P.M.) for a tour of local wetland mitigation sites. Led by BLM botanist Kathy Pendergrass. 

High Desert

Meeting: No meeting in April. 

Apr. 26, Sat. Field Trip: Warm Springs Indian Reservation. We are invited to visit selected areas on the Reservation for botanizing. Gary Clowers has spent many years laying out trails and protecting sensitive areas on the Reservation. He will be our guide for this unique opportunity. Contact trip co-leader, Stu Garrett,, for details. 

May 18, Sun. Native Plant Show: The Central Oregon Environmental Center, 16 NW Kansas, Bend, will be taken over, on this day, by Oregon's native species. Howie Braunstein and his students will gather common examples of native plants from a variety of central Oregon ecosystems and display and identify them. Stop by the Center between 11 A.M. and 4 P.M. to see the display. 


Apr. 2, Wed. Meeting: 7:30 P.M. Mosier School. Bob Ottersberg, a consultant on soils and vegetation, will give a slide presentation on how soils and other site factors affect plant communities. 

Apr. 13, Sun. Spring Wildflower Show: 10 A.M. - 4 P.M. Mosier School. 

Apr. 27, Sun. Field Trip: Weldon Wagon Trail. Joint meeting with Portland Chapter, which see for details. Contact Krista Thie,

May 7, Wed. Meeting: 7:30 P.M. Mosier School. Dan Luoma will talk on mushrooms and other fungi. 

North Coast

Apr. 6, Sun. Field Trip: Neah-Kah-Nie Mountain. Joint trip with Portland Chapter. Meet 10 A.M. Seaside Visitor's Center parking lot. (See under Portland Chapter, for details.) Call Kathleen Sayce,, or Christine Stanley, for more information. 

Field Trip: Peninsula Park. Joint trip with Portland Chapter. Meet: 10 A.M., at the Tillamook PUD, 1115 Pacific. (See under Portland Chapter for details.) Leader: Jim Winslow,


Apr. 5, Sat. Workshop: Two part plant identification class. Session I. Leach Garden, Portland, 9 A.M. - 12 A.M. Do you want to know more about our native flora, but find yourself bewildered by the huge variety of plants and frustrated by plant keys? These classes, taught by Marty Stein, USFS botanist, and offered in cooperation with the Leach Garden, will include an introduction to the basic principles of plant taxonomy, definition of botanical terms, lessons in the use of plant keys, and practice in recognizing the main features of the most common plant families. Includes hands-on identification of the native plants at the Garden. Dress for the weather. Class limit 25. Fee: LGF or NPSO members $25, non-members $30. To register call Leach Garden, 761-9503. 

Apr. 6, Sun. Field Trip: Neah-Kah-Nie Mountain. Joint trip with the North Coast Chapter. This is a coastal mountain in Oswald West State Park, northern Tillamook County. Elev. approximately 1500 ft. A basalt dike runs the length of the ridge top, east to west, outcropping at the top edge of four south-facing meadows, or coastal balds. The wet, north-facing side of the mountain has many typical coastal forest species, including large Sitka spruce (Picea sitchensis), mosses, lichens, ferns and typical forest under-story species, including Oxalis oregana and Trillium ovatum. Coastal balds contain many wildflower species, such as Erythronium revolutum, Lomatium martindaiei, Allium cernuum. The trail begins about 600 ft. above sea level and climbs 900 ft. in under two mi. Steep in places, but doesn't cross rock faces or other exposed features. Driving: 150 mi. RT. Leave 8 A.M., from east end of Cedar Hills Shopping Center parking lot. (From Portland, take Hwy. 26 west to exit 69B, follow signs to Cedar Hills. Northbound on Hwy. 217, take exit to Hwy. 26E/Cedar Hills, follow signs to Cedar Hills.) Second mtng. place: 10 A.M., Seaside Visitor's Center parking lot, Hwy. 101, across from City Hall. Contact Kathleen Sayce,, or Christine Stanley. 

Apr. 8, Tue. Meeting: 7 P.M. First United Methodist Church, 1838 SW Jefferson St., Portland. Vernon Marttala will present a "Report from the Romanzoffiorum." 

Apr. 12, Sat. Workshop: Plant identification class. Session II, Leach Garden, Portland, 9 A.M. -12 A.M. (See April 5, above, for details.) 

Apr. 19, Sat. Field Trip: Peninsula Park. Joint trip with North Coast Chapter to Peninsula Park on Trask River in Tillamook, to see Etythronium revolutum and Dodecatheon austrofrigidum. Easy hike. Weather permitting we will visit other sites on the North Fork of the Trask River. Leave, 8:30 A.M., east end of Cedar Hills Shopping Center parking lot (see April 6 trip for directions). Second meeting place: 10 A.M., Tillamook PUD, 1115 Pacific. Driving: 150 mi. RT. Leader: Jim Winslow,

Apr. 20, Sat. Field Trip: Memaloose Loop. Hike about 5.5 mi. R.T., with 700 ft. elev. gain. This hike traverses pine-oak woodlands and open grasslands, and features matchless 360-degree viewpoints and lots of wildflowers. Leave: 8 A.M. from Gateway l99th Ave. Park & Ride, near southeast corner of the parking lot. Take exit 7 from 1-84, turn immediately right onto 99th Ave. Second meeting place: 9:15 A.M., Memaloose Rest Area, near M.P. 72 on 1-84. Leader: Russ Jolley. 

Apr. 26, Sat. Field Trip: Camassia Preserve. Easy walk through Nature Conservancy preserve in time to see spring bloom, including potentially spectacular displays of blue camassia against a carpet of rosy plectritis and lime-green moss. We may find the relatively rare pale larkspur in bloom too. Meet: 10 A.M., West Linn H.S., 5464 West A St., West Linn, then car pool to the preserve. Preregistration required. Limit 20. Contact Charlene Holzwarth. 

Apr. 27, Sun. Field Trip: Weldon Wagon Trail. Joint trip with Mid-Columbia Chapter. 2-3 mi. hike, about 500 ft. elev. gain across steep side hill east of and above Indian Creek and the White Salmon River Valley. There are fields of balsamroot, Suksdorf's lomatium, Columbia lomatium, (and L. macrocarpum, L. grayii, L. triternatum, L. piperi, L. dissectum), and big-headed clover. We can see  Cypnpedium fasciculatum along the trail. The leader, Krista Thie, is particularly knowledgeable in medicinal plant lore. Driving: 170 mi. R.T. Leave: 9 A.M., Lewis & Clark State Park. Second meeting place: Leave, 10:45, Indian Creek Rd. turn-off. From north end of Hood River Bridge, it is about 10.2 mi. to turn-off in Husum. Go east from Hood River Bridge about 2 mi. on Hwy. 14, turn at blinking light in Bingen onto Hwy. 141, go through White Salmon on Hwy. 141, heading north toward Trout Lake. The turn-off for the Weldon Wagon Trail is between mileposts 8 and 9, just before the old gas station, now the White Water Rafting Outfitters. We'll meet just east of hwy, just as you turn onto Indian Creek Rd., just south of White Water Rafters. Contact Krista Thie,


Apr. 12, Sat. Field Trip: Limpy Creek Botanical Area. Easy, 1 mi. hike, led by Linda Mullens, USFS. Beautiful, serpentine, riparian area, very close to Grants Pass. Meet: 8:30 A.M., Grants Pass Fred Meyer parking lot, north side near "The Key Man." Second meeting place: 9 A.M., Limpy Creek Botanical Area parking lot. Car pooling at Fred Meyer is encouraged because this is a very small parking lot. 

Apr. 17, Thu. Meeting: Room 171, Science Building, Southern Oregon State College. The subject of the program will be announced. 

Apr. 19, Sat. Field Trip: Rough and Ready Botanical Area I French Flat.. Easy hike. Leaders: Jennifer Beigle, Siskiyou Project; Linda Mazzu, BLM; Anita Seda, USFS. Features: Rare plants such as Cook's lomatium (Lomatium cookii), Hall's violet (Viola hallii), Waldo rockcress (Arabis acueolata), Douglas' monkeyflower (Mimulus douglasii) and gentian (Gentiana setigera). Meet: 9 A.M., Interagency Visitor Center, Cave Junction. 

Apr. 26, Sat. Field Trip: Lower Table Rock. Moderate hike. Leader: Barbara Mumblo, USFS. Features: Rare plants such as dwarf meadow foam  Limnanthes fioccosa ssp. pumila) Meet: 10 A.M., Lower Table Rock parking lot. 

May 4, Sun. Field Trip: Illinois River Canyon Trail. Easy hike. Leaders: Steve Marston, Siskiyou Project, Don Heinze, BLM (retired). Features: Rare plants such as Kalmiopsis (Kalmiopsis leachiana) and cobra plant (Dariingtonia californica). Meet: 9 A.M., Selma Supermarket parking lot, left (north side). 

May 17, Sat. Field Trip: Return to Rough and Ready Botanical Area. Easy hike. This will be a completely different flora from April. The remains of the April rare plants may also be present. Leader: Don Heinze, BLM (retired). Meet: Interagency Visitor's Center, Cave Junction. 

South Coast

May 17 - 18, Sat. - Sun. Wildflower Conference: The Southern Oregon Coast/ SW Oregon Wildflower Conference, in Charleston, Oregon, focuses on the diverse and unique flora of the southern Oregon coast and the Siskiyou Mountains. Saturday: Presentations on rare plants of the area, local wildflower hot spots, and impacts of exotic vegetation. Sunday: Field trip to unique coastal habitats south of Bandon. Admission for entire weekend is $20. For more information, contact Bruce Rittenhouse, 756-0100 (days). 

Umpqua Valley

Apr. 10, Thu.. Meeting: 7 P.M. Room 310, Douglas County Courthouse, Roseburg. Russ Holmes will update us on BLM activities. 

Willamette Valley

Apr. 21, Mon. Meeting: 7 P.M. United Methodist Church, 600 State St. NE, Salem. Bruce McCune will present a program on lichens. 

Wm. Cusick

Apr. 5, Sat. Field Trip: The Nature Conservancy needs help planting native bunchgrass seed in containers. The grass plugs will be grown at the Plantworks Native Nursery, La Grande, and outplanted at the Lawrence Grassland Preserve in the fall. Bring gloves. Planting should be finished by 1 P.M. Meet at the Plantworks, 1805 U Ave., La Grande, 9 A.M. For information contact Berta Youtie. 

Apr. 16, Wed. Meeting: 7 - 9 P.M. Forestry and Range Sciences Laboratory, Gekeler Lane and C Ave., La Grande. Business from 7 - 8, program from 8 - 9. Karen Antell, Professor of Botany, Eastern Oregon State College, will present a slide program on the Ladd Marsh Project. Our chapter plans to develop a much-needed plant species list and a collection for the marsh. This is an opportunity to learn about the project and to volunteer your assistance if you so desire. It will be an enjoyable way to learn lots of native plants and learn about the marsh. Come join the fun! 

May 10 & 17, Sats. Classes: 8:30 A.M. - 12:30 P.M. Barbara Russell will teach a class through the Baker-Union ESD, titled "Beginning Botany and Native Plant Identification." It will focus on how to use a plant key to identify unknown plants you encounter in your travels. Slides will familiarize people with plant family characteristics. Plant parts used for identification will be taught. Then we will dive in and just do it. We will practice keying with fresh specimens. Contact Barbara Russell,, after April 2, for more information. 

May 17, Sat. Field Trip: Paula Brooks, Forest Botanist, Wallowa-Whitman National Forest, will lead a spring wildflower trip to the Sumpter/Phillips Lake area west of Baker City. Grass widows, bluebells and fawn lilies will probably be blooming. Meet: 9 A.M., behind Baker City Post Office. Bring lunch and a friend. Call Paula, 523-6110, to confirm. 

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NPSO Board Meeting Highlights - Heather Laub, NPSO Secretary

The NPSO annual budget meeting began on Saturday, January 18 at Linfield College in McMinnville without the president or secretary due to the ice storms that had been plaguing the Columbia Gorge. Though the weather was clear throughout most of the state, several inches of ice still remained in Mike and Jerry Igo's driveway. It was so slick they "couldn't even walk out to their cars, much less drive out!" 

Rather than delve right into the budget, the board first discussed committee reports. The membership committee's report showed that new member enrollment lags behind prior years by 20%. If this trend continues, it will have a negative impact on the budget, since membership dues are the largest single contributor to NPSO's income. 

The Westside Conservation Committee Chair has been exceptionally productive in the past year submitting comments regarding "salvage" timber sales, the Coquille Land Transfer, permanent conservation of the Bull Run Watershed and Little Sandy River, and the Corvallis Riverfront Proposal. A future focus for this committee includes watching our new senators and representatives, particularly regarding the Endangered Species Act, wetlands issues, private property issues and grazing. The chair of this committee is seeking a replacement, so if these topics sound like something you would like to work on please let Kate Dwire or Mike Igo know. 

NPSO has also been seeking a replacement for the EFO representative. Two members, Laura Tesler of the South Coast Chapter and Shane Latimer, president of the Porfiand Chapter, recently came forward to share the duties. Ms. Tesler will start by working with Ms. Muir on the annual EFO re-application while Mr. Latimer is interested in being an EFO board member. The NPSO board thanks and encourages both volunteers! During Maya Muir's two years as the EFO representative, NPSO's relationship with EFO has changed from chaos and dissatisfaction to a satisfactory working relationship. Even though fixing this situation wasn't the job Ms. Muir expected to do, the improvement is virtually all a result of her efforts. The board commends Maya Muir for a job excellently done! 

The new chair of the Atlas Committee, Bruce Newhouse, reported that so far, almost 17,500 records from 131 lists have been entered in the Atlas Database, with about 1000 plant lists to go! To add to this incredible (and wonderful) backlog, federal agencies have now authorized release of their databases to the Flora Project. On a more somber note, the Oregon Flora Project is delayed because of lack of money, which will in turn delay publication of the checklist. Contributions from chapters and individuals are urgently needed. If anyone knows of likely sources of grants, please tell Keli Kuykendall, the Grants Coordina-tor. Due to the same budget and labor constraints, the Flora Newsletter will be published only three times a year instead of the current four. 

From reports statewide, it seems that many of the NPSO chapters are staying busy, even in the doldrums of winter. The Corvallis Chapter, under the direction of the recently elected president, Danna Lytjen, has been compiling a plant list that will cover Linn, Lincoln and Benton counties. The Emerald Chapter is planning a spring field trip/survey of the lower drainage of the Amazon Creek channel for Lomatium bradshawii, for the city of Eugene. The Siskiyou Chapter is leading a letter-writing campaign against a proposed state prison site in the midst of vernal pools in the Agate Desert. Comments in opposition are desired. On the South Coast, Oregon State Parks is taking some action to achieve recovery plans for Lilium occidentale sites. The William Cusick Chapter has been holding programs about landscaping with natives and now the community wants more! In the Mid-Columbia region, members are planning the April 13th Columbia River Gorge Wildflower Show. 

Finally, after lunch, it came time to adopt the annual budget. There were significant increases in budget and balance between 1995 and 1996. Looking ahead to 1997, the board is hopeful that the symposium proceedings will bring in additional income to cover increasing expenses such as publishing the Bulletin, and to support the increased needs of endeavors like the Oregon Flora Project. 

Two Cost Share Grants were awarded. A $500 grant was requested by Lucille Housley of the Lakeview BLM District to pay expenses of volunteers. Matching federal funds would be $1000 in BLM vehicle use. Friends of Buford Park/Mt. Pisgah asked for a full $1000 cost share grant to fund a proposal for a native plant restoration project in the park, one of the few sites with Bradshaw's lomatium. The project includes restoration of up to ten acres of three locally endangered plant communities, restoration of the nesting habitat of the Western pond turtle, inventory of the botanical resources in the 2000 acre park, and development of an interpretive trail. Other partners include Lane County Parks Division, Balance Restoration Nursery, ODFW, The Nature Conservancy, and BLM. 

A budget item was approved to give $200 to the First Conference on Siskiyou Ecology to use as scholarships and to keep registration fees low. Other sponsors are SOSC Biology Department, and USNPS-Oregon Caves NM. (Look at their WWW site for more information.) 

The agenda items passed quickly, and by early afternoon the 1997 NPSO budget had been ap-proved as amended. And the board members were off to their respective corners of the state, hoping for safe driving conditions. 

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NPSO Need Laptop

The donation of a laptop computer for the use of the secretary is highly desirable and the Society would be most grateful. Anyone wishing to donate such an item, should contact Heather Laub. 

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Wetlands Restoration Meeting

The Society for Wetland Scientists (SWS) and the Society for Ecological Restoration (SER), Pacific Northwest chapters, will be holding a joint annual meeting on May 5 - 7 in Corvallis, Oregon. The theme is "Putting Down Roots: Wetland Restoration in the Landscape." SWS is organizing a technical program, including speakers and workshops which focus on wetlands and wetland restoration efforts throughout the Pacific Northwest. SER is sponsoring a special symposium about linking local scale restoration to landscape theory and process. This will be a great opportunity for interested parties to interact with SWS and SER members and learn more about restoration activities throughout the Pacific Northwest, particularly in wetland ecosystems. For more information about the conference, or to get a registration packet, Call Laura Herbon at 503-460-0057. 

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1997 NPSO Annual Meeting

The Willamette Valley Chapter invites you to the 1997 annual meeting which will be held June 6-7-8 at "Camp Cascade." The camp is located on the banks of the Little North Fork River in scenic Elkhorn Valley, forty miles east of Salem in the foothills of the Cascade Mountains. Meals and men's and women's dormitory lodging are available on-site. Scheduled events are: Friday evening, June 6: Registration, Evening Social and slide show, "Wildflowers of the Willamette Valley and Cascade Mountains." Saturday morning, June 7: Field trips leaving Camp Cascade at 9 A.M. Saturday evening: Social hour, 5:30 P.M. Banquet, 6:30 P.M. Sunday morning, June 8: State board meeting, 9 A.M. See the March Bulletin for meeting and field trip details. 

A detailed map and directions to Camp Cascade will be included with your registration confirmation. Print, complete and mail your registration form soon.Your registration must be mailed by April 30. 

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Shady Cove Wildflower Show

The Shady Cove Wildflower Show will take place on Saturday and Sunday, May 3rd and 4th, in the Shady Cove Elementary School. To reach it from Medford take Highway 62 north. For more information, or to help out at the show, contact Margaret Meierhenry at 541-826-6649. 

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Save Mt. Hood Streams

Have fun and meet with others who share your values at a Columbia Group Sierra Club fundraiser for Friends of Mt. Hood. The Sierra Club is raising money to help support the Friends legal appeal to protect the unique creeks and wildflower meadows of Mt. Hood Meadows. 

Beer, wine, hors d'oeuvres and music in a lovely old town setting, will be available at the Elizabeth Leach Gallery, 207 SW Pine, on Friday, April 25, from 6 to 9 P.M. Mark your calendar. 

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The NICORE Mine v. Rough & Ready Creek - Barbara Ullian, Siskiyou Chapter

The NICORE Project, a large nickel laterite mine proposed for the Rough and Ready Creek watershed in Oregon's Siskiyou Mountains, is gaining momentum as the Forest Service begins preparation of an Environmental Impact Statement. If this mine proceeds in any form it will destroy the integrity of this biologically rich reference watershed [1] and heavily impact a potential Wild and Scenic River, [2] the Rough and Ready Botanical Area, the Rough and Ready Area of Critical Environmental Concern, and the South Kalmiopsis Roadless Area. 

The position of the mining claimant proposing the NICORE Project is that it is his right to mine the Rough and Ready watershed, and to additionally own much of it at the bargain basement price of $2.50 per acre. (The Freeman/NICORE mineral patent application, for 4,380 acres, is the largest pending patent application in the United States.). What possible authority gives such privilege and preference to one individual and one use on National Forest lands belonging to the public. 

The authority is one granted by default. The Siskiyou National Forest, the primary land managing agency in the Rough and Ready watershed, maintains that the right to mine, as granted by the 1872 Mining Law, cannot be denied. The agency further holds that it is their mission to encourage and facilitate mining on public lands, [3] but many feel this position is as out of date as the Mining Law itself. Essentially, there is no clear command that mining is the absolute dominant use of public lands, [4] despite the Forest Service's historic solicitude toward activities granted by the Mining Law and despite the environmental havoc and degradation of public lands and water. 

Why should the Native Plant Society and its members be concerned with the application or misapplication of the Mining Law and the prevailmg attitude and demands of public land miners? Because mining is an enormous and imminent threat to the Rough and Ready Creek watershed and its native plants, their habitats and the ecological relationships and processes which sustain them. 

In the 1994 issue of Kalmiopsis ("Oregon Plants, Oregon Places"), the significance of the Rough and Ready Creek watershed and its botanical and 
other values are examined. In order to preserve these values and the ecological integrity of this rare, mostly intact landscape, we must gain an understanding of the NICORE mining operation, the processes driving it and what it will take to stop both. 

Rough and Ready Creek's watershed is part of the Josephine ophiolite. [5] Its headwaters flow from the venerable Klamath Peneplain, [6] down through the dramatic red rock country of the Kalmiopsis Wilderness and the South Kalmiopsis Roadless Area to a broad alluvial valley and confluence with the West Fork of the Illinois River. The environmental conditions, geologic processes and mineralized soils [7] which have challenged extremes in species adaptation and evolution and created unique and diverse plant assemblages, have put Rough and Ready in the greatest jeopardy during its entire forty million year history. [8

The NICORE Project claims that stainless steel can be produced from Rough and Ready's laterite soils. The original mining plan of operation was to mine a 5,000 ton bulk sample to test a proprietary experimental metallurgical process. In 1996, the Siskiyou National Forest prepared a Surface Use Determination -- a report to determine if the mining claimant's proposal had merit. It was the opinion of the Forest Service that the NICORE plan of operation was reasonable with certain conditions. One of the recommendations was that before the Forest Service accepted the NICORE plan of operation and began the Environmental Impact Statement that there was some assurance that a smelter facility would be available to process the ore and test the metallurgy. 

The owner of NICORE countered with as new plan of operation, this time to go into "full production" and over time, mine out each ore body.[9] Because much of the information concerning the NICORE Project and the Freeman patent has been determined to be proprietary and not available to the public, little is known about the how, when and where of the smelting facility that will transform Rough and Ready's soils into stainless steel and about the extent of the area to be mined. 

We do know that the NICORE plan calls for eleven stream crossings constructed by dumping rock in the mainstem of Rough and Ready at six separate locations and at five locations on its tributaries. Over fourteen miles of road will be constructed.[10] Additionally, current information is that the processed ore will be stockpiled on the Rough and Ready Area of Critical Environmental Concern. 

In order to stop the NICORE mine and to protect the Rough and Ready Watershed there must be a massive and thoughtful outpouring of opposition to the NICORE mining plan of operation and an embracing of Rough and Ready Creek and its non-mineral values by the public. There must be support for legal challenges to the mining operation and for a legislative or administrative "no mining" remedy. The participation of the Native Plant Society of Oregon and its members is crucial to the preservation of this exceptional place. 

At this time there are three actions that are vitally important: 
  1. Write to your members of Congress and inform them of the proposed NICORE Mine and its threat to a unique and ancient landscape, the Rough and Ready Creek watershed.
  2. Participate fully in the National Environmental Policy Act process for the NICORE mine. The Illinois Valley Ranger District has developed a proposed action and must now request input from the public on issues and concerns for the NICORE plan of operation (March and April). The Draft Environmental Impact Statement is expected to be released in September. Write to the Illinois Valley District Ranger, 26568 Redwood Highway, Cave Junction, Oregon 97623, requesting to be put on the mailing list for the NICORE Project EIS.
  3. Help raise public awareness about Rough and Ready's significant ecological values, encourage scientific research in the area and conduct plant and other surveys in the watershed.
For more information on Rough and Ready Creek and the NICORE Mine and to be put on a mailing list for Action Alerts, please write the Siskiyou Project, P.O. Box 220, Cave Junction, Oregon 97523, or phone (541) 592-4459. 

  1. The Oregon Chapter of the American Fisheries Society lists the Rough and Ready Watershed as an Aquatic Diversity Area and as a "highly sensitive," "genetic refuge" and "reference watershed."
  2. In a 1993 Wild and Scenic River eligibility study, most of the mainstem and all of the North Fork of Rough and Ready Creek were found to have one or more outstandingly remarkable values making them eligible for a Wild and Scenic River suitability study. The Forest Service's eligibility study erred in not finding the whole Rough and Ready stream system eligible, a precedent set by the National Wild and Scenic Smith River in California. The study found that the outstandingly remarkable values of Rough and Ready's mainstem were: 1) Geological/Hydrological, 2) Botanical/Ecological, and 3) Wildlife, and Botanical/Ecological for the North Fork. The Forest Service erred in not naming water quality as an ORV.
  3. FSM 2800.
  4. Leshy, John D. The Mining Law: A Study in Perpetual Motion, Resources for the Future, 1987.
  5. An area where ocean crust is emplaced against the continent is called an ophiolite. Ophiolites consist of layers of rock that represent fragments of formerly intact oceanic crust and mantle. The layers of an ophiolite consist, from base to top, of peridotite, gabbro, sheeted diabase dikes, pillow lavas, and pelagic sediments. (USDA Forest Service, 1996, A Field Guide to Serpentine Plant Associations and Sensitive Plants in Northwestern California, Pacific Southwest Region, R5-ECOL-TP-06).
  6. The Josephine ophiolite has been influenced by additional geologic processes since its emplacement onto the continent. Increased erosion during a period of geologic inactivity in the Miocene, has resulted in a series of flat topped ridges in the area of the western Siskiyou Mountains, called the KIamath Peneplain (Ibid.).
  7. The chemical weathering of serpentinized pendotite results in soils rich in magnesium, silica and iron and low in available calcium and potassium. Serpentine soils also typically have high pH values and high concentrations of the heavy metals, nickel, chromium, cobalt. (Ibid.).
  8. Unaltered peridotite or slightly serpentinized peridotite can develop to laterite soils in areas with high rainfalls. These soils are associated with mining activity because of their high concentrations of nickel and chromium. (Ibid.).
  9. The NICORE plan also implies ore reserves in the Woodcock Mountain and Free and Easy Pass areas of the Illinois Valley.
  10. The NICORE Project plan of operation involves haul routes that go through the South Kalmiopsis Roadless Area, and the Rough and Ready Botanical Area and ACEC. Some bulldozer tracks exist. In places, these tracks have altered the natural drainage patterns. Heavy equipment and 25 ton ore trucks will make thousands of trips on their way to where the ore is to be stockpiled on the ACEC.
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© Copyright 1997 Native Plant Society of Oregon, All Rights Reserved 

Last Modified April 18, 1997